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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

October 17, 2013



PAKSE, Laos — Rescuers in fishing boats pull bodies from the muddy Mekong River as officials in Laos rule out finding survivors from a plane that crashed in stormy weather, killing 49 people from 11 countries. Backpacks, two broken airplane propellers and passports are among the debris scattered on the riverbank where the Lao Airlines turboprop plane left deep skid marks in the ground before disappearing into the water Wednesday. By Jerry Harmer. SENT: 770 words, photos.

— AUSTRALIA-LAOS-PLANE CRASH — A Sydney family of four and an Australian aid worker and his father are among the victims of a plane crash in Laos that is believed to have killed all 49 people onboard. SENT: 300 words, photos.


CALAPE, Philippines — Eileen Rose Carabana and her mother were in their mountain village house when the 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck the central Philippine island of Bohol. Moments later, she felt an unmistakable intense pain in her abdomen —Carabana was about to go into labor. There was no other way to get to a doctor but to hike several kilometers down a mountain to the hospital in Calape, a coastal town devastated by Tuesday’s quake that killed at least 158 people and destroyed thousands of homes and a dozen or more centuries-old churches. By Kiko Rosario and Oliver Teves. SENT: 600 words, photos, video.


YANGON, Myanmar — Three small bombs go off in eastern Myanmar, killing one person and wounding six, the latest in a series of unexplained explosions in a country that had seen few such attacks since an elected government took over two years ago. By Robin McDowell. SENT: 450 words.


BEIJING — The mayor of the major eastern China city of Nanjing is being investigated for suspected corruption, the ruling Communist Party says, making him one of the highest-level targets in a continuing anti-graft campaign under leader Xi Jinping. By Christopher Bodeen. SENT: 360 words.


TOKYO — The mayor of a Japanese island devastated by a deadly typhoon apologizes for failing to issue an evacuation order, as rescue workers comb through mountains of debris searching for the missing. At least 19 deaths have been confirmed from Typhoon Wipha, one day after it swept up Japan’s east coast, and about 40 people remain missing. Most of the victims were on the island of Izu Oshima. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 550 words, photos.


SYDNEY — Nearly a hundred wildfires burn across Australia’s most populous state, 18 of which are out of control, as unseasonably hot temperatures and strong winds fanned flames across the parched landscape. Several homes were likely lost in the fires across New South Wales, though the exact number was not known as conditions were too intense for firefighters to reach the hardest-hit areas. There are no reports of injuries or deaths. SENT: 200 words, video.


JAKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia’s anti-graft commission arrests a former sports minister in connection with a multimillion-dollar corruption case. Andi Alfian Mallarangeng resigned as youth and sports minister in December, when the Corruption Eradication Commission named him a suspect for allegedly mismanaging the construction of a $122 million sports complex in the West Java village of Hambalang. SENT: 240 words.


NEW DELHI — Maoist rebels set off a land mine targeting a security patrol in central India, killing three policemen. SENT: 130 words.


ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani military official says two soldiers have been killed in separate incidents. The official says a Pakistani Ranger was killed by “unprovoked firing” by Indian troops along the disputed northwestern India-Pakistan border. By Rebecca Santana. SENT: 130 words.


YANGON, Myanmar — Sein Win, a renowned journalist in Myanmar who championed press freedom and endured three stints in prison as he chronicled several decades of his country’s turbulent history, has died at age 91. By Robin McDowell and Grant Peck. SENT: 970 words, photos.



BEIJING — Political leaders, investors and ordinary people welcome the end of a U.S. government shutdown but already are looking ahead to the next round of a budget battle that brought the world’s biggest economy close to default and threatens Washington’s international standing. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 900 words, photos.

— ANTARCTIC-SANCTUARY — A long-awaited deal to create the world’s largest marine sanctuary in Antarctica appears to have survived a last-second obstacle — the U.S. government shutdown — and could be approved next week. By Nick Perry. SENT: 570 words, photo.


HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam is pressing ahead with Southeast Asia’s most ambitious civilian nuclear energy program despite safety fears over the technology following the 2011 Fukushima disaster. Foreign companies and governments are competing to get a toehold in an industry that could be worth $50 billion by 2030, according to estimates by U.S. officials. Those plans received a boost last week with the announcement that the United States and Vietnam had signed an agreement allowing U.S. firms to develop civilian nuclear power here. By Mike Ives. SENT: 820 words.


BEIJING — Britain’s finance minister says his government will allow a Chinese company to own a majority stake in a new nuclear power plant as it tries to curb demand for fossil fuels. George Osborne made the announcement while he visited a nuclear power plant in southern China. SENT: 320 words.


AMSTERDAM — The European Commission is calling for comments or objections to a proposal by Samsung to end one type of patent dispute over mobile telephones in Europe for the coming five years. SENT: 130 words.



WASHINGTON — The government is reopening its doors after a battle-weary Congress approves a bipartisan measure to end a 16-day partial shutdown and avert the possibility of an economy-jarring default on U.S. obligations. By Andrew Taylor. SENT: 850 words, photo, video, interactive.


TRENTON, N.J. — Despite capturing a special election that makes him the first black senator from New Jersey, rising political star Cory Booker can’t take much of a break from campaigning — he’ll be back on the ballot in a little over a year. The Newark mayor takes to Washington a national profile boosted by a strong social media presence, frequent TV appearances and his status as an Obama surrogate during the president’s 2012 re-election campaign. By Angela Delli Santi and Katie Zezima. SENT: 700 words, photos.


BEIRUT — An international conference on a political solution to the Syrian conflict could take place Nov. 23-24, Syria’s deputy prime minister says — the first mention of possible dates for the long-delayed gathering. The United States and Russia have been trying to bring the Damascus government and Syria’s divided opposition to the negotiating table for months, but the meeting has been repeatedly delayed and it remains unclear whether either side is really willing to hold talks while the war is deadlocked. By Ryan Lucas. SENT: 500 words, photo.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When a third-grade student who had been stung by a wasp developed welts on his neck and had trouble breathing, school nurse Amanda Williams had the necessary dose of epinephrine to counter the allergic reaction. A law Tennessee enacted this year makes it easier for schools to stock the drug that likely saved the boy’s life. Fifteen other states enacted similar laws in 2013, bringing the total to 27. While only four of the states require schools to stock the medication, all the laws allow schools to stock it without a prescription for an individual person — a legal hurdle in many states — and provide legal protection for staff members who administer it. By Lucas L. Johnson II. SENT: 950 words, photos.


THE RED MONASTERY, Egypt — Locked inside a 6th century church in a desert monastery are some of the jewels of early Christianity, vivid murals of saints and the Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus, being uncovered by restorers from a under a blanket of soot. Little known and rarely visited, the Anba Bishay Church offers a striking example of how Egypt’s Orthodox Coptic Church is jealously guarding its heritage against formidable odds, from decades of neglect to the threat of violence by Islamic militants. By Hamza Hendawi. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.


MIAMI — Salsa overtaking ketchup as America’s No. 1 condiment was just the start. These days, tortillas outsell burger and hot dog buns; sales of tortilla chips trump potato chips; and tacos and burritos have become so ubiquitously “American,” most people don’t even consider them ethnic. As immigrant and minority populations rewrite American demographics, the nation’s collective menu is reflecting this flux. By Suzette LaBoy and J.M. Hirsch. SENT: 1,270 words, photos, video, interactive.


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