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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

March 30, 2015

ASIA:

MALAYSIA-LEE’S ALTER EGO — The passing of Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew leaves former Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad — who shared some traits with Lee but left a very different legacy — as the last of a generation of old-guard leaders in Southeast Asia. By Eileen Ng. SENT: 1,060 words, photos.

PACIFIC-EARTHQUAKES — A pair of strong earthquakes strikes off the South Pacific nations of Tonga and Samoa, but there are no immediate reports of injuries or damage and no tsunami warning is issued. SENT: 280 words.

KASHMIR-FLOODS — Hundreds of Kashmiris in India and Pakistan move to higher ground as rain-swollen rivers swamp parts of the disputed Himalayan region just six months after 600 people died in flooding that left the region in shambles. By Meraj-Uddin. SENT: 500 words, photos.

BANGLADESH-BLOGGER KILLED — A blogger is hacked to death by three men in Bangladesh’s capital, and two of the attackers are caught near the scene, police say. The killing came one month after a prominent Bangladeshi-American blogger known for speaking out against religious extremism was hacked to death. By Julhas Alam. SENT: 350 words.

CHINA-YEMEN — China evacuates its citizens from Yemen and suspends anti-piracy patrols in the area amid the growing violence in the Middle Eastern country. SENT: 270 words.

PHILIPPINES-MUSLIM REBELS — A monthlong Philippine offensive against hard-line Muslim rebels ends after 139 insurgents were killed, 12 others were captured and bomb-making strongholds were seized by troops, the military chief says. By Jim Gomez. SENT: 410 words.

MALAYSIA-SECURITY LAWS — Malaysia’s government proposes two new anti-terror laws that reintroduce indefinite detention without trial and allow the seizure of passports of anyone suspected of supporting terror acts. SENT: 130 words.

AP-JOURNALIST SAFETY — The president and CEO of The Associated Press calls for changes to international laws that would make it a war crime to kill journalists or take them hostage. Gary Pruitt said a new framework is needed to protect journalists as they cover conflicts in which they are increasingly seen as targets by extremist groups. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 570 words, photos.

AUSTRALIA-GERMANWINGS — Australia responds to the Germanwings air disaster by mandating that at least two crew members be present at all times in cockpits of larger domestic and international airliners. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 330 words.

INDIA-BUS ACCIDENT — A bus driver loses control of his vehicle on a sharp curve on a mountain road in eastern India and plunges into a gorge, killing at least 11 people and injuring 26. SENT: 110 words.

NEPAL-KILLER RHINO — A wild rhino charges into a city in southern Nepal, killing a woman, injuring several others and chasing panicked people through the main market and a hospital. SENT: 170 words.

THE WEEK THAT WAS IN ASIA-PHOTO GALLERY — SENT: 190 words photos.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

CHINA-US — U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew presses Chinese leaders over proposed curbs on the use of foreign security products by banks and other restrictions on access to China’s technology market. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 380 words, photos.

SKOREA-FIGHTER JETS — South Korea chooses a state-run aircraft maker as the sole preferred bidder for a contract to develop a midlevel fighter jet with the help of Lockheed Martin Corp. in the country’s biggest-ever weapons development project. SENT: 240 words, photos.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

IRAN-NUCLEAR TALKS — Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program enters a critical phase on Monday with differences still remaining less than two days before a deadline for the outline of an agreement. By George Jahn and Matthew Lee. SENT: 580 words, photos.

IRAN-US-DISPUTED STRIKE

BAGHDAD — Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says a U.S. drone strike has killed two of its advisers in Iraq, though the U.S. says it has only struck militants in its campaign against the Islamic State group. By Vivian Salama and Nasser Karimi. SENT: 450 words, photos.

BROKERS-STRICTER RULES — A wealthy architect, a young, widowed mom and a PacBell employee lost much of their retirement savings and their faith that stock brokers would put their needs ahead of fat commissions and fees. These cases and others are compelling the White House to back tougher standards for brokers at a time when more Americans than ever rely on them for retirement planning. By Business Writer Bernard Condon. SENT: 1,500 words, photos. An abridged version of 870 words has also been sent. With BROKERS-STRICTER RULES-TIPS.

YEMEN — A series of airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition shakes Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, overnight and early Monday as dozens of families flee the capital seeking safety. By Ahmed Al-Haj. SENT: 380 words, photos.

FRANCE-PLANE CRASH — A French police official says European investigators are focusing on the psychological state of the 27-year-old German co-pilot who deliberately smashed an Airbus carrying 150 people into an Alpine mountainside. By Lori Hinnant and Jamey Keaten. SENT: 420 words, photos. With FRANCE-CRASH-THREE EMMAS — Spain: 3 generations, all named Emma, die in France crash.

ISRAEL-OLMERT — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is convicted Monday of unlawfully accepting money from a U.S. supporter in a retrial on corruption charges, the latest chapter in the downfall of a man who only years earlier hoped to lead the country to a historic peace agreement with the Palestinians. By Daniel Estrin. SENT: 930 words, photos. With ISRAEL-OLMERT-GLANCE.

ROBIN WILLIAMS-FAMILY FIGHT — Attorneys for the late comedian’s wife and children are headed to court in their battle over his estate. SENT: 300 words, photos.

NIGERIA-ELECTION — Nigerians wait in hope and fear for results of the tightest and most bitterly contested presidential election in the nation’s turbulent history. By Michelle Faul and Hilary Uguru. SENT: 680 words, photos.

JORDAN-TOURISM IN TROUBLE — It’s high season in Petra, an ancient city hewn from rose-colored rock and Jordan’s biggest tourist draw, yet nearby hotels stand virtually empty and business is at a standstill. Petra’s slump is part of a sharp decline in tourism as Jordan’s economy pays a price for the kingdom’s role in the U.S.-led battle against Islamic State militants next door. By Karin Laub. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

MOROCCO-ABORTION — Morocco’s plans to reform abortion law could set example for North Africa. By Paul Schemm. SENT: 870 words, photos.

BRAZIL-RISING RIGHT — A quirky 19-year-old YouTube personality and a former investment banker are the unexpected leaders behind recent mass protests calling for an end to corruption and President Dilma Rousseff’s ouster. The AP looks at where they want to take the movement they sparked. By Adriana Gomez. SENT: 970 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is David Thurber. Questions and story requests are welcome.

The news desk can be reached at (66) 2632-6911 or by email at asia@ap.org. The Asia Photo Desk can be reached at (81-3) 6215-8941. Between 1600 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

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