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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

February 9, 2015

ASIA:

AUSTRALIA-POLITICS

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s beleaguered Prime Minister Tony Abbott emerges politically wounded after withstanding a leadership challenge from within his own party, with many analysts doubting he can survive to lead his conservative government to next year’s elections. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 640 words, photos.

— AUSTRALIA-POLITICS-TURNBULL — Moderate challenger to Australia’s leader will have to wait. SENT: 500 words, photos.

MALAYSIA-ANWAR

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he is optimistic ahead of a ruling by Malaysia’s top court on his final appeal against a sodomy conviction, but that he is ready to be jailed for the second time in just over a decade. The Federal court will announce Tuesday whether it will uphold Anwar’s five-year sentence on charges of sodomizing a male aide. By Eileen Ng. SENT: 480 words, photos.

EAST TIMOR-GUSMAO RESIGNATION

DILI, East Timor — East Timor’s president accepts the resignation of independence hero Xanana Gusmao as prime minister ahead of an expected restructuring of the government. The former guerrilla leader spearheaded East Timor’s drive for independence when Indonesian rule ended in 2002. SENT: 320 words.

SKOREA-TROUBLED SPIES

SEOUL, South Korea — A former South Korean spy chief is sent to prison after being found guilty of ordering an illicit online campaign to support then-ruling party candidate and current President Park Geun-hye ahead of the 2012 presidential election. By Hyung-jin Kim. SENT: 470 words, photos.

AFGHANISTAN

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan officials say a senior Islamic State commander was killed in a drone strike in the southern Helmand province. SENT: 130 words.

CHINA-US STATE VISIT

BEIJING — President Xi Jinping plans to make his first state visit to the U.S. later this year, state media report. SENT: 200 words.

CHINA-GANG CRACKDOWN

BEIJING — A former mining tycoon who led a mafia-style crime gang that ran casinos and killed rivals was executed along with four of the gang’s members, a court says. SENT: 260 words.

CHINA-EXECUTED MAN CLEARED

BEIJING — The parents of a man executed for murder and rape and then posthumously exonerated 18 years later watch as a court convicts another man for those crimes. SENT: 280 words.

KASHMIR-STRIKE

SRINAGAR, India — Hundreds of police and paramilitary soldiers patrol the disputed region of Kashmir during a strike called by anti-India separatists to protest the secret execution two years ago of a former Kashmiri rebel. By Aijaz Hussain. SENT: 250 words, photos.

INDIA-RAPE

JAIPUR, India — Police search for a man who raped a Japanese student sightseeing in northern India as recent attacks on women renew public fury and horror over the country’s inability to halt chronic sexual assault. The 20-year-old student attacked Sunday is the second Japanese woman raped in the South Asian country in recent months. By Prakash Bhandari. SENT: 460 words.

AUSTRALIA-SHARK ATTACK

SYDNEY — A Japanese national dies after a shark tore off his legs while he was surfing off Australia’s east coast, not far from the area where another surfer was mauled by a shark a day earlier. By Kristen Gelineau. SENT: 390 words.

OBIT-JAPANESE DESIGNER

TOKYO — Kenji Ekuan, an industrial designer whose works ranged from a bullet train to the red-capped Kikkoman soy sauce dispenser dies at age 85. SENT: 130 words.

MYANMAR-ETHNIC ARMIES-PHOTO GALLERY

MAR WONG VILLAGE, Myanmar — It’s one of Myanmar’s smallest ethnic insurgencies, just a few thousand fighters scattered between isolated villages. But as President Thein Sein struggles to reach a nationwide peace agreement by the year’s end, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army has turned into one of his biggest obstacles. By Gemunu Amarsinghe. SENT: 630 words, photos.

CHINA-PEOPLE-ZHANG ZIYI

BEIJING — Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi, who gained international fame for her role in “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” accepts a marriage proposal delivered by drone. SENT: 330 words, photos.

THE WEEK THAT WAS IN ASIA-PHOTO GALLERY

Photos of bean-catching ceremonies, business deals between China and Argentina, and another aviation tragedy. SENT: 170 words, photos.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

JAPAN-EARNS-NISSAN

TOKYO — Nissan raises its earnings forecast for the fiscal year after reporting a nearly 21 percent jump in quarterly profit as a cheap yen amplified strong overseas sales. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 440 words, photos.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

EGYPT-SOCCER RIOT

CAIRO— The killing of more than 20 soccer fans outside a Cairo stadium in a melee with security forces has reignited debate over police tactics in Egypt less than a month after a woman was shot dead during the dispersal of a peaceful protest marking the fourth anniversary of the 2011 uprising. By Maggie Michael. SENT: 450 words, photos, video.

OBAMA-MERKEL

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are trying for a public display of unity despite a potential split over arming Ukrainian fighters to better battle Russian-backed separatists. That was the unstated point of a meeting at the White House where Merkel was to brief Obama on upcoming talks aimed at reviving a peace plan for besieged Ukraine. By Steven R. Hurst. SENT: 590 words.

GAY MARRIAGE-ALABAMA

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Couples line up at courthouses across Alabama as same-sex marriage arrives suddenly in the deeply conservative state. By Kim Chandler and Jay Reeves. SENT: 550 words, photos.

GRAMMYS

Somewhere in England sits a man who was the unwitting inspiration for the biggest winner at Sunday’s Grammy Awards. He’s the man who loved, and dumped, 22-year-old British soul singer Sam Smith. Smith’s yearning hit, “Stay With Me,” won Grammys for song and record of the year and he was named best new artist — three of the four biggest awards the Grammys present each year. By AP Entertainment Writer David Bauder. SENT: 1,000 words, photos, video.

— GRAMMYS-SHOW BITS-PACKAGE: A collection of colorful moments at the 57th annual Grammy Awards. SENT: 1,800 words, photos.

— GRAMMYS-LIST: A list of winners in top categories at Sunday’s Grammy Awards.

CREATING EBOLA VACCINE

WASHINGTON — It took 16 years of twists and turns. Over and over, Dr. Nancy Sullivan thought she’d finally gotten her Ebola vaccine right, only to see the next experiment fail. But it was those failures that Sullivan credits for helping her unravel enough mysteries of the immune system to finally bring an Ebola vaccine to large-scale testing in Africa. She just hopes it was in time to prove if the shots really work. By Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard. SENT: 880 words, photos.

IRAQ

BAGHDAD — A suicide attack kills 15 in a busy Baghdad square during rush-hour. By Sinan Salaheddin. SENT: 260 words.

ISRAEL-LAPID’S CHALLENGE

Had he played his cards differently, Yair Lapid might be making a serious run now to become Israel’s next prime minister. Instead, today the telegenic ex-anchorman, actor and novelist is hoping simply not to become Israel’s next political flash in the pan. Lapid’s performance matters for people worldwide who want Israel to dump the internationally unpopular Benjamin Netanyahu — and see in Lapid the most charismatic face in a field cluttered with unappealing apparatchiks. By Aron Heller. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

WINTER WEATHER

BOSTON — Snow is falling yet again on New England and portions of New York state, threatening to bring up to 1 to 2 feet to some areas and making the first commutes of the workweek potentially hazardous. By Bob Salsberg and Philip Marcelo. SENT: 440 words, photos.

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YOUR QUERIES: 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 or by fax at (81-3) 3574-8850.

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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