BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS
THAILAND-THE PEOPLE SPEAK
BANGKOK — There is a lot of talk in Thailand about “the people” and what they want. The leader of the protests in the capital says the people demand that the government give up power because of corruption and other misdeeds. Supporters of the prime minister say the people should be allowed to choose their leaders in elections set for Feb. 2. Several Thais, some prominent, some ordinary, explain their views on the political unrest. By Thanyarat Doksone. SENT: 1,250 words, photos.
— THAILAND-POLITICS — Throngs of whistle-blowing protesters march to several more government offices to keep up pressure on the prime minister to resign and call off next month’s election. By Thanyarat Doksone and Grant Peck. SENT: 650 words, photos.
LONDON — Child abuse investigators in Britain, the United States and Australia have dismantled an organized crime group that live-streamed child sexual abuse to order from the Philippines. Britain’s National Crime Agency says the investigation resulted in 29 arrests of people in 12 countries who had paid to watch the abuse. By Danica Kirka and Jim Gomez. SENT: 640 words.
INDIA TOURIST RAPE
NEW DELHI —Indian police say they are closing in on six homeless men in the gang rape of a 51-year-old Danish tourist in New Delhi, a case that highlights the plague of sexual violence in the country and threatens to tarnish its tourism industry. By Ashok Sharma. SENT: 530 words, photos.
BEIJING — Beijing’s skyscrapers recede into a dense gray smog as the capital experiences the season’s first wave of extremely dangerous pollution, with the concentration of toxic small particles registering more than two dozen times the level considered safe. Many of the city’s commuters wear industrial strength face masks. SENT: 390 words, photos.
BEIJING — Police have taken away an outspoken scholar of China’s Turkic Uighur ethnic minority and raided his home, seizing computers, cellphones and even his students’ thesis manuscripts, his wife says. By Gillian Wong. SENT: 680 words, photos.
ISLAMABAD — A lawyer for Pakistan’s former president Pervez Musharraf who is on trial for high treason says his client needs to go to the U.S. for further medical treatment following a heart scare. By Rebecca Santana. SENT: 550 words, photos.
HONG KONG-MAID ABUSE
HONG KONG — Hong Kong police are investigating allegations that a 23-year-old Indonesian maid was tortured by her employers, the latest case to provoke outrage over abuses suffered by the city’s army of foreign domestic workers. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 450 words, photos.
INDONESIA-TOO MANY TURTLES
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Green sea turtles remain a rare sight in many parts of the world, but one Indonesian island tasked with protecting them is being overrun by far too many. New research suggests that the gentle endangered creatures are crowding into a marine reserve in numbers never recorded anywhere, gobbling seagrass to the point that they risk destroying the food source that’s vital to their survival. By Margie Mason. SENT: 660 words, photos.
MANADO, Indonesia — Days of torrential rain trigger a landslide and flash floods on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, killing at least 13 people and sending tens of thousands fleeing for safe ground. By Gracey Wakari. SENT: 240 words.
MANILA, Philippines — Philippine anti-narcotics agents have arrested four Canadians for allegedly trafficking illegal drugs from Mexico, a government investigator says. The suspects have alleged links to a Mexican cartel and are undercutting Chinese traffickers dominating the local market, which could lead to a violent drug war in the Philippines. By Oliver Teves. SENT: 470 words, photos.
VIETNAM-COAL MINE ACCIDENT
HANOI, Vietnam — Six workers are killed in a fire in an underground coal tunnel in northern Vietnam, an official says. One worker escapes with burns. SENT: 100 words.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE:
HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam will delay the construction of its first nuclear power plant by six years, state media reports, amid concerns over safety and efficiency. Faced with increased demand for power, Vietnam needs to develop new energy sources as its domestic coal and hydropower production is leveling off. SENT: 220 words.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian compact car maker Perodua says its sales rose 3.7 percent last year to a new record high but warns of challenges ahead as the sector is further liberalized. SENT: 240 words.
U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:
GENEVA — The Vatican comes under blistering criticism from a U.N. committee Thursday for its handling of the global priest sex abuse scandal, facing its most intense public grilling ever over allegations that it protected pedophile priests at the expense of victims. Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s former sex crimes prosecutor, acknowledged that the Holy See had been slow to face the crisis but says it is now committed to doing so. He encouraged prosecutors to take action against anyone who obstructs justice — a suggestion that bishops who moved priests from diocese to diocese should be held accountable. By John Heilprin. SENT: 700 words, photos.
— CHURCH ABUSE-BANKRUPTCY — Catholic diocese in California files for bankruptcy after millions paid in sexual abuse cases. SENT: 510 words.
WASHINGTON — Drained of much of its vitriol over the budget, Congress is poised to adopt a $1.1 trillion package financing federal agencies this year, a bipartisan compromise that all but banishes the specter of an election-year government shutdown. By Alan Fram. SENT: 350 words, photos.
CAIRO — An overwhelming majority of Egyptians who voted on the country’s new constitution have backed the draft charter, a senior Egyptian official says. The official told The Associated Press that unofficial results, after most of ballots have been counted, indicate that more than 90 percent of the voters have said “yes” to the constitution. The vote is a milestone for Egypt’s interim government, installed by the military after the ouster last July of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi. By Maggie Michael. SENT: 580 words, photo.
The force of “Gravity” may be about to exert itself on Hollywood’s awards season. When Academy Award nominations are announced Thursday from Los Angeles, Alfonso Cuaron’s 3-D space adventure will likely rival “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle” in a close contest for most-nominated film. By Film Writer Jake Coyle. SENT: 600 words, photos.
— OSCAR NOMINATIONS-LIST — Complete list of nominees in all categories. UPCOMING: 500 words by 1400 GMT, photos.
WASHINGTON — In what may be the biggest such scandal in Air Force history, 34 officers entrusted with land-based nuclear missiles have been pulled off the job for alleged involvement in a cheating ring that officials say was uncovered during a drug probe. By Robert Burns and Lolita C. Baldor. SENT: 450 words, photos.
WASHINGTON — A bipartisan Senate report on the attacks on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, paints a picture of systemic failure of security for U.S. diplomats overseas that led to the deaths of the ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. By Intelligence Writer Kimberly Dozier. SENT: 1,030 words, photo.
NEWARK, New Jersey — The traffic jam at the foot of the world’s busiest bridge that was apparently engineered by allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as political payback could lead to criminal charges such as conspiracy or official misconduct, legal experts say. By David Porter. SENT: 700 words, photos.
— CHRISTIE-TRAFFIC JAMS-SPRINGSTEEN — Jimmy Fallon, Bruce Springsteen parody “Gov. Chris Christie’s Fort Lee, New Jersey Traffic Jam.” SENT: 140 words, photos.
SPENCER, Mass. — For more than a century, Catholic Cistercian monks, commonly known as Trappists, have been brewing and selling what many beer lovers consider some of best brews in the world. Eight monasteries — six in Belgium and one each in Holland and Austria — produce the only beer recognized by the International Trappist Association as authentic Trappist beer. And starting Thursday, the 63 brothers of St. Joseph’s Abbey — about an hour’s drive west of Boston — will join them, selling the first Trappist beer brewed outside Europe. By Dave Martin. SENT: 750 words, photos, video.
BOISE, Idaho — The family of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who was captured more than four years ago in Afghanistan, says a new video of the soldier believed to have been taken in the last month has bolstered their resolve to bring him home safely to Idaho. By John Miller and Lolita C. Baldor. SENT: 250 words, photo.
BARCELONA, Spain — A European season of separatist fervor kicks off Thursday with Catalan lawmakers voting on whether to seek the right to hold a referendum on independence from Spain. The EU will be watching closely as Belgium’s Dutch speakers gear up to push for greater autonomy in May elections, and Scotland prepares to hold its own referendum on breaking away from Britain in the fall. By Alan Clendenning and Emilio Morenatti. SENT: 1,080 words, photos.
LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands — Nearly nine years after a truck bomb killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 22 others, the trial starts for four Hezbollah suspects accused of plotting the sectarian assassination. The opening came against a backdrop of ongoing sectarian violence in Lebanon, where a car bomb exploded Thursday close to the country’s border with Syria, killing at least three people and wounding more than 20, security officials says. By Mike Corder. SENT: 740 words, photos. UPCOMING: 800 words by 1 p.m., photos.
— LEBANON — Car bomb hits northeast Lebanese town close to Syrian border, kills at least 3, officials say. SENT: 500 words, photo.
— DEATH PENALTY-OHIO — Pregnant woman’s killer close to execution by Ohio’s untried lethal injection method. SENT: 500 words, photos.
— SAN FRANCISCO AIRLINER CRASH-VIDEO — Video: Firefighter spotted girl before she was run over in aftermath of Asiana jet crash. SENT: 520 words, photos, video.
— VENEZUELA-DOGS OF CHAVEZ — Shaggy Venezuelan sheepdog keeps alive patriotic legacy of late leader Chavez. SENT: 740 words, photos.
— MEXICO-VIGILANTES — Mexican government faces vigilante groups, cartel in lawless, violent Michoacan state. SENT: 900 words, photos.
— PEOPLE-TRACE ADKINS — Country star Trace Adkins enters alcohol rehab, cancels remainder of cruise appearances. SENT: 100 words, photo.
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