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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

August 5, 2014



KUNMING, China —Rescuers raced to evacuate villages near rising lakes formed by landslides, complicating relief efforts following a strong earthquake in southern China that killed at least 398 people and has left thousands homeless. By Christopher Bodeen. SENT: 580 words, photos, video.


LOUHAJONG, Bangladesh —High waves and strong currents prevented rescuers from launching a search operation Tuesday for a ferry that capsized a day earlier in central Bangladesh, leaving hundreds of passengers trapped inside and feared dead. By Al-Emrun Garjon. SENT: 270 words, photos.


WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Winter has rolled into its third month in New Zealand, and Nick Jarman says he’s going stir crazy as he stares out at driving rain on the ski area he runs. It has not opened for a single day this season, and Jarman says there may not be enough snow to open at all this year. Ski operators throughout New Zealand have been feeling the effects of the country’s warmest June in more than 100 years, part of what scientists say is a trend of melting glaciers and disappearing snowpack. The larger ski areas have been running only by making snow like never before. By Nick Perry. UPCOMING: 1,000 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-SOUTH CHINA SEA. WASHINGTON — The United States will be looking to calm tensions stoked by recent Chinese oil drilling in disputed waters of the South China Sea at an upcoming meeting of the region’s foreign ministers, a senior U.S. official says. Although the U.S. claims neutrality in the disputes, China is unlikely to respond favorably. By Matthew Pennington. Sent 400 words.


BEIJING — Chinese authorities are investigating two Canadians citizens on suspicion of stealing state secrets about China’s military and national defense research, state media said. SENT: 200 words.


TOKYO — China’s growing airspace and maritime activities have escalated tension in area waters, Japan’s Defense Ministry said in an annual report Tuesday, stressing the need for its military to play a greater role both inside and outside the country. SENT: 410 words. photos.


TOKYO — Police say a senior Japanese scientist embroiled in a stem-cell research scandal has apparently committed suicide. SENT: 200 words.


SEOUL, South Korea — Xiaomi, a Chinese handset maker little known in the West, overtook tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. to become China’s top-selling smartphone brand in the second quarter, a market research company said. By Youkyung Lee. SENT; 330 words.



GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel and Hamas accept an Egyptian proposal for a 72-hour cease-fire beginning Tuesday, perhaps signaling an end to the bloodiest round of fighting between the bitter enemies. Still, both sides signal a rough road ahead, with an Israeli official conceding “a certain amount of skepticism” given previous failures, and a Palestinian official saying “it’s going to be tough.” By Ibrahim Barzak and Josef Federman. Upcoming: 1,200 words by 7 p.m.

— ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-WAR CRIMES — In the last Gaza conflict in 2009, accusations that Israel and Hamas committed war crimes by targeting civilians never came close to reaching the International Criminal Court. This time, with the same allegations being made, some rights defenders are hoping the outcome will be different and are meticulously trying to document evidence in Gaza to make their case. SENT: 1,930 words, photos.


Two American aid workers infected with Ebola are getting an experimental drug so novel it has never been tested for safety in humans before and was only identified as a potential treatment earlier this year, thanks to a longstanding research program by the U.S. government and the military. By Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione. UPCOMING: New approach by 6:30 p.m.

— WEST AFRICA-EBOLA — The doctor who cared for an Ebola victim after a flight to Nigeria has come down with the deadly disease, a setback for health officials battling to contain an outbreak that has killed more than 880 people in three West African nations. SENT: 760 words, photos.

— AFRICA SUMMIT — The Obama administration seeks to strengthen ties with Africa at an unprecedented summit with nearly 50 heads of state, grappling with issues such as investment, poverty, terrorism, corruption and deadly diseases. SENT: 700 words by 3 p.m., photos.


WASHINGTON — James Brady, the affable, witty press secretary who survived a devastating head wound in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan and undertook a personal crusade for gun control, has died. He was 73. Brady suffered a bullet wound to his head in the shooting outside the Washington Hilton Hotel on March 30, 1981. A federal law requiring a background check on handgun buyers bears his name, as does the White House press briefing room. By Darlene Superville and Douglass K. Daniel. SENT: 1,100 words, photos, video.


WASHINGTON — A U.S. program in Cuba that secretly used an HIV-prevention workshop for political activism was assailed Monday by international public health officials and members of Congress who declared that such clandestine efforts put health programs at risk around the world. Beginning in late 2009, the U.S. Agency for International Development deployed nearly a dozen young people from Latin America to Cuba to recruit political activists, an Associated Press investigation found. Sen. Patrick Leahy said Monday it would be “worse than irresponsible” if USAID “concocted” an HIV-prevention workshop to promote a political agenda. By Desmond Butler, Jack Gillum, Alberto Arce and Andrea Rodriguez. Sent: 1,400 words. With AP Photos. AP Video. A 950-word abridged version has also moved with photos, photos, interactive.


ST. LOUIS — Despite a nationwide shortage of lethal-injection drugs, two of the most active death penalty states have quietly carried on with executions by turning to pentobarbital, a powerful sedative that generally puts inmates to death swiftly and without complications. Missouri and Texas seem to have so far avoided the prolonged executions seen in other states that are struggling to find an effective chemical combination. The drug’s apparent effectiveness raises questions about why the procedure has not been more widely adopted. By Jim Salter. SENT: 860 words, photos.


NEW YORK — The average roundtrip ticket within the U.S., including taxes, reached $509.15 in the first six months of this year, up nearly $14 from the same period last year. Airfare has gone up 10.7 percent in the past five years — after adjusting for inflation — according to an Associated Press analysis of data from the Airlines Reporting Corp. The formula is simple, but one that eluded the airlines for years: match the supply of seats to passenger demand. By Airlines Writer Scott Mayerowitz. SENT: 700 words, photos.


CINCINNATI — For Chris Seelbach, the legal challenges to state bans on gay marriage being argued this week in federal appeals court in Cincinnati mark another milestone — not just for gay rights, but for the city he calls home. He campaigned a decade ago to repeal a 1990s city charter amendment that banned the city from protecting people from discrimination in housing, employment and other matters based on sexual orientation, a measure that was widely viewed as making gays and lesbians feel unwelcome. Three years ago, he was elected as Cincinnati’s first openly gay councilman. “I don’t know that there’s another city in the nation that has come further than Cincinnati,” says Seelbach, 34. “We’ve come from being perhaps the most anti-gay city to one that’s doing everything it can on equal rights.” Six challenges to gay marriage bans and restrictions in Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky and Tennessee are before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which decided to hear all of them in one session Wednesday in one of the most important days yet in the wave of legal efforts around the country to overturn marriage bans. By Dan Sewell. SENT: 750 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — Where a woman delivers her baby can make a major difference to her own health — a quality gap that remains largely hidden from mothers-to-be. A new study compared hospitals nationwide. By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar. SENT: 750 words.


DONETSK, Ukraine — Residents say the city of Luhansk is dying. The power is on a few hours a day and fuel is running dry. Store shelves are empty, and those who haven’t managed to flee must drink untreated tap water. With no medicine left, doctors are sending patients home. It’s impossible to confirm their accounts as Ukrainian forces close in on the key separatist stronghold, but local authorities warn of a humanitarian catastrophe. By Yuras Karmanau. SENT: 1,010 words, photos.


BAGHDAD — The militants who have overrun large parts of Iraq are now battling ferociously to capture one of the country’s vital resources, water. Fighters with the Islamic State group are on offensives to capture Iraq’s two biggest dams, which could potentially boost the militants with supplies of water and electricity. The fighting also raises worries over potentially disastrous damage to the dams that could flood large regions downstream. By Vivian Salama and Qassim Abdul-Zahra. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — A federal judge blocks Alabama’s law tightening restrictions on doctors at abortion clinics, ruling it would hinder a woman’s constitutional right to seek the procedure. The law, which would have required doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at local hospitals, will remain on hold. Similar laws have taken effect elsewhere, though a federal appeals court struck down the similar law in Missisippi last week. By Jay Reeves. SENT: 600 words.


MOUNT BALDY, Calif. — Piles of rocky rubble and thick mud bury cars and parts of mountainside homes as flash floods spurn mudslides in Southern California, leaving more than 2,000 people stranded including 500 at a campground. Mud, rocks and other debris several feet deep block roads in several small communities, and authorities warn it could be several hours before crews can dig their way through after a fierce storm dumped up to 5 inches of rain in the drought-stricken area. By Brian Melley. SENT: SENT: 500 words, photos, video. SENT: 700 words, photos, video.



BALTIMORE — Sitting on the deck at his beloved Meadowbrook, Michael Phelps glances toward the pool where he was once afraid to put his face in the water. “This is me,” he said, a slight smile curling off his lips. “This is home.” This is where Phelps put in most of the work to become the most decorated athlete in Olympic history. And as the world’s greatest swimmer takes his comeback to its biggest stop yet — this week’s U.S. national championships in Irvine, California — it’s important for him to remember where he came from. By Paul Newberry. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

— WATSON-WOODS — U.S. captain Tom Watson says that Tiger Woods’ latest back injury “doesn’t bode well right now” for Woods playing in the Ryder Cup. SENT: 380 words.


— WWI REMEMBRANCE — Former enemies turn a day of remembrance into a celebration of reconciliation at a World War I cemetery where soldiers from both sides share the same hallowed ground. SENT: 800 words, photos, video.

— SYRIA — Lebanese troops battle to expel al-Qaida-linked militants from a border town, marking the most serious bout of violence in Lebanon linked to the fighting in neighboring Syria. By Bassem Mroue. SENT: 800 words, photos.

— CONNECTICUT GOVERNOR-NEWTOWN — Governor carefully uses his handling of Newtown shooting in his re-election bid. SENT: 530 words, photo.

— TRANSPORTATION TAXES — With Congress stymied over long-term highway funding, many states are taking it upon themselves to tackle the politically uncomfortable task of raising revenue for their aging transportation systems — a quarter of them have hiked taxes, fees or fines in the past 18 months and at least a dozen others are studying similar options. SENT: 800 words, photo.


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