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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

January 6, 2015

ASIA:

INDONESIA-PLANE

PANGKALAN BUN, Indonesia — Strong currents force Indonesia to expand the search area for the crashed AirAsia plane, as rough seas and bad weather push debris and make it difficult to reach suspected chunks of the fuselage on the ocean floor. With only 37 bodies recovered since Flight 8501 crashed Dec. 28, there are also concerns that it will become harder to find the remaining corpses. By Achmad Ibrahim. SENT: 490 words, photos, video.

— INDONESIA-PLANE-Q&A — Many questions remain unanswered about AirAsia Flight 8501. SENT: 390 words, photos.

KOREAS-TENSION

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea says rival North Korea has a 6,000-member cyber army dedicated to disrupting the South’s military and government. Seoul’s Defense Ministry also says in a report that North Korea may now have the ability to strike the U.S. mainland because of its recent progress in missile technology and is advancing in efforts to miniaturize nuclear warheads to mount on such missiles. SENT: 230 words.

CHINA-SHANGHAI STAMPEDE

SHANGHAI — Some wailed and some staggered with grief as the relatives of the 36 people killed in Shanghai’s New Year’s Eve stampede visit the disaster site for seventh-day commemorations that are a revered ritual in China. But each family was allowed to stay only about five minutes in the tightly managed visits, and government workers roughly dragged away one middle-aged woman when she began crying out emotionally. By Didi Tang. SENT: 980 words, photos, video.

MYANMAR-ILLEGAL LOGGING

YANGON, Myanmar — The Myanmar army arrests more than 100 foreigners for illegal logging near the Chinese border. SENT: 250 words.

THAILAND-INDIA-SEPARATIST BOMBING

BANGKOK — Thai police say they have arrested a fugitive convicted in India for his involvement in a 1995 bomb attack that killed a chief minister of a northern Indian state and 15 other people. Gurmeet Singh, one of six Sikh militants convicted for the blast outside government headquarters in Punjab state, fled a high-security Indian prison in 2004. By Thanyarat Doksone. SENT: 280 words.

AFGHAN SOLDIERS

BUFFALO, New York — An Afghan military officer who said he would be a target of the Taliban if sent home is awaiting an immigration judge’s decision on whether he can stay in the United States. By Carolyn Thompson. SENT: 230 words.

UNITED STATES-TAIWAN

WASHINGTON — The State Department says it was not given advance notice about a New Year’s flag-raising ceremony at the residence of Taiwan’s representative to Washington that has angered China. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 300 words.

AUSTRALIA-WILDFIRES

ADELAIDE, Australia — Firefighters in southern Australia are winning the battle to contain a sprawling wildfire raging on a 240-kilometer (150-mile) perimeter that has razed 38 homes and left two people in hospitals. SENT: 310 words.

— AUSTRALIA-HOT YEAR — Australia swelters through its third-hottest year on record in 2014. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 210 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

SKOREA-HYUNDAI MOTOR-INVESTMENT

SEOUL, South Korea — Hyundai Motor Group, the world’s fifth-largest automaker, plans to spend 81 trillion won ($73.7 billion) over the next four years on factories, research and a new headquarters. The announcement comes after Hyundai Motor Co. last week forecast its slowest annual sales growth in more than a decade. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 280 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-ASIA-TRADE

WASHINGTON — A centrist U.S. think tank urges President Barack Obama to ramp up efforts to win support for a pan-Pacific trade pact, saying without it Asian nations will be skeptical of the administration’s foreign policy pivot toward the region. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 270 words.

SONY HACK

LAS VEGAS — Sony Corp.’s top corporate executive condemns the recent hacking assault against its film division, saying his employees were victims of a “vicious and malicious cyberattack,” while adding that he’s proud of them for standing against “the extortionist efforts of criminals.” By Brandon Bailey. SENT: 300 words.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

CONGRESS

WASHINGTON — Republicans prepared to assume full control of Congress for the first time in eight years Tuesday in a day of pomp, circumstance and raw politics beneath the Capitol Dome. They planned to move swiftly toward a veto showdown with President Barack Obama over the Keystone XL pipeline, summoning unity despite a tea party-backed effort to unseat House Speaker John Boehner. By Erica Werner. SENT: 880 words, photos.

GAY MARRIAGE-FLORIDA

MIAMI — Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage ended statewide at the stroke of midnight Monday, and court clerks in some Florida counties wasted no time, issuing marriage licenses overnight to same-sex couples. SENT: 790 words, photos, video.

SPACE STATION

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX calls off its planned flight to the International Space Station early Tuesday because of rocket trouble. The unmanned Falcon rocket was supposed to blast off before sunrise, but the countdown was halted with just over a minute remaining and the soonest SpaceX can try again is Friday morning. By Aerospace Writer Marcia Dunn. SENT: 240 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-MEXICO

WASHINGTON — Obama is hosting Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at the White House Tuesday, looking to the United States’ southern neighbor for help implementing changing policies on immigration and Cuba. Obama wants Pena Nieto to join him in pressuring Cuba to make democratic reforms. By Nedra Pickler. SENT: 450 words, photos.

BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING

BOSTON — As some prospective jurors got their first look at the young man accused of bombing the Boston Marathon, it was clear that picking a jury in the closely watched terror case is not expected to be a quick or simple process. The judge in the federal death penalty trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told the first 400 people called for jury duty that choosing a panel of 12 jurors and six alternates for the highly anticipated trial is expected to take at least three weeks. By Denise Lavoie. SENT: 650 words, photos, video, interactive.

ISRAEL-WAR PROBES

JERUSALEM — A fierce debate is raging within Israel’s military over the extent to which soldiers should be held legally accountable for their actions during last year’s Gaza war, with commanders increasingly at odds with military lawyers. By Tia Goldenberg. SENT: 780 words, photos.

NATO 2015

BRUSSELS — NATO’s most pressing priority for 2015 is getting the swift and nimble expeditionary force into operation that’s supposed to act as a deterrent to Russia — and not just staffing and equipping it, but settling the thorny issue of who will pay for it. By John-Thor Dahlburg. SENT: 800 words, photos.

GADGET SHOW-FUTURE OF TV

LAS VEGAS — TV isn’t dead, streaming video is just shaking it up. Here’s how TV makers and service providers are keeping your big screen relevant in this new era of online video. By Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun. SENT: 890 words, photos, video.

— GADGET SHOW-CONNECTED EVERYTHING — Consumer electronics show or car show? Mercedes-Benz debuts concept driverless car of future. SENT: 1,030 words, photos, video.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— OBIT-BESS MYERSON — Bess Myerson, who parlayed win as first Jewish Miss America into national celebrity, dies at 90. SENT: 690 words, photos.

— COSBY-DEFAMATION LAWSUIT — Two women accusing Bill Cosby of sexual offenses join defamation suit saying he branded them liars. SENT: 440 words.

— 1795 TIME CAPSULE — Public getting first glimpse of Sam Adams-era time capsule unearthed at Boston’s Statehouse. SENT: 170 words.

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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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