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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

July 13, 2014



ALOFI, Niue — It was a school once, but there are no children here anymore. The lonely building on this remote Pacific island now contains only a punching bag that someone has strung from the classroom rafters, and a note scrawled on the chalkboard in Niuean: “Keep this place clean,” it says, “so it stays beautiful.” While much of the world worries about how it will accommodate rapidly growing populations, some islands in the Pacific face the opposite dilemma: how to stop everybody from leaving. By Nick Perry. SENT: 1,450 words, photos, video.


SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has launched two ballistic missiles into the sea on Sunday, South Korea says, the latest in a series of test-firings seen as expressions of anger over the North’s failure to win talks on receiving outside aid, and over U.S.-South Korean military drills. By Jung-Yoon Choi. SENT: 520 words, photos.


SYDNEY — Five-time Olympic swimming gold medalist Ian Thorpe for the first time publicly confirms that he is gay during a television interview, ending years of speculation about his sexuality. SENT: 670 words, photos.


KABUL, Afghanistan — Insurgent attacks across Afghanistan have killed 11 Afghan security force members, authorities say, as a suicide car bomb attack wounds three NATO troops. SENT: 200 words.


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Gunmen fatally shoot a Malaysian policeman and kidnap another during a shootout at a resort on Borneo island, a security official says. It was the latest in a spate of kidnappings in Sabah, highlighting persistent security threats in the state that is short boat ride from the southern Philippines, home to Muslim militants and kidnap gangs. By Eileen Ng. SENT: 355 words.


GAUHATI, India — Police fire rubber bullets and used batons to disperse hundreds of villagers protesting the abductions and killings of four Muslim traders in India’s remote northeast, where ethnic tensions run high. By Wasbir Hussain. SENT: 215 words.



BEIJING — At least 30 percent of newly purchased government cars will be electric and other types of “new energy vehicles,” China’s official news agency reports, as the country attempts to tackle air pollution and encourage the electric car market. SENT: 115 words.



JERUSALEM — Israel briefly deploys ground troops inside the Gaza Strip for the first time as its military warn northern Gaza residents to evacuate their homes, part of a widening campaign against militant rocket fire that’s killed more than 160 Palestinians. Neither Israel nor Palestinian militants show signs of agreeing to a cease-fire, despite calls by the United Nations Security Council and others to end the increasingly bloody six-day offensive. With Israel massing tanks and soldiers at Gaza’s borders, some fear that could signal a wider ground offensive that would cause heavy casualties. By Peter Enav. SENT: 665 words, photos, video.

— GERMANY-ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS — German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is flying to Israel on Monday and Tuesday for talks with both Israelis and Palestinians to help negotiate an end to the increasingly bloody six-day offensive there. SENT: 130 words, photo.

— ISRAEL-EMERGENCY LANDING — A New York-bound Delta Air Lines flight from Israel declares an emergency and returns to Tel Aviv after developing a mechanical problem, vexing passengers already on edge as Palestinian militants launched rocket attacks on the city. SENT: 480 words, photo.


VIENNA — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and fellow foreign ministers are adding their diplomatic muscle to nuclear talks with Iran, with a target date only a week away for a pact meant to curb programs Tehran could turn to making atomic arms. Deep differences separate the two sides and six world powers and Iran appear set to extend their talks past July 20. That would give more time to negotiate a deal that would limit the scope of such programs in exchange for a full lifting of nuclear-related sanctions imposed on Tehran. By Bradley Klapper and George Jahn. SENT: 650 words, photos.


MOSCOW — Russia’s foreign ministry says a Ukrainian shell hit a town on the Russian border, killing one person and seriously injuring two others. But Ukraine denied firing a shell into Russian territory. SENT: 310 words, photo.


BUCHAREST — For the first time since the communism collapsed in Romania 25 years ago, an 87-year-old former prison commander goes on trial charged with torturing and murdering prisoners considered a threat to the country’s old order. Survivors say the delay in bringing perpetrators to justice was a cynical tactic by Romania’s new rulers, some of whom held senior positions under the communist regime, to avoid accountability. By Alison Mutler. SENT: 700 words, photos.


BAGHDAD — Iraq’s deadlocked parliament ends its second session after just 30 minutes without making any progress toward forming a new government that can unite the country and confront the Sunni militant blitz that has seized control of a huge chunk of the country. By Sinan Salaheddin and Qassim Abdul-Zahra. SENT: 840 words, photo.



RIO DE JANEIRO — Last year, Paulo Cavalcante took his teenage daughter Maria to one of the mass protests that raged throughout Brazil during the Confederations Cup soccer tournament, joining masses of Brazilians ranting against lavish government spending on sporting events while health, education and other basic services deteriorated. This year, the Cavalcantes stayed home. While some had predicted a replay of last year’s wave of popular demonstrations during the June 12-July 13 World Cup, the protests have been scattered and small. But the discontent that in 2013 pushed more than 1 million people out onto the streets on a single day is still simmering for many here. By Jenny Barchfield. SENT: 780 words, photos.


KIEV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko won’t be attending the World Cup final in Brazil, a government statement says, denying assertions by Brazilian officials that he will be there. A Brazilian official said Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin would be in a VIP area at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the match pitting Argentina against Germany — a situation that could have paved the way for an encounter for renewed peace talks on ending the conflict between pro-Russian and pro-Western forces in Ukraine. By Peter Leonard. SENT: 450 words, photos.


RIO DE JANEIRO — The World Cup ends Sunday with a marquee match-up, Argentina against Germany, and host Brazil rushing to be ready for an even bigger logistical challenge: the 2016 Olympics. By John Leicester. Sent: 670 words, photos.


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