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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

July 30, 2014

ASIA:

CAMBODIA-WAR CRIMES TRIAL

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — A U.N.-backed tribunal begins a hearing to prepare for the genocide trial of the two senior surviving leaders of Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge, under whose rule an estimated 1.7 million people died in the late 1970s from starvation, exhaustion, disease and execution. By Abby Seiff. SENT: 555 words, photos.

CHINA-SECURITY CZAR

BEIJING — China’s ruling Communist Party announces an investigation into a feared ex-security chief, demonstrating President Xi Jinping’s firm grip on power and breaking a longstanding taboo against publicly targeting the country’s topmost leaders. By Gillian Wong. SENT: 1,320 words, photos.

CHINA-XINJIANG VIOLENCE

BEIJING — A mob armed with knives and axes rampages through part of China’s volatile northwestern region of Xinjiang and police respond with gunfire, leaving dozens of people dead in the latest violence blamed Islamic militants, state media report. By Christopher Bodeen. SENT: 460 words.

UNITED STATES-NORTH KOREA-MISSILES

WASHINGTON — Amid concerns about its development and testing of nuclear weapons, North Korea may be lulling the world into largely accepting its advances in missile technology, the admiral in charge of American forces in Asia and the Pacific saYS. By Robert Burns and Lolita C. Baldor. SENT: 490 words.

— WASHINGTON — North Korea is upgrading its main rocket launch site and has conducted a series of engine tests as it develops a mobile, intercontinental missile that could increase the threat it poses to the United States, a U.S. research institute says. SENT: 550 words.

— MEXICO CITY — A North Korean ship has damaged nearly an acre (0.4 hectare) of coral reefs when it ran aground off Mexico’s Gulf coast earlier this month, Mexican officials say. SENT: 165 words.

UNITED STATES-JAPAN-SOUTH KOREA

WASHINGTON --The commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific says strained relations between American allies Japan and South Korea are hurting military cooperation, including on missile defense, despite the common threat they face from North Korea. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 345 words.

AUSTRALIA-DRUG WARNING

CANBERRA, Australia — An Australian airline apologizes for a warning a flight attendant gave passengers who might have been flying high that there were drug-sniffer dogs awaiting them at Sydney airport. By Rod Mcguirk. SENT: 330 words.

— NEW ZEALAND-STRADED PASSENGERS — A group of Air New Zealand passengers finally gets airborne after being stranded for three nights due to repeated delays from mechanical problems. SENT: 330 words.

AUSTRALIA-RUSSIA-SANCTIONS

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he is not considering ratcheting up sanctions against Russia while his government is focused on retrieving Australian victims from the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner disaster in Ukraine. By Rod Mcguirk. SENT: 340 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

TOKYO — Asian stocks rise ahead of U.S. economic data and as cheery earnings from major Japanese companies such as Honda Motor Co. countered a lower close on Wall Street. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 430 words, photo.

JAPAN-TOYOTA

TOKYO — Toyota remains No. 1 in global vehicles sales after the first six months of this year, followed by Volkswagen which bumped General Motors out of second place as the U.S. automaker grapples with a recall scandal. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 395 words, photo.

CRASH TESTS-SMALL CARS

DETROIT — The four-door Mini Cooper Countryman is the only one of 12 cars to earn a top rating of “good” in new frontal crash tests. By Dee-Ann Durbin. SENT: 430 words, photos.

HILTON HOTELS-CEO

McLEAN, Va. — Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta sits down with AP in his first in-depth interview since his company went public in December. The IPO, which raised $2.35 billion, was larger than Twitter’s and gave Hilton a market capitalization 1.5 times that of rival Marriott. Nassetta was brought in by turnaround firm Blackstone in 1997 and has reshaped Hilton. He’s been in the hotel business his entire career, starting in the engineering department of Washington’s Capitol Holiday Inn. In other words, he was plunging toilets. Today, he oversees the world’s largest hotel group, with 665,667 rooms across 90 countries and territories. It includes brands such as Waldorf Astoria, Embassy Suites and DoubleTree. By Scott Mayerowitz. UPCOMING: 900 words by 0700 GMT, photos.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A Palestinian health official says 13 people were killed after tank shells hit a U.N. school in Gaza where hundreds of Palestinians had taken refuge from Israeli attacks. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 1,200 words by 0700 GMT, photos, video, audio.

GAZA WAR-EXIT STRATEGIES-ANALYSIS

TEL AVIV, Israel — The savage fighting between Israel and Hamas escalates, cease-fire efforts take on the elements of farce, and bravado rules the public discourse. Each side is entrenched in its demands, largely with the backing of its population — for Israel, a stop to Hamas rocket fire; for Hamas, an end to the crippling blockade of Gaza. Through the fog of way, a few endgame scenarios can be glimpsed, if either side is willing to take them. An AP Analysis. By Dan Perry. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 0730 GMT, photos.

RUSSIA SANCTIONS

WASHINGTON — U.S. and European officials hope a new round of sanctions targeting energy and defense entities, as well as major banks, will deepen Russia’s economic pain and force President Vladimir Putin to end provocations in Ukraine. Obama administration officials say roughly 30 percent of Russia’s banking sector assets are now constrained by U.S. sanctions. The U.S. announced plans to block future technology sales to the oil industry, and Europe approved an arms embargo. By Julie Pace and John-Thor Dalhburg. SENT: 850 words, photos.

SYRIA-REFUGEE CHILDREN-PHOTO GALLERY

ZAATARI, Jordan — At Zaatari refugee camp, the horror of Syria’s civil war can be seen in the faces of young refugees. More than 50,000 refugees under age 18 call the wind-swept desert camp home. All have stories about the war. By Muhammed Muheisen. UPCOMING: 300 words by 0800 GMT, photos.

AFRICA SUMMIT-GAY RIGHTS

NEW YORK — Human rights and gay rights activists urge President Barack Obama to ensure that the issue of anti-gay discrimination in Africa is on the agenda at next week’s summit in Washington with more than 40 African leaders. By David Crary. SENT: 525 words, photos.

LIBERIA-EBOLA

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — A leading doctor who risked his own life to treat dozens of Ebola patients has died from the disease, officials say, as a major regional airline announces it was suspending flights to the cities hardest hit by an outbreak that has killed more than 670 people. By Clarence Roy-Macaulay and Krista Larson. SENT: 700 words, photos.

— LIBERIA-EBOLA-EVACUATION — Two North Carolina-based missionary groups have ordered the evacuation of their non-essential personnel from Liberia after a doctor and a missionary contracted Ebola. SENT: 115 words.

SPAIN-CATALONIA INDEPENDENCE

MADRID — Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the leader of the economically powerful Catalonia region meet face-to-face in what could be a last chance for the two men to resolve a bitter dispute over the region’s plans to hold a secession referendum. The independence campaign holds profound consequences for Spain as it emerges from its worst economic crisis in a generation. And Europe will be watching closely as the Spanish debate comes to a head as Scotland also prepares to hold a referendum on independence from Britain. By Ciaran Giles. UPCOMING: 750 words by 0900 GMT, photos.

PORTUGAL-END OF A DYNASTY

LISBON, Portugal — Portugal’s Espirito Santo family business survived wars, dictatorship, revolution and family feuds for almost 150 years. Now, one of Europe’s last banking dynasties is being stripped of its wealth and influence amid accounting irregularities, huge unreported debts, and a police investigation. The scandal bears the hallmarks of the recent European financial crisis, and the difficulties at Banco Espirito Santo — Portugal’s largest bank — sent a shiver through global markets this month as investors feared Europe’s closet contained more skeletons. Banco Espirito Santo’s sudden difficulties turned out not to be systemic, however. At their root, it seems, is one man’s hubris. By Barry Hatton. UPCOMING: 850 words by 0700 GMT, photos.

FRANCE-LOUVRE GARDEN RATS

PARIS — Rats are on the rampage in the elegant garden of the Louvre Museum, so bold they romp on the grass in broad daylight, defying death threats from sanitation workers and scaring tourists. By Louise Dewast. SENT: 410 words, photos, video.

TIMES SQUARE CHARACTERS

NEW YORK — A summertime spike in headlines about Times Square characters behaving badly — most recently a Spider-Man accused of punching a police officer — turns up the heat on plans to regulate the legions of Elmos, Cookie Monsters and Statues of Liberty who demand money to pose in photos with tourists . “This has gone too far,” a frustrated Bill de Blasio told reporters this week. But civil liberties advocates say proposals for a city law that would require licenses and background checks for the street performers may violate free-speech rights. By Verena Dobnik. UPCOMING: 550 words by 0600 GMT, photos.

IMMIGRATION OVERLOAD-MAINE

LEWISTON, Maine — In the whitest U.S. state, thousands of miles from the Mexican border, the debate over immigration is becoming a central issue in one of the nation’s most closely watched governor’s races. By Alanna Durkin. SENT: 730 words, photos.

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