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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

May 14, 2014



HANOI, Vietnam — Mobs burn and loot scores of foreign-owned factories in Vietnam following a large protest by workers against China’s recent placement of an oil rig in disputed Southeast Asian waters, officials say. The unrest is the most serious outbreak of public disorder in the tightly controlled country in years. By Chris Brummitt. SENT: 980 words, photos.


MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has protested China’s reclamation of land in a disputed reef in the South China Sea that can be used to build an airstrip or an offshore military base in the increasingly volatile region, the country’s top diplomat and other officials say. By Jim Gomez. SENT: 700 words, photos.


BANGKOK — Thailand’s political lexicon has a new term: the Holy Traffic Cone. The term went viral this week after a series of vicious attacks on motorists who moved traffic cones that anti-government protesters had arbitrarily placed near rally sites. A mix of outrage and creativity sparked political cartoons and online postings, including a widely shared Facebook photograph that shows five men kneeling in prayer with heads bowed to a cone on the street. By Jocelyn Gecker. SENT: 690 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — The U.S. is “reasonably confident” Thailand’s military won’t launch a coup, a senior defense official says, although analysts warn the nation’s political crisis could trigger armed conflict. SENT 500 words.


BEIJING — Chinese police break up a dinner party attended by activists in the eastern city of Hangzhou and detain a dozen people, according to an activist. SENT: 210 words.


KABUL, Afghanistan — A bomb stuck onto an Afghan army vehicle in Kabul kills a soldier while a woman dies when a rocket slams into a residential area in the country’s east. The Kabul explosion, caused by a magnetic bomb attached to the army vehicle, also wounds a woman and a child, according to the city’s police chief. SENT: 230 words, photos.


MANSEHRA, Pakistan — Pakistani police arrest a seminary teacher and two of his friends on charges of gang raping a college girl in the country’s northwest, a police official says. By Aqeel Ahmad. SENT: 260 words, photos.


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak calls for real-time tracking of planes and improving their communication system to prevent a repeat of the mysterious disappearance of Flight 370. In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Najib calls for changes that would “make it harder for an aircraft to simply disappear, and easier to find any aircraft that did.” SENT: 510 words.


MANILA, Philippines — An Italian diplomat facing human trafficking and child abuse allegations in the Philippines denies any wrongdoing to prosecutors. Daniele Bosio, who has been suspended as Italy’s ambassador to Turkmenistan, submitted an affidavit denying the criminal complaints and spoke briefly to reporters for the first time since his arrest April 5 while vacationing in the Philippines. SENT: 330 words, photos.


TOKYO — Caroline Kennedy, the U.S. ambassador to Japan, gets a firsthand look inside the Japanese nuclear plant devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Kennedy, wearing a yellow helmet and a white protective suit with her last name emblazoned on it, toured the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant for about three hours with her son, Jack Schlossberg. SENT: 240 words, photos.



SEOUL, South Korea — Samsung Electronics Co. apologizes and promises compensation to chip factory workers who suffered cancers linked to chemical exposure, a rare win for families and activists seven years after the death of a 23-year-old employee from leukemia galvanized a movement to hold the company to account. Samsung said the apology does not mean it concedes a link between the chemicals used in its chip factories and cancer and other diseases. Still, the company’s statement that it should have sought a solution to the controversy sooner is an abrupt shift in Samsung’s stance and a form of vindication for workers and their families. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 520 words.


BEIJING — Chinese police accuse a British executive of GlaxoSmithKline of leading a sprawling scheme to bribe doctors and hospitals to use its drugs. The announcement is the first time a foreign employee in China of British-based GSK is accused in the investigation announced last July. It highlighted the widespread use of payments to doctors and hospitals by sellers of drugs and medical equipment in a poorly funded health system that Chinese leaders have promised to improve. By Didi Tang. SENT: 720 words, photos.


TOKYO — Sony Corp. sank to a 138 billion yen ($1.3 billion) quarterly loss, hit by costs from selling its personal computer business, and is forecasting more red ink as it struggles to execute a long-promised turnaround. The Tokyo-based maker of the PlayStation 4 game machine, Bravia TVs and Walkman digital player also reported a loss of 128.4 billion yen ($1.3 billion) for the fiscal year through March 2014, about three times its loss of 41.5 billion yen the previous year. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 630 words, photos.


CANBERRA, Australia — The Australian government’s plan to raise the state pension age to 70 has been criticized as unfair for those in physically demanding jobs, the poor and indigenous people. Increasing the pension eligibility age to 70 by 2035 was one of the measures in a budget announced Tuesday to help Australia cope with the costs of an aging population. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 390 words.


WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Six months after introducing unusual rules to try to tame a booming housing market, New Zealand’s Reserve Bank says those measures have been a success. Last October, the bank introduced rules that require most borrowers to stump up a 20 percent deposit in order to buy a house. SENT: 260 words.



SOMA, Turkey — More than 200 miners remain trapped underground and rescuers’ hopes are fading after an explosion and fire at a coal mine in western Turkey killed at least 201 workers. Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said 787 people were inside the coal mine in Soma, some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of Istanbul, and 363 have been rescued so far. “Regarding the rescue operation, I can say that our hopes are diminishing,” Yildiz said. By Desmond Butler and Suzan Fraser. SENT: 1230 words, photos, video.


KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine prepares to launch discussions on giving more powers to the regions under a peace plan brokered by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is to chair the first in a series of round tables set to include national lawmakers, government figures and regional officials in line with proposals drafted by the OSCE, but the government remains reluctant to engage with pro-Russian insurgents in the east of the country. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.


PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius Is ordered by the judge presiding over his murder trial to undergo psychiatric tests, meaning that the double-amputee athlete’s trial will be interrupted, possibly for two months. By Christopher Torchia And Gerald Imray. SENT: 730 words, photos.


The number of possible victims of a teacher suspected of drugging and molesting boys during a four-decade career at nearly a dozen schools around the world has risen sharply, with the FBI saying hundreds of people have contacted it about the case. By Michael Weissenstein and Tami Abdollah. SENT: 710 words, photos.


RICHMOND, Va. — You may have to be at least 18 to buy cigarettes in the U.S., but children as young as 7 are working long hours in fields harvesting nicotine- and pesticide-laced tobacco leaves under sometimes hazardous and sweltering conditions, according to a report by an international rights group. SENT: 560 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — In an unprecedented move, the Pentagon is trying to transfer convicted national security leaker Pvt. Chelsea Manning to a civilian prison so she can get treatment for her gender disorder, defense officials said. Manning, formerly named Bradley, was convicted of sending classified documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. The soldier has asked for hormone therapy and to be able to live as a woman. By Pauline Jelinek and Lolita C. Baldor. SENT: 730 words, photo.


AMSTERDAM — Some key issues to consider after a European court decision will require Google to sanitize its Internet search results to protect people who can demonstrate the information unfairly tarnishes their reputation. By Toby Sterling. SENT: 640 words.


BOISE, Idaho — Amber Beierle and Rachael Robertson say they’ll be the first in line if Idaho starts issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Friday. They’ve tried before — the couple was denied a license just six months ago in Boise —but now they have the federal court on their side. U.S. District Magistrate Judge Candy Dale ruled in their favor and in favor of three other Idaho couples Tuesday evening, finding the state’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. SENT: 530 words, photos.


— CALIFORNIA HEAT WAVE — San Diego County calls off evacuation orders for all 20,000 homes in wildfire danger. SENT: 500 words, photos.

— SWEDEN-OBIT-BENDJELLOUL — Oscar-winning ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ director Malik Bendjelloul dies at 36. SENT: 860 words, photos.

— MALALA-AUCTION — Artist who painted Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban for campaigning for girls’ education is auctioning the portrait to help further her cause. SENT: 400 words, photos, video.

— CLIPPERS-STERLING — Magic Johnson: Clippers owner Sterling ‘living in the stone ages’ with comments on race, HIV. SENT: 570 words, photos, video.

— INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION — 3 astronauts from International Space Station land in Kazakhstan. SENT: 250 words, photos.


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.

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