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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

December 19, 2013


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is looking to the Senate again to fill a top diplomatic post, with Democratic officials saying he intends to nominate six-term Sen. Max Baucus of Montana to be the next U.S. ambassador to China. By Donna Cassata. SENT: 830 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — Many detainees at Guantanamo Bay may be closer to heading home under a deal reached in Congress that gives Obama a rare victory in his fight to close the prison for terror suspects. A key senator predicts that about half of the 160 detainees could be sent out under the deal, which would lift the most rigid restrictions Congress previously imposed on transfers. By Nedra Pickler. SENT: 1,000 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — U.S. officials, frustrated that hundreds of military shipments heading out of Afghanistan have been stopped on the land route through Pakistan because of anti-American protests, face the possibility of flying out equipment at an additional cost of $1 billion. By Lolita C. Baldor and Rebecca Santana. SENT: 1,090 words.


MUMBAI, India — Christie’s holds its first art auction in India, aiming to tap into a budding market for prestige purchasing among the country’s millionaires. The sale features paintings from the private collection of one of India’s first families of contemporary art as well as pieces from six of the nine Indian artists deemed “national treasures” whose works cannot leave the country. By Kay Johnson. SENT: 800 words, photos.


BEIJING — People in China watch them in the subway, on buses, even as they walk down a sidewalk: homegrown short films that are low-budget, intensely popular and accessible to anyone with a smartphone. By Louise Watt. SENT: 890 words, photos.


TOKYO — The Tokyo governor who helped his city secure the 2020 Olympics resigned after revelations that he received 50 million yen ($480,200) from a hospital company. Gov. Naoki Inose had come under growing pressure to step down, in particular from ruling party leaders who said the scandal could affect preparations for the Summer Games. SENT: 270 words, photos.


HONG KONG — President Barack Obama’s half brother is publishing an autobiography that details the domestic abuse that was the theme for his earlier semiautobiographical novel, which featured an abusive parent. Mark Obama Ndesandjo also recounts his sporadic but intense encounters with his brother over the years in “Cultures: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery.” By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 750 words, photo.


NEW DELHI — A government official in New Delhi says the Indian diplomat who was arrested in New York on visa fraud charges had accused her housekeeper of blackmail over the summer. By Ashok Sharma. UPCOMING: 880 words, photo by 0730 GMT.


BANGKOK — Thailand’s anti-government protesters have returned to the streets of Bangkok, blocking midday traffic and turning one of the capital’s major intersections into a lunchtime picnic spot. SENT: 300 words, photo.


BEIJING — Financial news agency Bloomberg says Beijing has issued the company’s China-based reporters their press credentials, ending a delay seen as official retaliation for the agency’s investigative reports on China. SENT: 130 words.



BEIJING — More Chinese state-owned companies might be spun off as private entities to help improve economic growth but Beijing will keep control of major industries, a Cabinet official said. SENT: 300 words.


This holiday season Nintendo faces a critical test with its Wii U video game console that is pitted against Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One as it seeks to revive flagging sales. By Yuriko Nagano. SENT: 740 words, photos.


WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New figures released indicate New Zealand’s economy is booming thanks to a big increase in milk production. Statistics New Zealand estimated GDP grew at an annual clip of 5.6 percent from July through September. Over the year, the economy grew by 3.5 percent, according the statistics agency. SENT: 260 words.


BEIJING — Asian markets were mixed after investors took the U.S. Federal Reserve’s decision to trim its stimulus as a vote of confidence the American economy is strengthening. Oil edged down to just under $98 per barrel. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 500 words, photo.



WASHINGTON — If President Barack Obama follows even half the recommendations urged by his advisory panel, the National Security Agency would significantly change the way it does business. The collection of U.S. phone records and the spying on other governments and their citizens would continue. But Americans’ phone records would be held by phone companies, not the NSA, and multiple court orders, rather than just one, could be required before the information could be searched. By Kimberly Dozier and Julie Pace. SENT: 940 words, photos.

With: OBAMA-NSA SURVEILLANCE-RECOMMENDATIONS — 5 major NSA spying task force recommendations. SENT: 180 words.


WASHINGTON — With immigration legislation stalled in Congress, Hispanics and Asian-Americans say getting relief from deportations is more important for many of the 11 million immigrants in the United States illegally than creating a pathway to U.S. citizenship, a study finds. By Hope Yen. SENT: 700 words.


ATLANTA — On her way to work, Ira Curry heard on the radio that one of the winning lottery ticket numbers was her family’s lucky No. 7. She called home, her daughter checked the ticket and in an instant, she was a multimillionaire. Curry collected half of the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot, the second largest in U.S. history. The holder of the second winning ticket hasn’t come forward. By Johnny Clark. UPCOMING: 800 words by 900 GMT, photos, video, interactive.


GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — The commander of the Guantanamo Bay naval base decided to move Nativity scenes from two dining halls following complaints that the decorations improperly promoted Christianity. By Ben Fox. SENT: 480 words, photo.


MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaragua’s Supreme Court has rejected more than 30 appeals that sought to stop a Chinese developer’s plans for building a canal across the Central American nation. SENT: 130 words.


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