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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

August 20, 2014

ASIA:

PAKISTAN

ISLAMABAD — Pakistani lawmakers meet as tens of thousands of protesters throng outside the assembly calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif over alleged voting fraud. Sharif and other lawmakers were able to enter the building through a back exit connected to the premier’s office after the protesters tore down barricades and entered a “Red Zone” housing Parliament and other key government buildings. By Munir Ahmed. SENT: 660 words, photos.

JAPAN-LANDSLIDE

TOKYO — Rain-sodden slopes collapse in torrents of mud, rock and debris on the outskirts of Hiroshima, killing at least 36 people and leaving seven missing, police say. Public broadcaster NHK showed rescue workers suspended by ropes from police helicopters pulling victims from the rubble. Others gingerly climbed into windows as they searched for survivors in crushed homes. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 360 words, photos, video.

CHINA-RUSSIA-US SHOOTING

BEIJING — Chinese and Russian state media seize on the U.S. police shooting of an unarmed black 18-year-old and ensuing protests to fire back at Washington’s criticisms of their own governments, portraying the United States as a land of inequality and brutal police tactics. The violence in the St. Louis, Missouri, suburb of Ferguson comes amid tensions between the U.S. and Russia over Ukraine, as well as friction between Washington and Beijing over what China sees as a campaign to thwart its rise as a global power. By Christopher Bodeen. SENT: 970 words, photos.

NKOREA-JOHN KERRY INSULT

SEOUL, South Korea — In its latest personal attack on a prominent official from a rival country, North Korea calls U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a wolf with a “hideous lantern jaw.” North Korea has unleashed a slew of crude insults against leaders in Washington and Seoul this year, calling President Barack Obama a monkey and South Korean President Park Geun-hye a prostitute. By Hyung-jin Kim. SENT: 320 words, photos.

INDIA-PAKISTAN

NEW DELHI — Pakistan’s ambassador to India defends his recent talks with Kashmiri separatists, saying that including them in the dialogue is the only way to find a lasting peace between the South Asian rivals. Abdul Basit spoke to reporters in New Delhi two days after India called off diplomatic talks with Pakistan because he had met with separatist leaders from the disputed region. By Nirmala George. SENT: 520 words, photos.

CHINA-TRAPPED MINERS

BEIJING — A gas explosion at a coal mine in eastern China kills at least two miners, and rescuers are searching for 25 more workers missing in the blast, state media report. Twelve other miners were rescued from the privately owned mine in Huainan city in Anhui province after Tuesday’s blast, the official Xinhua News Agency said. SENT: 220 words, photos.

CHINA-BUS FIRE

BEIJING — A public bus in eastern China catches fire in what is likely arson, killing one person and injuring 19 others, a local state-run newspaper reports. The blaze is at least the fifth bus fire this year in China. Several public attacks in recent years, including bus arson and hackings, have been blamed on people who are mentally unstable or who are seeking revenge against society. SENT: 200 words.

CHINA-TIBET-BUS

BEIJING — Chinese authorities are limiting the number of passengers aboard tour buses on mountain roads of Tibet, following two fatal accidents involving such buses, tourism officials say. SENT: 230 words.

UNITED STATES-JAPAN-SOUTH KOREA

WASHINGTON — Sharp differences on historical issues that have strained relations between Japan and South Korea require Tokyo to face up to its abusive wartime past and for Seoul to be less preoccupied with it, U.S. experts and former officials say. The divisions between the two main American allies in Asia, which play host to a total of 80,000 U.S. forces, have become a growing concern in Washington as it attempts to consolidate its system of alliances and deepen its engagement in the region. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 520 words.

NEW ZEALAND-SHARK FIN BAN

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand is banning the practice of shark finning, a move the Pew Charitable Trusts says is welcome and will bring the country in line with other developed nations. New Zealand Conservation Minister Nick Smith said that the decision will reinforce the country’s reputation for sustainability and environmental protection. SENT: 130 words.

JAPAN-OLDEST MAN

TOKYO — A 111-year-old retired Japanese educator who enjoys poetry has been recognized as the world’s oldest living man. Sakari Momoi received a certificate from Guinness World Records. He succeeds Alexander Imich of New York, who died in June at the age of 111 years, 164 days. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 260 words, photos.

INDIA-OBIT-BKS IYENGAR

NEW DELHI — Indian yoga guru B.K.S. Iyengar, who helped popularize yoga around the world and authored 17 books on the subject, dies at age 95. Bellur Krishnamachar Sundararaja Iyengar’s death was reported on his website as well as major Indian TV stations, which said he had been hospitalized with a kidney ailment over the past week in the western city of Pune. SENT: 170 words.

CHINA-JACKIE CHAN

BEIJING — Action star Jackie Chan says he’s ashamed and saddened over his son’s arrest on drug charges and has apologized to the public. SENT: 130 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

CHINA-CRUISE BOOM

HONG KONG — Royal Caribbean’s newest ship has attractions not usually seen on cruise liners, including bumper cars, a skydiving simulator and a glass observation capsule on a mechanical arm that lifts its passengers high into the air. What’s also a surprise is the vessel’s intended home port: Shanghai. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 980 words, photos.

CHINA-MONOPOLY CRACKDOWN-AUTOS

BEIJING — China announces it will fine 12 Japanese auto parts suppliers a total of $202 million for colluding to raise prices in an unfolding anti-monopoly probe of the country’s auto industry. Beijing has launched a series of investigations of global automakers and technology suppliers under its 6-year-old anti-monopoly law in an apparent effort to force down prices. Officials said earlier that Mercedes Benz, Audi and Chrysler also violated the law. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 510 words.

JAPAN-TRADE

TOKYO — Japan’s trade deficit rose in July from the month before to a wider than expected 964 billion yen ($9.4 billion), though exports were higher for the first time in three months, the government says. It was the 25th straight monthly trade deficit for the world’s third-largest economy, due mainly to an increase in imports of oil and gas to compensate for idled nuclear reactors following meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant in 2011. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 290 words, photos.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

JOURNALIST SLAIN

WASHINGTON — In a horrifying act of revenge for U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, militants with the Islamic State extremist group have beheaded American journalist James Foley — and are threatening to kill another hostage, U.S. officials say. The White House must now weigh the risks of punishing the Islamic State with an aggressive policy to destroy it against resisting any action that could result in the death of another American. By National Security Writer Lara Jakes. SENT: 910 words, photo, video.

— BRITAIN-EXTREMISM — UK foreign secretary says militant in beheading video appears to be British. SENT: 140 words.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Palestinian militants launch dozens of rockets and Israel responds with airstrikes after Egyptian efforts to mediate a lasting truce in the monthlong Gaza war collapsed in a hail of fire a day earlier. The fighting resumed Tuesday when Gaza militants fired rockets at Israeli cities just hours before a temporary cease-fire was set to expire, prompting Israel to withdraw its delegation from Cairo and launch retaliatory airstrikes, killing at least 10 Palestinians and wounding dozens more. By Ibrahim Barzak and Ian Deitch. Sent: 1,040 words, photos, video.

POLICE SHOOTING-MISSOURI-BLACK LEADERS

FERGUSON, Mo. — The tall black man walked up and down West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Missouri, working a bullhorn, imploring protesters to behave themselves. “All right, y’all doing good!” Malik Zulu Shabazz told one group of young men. “Just keep it peaceful. Keep it peaceful, black man!” Shabazz isn’t a police officer. He is president of Black Lawyers for Justice and former chairman of the New Black Panther Party. Those organizations and others, made up mostly of black volunteers, have taken it upon themselves to help police and the National Guard keep the peace on the increasingly dangerous streets of Ferguson. By Jim Salter. SENT: 700 words, photos, video.

— POLICE-SHOOTING-MISSOURI — Police and protesters in Ferguson were able to share the streets fairly well Tuesday, seemingly putting aside many of the hostilities that had filled the nightly demonstrations with tear gas and smoke. SENT: 660 words, photos, video.

UKRAINE-LIFE AT WAR

DONETSK, Ukraine — It has been weeks since Donetsk last had a traffic jam. The regular rumble on the edge of this besieged city in eastern Ukraine is a constant reminder of the government’s ongoing attempts to shell armed pro-Russian separatist out of their stronghold. Rebels give as good as they get, blindly lobbing shells back at an unseen foe. As fighting edges ever closer to the center, hundreds of thousands have fled a city once home to 1 million people. The bustle of a major industrial city has made way for the stillness of anxiety and fear. By Peter Leonard. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

— UKRAINE — Officials in Ukraine’s Donetsk region say 34 people have died in hostilities in past 24 hours. SENT: 370 words, photos.

ISRAEL-US

JERUSALEM — When Israel completes its damage assessment from its latest war with Hamas, it may conclude that one of the biggest casualties was its all-important relationship with the United States. A recent American decision to hold back on the delivery of advanced Hellfire missiles offered dramatic manifestation of a relationship that appears to be deteriorating in large part due to strained ties between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. By Aron Heller. SENT: 950 words, photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— PERU-CAT HOSPICE-PHOTO GALLERY — AP PHOTOS: Peruvian nurse transforms 2-story apartment into hospice for 175 cats with leukemia. SENT: 440 words, photos.

— NO-FLY LIST — Obama administration is promising to change the way travelers can ask to be removed from its no-fly list of suspected terrorists banned from air travel. SENT: 860 words, photo.

— DEPARTMENT STORE-DISCRIMINATION — Macy’s has agreed to pay $650,000 to settle allegations of racial profiling at its flagship store in Manhattan. SENT: 400 words, photos.

— MET OPERA-LABOR DISPUTE — Last contract talks expire at midnight. SENT: 360 words.

___

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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