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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

March 25, 2015


SEAFOOD FROM SLAVES — Hundreds of men in a remote Indonesian island and its surrounding waters are forced to catch seafood, and suffer severe beatings, 22-hour shifts and sometimes confinement in a cage. In a year-long investigation, the AP interviewed more than 40 current and former slaves, and tracked their catch to the supply chains of some of America’s largest stores and supermarkets. By Robin McDowell, Margie Mason and Martha Mendoza. SENT: 3,770 words, photos, video. A 1,540-word abridged version also moved.

— With SEAFOOD-FROM-SLAVES-WHAT-AP-DID — AP tracks the supply chain of slave caught fish to top US retailers. SENT.

— SEAFOOD FROM SLAVES-REACTION — Thai seafood firm drops supplier after AP slavery report. SENT: 130 words.

SINGAPORE-LEE KUAN YEW — Singaporeans stood in silence Wednesday as a Lee Kuan Yew’s coffin traveled on a ceremonial gun carriage a short distance from the presidential palace to Parliament, where thousands lined up to pay respects to the city-state’s founder before a funeral this weekend. Lee, 91, died Monday at Singapore General Hospital after more than a month of battling severe pneumonia. By Jeanette Tan. SENT, photos.

UNITED STATES-PAKISTAN-NULCEAR — Pakistan needs short-range “tactical” nuclear weapons to deter arch-rival India, a top adviser to its government says, dismissing concerns it could increase the risk of a nuclear war. By Matthew Pennington. 550 words.

JAPAN-FINANCING COAL — Despite mounting protests, Japan continues to finance the building of coal-fired power plants with money earmarked for fighting climate change, with two new projects underway in India and Bangladesh, The Associated Press has found. Japanese officials say they are also counting $630 million in loans for coal plants in Kudgi, India, and Matarbari, Bangladesh, as climate finance. The Kudgi project has been marred by violent clashes between police and local farmers who fear the plant will pollute the environment. By Karl Ritter and Aijaz Rahi. UPCOMING by 0930GMT: 800 words.

AUSTRALIA-ISLAMIC STATE — Counterterrorism squads have prevented 230 suspected jihadis from departing Australian airports for the Middle East this month, including at least three teenage boy. SENT: 420 words.

CHINA-ACTIVISTS DETAINED — China’s Foreign Ministry has rejected an international appeal for the release of five detained women’s rights activists, accusing those critics of violating its judicial sovereignty. SENT: 130 words.

AUSTRALIA-ASIAN BANK — Australia’s prime minister says that he supported the proposed development of a Chinese-backed Asian regional bank as long as it was transparent and not run by a single country. Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Australia would announce its decision about joining within a few days. He said he expected skeptical countries including the United States and Japan would also join if China gave the required assurances. SENT.

INDIA-NAVY PLANE CRASH — An Indian navy surveillance aircraft crashes into the sea off the country’s western coast and two of the three people on board are missing. SENT.


FRANCE-PLANE CRASH — Helicopters surveying the debris of a German jetliner lift off at daybreak as investigators seek clues in the wreckage of the plane that lost radio contact, went into a dive and slammed into the Alpine mountainside. The French interior minister says that a black box voice recorder was damaged in the crash. By Greg Keller. SENT: 890 words, photos, video, graphic.

CONGRESS-AFGHANISTAN — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is expected to get a warm reception from both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill — primarily because he’s not Hamid Karzai. By Deb Riechmann. SENT: 530 words, photos.

IRAQ-SAMARRA TENSIONS — Iraqi Shiite militias defend the central city of Samarra and its revered Shiite shrine from the Islamic State group, but many of the town’s mainly Sunni residents fear both sides of the country’s increasingly sectarian conflict. By Vivian Salama and Qassim Abdul-Zahra. SENT: 690 words, photos.

IRAN-PORTRAYING THE PROPHET — Here in this Persian replica of Mecca, built at the cost of millions of dollars, an Iranian film company is attempting to offer the world a literal glimpse of the Prophet Muhammad despite traditional taboos against it. By Nasser Karimi. SENT: 940 words, photos.

COLOMBIA-GRAFFITI MECCA — Colombia’s capital is a mecca for graffiti artists, from established artists promoted on city tours that are painting a mural of Gabriel Garcia Marquez on the side of a building to clandestine groups that vindicate spray painting’s roots as a form of social protest roots. By Jacobo Garcia. SENT: 420 words, photos.

SILICON VALLEY-SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION — Jurors in the gender discrimination lawsuit against a Silicon Valley venture capital firm will hear closing arguments Wednesday, a day after the woman behind the suit was painted as a victim by her attorneys and a chronic complainer by the defense. By Sudhin Thanawala. SENT: 666 words.


HOW TO REACH US: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is David Thurber. Questions and story requests are welcome.

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