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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

July 4, 2013

TOP STORIES:

KOREAS-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX

SEOUL, South Korea —North and South Korea agree to hold talks this weekend on restarting a jointly run factory park after weeks of testy silence between the two sides, the South Korean government says. Moved. By Youkyung Lee. AP Photos.

NKOREA-AMERICAN DETAINED

TOKYO — An American imprisoned in North Korea tells a pro-Pyongyang media outlet that he wants the U.S. to “try harder” to help him gain amnesty from a sentence of 15 years of hard labor for alleged crimes against the government. In what appears to be his first media interview since his November arrest, Kenneth Bae tells the Tokyo-based Choson Sinbo that he had hoped to be out by Thursday. That’s not only Independence Day but his father’s 70th birthday. Moved. By Eric Talmadge. AP Photos.

AFGHANISTAN

KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan officials say four girls were killed by a roadside bomb in the country’s south as they were on their way home after being sent out to fetch water. Moved.

US-TALIBAN

WASHINGTON — The Taliban won’t join talks with the United States and Afghanistan because of a dispute over the name of its representative office in Qatar, a senior U.S. official says. Moved.

WITH: AFGHANISTAN-MCCAIN

US-CAMBODIA

WASHINGTON — Human rights activists and U.S. lawmakers are pushing for a cut in the more than $70 million in annual American aid to Cambodia if its prime minister Hun Sen extends his 28-year rule in unfair elections this month. Moved.

CHINA-PAKISTAN

BEIJING — Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meets with China’s President Xi Jinping during a visit to Beijing focused on courting Chinese investment. Moved.

JAPAN-ELECTION

TOKYO — Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe vows to speed up disaster reconstruction as he kicks off the campaign for parliamentary elections. Abe’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior partner, the New Komeito, are expected to gain a majority of the 242 seats in the less powerful upper house in the July 21 election. That would give them control of both houses of parliament, making it easier to pass legislation. Moved. By Mari Yamaguchi. AP Photos.

INDONESIA-EARTHQUAKE

BLANG MANCUNG, Indonesia — The death toll from an earthquake that hit Indonesia’s Aceh province earlier this week has reached 30, and police and soldiers are searching the debris for 12 other people believed missing, officials say. Moved. AP Photos.

CHINA-LANDSLIDE VICTIM

BEIJING — A Chinese grandmother dies while shielding her 15-month-old granddaughter from being crushed by a landslide that toppled their house around them, state media report. Moved.

NEW ZEALAND-MISSING SCHOONER

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — An American schooner missing in the South Pacific with seven people aboard sent an undelivered text message a month ago saying its sails were shredded and it was traveling at four knots. New Zealand’s Rescue Coordination Centre released the last-known message from the 70-foot (21-meter) Nina after seeking it from the satellite phone company Iridium and the U.S. State Department. Moved.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

CHINA-INFANT FORMULA PROBE

BEIJING — Nestle SA says it will cut infant formula prices in China by an average of 11 percent starting Monday in response to an investigation into alleged price-fixing by several foreign companies. The price cuts by the company’s Wyeth Nutrition unit will be maintained through 2014, and the prices of some products will be cut by up to 20 percent, it says. Moved. AP Photos.

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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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Between 1700 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

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