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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

April 21, 2014

ASIA:

SKOREA-SHIP SINKING

JINDO, South Korea — South Korean President Park Geun-hye says the captain and some crew members of the sunken ferry committed “unforgivable, murderous behavior,” while criticism of her own government’s handling of the disaster grows. By Gillian Wong and Hyung-jin Kim. SENT: 1,050 words, photos, video.

CHINA-JAPAN-TROUBLED HISTORY

NANJING, China — Strolling through China’s sprawling memorial to a 1937 massacre by Japanese troops, a retired teacher says the incident remains an open wound. Across the waters, Japanese visiting a Shinto shrine in Tokyo that enshrines 14 convicted war criminals among 2.5 million war dead say they’re tired of Chinese harping. The Tokyo shrine and the memorial in Nanjing are physical embodiments of divergent views of history that still strain China-Japan relations 70 years after the war. By Christopher Bodeen and Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 1,140 words, photos.

— JAPAN-WAR SHRINE-ABE — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sends a religious offering to a Tokyo shrine that honors executed war criminals, long a source of tension with neighbors China and South Korea. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 450 words, photo.

NEPAL-EVEREST AVALANCHE

KATMANDU, Nepal — Buddhist monks cremate the remains of Sherpa guides who were buried in the deadliest avalanche to hit Mount Everest, a disaster that has prompted calls for a climbing boycott by Nepal’s ethnic Sherpa community. A Sherpa boycott could critically disrupt the Everest climbing season, which is key to the livelihood of thousands of Nepali guides and porters. Everest climbers have long relied on Sherpas for everything from hauling gear to high-altitude guiding. By Binaj Gurubacharya. SENT: 910 words, photos.

MALAYSIA-PLANE

PERTH, Australia — As the search continues off the coast of Australia for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, the airline announces that another plane bound for India made an emergency landing after one of its tires burst on takeoff. All 159 passengers and seven crew members were safe. The incident brings more drama to an airline already under immense pressure for answers about Flight 370, more than six weeks after it disappeared. By Margie Mason. SENT: 520 words, photos.

MALAYSIA-PLANE-US OBSESSION

PERTH, Australia — From the disappearances of aviator Amelia Earhart to labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa, there’s just something about a good mystery that Americans find too tantalizing to resist. Perhaps that’s why the saga of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has continued to rivet the country long after people elsewhere have moved on. From the beginning, the story has bubbled with enough drama to rival a good Hollywood whodunit. And even though it unfolded on the other side of the world with only three Americans on board, many were sucked in. By Margie Mason. SENT: 990 words, photos.

CHINA-ARMED POLICE

SHANGHAI — A quarter of the police in Shanghai begin carrying guns during routine patrols as part of a China-wide boost in police firepower following a deadly mass knifing blamed on Xinjiang separatists. Ordinary police in China generally don’t carry firearms, and none of the officers patrolling the train station in the southwestern city of Kunming on March 1 was armed when at least five assailants began rapidly hacking at victims with long knives. SENT: 470 words.

MYANMAR-OBIT-WIN TIN

YANGON, Myanmar — Win Tin, a prominent journalist who became Myanmar’s longest-serving political prisoner after challenging military rule by co-founding the National League for Democracy, has died. He was 85. By Aye Aye Win. SENT: 500 words, photos.

THAILAND-MISSING ACTIVIST

BANGKOK — An international human rights group calls on Thai authorities to investigate the disappearance of a prominent environmental activist. By Thanyarat Doksone. SENT: 370 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

JAPAN-ECONOMY

TOKYO — Japan’s trade deficit surged nearly 70 percent to a record 13.75 trillion yen ($134 billion) in the last fiscal year, the third straight year of deficit, as exports failed to keep pace with surging energy costs. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 500 words.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

SYRIA

DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria is to hold presidential elections on June 3, a vote President Bashar Assad will likely contest, seeking another seven-year term in office despite an insurgency against his rule and a bloody civil war — now in its fourth year — that has shattered the country. The announcement reflects the Assad government’s determination to prevail on the political scene and its resurgent confidence given the momentum of the war, which has lately seen significant advances by the pro-Assad forces. By Albert Aji and Diaa Hadid. SENT: 600 words, photos.

BOSTON MARATHON

BOSTON — A year after two bombs shattered the jubilation of the Boston Marathon, the second-largest field in the race’s history prepares to make the trek downtown from Hopkinton. Officials say security will be tight a week after a series of events commemorating victims of the attacks. By Jimmy Golen. SENT: 660 words, photos.

TEEN STOWAWAY-HAWAII

HONOLULU — Officials say a 16-year-old boy is “lucky to be alive” and unharmed after flying from California to Hawaii stowed away in a plane’s wheel well, surviving cold temperatures at 38,000 feet and a lack of oxygen. By Oskar Garcia. SENT: 390 words, photos.

SCIENCE POLL

WASHINGTON — Few Americans question that smoking causes cancer. But as concepts that scientists consider to be truths get further from our own experiences and the present time, Americans express bigger doubts, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Global warming, evolution, the Earth’s age and the Big Bang provoke more skepticism than confidence. A Nobel Prize winner in medicine says, “Science ignorance is pervasive in our society, and these attitudes are reinforced when some of our leaders are openly antagonistic to established facts.” By Seth Borenstein and Jennifer Agiesta. SENT: 700 words, photo, graphic.

VATICAN-ABUSE LEGACY

VATICAN CITY — Pope John Paul II is remembered for helping to bring down Communism and for inspiring a generation of Catholics, but the sexual abuse scandal that festered on his watch remains a stain on his legacy. Pope Francis has inherited the most damaging case, the Legion of Christ, and must now decide what to do with the order that was placed under Vatican receivership because of problems stemming from its pedophile founder. A look at the documentation the Vatican received starting in the 1940s and through John Paul’s pontificate about the founder and the troubled, cult-like order he created. By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

— VATICAN ABUSE DOCUMENTS — A look at the documents that showed the Vatican knew about problems with the Legion of Christ and its founder beginning in 1948. SENT: 720 words.

BIDEN

WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden hopes to demonstrate the U.S. commitment to Ukraine by meeting in person with its leaders as they deal with their confrontation with Russia. Biden flew Monday to the capital, Kiev, where he has meetings Tuesday with the acting Ukrainian prime minister, president and legislators. By Nedra Pickler. SENT: 120 words, photos.

CUBA-HOUSING WOES

HAVANA — President Raul Castro legalized Cuba’s real estate market for the first time in five decades hoping to stimulate construction and long-neglected maintenance of existing homes. But 2½ years later, there has been only a minimal impact on easing one of Cuba’s biggest challenges: a chronic lack of suitable housing. By Andrea Rodriguez. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— NICARAGUA-THE CHAINED ONES-PHOTO GALLERY — AP PHOTOS: Nicaraguan townspeople observe Good Friday by punishing chained ‘Judases’. SENT: 250 words, photos.

— CAR HITS CHURCH — Car plows through wall of packed Florida church before Easter concert, injuring about 20. SENT: 470 words.

— OBIT-CARTER — Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter, prizefighter who became symbol of racial injustice, dies at 76. SENT: 1,255 words, photos.

— TRIBECA-JOSS WHEDON — Joss Whedon releasing ‘In Your Eyes’ for $5 digital download following its Tribeca premiere. SENT: 140 words, photo.

— CANADA-OBIT-MACLEOD — Award-winning Canadian author Alistair MacLeod. Known for his short stories, dies at 77. SENT: 500 words.

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