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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

March 9, 2015



CANBERRA, Australia — Relatives of two Australian death row prisoners made their first visit on Monday to the Indonesian prison island where the convicted drug traffickers are to be executed soon by firing squads. The two, Andrew Chan, 31, and Myuran Sukumaran, 33, were flown from the resort island of Bali to the Nusakambangan Island prison off Indonesia’s main island of Java. They are among nine foreigners and an Indonesian that the government says will be executed soon. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 400 words.


TOKYO — German Chancellor Angela Merkel says on a visit to Japan that Germany was able to return to a respected place in the international society because of its efforts to squarely face its World War II atrocities that caused tremendous damage to its neighbors. But Merkel says she could not give any specific advice to Japan because lessons should be learned by its own people. SENT: 130 words.


TOKYO — It was not Hiroshima or Nagasaki, but in many ways, including lives lost, it was just as horrific. Survivors of the Tokyo firebombings 70 years ago Tuesday are determined to keep memories alive of history’s deadliest conventional air attack. By Elaine Kurtenbach and Mari Yamaguchi. UPCOMING: 1,150 words by 0700GMT. With JAPAN-WWII-MEMORIES-CIVIL SERVANT and JAPAN-WWII-MEMORIES-BURIED ALIVE, each about 190 words.


SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s president visited injured U.S. Ambassador Mark Lippert amid an outpouring of public sympathy and support for the envoy who is recovering from an attack by a knife-wielding man. Lippert has been hospitalized since Thursday at Seoul’s Severance Hospital, where Park Geun-hye also received treatment in 2006 when she was knifed by a man with a box cutter during an election rally. By Hyung-Jin Kim. SENT: 380 words, photos.


BEIJING — Five Chinese feminist activists remained in police custody after authorities detained at least 10 women’s rights proponents across the country in the run-up to International Women’s Day, according to a Chinese activist. Activist Feng Yuan said the activists still in detention were Li Tingting, Wei Tingting, Wang Man, Zheng Churan and Wu Rongrong, the founder and executive director of the Hangzhou-based rights group Women Center. SENT: 260 words.


OSAKA, Japan — Police say five people have been killed in a stabbing spree in a small town in western Japan. A 40-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the Monday morning attacks. The motive is unclear. SENT: 110 words.


HONG KONG — The number of deaths in jetliner disasters spiked last year despite there being fewer accidents in total, an international airline industry group said Monday. The International Air Transport Association said in its annual safety report that 641 people died in airline accidents in 2014. Its figures don’t include the 298 people killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed over Ukraine. SENT: 170 words.


TOKYO — Japan’s economy escaped recession last quarter but grew less than first estimated as demand and wages remained weak, the government said Monday. The world’s third-largest economy is recovering from a blow to consumer and business spending from a sales tax hike on April 1, 2014. Purchases plunged after surging to beat that increase. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT, photos.



BAGHDAD — Iraq’s government is investigating reports that the ancient archaeological site of Khorsabad in northern Iraq is the latest to be attacked by the Islamic State militant group. Adel Shirshab, the country’s tourism and antiquities minister, told The Associated Press there are concerns the militants will remove artifacts and damage the site, located 15 kilometers (9 miles) northeast of Mosul. Saeed Mamuzini, a Kurdish official from Mosul, told the AP that the militants had already begun demolishing the Khorsabad site on Sunday, citing multiple witnesses. By Sameer N. Yacoub. SENT: 380 words.


BAGHDAD — Sunni civilians living under Islamic State rule in northern Iraq fear that their eventual liberation could bring a new round of violence in the form of reprisal attacks by Shiite militias. By Sameer N. Yacoub and Muhanad al-Saleh. SENT: 880 words, photos.


MOSCOW —A Russian court charges two men in the killing of leading opposition figure Boris Nemtsov and orders three other suspects to remain in jail pending a decision on whether to file charges. By Jim Heintz. SENT: 600 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democratic colleague from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Senate days, says the former secretary of state should fully explain her actions involving the use of a private, nongovernment email account while she was the country’s top diplomat. SENT: 400 words, photo.


Boko Haram’s bid to become the Islamic State group’s first province in sub-Saharan Africa will provide only a propaganda boost for now, but in the long term it could internationalize a conflict restricted to Nigeria for nearly six years, analysts say. By Michelle Faul. SENT: 880 words, photos.


SELMA, Alabama — Thousands of people crowd an Alabama bridge to commemorate the “Bloody Sunday” confrontation 50 years ago between police and peaceful protesters that helped bring about the 1965 Voting Rights Act. A day after President Barack Obama had walked atop the Edmund Pettus Bridge, many jam shoulder to shoulder, many unable to move, as they recalled the civil rights struggle. By Kim Chandler and Phillip Lucas. SENT: 800 words, photos, video.


WILLISTON, North Dakota — When she first arrived in town, Windie Lazenko headed to the neon-lit strip clubs and bars catering to lonely oilfield workers with extra cash and time on their hands; she knew these were likely gathering spots for the sex trade — the life she’d given up long ago. Today, she’s an activist in the fight against sex trafficking in the oil patch. By National Writer Sharon Cohen. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.


MONROVIA, Liberia — Marking the progress in controlling its Ebola outbreak, the Liberian government dismantles a crematorium and removes the ashes of more than 3,000 Ebola victims cremated during the epidemic, whose last patient was discharged last week. By Jonathan Paye-Layleh. SENT: 300 words, photos.


VATICAN CITY — Artist Shen Jiawei’s paintings of Chinese soldiers during the Cultural Revolution were so popular with Mao’s regime that a quarter-million copies of his most famous work were made into propaganda posters and distributed throughout the country. Four decades later, Shen now has a different patron commissioning his work: The Vatican. By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.


RIYADH, Saudia Arabia — Shortly before meeting with the Saudi king, German vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel criticizes a court-ordered punishment against a Saudi blogger who was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam on a liberal blog. By Abdullah Al-Shihri and Frank Jordans. SENT: 600 words, photos.


— IRAN-KHAMENEI — TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei makes a public appearance amid rumors about his health. SENT: 300 words, photos.

— SOLAR PLANE — Just after dawn on Monday, Swiss pioneers will embark on the first round-the-world trip ever attempted with a solar-powered plane. SENT: 300 words.

— EGYPT-AL JAZEERA — Egypt postpones retrial of 2 Al-Jazeera English journalists. SENT: 200 words, photos.

— STOWAWAY CHIHUAHUA — A woman’s 7-year-old Chihuahua sneaks into her suitcase and triggered a luggage screening alert at New York’s LaGuardia Airport. SENT: 100 words.


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