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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

June 25, 2014



ANSAN, South Korea — As parents of the dead weep, more than 70 teenagers who survived a ferry sinking that killed hundreds of their schoolmates walk in a somber procession to their first classes since the April disaster. Some of the 73 students, wearing white and black uniforms and carrying book bags, bowed their heads as they cried and walked slowly from a bus to the school entrance. Some stopped to hug the parents of their friends, who caressed their hair and faces. By Kim Yong-ho. SENT: 620 words, photos.


TAIPEI, Taiwan — China has sent its first ever ministerial-level official to Taiwan for four days of meetings to rebuild ties with the self-ruled island that Beijing claims as its own, after mass protests in Taipei set back relations earlier this year. Zhang Zhijun, minister of Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office, sidestepped scores of anti-China protesters to enter a hotel for the talks. By Ralph Jennings. SENT: 600 words, photos.


SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea is warning that the release of a new American comedy about a plot to assassinate leader Kim Jong Un would be an “act of war.” If the U.S. government doesn’t block the movie’s release, it will face “stern” and “merciless” retaliation, an unidentified spokesman for North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said in state media. SENT: 290 words, photos.


PATNA, India — Two trains derail in eastern India, killing at least four people, and authorities are investigating whether Maoist rebels were responsible, officials say. Eleven coaches of the Rajdhani Express passenger train went off the tracks near Chhapra town in Bihar state, killing four passengers and injuring eight others. By Indrajit Singh. SENT: 330 words, photos.


YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar’s parliament reduces the prison terms for violating a law that requires people to obtain permission for public protests, state media report. Under changes to the “Peaceful Assembly Law” the maximum penalty for those who cause unrest was halved to one year in prison, while the penalty for those who fail to seek permission for protesting was halved to six months. SENT: 310 words, photos.


BEIJING — The United States’ new ambassador to China says he will devote himself to strengthening already bustling trade ties between the two powers and work to ease bilateral tensions, as he makes his first public speech since taking on the post in March. Former Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana focused on trade issues during the 20-minute speech, saying his priorities included sealing an investment treaty between the two countries. By Jack Chang. SENT: 490 words, photos.


BEIJING — Beijing blasts as farcical a U.S. congressional panel’s proposal to rename the street in front of China’s embassy in Washington after an imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate. SENT: 250 words.


NEW YORK — A Chinese tycoon is feeding hundreds of homeless New Yorkers some fancy food — in Central Park. The lunch for 250 residents of a Manhattan shelter is being served at the Boathouse restaurant. By Verena Dobnik. SENT: 140 words.


KABUL, Afghanistan — A bomb hidden in a push cart and detonated by remote control near a government building in northern Afghanistan kills four people while a rocket attack near the Kabul airport wounds four, officials say. The explosion, which struck early in the morning near the governor’s building in Dawlat Abad district, also wounded 13 civilians, police said. SENT: 200 words.


MANILA, Philippines — Filipino women forced into prostitution by the Japanese military during World War II march to the Japanese Embassy to demand justice and to criticize Philippine President Benigno Aquino III’s silence on the issue during his visit to Japan. Six women in their 80s and their supporters picketed the embassy to call on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to apologize and compensate them for their ordeal. SENT: 390 words, photos.


BANGKOK — A Russian mafia gang leader wanted back home for his alleged involvement in scores of killings and other criminal activities since 1995 is arrested in Thailand while living on a retirement visa, police say. The mafia boss, Alexander Matusov, was arrested in front of a supermarket in Thailand’s eastern seaside town of Sattahip, police said. SENT: 200 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — Thailand’s recent military takeover is more repressive and likely to endure longer than the last military coup eight years ago, a senior U.S. official says. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 500 words.


WASHINGTON — Singapore’s prime minister says international law should determine how territorial disputes in the South China Sea are resolved, rather than the notion that “might is right.” SENT: 295 words.


WASHINGTON — Asiana Flight 214′s pilots caused the crash last year of their airliner carrying more than 300 people by bungling a landing approach in San Francisco, including inadvertently deactivating the plane’s key control for airspeed, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has concluded. But the board also said the complexity of the Boeing 777′s autothrottle and auto flight director — two of the plane’s key systems for controlling flight — contributed to the accident. By Joan Lowy and Martha Mendoza. SENT: 910 words, photos.



KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia Airlines’ CEO says business has improved four months after one of its jets went missing, but the beleaguered flag carrier needs a radical overhaul to survive. Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the airline, which kept a low profile after Flight 370 disappeared on March 8, began to boost its marketing again this month. By Eileen Ng. SENT: 520 words.



WASHINGTON — The Washington establishment delivered a punch to the gut to the tea party movement Tuesday as Mississippi Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, a mainstream conservative with more than 40 years congressional experience, narrowly turned back a challenge from state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Outside conservative organizations and tea party groups fell short after investing millions to knock out Cochran, and the results left the movement’s leaders fuming. By Donna Cassata. SENT: 780 words, photos, video, interactive.

— PRIMARY ELECTION-NEWS GUIDE — GOP split, N.Y. Rep. Charles Rangel’s fight highlight busy voting day. SENT: 670 words, photos.


ARRIAGA, Mexico — Children and teenagers are flooding out of Central America north to the Texas border, sparking a bitter political debate inside the U.S. The Obama administration blames crime at home, while congressional Republicans say the president’s policies are leading migrants to believe children and their mothers will be allowed to stay. In interviews along the primary migrant route, dozens of migrants indicate both sides are right. By Alberto Arce. SENT: 1,455 words, photos.


BAGHDAD — They were known as the Sahwa, or the Awakening Councils — Sunni militiamen who took extraordinary risks to side with U.S. troops in the fight against al-Qaida during the Iraq War. Once heralded as a pivotal step in the defeat of the bloody insurgency, the Sahwa later were pushed aside by Iraq’s Shiite-led government, starved of political support and money needed to remain a viable security force. Now, the Obama administration is looking at the Sahwa, which still exist in smaller form, as a model for how, again, to unite Sunni fighters against the rampant Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that has swept across most of the nation’s north. By Lara Jakes and Sameer N. Yacoub. SENT: 1,170 words, photos.


KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine will sign a sweeping trade deal this week with the European Union — the 1,200 page telephone book of a document that sparked a revolution. The dense, number-jammed agreement includes regulations and tariffs on just about everything: turkeys, tulips, cheese, and cars. Yet it’s far more than fine print — dozens of protesters died for it. Here’s a look at the promise and risk of the pivot toward Western Europe. By David McHugh. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

— UKRAINE — On Putin’s demand, lawmakers rescind resolution allowing use of Russian military in Ukraine. SENT: 790 words, photos.


BRUSSELS — It’s not just ordinary people whose ancestors fought in World War I. It’s a shared chapter in the genealogies of President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin. For British Prime Minister David Cameron, it evokes proud family memories of valor tempered by sorrow. For German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it involves a grandparent whose actions are tinged with mystery. On Thursday, in the Belgian city of Ypres near the once-blood drenched battlefields of Flanders, the leaders of the European Union’s 28 nations will mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the conflict that wreaked death and destruction across their continent. For some of them, it’s the story of their own families By John-Thor Dahlburg. SENT: 1,260 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — Sanctions aimed at key economic sectors in Russia because of its threatening moves in Ukraine might be delayed because of positive signals from Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to Obama administration officials. The United States and its European allies are finalizing a package of sanctions with the goal of putting them in place as early as this week, the officials and others close to the process say. By Julie Pace, Matthew Lee and Bradley Klapper. SENT: 900 words, photo.


—EGYPT — Egyptian officials: 4 explosions hit Cairo subway stations, courthouse, wounding 3. SENT: 440 words.

— SEPT 11 MUSEUM — About 300,000 people from around the world have visited the Sept. 11 museum in its first month, a bit ahead of what organizers were expecting, musuem President Joe Daniels says. SENT: 500 words, photos.

— GARY OLDMAN — Gary Oldman apologizes for defending controversial remarks by Gibson and Baldwin. SENT: 500 words, photos.


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