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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

March 25, 2014



KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia says it has narrowed the search for a downed jetliner to an area the size of Texas and Oklahoma in the southern Indian Ocean, while Australia says improved weather will allow the hunt for possible debris from the plane to resume. The comments from Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein come a day after the country’s prime minister announced that a new analysis of satellite data confirmed the plane had crashed in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean, killing all 239 aboard. By Scott McDonald and Eileen Ng. SENT: 1,200 words, photos, video.


CANBERRA, Australia — Not one object has been recovered from the missing airliner that Malaysian officials are now convinced plunged into the southern Indian Ocean 17 days ago. Some of the pieces are likely 3,500 meters (11,500 feet) underwater. Others are bobbing in a fickle system of currents that one oceanographer compares to a pinball machine. And by now, they could easily be hundreds of kilometers (miles) away from each other. The job of gathering this wreckage, and especially the black boxes that will help determine what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, is an unprecedented challenge. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.


HONG KONG — Investigators are closer to solving an international aviation mystery thanks to a British communications satellite and classroom physics. An analysis of a handful of faint signals sent from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to an Inmarsat satellite led officials to conclude that the Boeing 777 crashed in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean. By Kelvin Chan and Justin Pritchard. SENT: 730 words, photos.


BEIJING — Furious that Malaysia has declared their loved ones lost in a plane crash without physical evidence, Chinese relatives of the missing marched to the Malaysian Embassy, where they threw plastic water bottles, tried to rush the gate and chanted, “Liars!” The Chinese government, meanwhile, demanded that Malaysia turn over the satellite data it used to conclude that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went down in the southern Indian Ocean with no survivors after turning back from its flight path to Beijing on March 8. By Didi Tang and Christopher Bodeen. SENT: 1,150 words, photos.


BEIJING — U.S. first lady Michelle Obama encourages rural Chinese students to aim high and get a good education despite humble roots, in a speech delivered via satellite technology to remote communities in southwestern China. She cited herself, basketball star LeBron James and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz as examples of people with modest backgrounds succeeding. By Didi Tang. SENT: 760 words, photos.


KABUL, Afghanistan — The Taliban launches a brazen assault in the Afghan capital, with two suicide bombers detonating their explosives outside an election office on the city’s outskirts and other attackers storming inside the premises. The attack is the latest in the insurgents’ violent campaign against the country’s April 5 presidential polls. By Kathy Gannon. SENT: 630 words, photos.


YOKOHAMA, Japan — Along with the enormous risks global warming poses for humanity are opportunities to improve public health and build a better world, scientists gathered in Yokohama for a climate change conference say. The hundreds of scientists from 100 countries meeting in this Japanese port city are putting finishing touches on a massive report emphasizing the gravity of the threat the changing climate poses for communities from the polar regions to the tropics. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 380 words, photos.


TOKYO — First off, no one who works at Japan’s wrecked nuclear power plant calls it Fukushima Dai-ichi, comic-book artist Kazuto Tatsuta says in his book about his time on the job. It’s ichi efu, or 1F. It’s not “hell on earth,” but a life filled with a careful routine to protect against radiation. A good part of the day is spent putting on and taking off protective layer after layer: hazmat suits, gloves, boots and filtered masks. Even bus and van interiors are covered in plastic. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 600 words, photos.


DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh investigators probing crimes during the country’s 1971 independence war against Pakistan recommend that the largest Islamist party be banned for alleged involvement in genocide and other offenses. By Julhas Alam. SENT: 390 words.


BANGKOK — A double-decker bus carrying municipal workers on a field trip in western Thailand plunges off a steep road and into a ravine, killing at least 30 people and injuring 22 others. SENT: 230 words.



WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Mega Ltd., the Internet file-storage company launched last year by indicted entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, announces plans to list on New Zealand’s stock market. By Nick Perry. SENT: 700 words.


WASHINGTON — Efforts to conceal the extent of dangerous car defects at Toyota Motor Corp. were so pervasive, prosecutors say, that an exasperated employee at one point warned that “someone will go to jail if lies are repeatedly told.” Yet no one has gone to jail, nor is anyone likely to. SENT: 810 words, photos.



THE HAGUE, Netherlands — President Barack Obama met Tuesday with a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin as the United States redoubled efforts to pressure Russia out of its aggressive pose in Ukraine. But to the east, the Russian annexation of Crimea was beginning to take root and Moscow shrugged off Obama’s drive to leave Putin in the cold. By Jim Kuhnhenn. SENT: 1,000 words, photos, video.

— UKRAINE — Ukraine’s defense chief resigns as troops withdraw from Russian-controlled Crimea. SENT: 440 words, photos.


NORFOLK, Va. — Aboard a guided-missile destroyer docked at the world’s largest naval base, a sailor was fatally shot and security forces killed the single civilian suspect late Monday, according to the Navy. No other injuries were reported, and Naval Station Norfolk was briefly put on lockdown. The shooting on the USS Mahan comes about a month after the Navy held anti-terrorism and force protection exercises around the world, including an active-shooter drill at the Norfolk base. By Brock Vergakis. SENT: 240 words, video.


WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency may be getting out of the business of sweeping up and storing vast amounts of data on people’s phone calls. The Obama administration this week is expected to propose that Congress overhaul the electronic surveillance program by having phone companies hold onto the call records as they do now, according to a government official briefed on the proposal. The White House proposal would end the government’s practice of sweeping up the phone records of millions of Americans and holding onto those records for five years so the numbers can be searched for national security purposes. Instead, the White House is expected to propose that the phone records be kept for 18 months, as the phone companies are already required to do by federal regulation. By Eileen Sullivan. SENT: 790 words, photos.


MINYA, Egypt — An Egyptian court opens another mass trial of Islamist suspects, with 683 defendants — including the Muslim Brotherhood’s top leader — facing an array of charges, from murder and inciting violence to sabotage. The proceedings came a day after the same court handed down death sentences to nearly 530 suspected backers of ousted President Mohammed Morsi over a deadly attack on a police station. SENT: 600 words, photos.


PRETORIA — The chief lawyer for Oscar Pistorius seeks to show at the athlete’s murder trial that he had a loving relationship with the girlfriend he killed, referring to telephone messages in which they exchanged warm compliments and said they missed each other. By Carley Petesch and Christopher Torchia. SENT: 600 words, photos.


CARACAS, Venezuela — U.S.-Venezuela relations have been deteriorating for years, and for members of the socialist-governed county’s better off, the failed diplomacy is suddenly endangering a dearly held value: visiting the United States. The U.S. Embassy will no longer issue tourist visas to first-time applicants — the latest in a series of increasingly hostile gestures by the two countries since anti-government protests broke out in Venezuela. By Hannah Dreier. SENT: 780 words, photos.


SANTIAGO, Chile — More than 300 earthquakes have shaken Chile’s far-northern coast the past week, keeping people on edge as scientists say there is no way to tell if the unusual string of tremors is a harbinger of an impending disaster. By Luis Andres Henao. SENT: 400 words, photos.


LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles hospital is practicing treating trauma victims in a high-tech, “operating room of the future.” In a test laboratory, computer displays hang from the ceiling, and the walls move depending on the number of patients or people in the room. Researchers analyze everything from the moment a surgeon’s pager goes off to when the patient moves on to the ICU. They even built a mobile app to deliver info to surgical teams before they reach the hospital. By Science Writer Alicia Chang. SENT: 980 words, photos. AP video by Raquel Maria Dillon.


CHICAGO — Experts say the crash of a Chicago commuter train that derailed and plowed up an escalator at one of the world’s busiest airports would have been far worse, and likely fatal, had it not happened how and when it did. Federal investigators are expected back on the scene Tuesday at O’Hare International Airport, where a Chicago Transit Authority train jumped its tracks around 3 a.m. Monday and crashed up a heavily used escalator that is often packed with travelers during the day. By Michael Tarm and Carla K. Johnson. SENT: 500 words, photos, video, graphic.


GALVESTON, Texas — Cannon booms stretch across the Houston Ship Channel, a scare-tactic to keep birds away from the oil-slicked beaches. On shore near a line of refineries, crews scour the sand picking up quarter-sized “tar balls.” Far on the horizon a few ships float among the dozens of vessels waiting for the U.S. Coast Guard to reopen one of the nation’s busiest seaports after a barge collision dumped as many as 170,000 gallons of heavy oil into the water. Three days after the collision, the cleanup effort is nowhere near complete, but authorities hope the channel’s closure could end sometime soon. By Juan Lozano and Nomaan Merchant. SENT: 750 words, photos, video.


PHOENIX — It is a legal case that has attracted a team of top death penalty lawyers, candlelight vigils and a polarizing Internet debate on mercy, blame and animal violence. The source of the dispute is a pit bull that mauled a 4-year-old boy in the face last month as he and a friend were playing out in a yard. The case moves to a Phoenix courtroom Tuesday as a judge hears arguments on whether Mickey should live or die, a question that has ignited thousands of animal lovers on social media. By Terry Tang. SENT: 600 word, photos.


NEW YORK — The conviction of five former employees of imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff after a six-month trial in all likelihood signals the end of the Madoff saga, since the statute of limitations has run out on everyone else identified as a possible suspect, including his wife and other family members. By Larry Neumeister and Tom Hays. SENT: 900 words, photos.


— WTC-PARACHUTE JUMP — Port Authority calls World Trade Center parachute jump a “lawless and selfish act.” SENT: 130 words, photos.

— TV-LETTERMAN-JIMMY CARTER — Former President Carter: Russia’s invasion of Crimea was “inevitable” but Putin “needs to stop.” SENT: 140 words, photos.

— PEOPLE-DAVID CASSIDY — 70s heartthrob David Cassidy sentenced to rehab, probation in California drunken driving case. SENT: 130 words, photos.

— CELEB-Q&A-JENNIFER ANISTON — “On a level I don’t even understand”: Jennifer Aniston talks tabloids and staying normal in Hollywood. SENT: 820 words, photos.

— REDSKINS-NAME — Redskins owner creates foundation to help Native Americans; activist compares it to “bribery.” SENT: 130 words, photo.

— ANONYMITY APPS — Secrets, whispers and lies: Mobile apps bring back online anonymity, with a twist. SENT: 1,180 words, photos.

— BIN LADEN SPOKESMAN — Closing arguments in terrorism trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law. SENT: 700 words, photos.


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