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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

February 19, 2015



BEIJING — Chinese see in the Year of the Sheep, but with fortune-tellers predicting accidents and an unstable economy and some parents-to-be fretting over the year’s reputation for docile kids, this zodiac year isn’t exactly warming everyone’s heart. By Louise Watt. SENT: 800 words, photos.


BANGKOK — Thailand’s attorney general presses criminal charges against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for negligence related to her government’s money-losing rice subsidy scheme, a move likely to prolong conflicts in a divided nation plagued by political turmoil and coups. SENT: 320 words, photos.


MANILA — Amid the deafening drum beats and firecracker blasts, the colorful dragon snakes into a building in downtown Manila while 3 lion heads bob to the crowd’s delight. Behind the Chinese New Year show, paid for by business establishments in the belief that it will drive misfortunes away and bring in good luck, are eight poor Filipino siblings popularly known as the Sicat brothers. They mount the lion and dragon dance performance to entertain and earn a living. By Aaron Favila. SENT: 280 words, photos.


SYDNEY — Two powerful storms were on track to smash into northern Australia, where officials urged residents to flee coastal areas or take shelter in anticipation of drenching rains, fierce winds and possible flooding. SENT: 250 words.


TOKYO — Japan’s trade deficit plunged nearly 60 percent in January from a year before as exports rose and its import bill for oil and gas dropped thanks to sharply lower crude oil prices. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT, photos.


TOKYO — A bipartisan congressional agreement on granting President Barack Obama trade promotion authority for a pan-Pacific trade deal is likely this spring, U.S. lawmakers visiting Japan said. By Elaine Kurtenbach. Sent: 580 words, photos.


KATHMANDU, Nepal — Police say lighting struck a mountain village in northeast Nepal killing at least three people while a snow storm on a popular trekking route struck a group of hikers. The village is just south of Mount Everest. SENT: 110 words.


WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand authorities say an American couple and their daughter were killed and their son critically injured when their car crashed into a logging truck. SENT: 200 words, photo.



DEBALTSEVE, Ukraine — Rebel fighters, many of them Cossacks, roam the streets of Debaltseve a day after Ukrainian forces began withdrawing from the besieged town in eastern Ukraine. The mood is celebratory, with fighters laughing, hugging each other and posing for photos. By Peter Leonard. SENT: 280 words, photos. UPCOMING: 400 words by 8 a.m., photos, video.


WASHINGTON — In the fight against violent extremism, President Barack Obama has argued the U.S. has one thing going for it that Europe doesn’t: a long tradition of warmly embracing its immigrants, including Muslims. By Josh Lederman. SENT: 1,000 words, photos, video. UPCOMING: 1,100 words after 10:30 a.m. speech.


FRANKFURT, Germany — What would it cost if Greece left the euro? As European policymakers to try to get a deal to keep the country from bankruptcy, experts are crunching the numbers on the potential costs of failure. By David McHugh. SENT: 850 words, photos.


MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Relations have gotten a little testy between Uruguay and six Guantanamo detainees taken in for resettlement. Even President Jose Mujica, who brought the men here, has criticized the men, questioning their willingness to work. By Leonardo Haberkorn. SENT: 520 words, photos.


JERUSALEM — Seven years ago, Jennifer Teege stumbled upon a book in a Hamburg library and discovered a shocking family secret. Her maternal grandfather was the brutal SS Commander Amon Goeth, who ran the World War II concentration camp in Plaszow, Poland, and who was so chillingly portrayed by actor Ralph Fiennes in the 1993 Oscar-winning movie “Schindler’s List.” Back in Israel, the country she grew to love as a student, the biracial German author explores her heritage with her book, entitled “My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me,” which became a hit at the Jerusalem International Book Fair. By Aron Heller. SENT: 1,010 words, photos.


PARIS — A black man who was blocked from boarding a Paris metro train by Chelsea soccer fans chanting racist slogans wants the group to be “found, punished and locked up.” Sent: 300 words, photos.


YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Scott McDonald. 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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