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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

March 26, 2014

ASIA:

MALAYSIA-PLANE

PERTH, Australia — The desperate, multinational hunt for Flight 370 resume across a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean after fierce winds and high waves that had forced a daylong halt ease considerably. A total of 12 planes and two ships from the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand are participating in the search, hoping to find even a single piece of the Malaysia Airlines jet that could offer tangible evidence of a crash. By Todd Pitman and Rob Griffith. SENT: 1,000 words, photos, video, audio.

MALAYSIA-PLANE-ENDURING MYSTERY

Over an extraordinary 17 days and nights, until the moment Malaysia’s prime minister stepped to a lectern to deliver investigators’ sobering new findings, the fate of vanished Flight 370 hung on morbid conjecture and fragile hope. Many previous tragedies have transfixed us by revealing their power in cruel detail. But the disappearance of the Beijing-bound Boeing 777 without warning or explanation captivated imaginations around the world in no small part because of the near vacuum of firm information or solid leads. By Adam Heller and Kristen Gelineau. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.

WITH: MALAYSIA-PLANE-SEARCH, MALAYSIA-PLANE-NEWS GUIDE

MALAYSIA-AIRLINE INCIDENT

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A plane from a new Malaysian airline is forced to turn back on a domestic flight because one of its engines caught fire. Malindo Air says the plane landed safely and that no one was hurt. SENT: 160 words.

KOREAS-TENSIONS

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea test-fires two medium-range ballistic missiles, South Korea and the U.S. say, a defiant challenge to a rare three-way summit of its rivals Seoul, Tokyo and Washington that focused on the North’s security threat. By Jung-Yoon Choi and Foster Klug. SENT: 750 words, photos.

MYANMAR-CENSUS

YANGON, Myanmar — As Myanmar continues its transition from decades of military rule and self-imposed isolation, it is about to carry out a census that experts say is crucial for national planning and development, but also likely to inflame already soaring ethnic and religious tensions. By Aye Aye Win. SENT: 800 words, photos.

PAKISTAN

ISLAMABAD — A cleric representing the Pakistani Taliban says a government team is en route to a secret location in the country’s northwest for the first-ever direct talks with the militants. Developing. SENT: 130 words, photo. UPCOMING: Updates.

AFGHAN-ELECTIONS

KABUL, Afghanistan — When Afghans select their new president next month, it will largely be up to tens of thousands of Afghan poll watchers to catch signs of ballot box stuffing and other vote-rigging that tarnished Hamid Karzai’s re-election five years ago. The international observer mission is far smaller this time, and relentless violence has driven away many foreigners who signed up. By Kim Gamel. SENT: 950 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-ASIA-MILITARY

WASHINGTON — Top U.S. military officers in the Asia-Pacific say that budget cuts could hurt the ability of American forces to respond to a security crisis, including on the Korean peninsula. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 500 words.

UNITED STATES-MYANMAR-ROHINGYA

WASHINGTON — The House Foreign Affairs Committee calls for an end to persecution of Myanmar’s minority Rohingya Muslims in one of the strongest U.S. congressional criticisms yet of Myanmar’s reformist government. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 400 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

PHILIPPINES-BRACING FOR DISASTER

CALAMBA, Philippines — The aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines has added urgency to finding a solution to a longstanding problem: less than 10 percent of farmers have crop insurance, and while its advantages are widely understood, few can afford it. By Teresa Cerojano. SENT: 830 word, photos.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

CONGRESS-UKRAINE

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate is on track to approve sanctions against Russia and aid for Ukraine after Democrats withdrew a provision that was blocking Congress from issuing a sharp response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military intervention in Crimea. By Deb Riechmann. SENT: 800 words, photos, audio.

WEST RESPONSE-RUSSIA

BRUSSELS — President Barack Obama is using Vladimir Putin’s audacious annexation of Crimea to make the delicate argument that Russia is no world power but that its actions threaten Europe’s order and demand a punishing international response. By Jim Kuhnhenn. SENT: 670 words, photos, video, audio.

WITH: UKRAINE.

SPACE STATION

MOSCOW — An engine snag delays the arrival of a Russian spacecraft carrying three astronauts, including one American, to the International Space Station until Thursday. NASA and Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, said shortly before the planned docking that the arrival had been delayed after a 24-second engine burn that was necessary to adjust the Soyuz spacecraft’s orbiting path “did not occur as planned.” By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 710 words, photos.

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YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is David Thurber. Questions and story requests are welcome. The news desk can be reached at (66) 2632-6911 or by email at asia@ap.org.

The Asia Photo Desk can be reached at (81-3) 6215-8941 or by fax at (81-3) 3574-8850.

Between 1600 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

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