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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

August 28, 2014



CANBERRA, Australia — The search area for a missing Malaysian airliner in the southern Indian Ocean has been refined based on the latest analysis, while the investigation into how the plane came to crash cannot proceed until the wreckage and black boxes are recovered. Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said analysis of a failed attempted satellite phone call from Malaysia Airlines to Flight 370, which disappeared March 8, “suggests to us that the aircraft might have turned south a little earlier than we had previously expected.” By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 400 words.


SEOUL, South Korea — Are dogs for petting or eating? Two answers to that question have coexisted uneasily in South Korea’s recent history, feeding a controversy that becomes most bitter in the summer. On three “dog days,” which are among the hottest times of the year, many South Koreans queue for a bowl of dog soup, believing it gives strength to fight off the heat. Animal rights activists protest nearby, urging people not to devour man’s best friend. Waning sales led to the closure this month of a famous dog soup restaurant in Seoul that was often frequented by two former presidents. Hundreds of such establishments remain but complaints from butchers of dwindling demand suggest one view of dogs is gaining more traction among young South Koreans. By Youkyung Lee. UPCOMING: 900 words by 0700 GMT, photos.


BEIJING — Six people died and 21 remained missing after a landslide hit a village in southwestern China. The official Xinhua News Agency reported that 77 houses collapsed or were buried in the Wednesday night landslide in the village of Yingping in Guizhou province. SENT: 100 words.


MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine economy expanded by 6.4 percent in the second quarter and tied with Malaysia as the second fastest growing in Asia during the period. The April-June growth was higher than the 5.6 percent posted in the first quarter, driven by industry, which grew by 7.8 percent, followed by services, which posted 6.0 percent growth, the government statistics agency reported. SENT: 330 words.


SYDNEY — Qantas Airways Ltd. posts a record 2.8 billion Australian dollar ($2.6 billion) loss, reflecting a profit-draining battle with its smaller rival Virgin Australia and aircraft write downs. The loss for the financial year ended June 30 is the largest the former state-owned airline has posted in its 94-year history. It made an AU$1 million profit in the previous year. SENT: 300 words, photo.



WASHINGTON — One year ago, President Barack Obama was barreling toward airstrikes against Syria’s government when he abruptly decided he first wanted congressional approval — throwing the policy into confusion. The strikes never happened. Now, Obama is once again contemplating military action in Syria, against the Islamic State militants. This time, the White House is suggesting such authorization might not be necessary. By White House Correspondent Julie Pace. SENT: 940 words, photos.


BEIRUT — The mother of a hostage American journalist pleads for his release in a video directed at the Islamic State group, while new images emerge of masked militants shooting kneeling men after the capture of a strategic air base in Syria. Shirley Sotloff’s plea comes as a U.N. commission accuses the group of committing crimes against humanity and President Barack Obama weighs options for targeting the extremists’ stronghold in Syria. By Diaa Hadid and John Heilprin. SENT: 1,200 words, photo, video.

— ISLAMIC STATE HOSTAGE-JOURNALIST — Mother of US journalist held hostage by Islamic militants describes him as ‘honorable.’ SENT: 800 words.

— HOSTAGE FREED-CURTIS — US journalist Peter Curtis thanks those who helped secure his release from Syrian group. SENT: 300 words, photos, video.

— AP PHOTO CAITH112 — Fighter from the Islamic State group armed with a knife and an automatic weapon stands next to captured Syrian army soldiers and officers following battle for air base in Raqqa, Syria.


NOVOAZOVSK, Ukraine — Pushing west in a new offensive along Ukraine’s strategic coastline, heavily armed Russian-backed separatist forces capture new territory far from their previous battles with government troops. The bold offensive along a new southeastern front raises the prospect that the separatists are seeking to create a land link between Russia and Crimea, which also would give them control over the entire Azov Sea. By Peter Leonard. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.


PHOENIX — “All right, full auto,” the firing-range instructor tells a 9-year-old girl. She braces the Uzi submachine gun and opens fire at a target. But the recoil wrenches the fully automatic weapon upward, and the instructor is shot in the head and killed. The death has many people debating laws that regulate children and guns. Some are wondering what sort of parents would let a child handle an Uzi. By Jacques Billeaud. SENT: 790 words, photos, audio.


WASHINGTON — A government board establishes for the first time that domestic violence victims can qualify for asylum in the United States. The ruling comes in the case of a Guatemalan woman who crossed into the U.S. illegally in 2005 after fleeing her husband. She said she called local police in Guatemala to report the abuse, but was repeatedly told that the authorities would not interfere in her marriage. She argued that the abuse and the lack of police response should make her eligible for asylum. By Alicia A. Caldwell. SENT: 530 words.


In the time it took an official of the ALS Association to return a reporter’s call for comment the group’s ubiquitous “ice bucket challenge” brought in a few million more. At nearly $100 million — and counting — the viral fundraising campaign for the ailment better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease has put the group into the top ranks for medical charity donations — while being copied by other campaigns for everything from clean water to raising awareness about Michael Brown’s killing. Realizing this is likely a one-off phenomenon, the ALS group now faces the task of spending all that money wisely. SENT: 930 words, photos.


TEL AVIV, Israel — The third Gaza War in six years appears to have ended in another sort of tie, with both Israel and Hamas claiming the upper hand. Their questionable achievements have come at a big price, especially to long-suffering Palestinians in Gaza. An AP News Analysis. By Dan Perry. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

— ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS — Israeli prime minister and Hamas declare victory in Gaza war as questions over future linger. SENT: 890 words, photos, video.

— ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-GLANCE — A look at the Gaza cease-fire, the cost of the war and what remains unclear. SENT: 400 words, photo.


ROTHERHAM, ENGLAND — Rotherham is a town remarkable only in its ordinariness, a drab working-class collection of discount stories, betting shops and kebab counters. But a report said that 1,400 girls and boys were subjected to widespread sex exploitation here over the last 16 years, mostly by ethnic Pakistani men. The report on Rotherham has stirred uncomfortable questions about the extent of child sex crimes in poorer, job-deprived areas of Britain and the way British authorities handle sensitive race issues when tackling crime. By Sylvia Hui. SENT: 980 words, photos.


NAIROBI, Kenya — Corrupt Kenyan wildlife rangers are killing poachers to cover up the officers’ collusion with the gangs decimating the country’s elephants, a rights group alleges. The disappearances and extrajudicial killings of 18 suspected poachers were documented by Muslims for Human Rights over the last three years around Kenya’s Tsavo National Park, a huge wildlife sanctuary that hosted 25,000 elephants in the 1970s but only 11,000 today. By Tom Odula and Jason Straziuso. SENT: 600 words, photos.


PARIS — Christine Lagarde, the chief of the International Monetary Fund, is placed under official investigation for negligence in a French corruption probe that dates to her days as France’s finance minister. Lagarde says the investigation is “without basis” and she will return to her work in Washington. At the heart of the case is what role Lagarde had in a 2007 corporate dispute in which a businessman and government supporter was awarded over $500 million. By Lori Hinnant. SENT: 520 words, photos.



VENICE, Italy — Stars start arriving on the Venice Lido as the 71st annual film festival opens with the world premiere of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Birdman,” a twisted comedy that stars Michael Keaton — best known for playing an iconic superhero — as an actor burdened by his fame for playing an iconic superhero. By Jill Lawless. SENT: 650 words, photos.

— ITALY-VENICE WATCH — Short items charting the sights, sounds and stars of the festival. SENT: 440 words, photos.


— CHAPMAN-PAROLE TRANSCRIPT — John Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman, tells parole board he’s sorry for being ‘an idiot’. SENT: 220 words, photo.

— EBOLA — A third doctor dies from Ebola in Sierra Leone as health workers try to determine how a scientist also contracted the disease before being evacuated to Europe. SENT: 760 words, photos.


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