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BC-AP-AS--Asian News Digest, AP

March 4, 2015



BEIJING — China’s military budget will grow by about 10 percent in the coming year, a legislative spokeswoman says, despite slowing economic growth that fell to 7.4 percent last year and is expected to further decline in 2015. It would be a slightly smaller rise than last year, but would reflect the fifth year in a row of double-digit increases, bringing the total military budget to about $145 billion. By Chrisopher Bodeen. SENT: 380 words.


TOKYO — North Korea is trying to boost its hidebound economy by offering managers and farmers more control and possibly more personal rewards in the biggest domestic policy experiment under Kim Jong Un. Outside observers say it’s a far cry from the kind of change the North really needs, but they agree with North Korean economists that it’s starting to pay off in higher wages and increased crop yields. By Eric Talmadge. UPCOMING: 1,200 words by 0700GMT, photos.


CANBERRA, Australia — Australian authorities are clamping down on wealthy foreigners illegally buying real estate, ordering a Chinese billionaire to sell a Sydney mansion he recently bought for $30 million. The billionaire, Hui Ka Yan, 56, is chairman of Hong Kong-listed real estate developer Evergrande Real Estate Group, which is based in Guangzhou, China. He is listed by Forbes as China’s 15 wealthiest person with a fortune of $6.4 billion. By Rod Mcguirk. SENT.


LETPADAN, Myanmar — Police formed a human chain across a road leading to Myanmar’s biggest city Wednesday, telling hundreds of student protesters that authorities would “take action” unless they dispersed. The standoff in front of a monastery in Letpadan, 140 kilometers (90 miles) from Yangon, entered its third day, with no sign either side was ready to back down. Students — determined to march to Yangon to push demands for education reform — responded defiantly shouted “This is our cause! We will win!”


WASHINGTON — Saying every girl “has value,” President Barack Obama announced a more focused government effort to help tens of millions of girls around the world attend and stay in school. Michelle Obama said she’s heading to Japan and Cambodia later this month to promote it. SENT: 500 words, photos.


KATHMANDU, Nepal — A Turkish Airlines jet landing in dense fog in the Nepalese capital Wednesday skidded off a slippery runway but there were no serious injuries, officials said. SENT, photos.


NEW DELHI — India’s central bank unexpectedly cut a key interest rate by a quarter percentage point, the second such reduction this year as the bank lends support to government efforts to boost economic growth. The latest cut lowers the policy repo rate, at which commercial banks can borrow from the Reserve Bank of India, to 7.5 percent. The Reserve Bank of India also cut the rate by a quarter point in January. By Muneeza Naqvi. SENT.


SINGAPORE — Singapore police say they are investigating reports of a man who allegedly cheated and overcharged unsuspecting passengers while posing as a driver for mobile app-based transportation company Uber. SENT.


SAN FRANCISCO — More than 70 passengers aboard an Asiana Airlines flight that crashed in San Francisco two years ago have reached a settlement in their lawsuits against the airline, attorneys for the passengers and airline said in a court filing Tuesday. The settlement with 72 passengers who filed personal injury claims also includes Boeing Co., which made the airplane, and Air Cruisers Co., the New Jersey company that made its evacuation slides. SENT: 400 words.


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