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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

February 1, 2014



BANGKOK — Gunfire rings out at a major intersection in Thailand’s capital as clashes between protesters and government supporters erupt on the eve of tense nationwide elections. At least seven people are wounded, including an American photojournalist. By Todd Pitman. SENT: 1,040 words, photos.


MANILA, Philippines — A homemade bomb that was likely set off by Muslim rebels in the southern Philippines has wounded 12 people, including six soldiers and two television journalists, the military says. SENT: 375 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s Asia policy took a hit this week, and it came from a stalwart of his own party. The top Democratic senator, Harry Reid of Nevada, announced that he opposes legislation that’s key for a trans-Pacific trade pact that’s arguably the most important part of Obama’s effort to step up American engagement in Asia. An AP News Analysis. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 910 words, photo.


NEW DELHI — The beating and subsequent death in New Delhi of a university student from India’s remote northeast has sparked a furious outcry against racism and criticism of police in the Indian capital. By Katy Daigle. SENT: 430 words, photos.

— INDIA-DIPLOMAT ARREST — Federal prosecutors, arguing Indian diplomat had no immunity, ask New York judge not to drop case. SENT: 130 words.


HONG KONG — Chinese communities around the world are ushering in the year of the horse starting Friday with equine-themed decorations and celebrations. The annual Lunar New Year holiday is marked with a particular verve in Hong Kong, the semi-autonomous Chinese financial center that expects nearly 8 million visitors from Jan. 29 to Feb. 6 — more than the local population of 7.1 million. SENT: 165 words, photos.


MOHENJODARO, Pakistan — Organizers say all is set for the opening of a cultural festival at an ancient site to promote peace in this Islamic nation, where militant violence has killed over 40,000 people in recent years. SENT: 130 words.


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Afghan officials say a roadside bomb hit a police vehicle in southern Afghanistan, killing four policemen. SENT: 75 words.


— EGYPT —Trial of Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Morsi on charges of incitement to murder resumes. SENT: 530 words, photos.

— SYRIA-PEACE TALKS — UN chief Ban presses US, Russia to help ensure Syria peace talks can resume on Feb. 10. SENT: 130 words.

— SYRIA — Syria activists say government forces using barrel bombs to flatten areas in advance in Aleppo. SENT: 130 words.

— KERRY — Kerry decries ‘disturbing trend’ of governments trampling aspirations of their people. SENT: 644 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is running out of reasons to say no to Keystone XL, the proposed oil pipeline that’s long been looming over his environmental legacy. Five years after the pipeline’s backers first asked the Obama administration for approval, the project remains in limbo, stuck in a complex regulatory process that has enabled Obama to put off what will inevitably be a politically explosive decision. But the release Friday of a long-awaited government report removes a major excuse for delay, ramping up pressure on the president to make a call. By Nedra Pickler and Josh Lederman. SENT: 1020 words, photos.

— KEYSTONE PIPELINE-GLANCE — What’s in State’s Keystone XL oil pipeline report. SENT: 370 words.


TRENTON, N.J. — The claim made on behalf of the former head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey that Gov. Chris Christie made inaccurate statements during a news conference about the lane closures near the George Washington Bridge gave his critics something new to seize on as they bashed the governor as he appeared at events leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl in his state. By Geoff Mulvihill and Angela Delli Santi. SENT: 600 words, photos.

— CHRISTIE-STERN BIRTHDAY — Christie attends Howard Stern birthday bash in NYC as NJ political payback scandal flares. SENT: 125 words, video.


KIEV, Ukraine — The clock over Kiev’s protest encampment showed 4:40 a.m. and minus-19 C (minus-2 F). Despite the brutal conditions, Alexander Kravchuk laughed lightly about how he’d ended up standing guard at a first-aid point thrown together with tents and rough planks. “I came here for a couple of days, and now it’s two months,” he said, his chin tucked into his thick coat’s collar. The twenty-something Kravchuk was one of hundreds of true believers manning the tent camp in the dead of night, both committed to keeping the anti-government protest going until their demands are met and gripped by a larger sense of belonging they can’t quite articulate. By Jim Heintz. SENT: 750 words, photos.


SEATTLE - To many Americans, especially in her hometown of Seattle, Amanda Knox seems the victim, unfairly hounded by a capricious foreign legal system for the death of a 21-year-old British woman. But in Italy and elsewhere in Europe, others see her as someone who got away with murder, embroiled in a case that continues to make global headlines and reinforces a negative image of Americans behaving badly — even criminally — abroad without any punishment. As she remains free in the U.S., these perceptions will not only fuel the debate about who killed Meredith Kercher in 2007 and what role, if any, Knox played in her death, but also about whether U.S. authorities should, if asked, send her to Italy to face prison. By Gene Johnson. SENT: 930 words, photos.

— ITALY-KNOX TRIAL — Knox’s ex-boyfriend: never intended to flee, was planning a trip if acquitted but returned. SENT: 130 words, photos.


JACKSON, Miss. — To hear Natasha Stewart tell it, she was just trying to help an insecure woman when she helped arrange for her to get silicone injections in her buttocks, shots that prosecutors say were deadly. A jury disagreed, convicting Stewart on Friday of culpable negligence manslaughter. Stewart, of suburban Memphis, Tenn., was found guilty Friday in Jackson, Miss., in the death of 37-year-old Karima Gordon of Atlanta. Authorities say Stewart, an adult entertainer also known as Pebbelz Da Model, took $200 for a referral to the alleged injector and falsely represented that the injector was a nurse. By Holbrook Mohr. SENT: 655 words, photos.


NEW YORK — Pete Carroll and John Fox smiled as they stood and posed next to the Lombardi Trophy. By Sunday night, one of the Super Bowl coaches will be holding it up in victory. The other will be left thinking about next season. By Dennis Waszak Jr. SENT: 826 words, photos.

— SUPER BOWL-PARTIES — Mary J. Blige, John Legend, Marc Anthony heat up Super Bowl party scene in New York. SENT: 130 words.

— OBAMA-IMMIGRATION — GOP lawmakers wary of immigration issue despite Obama’s newfound flexibility on citizenship. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

— OBAMA — Obama, in weekly address, says US can take steps to help more people join, stay in middle class. UPCOMING: 130 words at 6 a.m.



NEW YORK — For those who were there, it was like the Super Bowl without the bother of football. For listeners of the Howard Stern Birthday Bash that aired live Friday on SiriusXM radio, it was like the Golden Globes without the distraction of awards, but with Stern, lots of merry-making celebs, and at least as much free-flowing booze. By AP Television Writer Frazier Moore. SENT: 660 words, photos.


— FILM-LEX LUTHOR CASTING — Jesse Eisenberg cast as Lex Luthor for Superman-Batman film. SENT: 130 words.

— PORN FILMS-CONDOM FINE — Calif. porn film company is fined $78,000 for condom policy, other workplace safety violations. SENT: 490 words.


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