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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

October 9, 2014



DHAMALA HAKIMWALA, Pakistan — Iram Shazadi was making breakfast for her family when bullets started whizzing through her dusty Pakistani village just a half-kilometer from the Indian-controlled area of disputed Kashmir. Then a mortar shell fired by Indian forces slammed into her home, killing her two young sons and her husband’s mother in the worst spasm of violence in the tense Himalayan region in years. So far, 18 people — nine on each side — have died, and tens of thousands have fled their homes. “I lost my whole world,” Shazadi said while recovering from injuries at a military hospital. She sat crying next to her 6-year-old son, who narrowly escaped the blast. By Anjum Naveed and Aijaz Hussain. UPCOMING: 800 words by 0700 GMT, photos.


TOKYO — Evening viewers in much of Asia and early risers in parts of the Americas are treated to a stunning lunar eclipse, though clouds obscured it for some. SENT: 225 words, photos, video.

— AP PHOTO FLWL203 — The Earth’s shadow begins to fall over the moon during a total lunar eclipse, behind a weathervane shaped like a Spanish galleon in Miami.


CANBERRA, Australia — An Australian couple has rejected their biological child born to an Indian surrogate mother because of the baby’s gender, but has taken home its twin sibling, a judge says. News of the case that dates back to 2012 follows a recent furor over an Australian couple that left behind a disabled twin born to a Thai surrogate mother that prompted a ban on commercial surrogacy in Thailand. By Rod Mcguirk. SENT: 480 words.


HANOI, Vietnam — A Vietnamese oil tanker missing for a week is released by pirates who stormed the ship and siphoned off some of its cargo, a crew member says. By Minh V. Tran. SENT: 305 words. Incorporates Vietnam-Piracy.


KOLKATA, India — A 44-year-old Kolkata man has pedaled his bicycle-rickshaw more than 3,000 kilometers — and up to altitudes above 5,000 meters — to reach the Himalayan region of Ladakh. Why? To be the first to do it, of course. Next, he’ll seek to make the feat official through a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records. 500 words expected. By Manik Banerjee. UPCOMING: 500 words by 0700 GMT, photos.


SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean prosecutors have indicted a Japanese journalist on charges he defamed South Korea’s president by reporting rumors that she was absent for seven hours during the April ferry disaster because she was with a man, according to the journalist’s employer and the Japanese government. By Foster Klug. SENT: 765 words, photos.

— UNITED STATES-NORTH KOREA — The United States says North Korea is acknowledging it runs prison labor camps but there’s no sign it’s going to shut them down. SENT: 130 words.


PIKIT, Philippines — Two men on a motorcycle fire a grenade at the main gate of a Protestant church in the southern Philippines, killing two churchgoers and wounding three others, police say. SENT: 255 words.


YANGON, Myanmar — The Thai pilot of a helicopter that went missing in a mountainous part of Myanmar almost two weeks ago has been found and taken to hospital. SENT: 130 words.


WASHINGTON — Ancient cave drawings in Indonesia are as old as famous prehistoric art in Europe, according to a new study that shows human ancestors were drawing all over the world 40,000 years ago. By Seth Bornstein. SENT: 515 words, photos.



BANGKOK — Asian stocks rebound after Wall Street gained and the U.S. Federal Reserve signals it intends to keep interest rates low for now. By Joe Mcdonald. SENT: 455 words, photo.


NEW YORK — You may want to sit down for this. Then get up. Then sit down again. Because there’s a desk out there that tells you to do exactly that. It’s called the Stir Kinetic, and it’s probably the world’s first “smart” desk. It has a built-in touch screen, so you can see this either as a desk with an iPhone in it or an iPhone with a desk attached. By Peter Svensson. SENT: 930 words, photos.



MONROVIA, Liberia — First 16-year-old Promise Cooper’s mother fell ill with a fever and died on the way to the hospital. A few weeks later, her father developed the same fever and a headache. Her 5-month-old brother became listless and sick too, and refused to take a bottle. That’s when Promise knew this was not malaria. In the meantime, no one came by to check on the kids, not even their grandparents. Word, like the virus, was spreading through Liberia’s capital: The Coopers had Ebola. At least 3,700 children across Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone have lost at least one parent to Ebola, according to UNICEF, and that figure is expected to double by mid-October. The fear of contagion and death is unraveling family bonds in this deeply religious country, where relatives used to be willing to take in children. By Krista Larson. UPCOMING: 1,800 words by 1100 GMT, photos, video. An abridged version also will be available.


FRANKFURT, Germany — European authorities concede it’s possible someone unknowingly infected with Ebola virus could arrive arrive by air — but the chances are so low that they aren’t screening incoming passengers. If a sick person does get to Europe, health authorities will rely on isolation wards like the $1.5 million-euro facility at Frankfurt’s university hospital just miles from its busy airport. The U.N. health agency has urged Brussels Air and Air France to keep flying to West Africa to bring in supplies to fight the Ebola outbreak, but their pilots and crews are also on alert for Ebola cases. By David McHugh. UPCOMING: 850 words by 1600 GMT.

— EBOLA — President Barack Obama calls it a “belt and suspenders” approach — an extra level of screening at five major U.S. airports to try to catch any travelers from Ebola-ravaged countries who may be carrying the disease. SENT: 835 words, photos, video.

— EBOLA-IMF-WORLD BANK — The leaders of three Ebola-stricken West African nations are meeting with heads of the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to discuss the outbreak and what help they need to fight it. SENT: 130 words. Will be updated after meeting starts at 1130 GMT.

— EBOLA-DOGS — The protesters, chanting “Assassins!” as they scuffle with police in front of a suburban Madrid apartment complex, make their demand clear: No matter how desperate officials might be to stop the spread of Ebola, an innocent pet must not be made a casualty. SENT: 625 words, photos, video.


WASHINGTON — Even as it prods Turkey to step up in the global fight against Islamic State militants, the United States is worried that Ankara might use military action to target Kurdish fighters who are the last line of defense against extremists trying to take over the Syrian border town of Kobani. By Lara Jakes and Matthew Lee. SENT: 985 words.

— ISLAMIC STATE-KASSING — An American aid worker threatened with beheading in Syria had researched the region and knew the dangers, but he believed the good he could accomplish through his relief organization outweighed the risk, his friends says. SENT: 545 words, photos.


ISTANBUL — As U.S. generals and Secretary of State John Kerry warn that a strategic Syrian border town could fall to Islamic State militants, the Turkish military has deployed its tanks on its side of the frontier but only watched the slaughter. By Desmond Butler. SENT: 990 words, photos, video.

— AP PHOTO AXLP104 — A huge plume of smoke rises after an airstrike outside Kobani, Syria, as fighting intensified between Syrian Kurds and the militants of Islamic State group.

— AP VIDEO TURKEY_SYRIA_BORDER — An airstrike created a huge mushroom cloud near the Syrian border town of Kobani, where Kurdish forces are battling the Islamic State group.


LAS VEGAS — Confusion and uncertainty over gay marriage spreads as couples in Las Vegas wonder whether they’d be allowed to wed, and partners in Idaho deal with disappointment after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling blocked them moments before they would have picked up marriage licenses. By Kimberlee Kruesi and Kimberly Pierceall. SENT: 645 words, photos, video.


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is finding himself with few friends in Washington. His former Pentagon chief is criticizing his foreign policy. Longtime political advisers are questioning his campaign strategy. And Democrats locked in tough midterm campaigns don’t want Obama anywhere near them between now and Election Day next month. By Julie Pace. SENT: 815 words, photo.


CARACAS, Venezuela — It sounds like a page-turning novel: A gambling ring poisoned one of Venezuela’s most popular race horses, nearly killing the animal to keep it out of a key derby. The case has shone a light on increasingly brazen betting rings that racing enthusiasts warn are threatening to destroy one of Venezuela’s most popular sports. By Fabiola Sanchez. With photo essay by Fernando Llano. SENT: 600 words, photos.

— VENZUELA-SHOOTOUT — President Nicolas Maduro calls for an investigation into a confusing shootout with police that left a well-connected government supporter and four others dead. By Fabiola Sanchez and Jorge Rueda. SENT: 400 words.


CHILPANCINGO, Mexico — Tens of thousands of teachers, activists and residents march and block a major highway in the Guerrero state capital to protest the disappearance of 43 teachers college students and demand that authorities find them. By Mark Stevenson. SENT: 515 words, photos, video.


PANAMA CITY — A senior State Department official says the U.S. is prepared to welcome Cuba for the first time to a region-wide summit but wants heads of state to focus attention on the communist government’s human rights record. By Kathia Martinez. SENT: 335 words.



WASHINGTON — Scientists are moving a step closer to an artificial hand that can feel: Implanted electrodes allowed some amputees to tell by touch when to grasp gently — so they didn’t crush fruit — and when to squeeze. By Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard. SENT: 680 words, photo.


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.

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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