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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

December 2, 2014

ASIA:

SKOREA-FISHING SHIP SINKS

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean officials express fear of a huge death toll after rescuers failed to find any of the more than 50 fishermen missing after their ship sank amid high waves in the freezing waters of the western Bering Sea on Monday. Authorities rescued seven crew members and recovered one body, but weather and water conditions complicated the search for the others, an official from the South Korean fisheries and oceans ministry said on condition of anonymity because of office rules. By Kim Tong-Hyung. SENT: 500 words, photos.

CHINA-DEMOCRACY-TWO ISLANDS

TAIPEI, Taiwan — An electoral pummeling for Taiwan’s pro-Beijing ruling party and a new spike in pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong have delivered a reality check to Chinese President Xi Jinping just when he was riding a wave of high-profile diplomacy. Xi’s message of a better economic future by joining forces with Beijing rather than aligning against it doesn’t seem to be working with the electorate in Taiwan, where voters turned out in droves over the weekend to support the chief opposition Democratic Progressive Party in local elections. SENT: 1,080 words, photos.

CHINA-COAL GOAL

TANG COUNTY, China - Even as Chinese leaders try to cut carbon emissions by scaling back on coal use, the cement and steel plants are still billowing soot and smoke in Hebei province just outside of Beijing, and millions of people still burn coal there to stay warm during the winter. For China to do its part in curbing climate change, it must transform industrial areas such as Hebei that have long depended on an endless supply of cheap coal. By Jack Chang. UPCOMING by 0600GMT: 900 words, photos.

KOREAS-TENSION

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea says it had approved a Christian group’s plan to set up and illuminate a large Christmas tree near the border with North Korea in spite of the almost certain fury it will provoke from Pyongyang. South Korea dismantled a 43-year-old frontline Christmas tree-shaped tower in October because of safety worries. The structure stoked tensions because officially atheist Pyongyang saw it as propaganda warfare. SENT: 260 words.

VIETNAM-BLOGGER ARRESTED

HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnamese police have detained a blogger for posting comments critical of the communist government in the latest crackdown on dissent. Hong Le Tho, 65, was taken into police custody in southern commercial hub of Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement posted on its web site. The statement says his house was searched. SENT, photos.

SKOREA-THANKSGIVING SHOPPERS

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea does not celebrate Thanksgiving, but the hot deals at the U.S. retailers during the shopping season are changing habits of South Koreans who are fed up with marked-up prices of imported goods at local retailers. The growing trend known as “jikgoo” in local lingo, meaning a direct purchase, has forced South Korean retailers to cut prices during the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday to get those shoppers back. By Youkyung Lee. UPCOMING: 800 words by 0700 GMT, photos.

INDONESIA-CHILD ABUSE CHARGES

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A Canadian teacher and an Indonesia teaching assistant have gone on trial accused of sexually abusing a kindergartner on the campus of a prestigious international school. SENT: 100 words.

US & INTERNATIONAL

OBAMA-FERGUSON

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama asks federal agencies for concrete recommendations to ensure the U.S. isn’t building a “militarized culture” within police departments, as he promotes the use of body cameras by police in the wake of the shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old in Ferguson, Missouri. By Nedra Pickler. SENT: 850 words, photos.

— FERGUSON — A St. Louis police association criticizes five Rams players for a gesture intended to show their solidarity with Ferguson protesters. SENT: 680 words, photos.

— FERGUSON-NEWS GUIDE — A glance at developments in the Ferguson shooting case. SENT: 700 words, photos, video.

PERU-CLIMATE TALKS

LIMA, Peru — With 2014 on track to become the warmest year on record and time running short, more than 190 nations began talks on a new worldwide deal to limit greenhouse gas emissions and keep global warming from causing irreversible damage. New targets for fossil fuel use were announced ahead of the climate conference by the U.S., the European Union and China, the first Asian nation to make such a pledge. By Karl Ritter and Frank Bajak. SENT, photos.

SYRIA-INSIDE KOBANI

KOBANI, Syria — Amid the Islamic State group battle with Kurdish fighters, an exclusive AP report finds how civilians are coping in the besieged Syrian town of Kobani on the border with Turkey. SENT: 560 words, photos, video.

— TOP VIDEO INSIDE KOBANI 2 — Kobani is in ruins but some civilians remain.

— ISLAMIC STATE — Iraq’s prime minister dismisses 24 officials in the Interior Ministry to restructure the security apparatus. SENT: 780 words, photos.

NIGERIA-VIOLENCE

BAUCHI, Nigeria — Suspected Islamic extremists strike two state capitals in northeastern Nigeria, with a deadly double bombing at a market and an attack on a police base. The attacks are the latest in a week of insurgent violence that has claimed more than 170 lives. By Haruna Umar and Adamu Adamu. SENT: 570 words, photos.

TURKEY-RUSSIA

ANKARA, Turkey — Russia is scrapping the South Stream natural gas pipeline project amid opposition from the European Union and may cooperate with Turkey on building a gas hub for southern Europe. President Vladimir Putin revealed the plans after talks with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara. By Suzan Fraser. SENT: 480 words, photos.

RUSSIA-JAILED AMERICAN

MOSCOW — Last year, he tried to bring NFL star Tim Tebow to Moscow to play for his American football team on a $1 million-per-game contract. Now, accused of breaking a window, American businessman Mike Zaltsman shares a jail cell with drug dealers. By James Ellingworth and Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 1,370 words, photo.

UNITED NATIONS-POWER AND PARALYSIS

UNITED NATIONS — The Ebola epidemic and Syria’s civil war cast a spotlight on the inadequacies of the United Nations as it tries to operate in today’s world with a power structure that hasn’t changed since 1945. By Edith M. Lederer: SENT: 1,800 words, photos. An 800-word abridged version also moved.

— UNITED NATIONS-FIVE PROBLEMS — A look at the top problems impeding U.N. operations. SENT: 670 words.

NASA-ORION TEST FLIGHT

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s quest to send astronauts out into the solar system begins with a two-laps-around-Earth test flight this week. Thursday’s debut of the new Orion spacecraft will lack a crew and last just 4½ hours, but authorities hope the capsule eventually will take humans to Mars. By Aerospace Writer Marcia Dunn. SENT: 940 words, photos.

HOLIDAY SHOPPING-CYBER MONDAY

NEW YORK — Cyber Monday is traditionally the busiest online shopping day of the year, but it’s in danger of losing its crown as more people shop online during other days. By Mae Anderson. SENT: 830 words, photos. UPCOMING: Updates throughout the day.

APPLE IPOD TRIAL

A billion-dollar lawsuit over Apple’s iPod music players heads to trial on Tuesday in a California federal court. A key witness will be legendary Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who died in 2011 but will be heard in a videotaped deposition. By Brandon Bailey. SENT: 810 words, photos.

BOEING 787-PROBE

WASHINGTON — A short circuit likely caused by a manufacturing defect sparked a battery fire in a Boeing 787 airliner last year, and fault extends to both the plane’s maker and federal regulators, government investigators conclude. By Joan Lowy. SENT: 960 words, photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

—MUSIC-BONO — The Boss becomes Bono: Springsteen sings with U2; Chris Martin, Kanye West also perform in NYC

— MENNONITE-DRUG CARTEL — Prosecutors say a group of Mennonites teamed up with a Mexican drug cartel to move tons of pot into the United States. SENT: 340 words, photos.

—OBAMA DAUGHTERS-CONGRESSIONAL AIDE RESIGNS — An aide to a Republican congressman resigns over her Facebook-posted criticism of Obama’s daughters’ demeanor. SENT: 490 words, photo.

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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.

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