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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

April 21, 2014

ASIA:

SKOREA-SHIP SINKING

JINDO, South Korea — South Korean President Park Geun-hye says the captain and some crew members of the sunken ferry committed “unforgivable, murderous acts” in the disaster, which left more than 300 people missing or dead. By Gillian Wong and Hyung-Jin Kim. SENT: 1,340 words, photos, video, audio.

— SKOREA-SHIP-STAYING BELOW DECK — Delay in evacuation of SKorean car ferry puzzles maritime experts. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

— SKOREA-SHIP SINKING-TRANSCRIPT — In maritime transcript, ferry says ‘we can’t move,’ and authorities urge, ‘make them escape!’ SENT: 1,400 words, photos.

MALAYSIA-PLANE

PERTH, Australia — As the search continues off the coast of Australia for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, the airline announces another plane bound for India has been forced to make an emergency landing after one of its tires burst on takeoff. All 159 passengers and seven crew members arrived safely back in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, about 2 a.m., about four hours after the plane took off for Bangalore, India. By Margie Mason. SENT: 750 words, photos, video, audio.

NEPAL-EVEREST AVALANCHE

KATMANDU, Nepal — Sherpa guides on Mount Everest are considering a climbing boycott after the deadliest avalanche in the mountain’s history, a move that could seriously disrupt the rest of the climbing season, a mountaineering official says. By Binaj Gurubacharya. SENT: 525 words, photos.

CHINA-JAPAN-TROUBLED HISTORY

NANJING, China — Strolling through China’s sprawling memorial to a 1937 massacre by Japanese troops, a 64-year-old retired teacher said the incident remains an open wound. “Japan is a country without credibility. They pretend to be friendly, but they can’t be trusted,” Qi Houjie said as a frigid wind swept the austere plaza of the Nanking Massacre Memorial Hall. Across the waters, Japanese visiting a Shinto shrine in Tokyo that enshrines 14 convicted war criminals say they’re tired of Chinese harping. By Christopher Bodeen and Mari Yamaguchi. UPCOMING 800 words by 0800 GMT, photos.

— JAPAN-WAR SHRINE-ABE — — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sent a religious offering to a Tokyo shrine that honors the dead, including executed war criminals — long a source of tension with Japan’s neighbors China and South Korea. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 400 words, photo.

MYANMAR-OBIT-WIN TIN

YANGON, Myanmar — Win Tin, a prominent journalist who became Myanmar’s longest-serving political prisoner after challenging military rule by co-founding the National League for Democracy, has died. He was 85. By Aye Aye Win. SENT: 500 words, photos.

THAILAND-MISSING ACTIVIST

BANGKOK — An international human rights group is calling on Thai authorities to investigate the disappearance of a prominent environmental activist. By Thanyarat Doksone. SENT: 370 words.

PHILIPPINES-COMMUNIST REBELS

MANILA, Philippines — Philippine officials say at least 15 suspected communist rebels disguised as police fatally shot a northern town mayor and his two bodyguards during a flag-raising ceremony. SENT: 200 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

WORLD MARKETS

BEIJING — Asian stocks are mixed in light trading after Japan reported a jump in its trade deficit and investors looked ahead to economic data this week from China and Korea. Oil declined but stayed above $104 per barrel amid concern over simmering tensions in Ukraine. SENT: 320 words.

JAPAN-ECONOMY

TOKYO — Japan’s trade deficit surged nearly 70 percent to a record 13.75 trillion yen ($134 billion) in the last fiscal year, the third straight year of deficit, as exports failed to keep pace with surging energy costs. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 500 words.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

VATICAN-EASTER

VATICAN CITY — Marking Christianity’s most hopeful day, Pope Francis makes an Easter Sunday plea for peace and dialogue in Ukraine and Syria, for an end to terrorist attacks against Christians in Nigeria and for more attention to the hungry and neediest close to home. Well over 150,000 tourists — Romans and pilgrims, young and old — turn out for the Mass that Francis celebrated at an altar set up under a canopy on the steps of St. Peter’s Basilica. By Frances D’Emilio. SENT: 730 words, pictures, video.

— EASTER-PHOTO GALLERY — From the splendor of the Vatican to some of the world’s most troubled regions, Christians worldwide sought hope in their religion’s holiest event — the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. SENT: 450 words, photos.

— AP VIDEO POPE_EASTER — Pope Francis rode out on the popemobile to greet more than 150,000 tourists in St. Peter’s Square for Easter.

— AP PHOTO ALT107 — A large crowd is seen at St. Peter’s Square during Pope Francis’ Easter Mass.

BOSTON MARATHON-PROFOUNDLY IMPACTED

BOSTON — Nursing student Sarah Gesse was working as a volunteer at the finish line of the Boston Marathon when the bombs exploded on Boylston Street. This year, she will run in the race, “one more runner proving how strong Boston really is.” Gesse obtained her bib number through a special application process added to include those “personally and profoundly” affected by last year’s attacks. By Jimmy Golen. SENT: 1,600 words, photos by 2:30 p.m.

— BOSTON MARATHON-MOOD — Amid preparations for the marathon, between carbo-loading and readying race gear, runners paused to remember the victims of last year’s bombing. SENT: 400 words, photos.

ISRAEL-TALE OF TWO TEENS

WEST BANK — The boys were both 15, with the crackly voices and awkward peach fuzz of adolescence. They lived just a few minutes away from one another in the West Bank. And both were accused of throwing stones at vehicles, one day after the other. But there was a crucial difference that helped to shape each boy’s fate: One was Israeli, and the other Palestinian. The tale of the two teens provides a stark example of the vast disparities of Israel’s justice system in the West Bank, a contested area at the heart of the elusive search for a lasting peace. Israeli and Palestinian youths face inequities at every stage in the path of justice, according to police statistics obtained by The Associated Press through freedom of information laws. By Daniel Estrin and Josef Federman. SENT: 2,100 words, photos.

— ISRAEL-TALE OF TWO TEENS-GLANCE — A look at the dual justice system in the West Bank. SENT: 130 words, photo.

APNEWSBREAK: IVORY POACHING

WASHINGTON — Political and military elites are seizing protected areas in one of Africa’s last bastions for elephants, putting broad swaths of Zimbabwe at risk of becoming fronts for ivory poaching, according to a nonprofit research group’s report that examines government collusion in wildlife trafficking. Zimbabwe has maintained robust elephant populations compared with other countries on the continent. But economic penalties imposed by the United States and Europe have led Zimbabweans with ties to President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party to find new methods of making money. The report, set for release Monday, says they may be turning to elephants’ highly valued ivory tusks. By Richard Lardner. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

OBIT-CARTER

TORONTO — Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice that was publicized in a 1975 Bob Dylan song and a film starring Denzel Washington, has died at 76. Carter spent 19 years in prison for three murders at a tavern in Paterson, N.J., in 1966. He was briefly freed in 1976, but sent back for nine more years after a second conviction. “Just because a jury of 12 misinformed people ... found me guilty did not make me guilty,” he said in an interview on PBS in 2011. By Greg Beacham. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

MORE ON EASTER

SYRIA

BEIRUT — Syria’s president marks Easter with a tour of an ancient Christian village recently recaptured by his forces, an important symbolic prize for the government in its quest to be seen as protector of religious minorities, including Syria’s Christians. This comes ahead of a planned presidential election in May that embattled President Bashar Assad likely will run in. By Barbara Surk. SENT: 750 words, photos.

NIGERIA-EASTER

LAGOS, Nigeria — With little to celebrate, Nigerians marked Easter Sunday with heightened security against a spreading Islamic uprising, mourning the deaths of at least 75 bomb blast victims and fearful of the fate of 85 abducted schoolgirls. The homegrown terrorist network Boko Haram on Saturday claimed responsibility for last week’s rush-hour explosion at a busy bus station in the capital, Abuja, and threatened more attacks. By Michelle Faul. SENT: 850 words, photos.

— EASTER PARADE — The Easter Parade marches down New York City’s Fifth Avenue with whimsical and creative hat wear. By Verena Dobnik. SENT: 400 words, photos.

UKRAINE

BYLBASIVKA, Ukraine — Within hours of a deadly Easter morning shootout at a checkpoint manned by pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine, Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement putting the blame on militant Ukrainian nationalists and Russian state television stations aired pictures of the supposed proof. The presented evidence — particularly a business card said to have been found in the attackers’ charred vehicle — was met with widespread ridicule in Ukraine. Still the clash also raised fears that Russia could use it as a pretext to send in troops. By Yuras Karmanau. SENT: 920 words, photos.

LEBANON-CHANGING SKYLINE

BEIRUT — One by one, the old traditional houses of Beirut are vanishing as luxury towers sprout up on every corner, altering the city’s skyline almost beyond recognition amid an ongoing construction frenzy seemingly immune to tensions from the civil war raging next door. Beirut is no different than Dubai, Doha or other major world cities overtaken by a global trend for modern, tall buildings. But in a country that prides itself on its rich history, many complain that Lebanon is losing its charm and character, often said to be the only thing going for it. By Zeina Karam. SENT: 970 words, photos.

BIOFUELS-GLOBAL WARMING

WASHINGTON — A study paid for by the federal government says biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a finding that challenges the Obama administration’s conclusions that such fuels are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help fight climate change. The biofuels industry and the administration say the study is flawed. By Dina Cappiello. SENT: 880 words, photos.

NATIONAL

STANDARDIZED TESTS-BRAND NAMES

NEW YORK — “Just Do It” has been a familiar Nike slogan for years but some parents are wondering what it was doing on some of New York’s Common Core standardized English tests. Brands including Barbie, iPod, Mug Root Beer and Life Savers also showed up on the tests more than a million students in grades 3 through 8 took earlier this month, leading to accusations it was product placement advertising. New York state education officials and the test publisher say the brand references were not paid product placement but just happened to be contained in previously published passages selected for the tests. By Karen Matthews. SENT: 750 words, photos.

SUBMARINE SLEEP SCHEDULES

GROTON, Conn. — With no sunlight to set day apart from night on a submarine, the Navy for decades has staggered sailors’ working hours on schedules with little resemblance to life above the ocean’s surface. Research by a Navy laboratory in Groton is now leading to changes for the undersea fleet. Military scientists concluded submarine sailors, who traditionally begin a new workday every 18 hours, show less fatigue on a 24-hour schedule, and the Navy has endorsed the findings for any skippers who want to make the switch. By Michael Melia. SENT: 600 words, photos.

RETHINKING POT-4/20

DENVER — Sunday’s April 20 marijuana festival in Denver is the first since recreational pot became legal in Colorado — and reflecting the changes, it’s being billed as less of an ad hoc political rally and more of a festival. Organizers are screening attendees and trying to shake the memory of last year’s event, marred by a still-unsolved shooting. By midday, Denver police said they issued 28 citations for public consumption of marijuana — which remains illegal — and arrested one person accused of attempting to distribute the drug. By Nicholas Riccardi. SENT: 670 words, photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— BOX OFFICE — “Captain America” soars to top of box office for 3rd week, Johnny Depp film opens in 4th place. SENT: 130 words, photos.

— ALGERIA MILITANTS — Islamist insurgents ambush an Algerian military convoy in the mountains, killing 14 soldiers two days after Algeria’s presidential election. SENT: 300 words.

—SPAIN ART DEALER-FRAUD — A Spanish businessman wanted by U.S. authorities for allegedly having dealt in millions of dollars of fake art is arrested during Easter festivities in southern Spain. SENT: 270 words.

— SPACE STATION — Easter morning delivery for space station; SpaceX shipment arrives 2 days after Fla. Launch. SENT: 370 words, photos, video.

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