BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS
NEW ZEALAND-SNOWDEN ON SPYING
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Former National Security Agency systems analyst turned leaker Edward Snowden says the NSA is collecting mass surveillance data on New Zealanders through its XKeyscore program and has set up a facility in the South Pacific nation’s largest city to tap into vast amounts of data. By Nick Perry. SENT: 440 words, photos.
NEW ZEALAND-DOTCOM’S CAMPAIGN
WELLINGTON, New Zealand — At a recent political rally in Wellington, indicted Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom jokingly asked members of New Zealand’s spy agency to raise their hands. “Please don’t worry,” he said, to rising laughter and applause. “Even though we are going to shut you down, we will find you guys new jobs.” Dotcom has been drawing large, enthusiastic crowds on the campaign trail, even as he fights extradition attempts by the U.S. on racketeering charges over his now-shuttered file-sharing site Megaupload. By Nick Perry. SENT: 690 words, photos.
BANGKOK — Two British tourists are found battered to death on a beach on a scenic island in southern Thailand that is one of the country’s most popular diving destinations. Their nearly naked bodies were discovered on Koh Tao, a small island in the Gulf of Thailand. SENT: 330 words, photos.
MANILA, Philippines — A fast-moving typhoon blows out of the northern Philippines after causing flash floods and landslides. Three people died when big waves and strong winds sank a stalled ferry over the weekend. The government weather bureau said the eye of Typhoon Kalmaegi was moving northwest toward southern China. SENT: 340 words, photos.
— CHINA-FLOODS — Heavy rains in China’s southwest kill at least 19 people and leave 20 missing, with tens of thousands of people evacuated due to flooding. SENT: 140 words.
JAKARTA, Indonesia — Four suspected Islamic militants arrested in Indonesia over the weekend are members of China’s ethnic Uighur minority community and were trying to meet Indonesia’s most wanted extremist, authorities say. Police said they were investigating whether the four had links to the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq. By Niniek Karmini. SENT: 370 words.
BEIJING — A well-known 81-year-old Chinese writer is taken from his Beijing home and detained by police after he wrote several articles critical of a senior politician, his wife says. Police took away Huang Zerong, better known as Tieliu, and issued a notice later that he had been detained on the vague charge of causing trouble, she said. SENT: 170 words.
BEIJING — Chinese film director Wang Quan’an, a Berlin International Film Festival winner known for the movies “Tuya’s Marriage” and “White Deer Plain,” has been detained on the charge of hiring prostitutes, Beijing police say. Wang is the latest person caught up in a broad anti-vice campaign in which Chinese authorities appear to be making examples out of celebrities accused of engaging in prostitution or using drugs. SENT: 250 words, photos.
PORTOROZ, Slovenia — Pro- and anti-whaling countries are set to clash over Japan’s intention to resume the hunting in the Antarctic next year despite a ruling by the top U.N. court. Japan’s controversial plans will lead the agenda at the International Whaling Commission four-day meeting in the Slovenian Adriatic Sea resort of Portoroz. SENT: 140 words.
TOKYO — Reaching the century mark remains a relative rarity for humans, but it is increasingly less so, and perhaps nowhere more than in rapidly aging Japan. The number of Japanese who are at least 100 years old, known as centenarians, has reached 58,820, according to the latest government estimate, released every September to mark Respect-for-the-Aged Day, a national holiday that falls on Monday. SENT: 200 words, photos.
BEIJING — Taking a cue from an American TV program, the Chinese city of Chongqing has created a smartphone sidewalk lane, offering a path for those too engrossed in messaging and tweeting to watch where they’re going. But the property manager says it’s intended to be ironic — to remind people that it’s dangerous to tweet while walking the street. By Didi Tang. SENT: 200 words, photos.
SYDNEY — Two Canadian-Vietnamese dual citizens are charged with smuggling heroin and methamphetamine worth 75 million Australian dollars ($68 million) hidden in a consignment of frozen fish fillets shipped from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney, officials say. They face life in prison if convicted. SENT: 200 words, photos.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE:
ALIBABA IPO-HONG KONG’S LOSS
HONG KONG — Alibaba’s choice of New York over Hong Kong for its blockbuster IPO was a blow for the Chinese financial center. Now, the city’s stock market is starting to rethink rules that stopped it from accommodating the Chinese e-commerce giant’s unique management setup. As China’s leading financial center with its own currency and separate Western-style legal system, Hong Kong has been the traditional first choice for Chinese enterprises going public outside the mainland. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 680 words, photos.
SINGAPORE — A Singapore Coroner’s Court has found that the American CEO of a virtual currency exchange committed suicide earlier this year in Singapore because of work and personal issues. The death on Feb. 26 of 28-year-old Autumn Radtke triggered media interest because it occurred not long after the high-profile collapse of the Mt. Gox bitcoin exchange in Tokyo. SENT: 170 words.
U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:
PARIS — As a multinational conference debates action against Islamic State militants, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says he has rejected a request from the United States because of Washington’s “unclean intentions.” Khamenei says Iran privately rejected the American request before the U.S. publicly disclosed its opposition to an Iranian role. By Lori Hinnant. SENT: 650 words, photos, video, interactive.
The Middle East has confounded outside powers for years, so it is no surprise that another U.S.-led project with a straightforward goal — destroying a marauding organization of fanatics — is bumping up against age-old rivalries and a nod-and-wink political culture. For the moment, there is support for the principle of reversing the territorial gains of the Islamic State group in Iraq. But getting concrete support is another matter, and there is a whiff of lip service about the proceedings. Much of the problem lies in the region’s Sunni-Shiite divide, which outsiders tend to underestimate again and again — only to see it emerging as the dominant factor once more. An AP News Analysis. By Dan Perry. SENT: 1,100 words, photos, interactive.
BRUSSELS — If Scots say “yes” to this week to independence, not only will they disunify the United Kingdom — they’ll also set an example that could encourage other stateless peoples of Europe, downgrade British influence in the Europe Union and force NATO planners to rethink the alliance’s defense posture. By John-Thor Dahlburg. SENT: 940 words, photos, video.
— SCOTLAND INDEPENDENCE-BECKHAM — David Beckham urges voters in Scotland to say “no” to independence. SENT: 120 words, photos.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. strategy in fighting Ebola is two-pronged: step up efforts to deliver desperately needed supplies and people to West Africa, while making sure hospitals at home know what to do if someone travels here with the infection. In addition to shipments of hospital beds and protective suits, the government is taking unusual steps to encourage a variety of health care workers to volunteer to go to the outbreak zone — and is offering some training before they head out. Here are questions and answers on the U.S. response. By Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard. SENT: 870 words, photos.
CABO SAN LUCAS, Mexico — Residents and tourists hunker down in shelters and hotel conference rooms as powerful and sprawling Hurricane Odile made landfall on the southern Baja California peninsula, home to megaresorts, fishing villages and low-lying neighborhoods of flimsy homes. By Ignacio Martinez de Jesus and Alba Mora Roca. SENT: 710 words, photos.
DENVER —Authorities are increasingly concerned about a hoax in which video game players lash out at online opponents by making fake 911 calls that send SWAT teams to their homes. The hoax, known as “swatting,” originally targeted celebrities. Experts say it’s now becoming more popular with gamers seeking retaliation. By Sadie Gurman. SENT: 690 words, photo.
STOCKHOLM — Sweden’s Social Democrat-led bloc officially begins the struggle to form a government on Monday, a day after it ousted the center-right ruling coalition in parliamentary elections but fell short of a majority. After eight years in power, conservative Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt conceded defeat after his bloc lost support with 142 seats in the 349-seat Parliament while the opposition Social Democrat-led Red-Green won 158 seats. SENT: 320 words, photo.
CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuela’s chronic shortages have begun to encroach on a cultural cornerstone: the boob job. Beauty-obsessed Venezuelans face a scarcity of brand-name breast implants, and women are so desperate that they and their doctors are turning to devices that are the wrong size or made in China with less rigorous quality standards. By Hannah Dreier. SENT: 850 words, photos, video.
GREECE ISLAND-MISSING TOURISM-PHOTO ESSAY
IOANNINA, Greece — Pamvotis Island is missing out on Greece’s tourism boom, hurt by its geography and the country’s severe financial crisis. Not in the Aegean or the Ionian Seas, the island is in a lake near Greece’s border with Albania, and was popular domestic destination before Greece came to the brink of bankruptcy four years ago. An AP Photo Essay. By Thanassis Stavrakis. SENT: 170 words. Photos by Stavrakis.
OAKHURST, Calif. — Two raging wildfires in California force hundreds of people to evacuate their homes, including one near a lakeside resort town that burned nearly two dozen structures. The blaze, sparked near Bass Lake in Central California, prompted authorities to evacuate about 1,000 residents out of about 400 homes, a Madera County Sheriff’s spokeswoman says. SENT: 280 words, photos, video.
WEALTH GAP-STATE REVENUE
WASHINGTON — Income inequality is taking a toll on state governments. The widening gap between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else has been matched by a slowdown in state tax revenue, according to a report by Standard & Poor’s. By Economics Writer Josh Boak. SENT: 990 words, photo.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Miss New York Kira Kazantsev has been named the new Miss America, marking the third consecutive year that a contestant from the Empire State has walked away with the crown in the nationally televised pageant. By Wayne Parry. SENT: 470 words, photos, video.
LOS ANGELES — Actress Daniele Watts, who appeared in “Django Unchained,” is complaining that she was handcuffed and briefly put in the back of a squad car after a public display of affection with her white companion. Brian Lucas told KCBS-TV in a joint interview with Watts that he suspects police mistook the black actress for a prostitute “because he was asking me questions like, ’Who is she? How do you know her? Are you together?” SENT: 260 words, photo.
ALSO GETTING ATTENTION
— UKRAINE — East Ukraine city council says six killed, 15 wounded in worst fighting since cease-fire imposed. SENT: 430 words, photos.
— NORTHERN IRELAND-PAISLEY — Northern Ireland leaders plan public tributes to Paisley as private funeral held in Belfast. SENT: 140 words.
— HILLARY CLINTON-IOWA — Hillary Clinton’s first Iowa trip since 2008 setback kicks 2016 run speculation into overdrive. SENT: 580 words, photos, video.
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