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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

October 10, 2013



BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei —Myanmar pledges to remove the remaining obstacles in its democratic transformation as it assumed the high-profile role of leading the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations. By Jim Gomez. SENT: 460 words, photos.


SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has replaced its hard line military chief just a few months after his appointment, the latest in an ongoing reshuffle of top personnel that analysts say is meant to solidify ruler Kim Jong Un’s grip on power. By Hyung-Jin Kim. SENT: 500 words, photos.


LAHORE, Pakistan — A police official says a bomb explosion in a restaurant in a busy market in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore has killed one person and wounded 11. SENT: 100 words.


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Thousands of anti-government protesters gather on the fringes of Taiwan’s carefully choreographed National Day celebrations, waving banners and chanting slogans denouncing the policies of President Ma Ying-jeou. The large-scale protests against his increasingly unpopular government are the first to dog the normally staid National Day observance since Ma entered office in 2008. By Peter Enav. SENT: 420 words, photos.


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he has canceled a scheduled trip to the Philippines due to the threat posed by tropical storm Nari. Forecasters say the storm could strike the northern Philippines as a typhoon as early as Friday. By Matthew Lee. SENT: 170 words, photos.


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei — The United States and Vietnam are moving to boost cooperation in the energy sector by signing a deal on civilian nuclear power that will allow American firms into the market and commits the Vietnamese to not produce ingredients for atomic weapons. By Matthew Lee. SENT: 140 words.


BRUSSELS — NATO’s secretary-general sharply rejects Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s view that the presence of international troops in his country caused much suffering but achieved few gains. Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the progress achieved in Afghanistan “is remarkable and it cannot be denied.” SENT: 130 words.


TOKYO — The head of the U.N. nuclear agency says Japan should work harder to address international concerns about leaks of contaminated water at its crippled Fukushima nuclear plant and that his agency will jointly monitor radiation levels in the nearby ocean. SENT: 370 words.


KATMANDU, Nepal — An official says a Muslim candidate in upcoming elections for Nepal’s Constituent Assembly has died nearly a week after being shot in his home district. SENT: 130 words.


MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government’s new restaurant guide doesn’t tell you where the best food is, but whether you may be patronizing a tax cheat. The Bureau of Internal Revenue and the Finance Department have started running weekly ads in major newspapers and websites listing top-ranked restaurants based on TripAdvisor reviews along with the amount of tax each restaurant paid. By Teresa Cerojano. SENT: 300 words.



BEIJING — China has achieved another world-beating status its leaders don’t want: Biggest oil importer. China passed the United States in September as the world’s biggest net oil importer, driven by faster economic growth and strong auto sales, according to U.S. government data released this week. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 680 words, photos.


JAKARTA, Indonesia — Construction kicks off in the Indonesian capital for a long-awaited urban railway aimed at staving off crippling traffic gridlock. By Ali Kotarumalos. SENT: 300 words, photos.


WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Five months after the New Zealand government started a new round of contentious asset sales with the IPO of a state-owned power generator, the company announced it plans to buy back some of its shares. Mighty River Power says the move is a prudent way to return capital to shareholders. But opposition lawmakers said the company is trying to boost its lackluster stock price and that the move highlights broader problems in the government’s asset sales policy. By Nick Perry. SENT: 430 words.



BANGKOK — Thailand’s transport minister got some advice from his mother when she learned he was going to bike the chaotic streets of Bangkok to open a bicycle campaign: “Bring your ID card. In case you get run over, they can contact home.” Bicycling has long been almost nonexistent in this city of 10 million, where those who dare to pedal must cope with unfriendly road designs, crumbling pavement, sweltering heat and growing hordes of cars, buses and motorcycles. By Thanyarat Doksone. SENT: 900 words, photos.



BUSAN, South Korea — A movie funded by donations and crowding-funding investments from nearly 7,000 people has highlighted the battle of a Samsung factory worker’s family to win compensation for her death from leukemia in the face of media indifference and corporate obstruction. “Another Family,” which premiered during the 18th Busan International Film Festival, is a fictional account based on the story of Hwang Yu-mi, who died aged 23 from leukemia in 2007, four years after joining Samsung’s memory chip factory in Yongin, South Korea. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 750 words, photos.



TRIPOLI, Libya — Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zidan is freed from captivity just hours after gunmen abducted him at dawn from the hotel where he resides in the capital. The brazen seizure — apparently in retaliation for the U.S. special forces’ raid over the weekend that seized a Libyan al-Qaida suspect from the streets of Tripoli — reflects the deep chaos and lawlessness gripping Libya. By Esam Mohammed and Maggie Michael. SENT: 610 words, photo, video.


STOCKHOLM — Canadian writer Alice Munro wins this year’s Nobel Prize in literature. The Swedish Academy, which selects Nobel literature winners, called her a “master of the contemporary short story.” Last year’s award went to Mo Yan of China. By Karl Ritter and Malin Rising. SENT: 800 words, photos, video, graphic, interactive.

— NOBEL GLANCE 2013 — Your guide to the 2013 Nobel Prizes: Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace and Economy. SENT: 360 words, photos.

— EU-SAKHAROV PRIZE — Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai wins top EU human rights Sakharov Prize. SENT: 260 WORDS, photos.


WASHINGTON — Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew testifies before the Senate Finance Committee about the budget impasse in Washington and its effect on the government’s $16.7 trillion borrowing limit. Congress is under pressure to raise the borrowing limit this month or risk a catastrophic default on the nation’s debt. Lew has said the government won’t be able to pay all its bills after Oct. 17 and could suffer a downturn worse than the Great Recession if the nation defaults. UPCOMING: 130 words by 1300 GMT, 300 words by 1400 GMT.

— BUDGET BATTLE — Obama is hosting top House Republicans to seek an opening in an impasse that has shuttered much of the government. SENT: 780 words, photo.


YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is David Thurber. 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 1700 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

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