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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

January 5, 2015



SURABAYA, Indonesia — The weather improves and divers will attempt again to locate large objects on the ocean floor believed to be the fuselage of the AirAsia flight that crashed more than one week ago, killing all 162 on board. At least five ships with equipment that can detect the plane’s black boxes have been deployed to the area where the suspected plane parts were spotted. By Eileen Ng. SENT: 660 words, photos, video.


SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea criticizes the United States for slapping sanctions on Pyongyang officials and organizations for a cyberattack on Sony Pictures — the latest fallout from a Hollywood movie depicting the fictional assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. SENT: 560 words, photo.


TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan’s former President Chen Shui-bian has been granted a one-month medical parole for treatment of neural degeneration, more than four years into his 20-year prison sentence for corruption, the Justice Ministry announces. SENT: 180 words.


BEIJING — The chairman of Chinese smartphone brand Xiaomi says its sales more than doubled last year to $12.2 billion. In a posting on his company blog, Jun Lei said the 5-year-old company sold 61.1 million handsets, a 227 percent increase over 2013. Revenue rose 135 percent to 74.3 billion yuan ($12.2 billion).


BEIJING — China has eased controls on exports of rare earths, minerals used in mobile phones and other high-tech products, after losing a World Trade Organization case brought by Washington. Under the Ministry of Commerce’s trade guidelines for 2015, rare earths will no longer be covered by export quotas. Beijing imposed those quotas in 2009 while it tried to develop its own industry that transforms the minerals into lightweight magnets and other products.


CANBERRA, Australia — An official and media say New York hip hop artist Joey Bada$$ has been charged in Australia with assaulting a security guard before a performance last week. Bada$$ allegedly punched the guard, breaking his nose, before continuing to the stage. SENT: 130 words.


TOKYO — A single bluefin tuna has sold for 4.5 million yen ($37,500) in annual celebratory bidding at the first auction of the year at Tokyo’s famous fish market. Kiyoshi Kimura, the owner of a Japanese sushi restaurant chain, bought the 180-kilogram (400-pound) fish Monday at the re-opening of the Tsukiji market after the extended New Year’s break. SENT, photos.



VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis names 15 new cardinals, selecting them from 14 nations including far-flung corners of the world such as Tonga, New Zealand, Cape Verde and Myanmar to reflect the diversity of the church and its growth in places like Asia and Africa compared to affluent regions. By Frances D’Emilio. SENT: 700 words, photos.

— VATICAN-POPE-NEW CARDINALS-LIST — List of new cardinals named by Francis. SENT: 270 words.


WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama this week will test whether he still has the power to keep Washington focused on his own priorities, even as a new Republican-run Congress is eager to take him on. Fresh off a two-week Hawaii vacation, Obama immediately began preparing for his State of the Union address on Jan. 20 — his best chance to set the agenda for 2015 on his own terms. Obama will roll out new executive steps and proposals for Congress this week on home ownership, higher education and manufacturing jobs — a similar menu to the one he has offered in the past. SENT:


NEW YORK — Thousands of city police officers turn their backs as they watched Mayor Bill de Blasio eulogize an officer shot dead with his partner, repeating a stinging display of scorn for the mayor despite entreaties from the police commissioner not to do so. The show of disrespect came outside the funeral home where Officer Wenjian Liu, a Chinese immigrant, was remembered as an incarnation of the American dream. By Jonathan Lemire and Mike Balsamo. SENT: 820 words, photos, videos.


MIAMI — A spike in the number of Cubans attempting to reach the U.S. by boat or raft generated headlines in the months before President Barack Obama announced sweeping changes in U.S.-Cuba relations. But the numbers of Haitians and other Caribbean islanders making similar journeys are up even more. U.S. officials worry the surge will increase as news spreads about recent changes in immigration policy, even if those changes don’t affect most of those coming ashore. By Jennifer Kay. SENT: 970 words, photos. This has been sent as the Monday Spotlight.


EDDYVILLE, Kentucky — Sailor Guztler, the 7-year-old girl who survived a plane crash, walked a mile through the cold, dark woods to safety and then helped authorities locate the remains of her family, may not be done helping investigators. The NTSB says they want to talk to her and Sailor might be able to assist them in determining what brought the plane down. By Timothy D. Easley. SENT: 570 words with a new approach, photos, video.


LAS VEGAS — The annual gadget show in Las Vegas kicks off this week and McCarran International Airport is adding hundreds of outlets and charging stations for the tens of thousands of tech-savvy travelers that will need a power boost for their many devices. By Kimberly Pierceall. SENT: 450 words, photos.


NEW YORK — Mark Zuckerberg wants to add a little more “book” to Facebook. The Facebook founder and CEO announced on his page recently that he has vowed to read a book every other week in 2015, with an emphasis on learning about different beliefs, cultures and technologies. By Hillel Italie.


— BRITAIN-PRINCE ANDREW — Buckingham Palace strengthens defense for Prince Andrew against underage sex claims. SENT: 380 words, photo.

— IRAN-NUCLEAR — Iran’s president: Nuclear negotiations with world powers a matter of “heart,” not centrifuges. SENT: 360 words, photo.

— BOX OFFICE— “The Hobbit” again tops the box office; “Into the Woods” and “Unbroken” close behind. SENT: 140 words, photo.

— RESETTLING REFUGEES-TEXAS — Texas tops nation in relocated refugees, expanding cultural diversity in remote cities. SENT: 750 words, photos.


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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