BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS
BANGKOK — Thailand’s main opposition party petitions a court to annul last weekend’s national election, launching a legal challenge that could prolong the deeply divided country’s political paralysis. The Democrat Party’s petition to the Constitutional Court also urges the dissolution of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s ruling party, which called Sunday’s elections in a bid to defuse anti-government protests that started three months ago. By Thanyarat Doksone. SENT: 400 words, photos.
TOKYO — A government panel will urge Japan to allow its military to help allies that come under attack, in a major reversal of the country’s ban on collective defense under its pacifist constitution. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 370 words.
BEIJING — A three-ship Chinese navy squadron has concluded exercises in the Indian Ocean and sailed on to the western Pacific, showing off the growing reach of the country’s seagoing forces at a time of sharpening territorial disputes in regional waters. SENT: 290 words.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — At least 86 workers are injured in a truck crash on their way to work at factories making garments and sports shoes for famous Western brands. The truck carrying 93 workers rolls over after a front tire bursts. SENT: 260 words.
MANILA, Philippines — A Philippine military official says suspected hardline Muslim rebels set off a bomb near a military convoy trailed by television journalists but nobody was hurt. It was the second time in three days that journalists were endangered by bombings in the restive south while covering a weeklong offensive by Philippine troops against the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Movement. The guerrilla group is opposed to a new peace deal between the government and the main Muslim rebel group. SENT: 310 words.
KABUL, Afghanistan — In a crowded room overlooking a gleaming television studio, Tolo TV’s election team is strategizing for Afghanistan’s presidential debate when the room suddenly goes dark. The staff doesn’t miss a beat. The 13 men and three women just keep on talking about soundboards, cameras and the taking of questions via Twitter until the station’s generator kicks in and the overhead lights flicker back on. By Kay Johnson. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.
SRI LANKA-WAR CRIMES
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Sri Lanka’s president says it would be a “grave crime” if anyone brings war crime allegations against his government over its conduct in the final months of a quarter-century civil war, and that it would be a victory for forces opposed to peace on the island nation. Mahinda Rajapaksa did not mention any country, but the United States has said it is frustrated at Sri Lanka’s lack of progress in post-war reconciliation and accountability and that it will bring a third resolution to the United Nations human rights body calling on Sri Lanka to do more. By Bharatha Mallawarachi. SENT: 300 words.
BEIJING — Chinese police say they have captured a man accused of killing six people in a jealous rage on the eve of the Lunar New Year festival. Shao Zongqi is suspected of killing two men he believed were having affairs with his wife, along with the men’s wives, two boys and an elderly man. SENT: 150 words.
HAT YAI, Thailand — Police say three boys were killed and their parents were injured in an attack in Thailand’s insurgency-plagued south. SENT: 140 words.
SUNAMGANJ, Bangladesh — Rescuers recover at least 11 bodies after an apparently overcrowded trawler caught fire and sank. SENT: 150 words.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE:
TOKYO — Toyota Motor Corp. reports a more than fivefold jump in its quarterly profit and raises its earnings forecast, crediting a weak yen and strong sales. Quarterly sales jumped 24 percent to 6.585 trillion yen ($64.2 billion). By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 460 words, photos.
OSAKA, Japan — Profit rose 20 percent at Panasonic Corp. in the October-December quarter as growth in businesses such as smart home systems offset its long struggling TV and appliance divisions. SENT: 280 words, photos.
BANGKOK — China cancels a deal to buy more than a million tons of rice from Thailand due to a probe into the Thai government’s subsidies for rice growers, an official says. SENT: 360 words.
MANILA, Philippines — An anti-graft watchdog says the Philippine government was cheated of $3.85 billion in tax revenues in 2011, part of massive illicit money flows that totaled more than $400 billion in the past five decades. Global Financial Integrity says the illicit financial outflows included proceeds from crime, corruption and tax evasion. SENT: 290 words.
MACAU-LUNAR NEW YEAR
MACAU — In a scene from the James Bond movie “Skyfall,” the British superspy arrives in Macau aboard a small raft that glides under an arched bridge, past hundreds of floating paper lanterns and through an illuminated dragon head to reach a casino. When a reporter made the trip to the tiny Chinese gambling mecca at the height of the Lunar New Year holiday, it was decidedly less glamorous. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 930 words, photos.
U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:
LONDON — Japanese shares lead another global market sell-off as investors fret over the U.S. economic recovery amid ongoing uncertainties about the outlook for emerging economies. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 540 words, photos.
WARSAW, Poland — Poles are divided between praise and condemnation of Pope John Paul II’s secretary over publishing the beloved pontiff’s personal notes — against his last will and testament. John Paul ordered the notes burned after his death and put his trusted confidant, the Rev. Stanislaw Dziwisz, in charge of the task. To everyone’s surprise, Dziwisz, now a cardinal, said recently that he “did not have the courage” to destroy the notes and is having them published as a precious insight into the inner life of the pope. The book comes out Wednesday, and criticism so far has outpaced praise. By Monika Scislowska. SENT: 800 words, photos.
PHILADELPHIA — Just as the East Coast dug out from a canopy of wet, heavy snow that again shut schools and emptied workplaces, another hit was expected to sock the Midwest. The National Weather Service says Monday’s storm, which brought 8 inches of snow to New York City, 3 to 9 inches to the Philadelphia area and up to 9 inches to central New Jersey, will be followed by a new storm in the Midwest on Tuesday. The heaviest accumulations are expected in Kansas and Missouri. By Kathy Matheson. SENT: 240 words, photos.
TRENTON, N.J. —Gov. Chris Christie says he may have heard about congestion on the George Washington Bridge last fall but it didn’t register as anything more than regular traffic jams because he wasn’t aware his aides had ordered lanes blocked, apparently for political retribution. By Geoff Mulvihill and Angela Delli Santi. SENT: 650 words, photos.
WASHINGTON — Major technology firms release new data on how often they are ordered to turn over customer information for secret national security investigations — figures showing the government is collecting data on thousands of Americans. The publications disclosed by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn and Tumblr provide expanded details, and some of the companies vent criticism about the government’s handling of customers’ Internet data in counterterrorism and other intelligence-related probes. By Stephen Braun and Michael Liedtke. SENT: 1,200 words, photo.
NEW YORK — Ukrainian heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko says his trip to New York was not just about enjoying his first Super Bowl. Foremost on his mind these days is bringing attention to the political crisis in the former Soviet republic. Klitschko, 37, follows in the footsteps of his older brother, Vitaly Klitschko, a former heavyweight champion who recently retired from boxing to concentrate on his duties as head of Ukraine’s opposition pro-Western Udar party and on his 2015 presidential bid. By Dave Bryan. SENT: 510 words, photos.
— CLINTON-HISPANICS READING — Hillary Rodham Clinton to help launch campaign to encourage Hispanic parents to read, sing to their kids. SENT: 630 words, photo, glance.
— CRUISE SHIP-CHILD DROWNS — Child dies after being found unresponsive in cruise ship’s pool off North Carolina coast. SENT: 120 words.
— PRISONER ESCAPE-MICHIGAN — Convicted murder evaded guards, peeled through electric fences to escape Michigan prison. SENT: 700 words, photos, graphic.
— YOUTUBE CONFRONTATION — California educator charged with 16 counts of sexual abuse in case made public on YouTube. SENT: 580 words, photos.
— TALKING CARS — Car warnings? U.S. to propose new rules in hopes of cutting crashes. SENT: 930 words, photos.
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