BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS
SEAFOOD FROM SLAVES — Officials from three countries are traveling to remote islands in eastern Indonesia to investigate how thousands of foreign fishermen wound up there as slaves and were forced to catch seafood that could eventually end up being exported to the United States and elsewhere. A week after The Associated Press published a yearlong investigation into the problem — including showing men locked in a company cage — delegations from Thailand and Indonesia visited the island village of Benjina. Officials from Myanmar are scheduled to visit the area next week to try to determine how many of their citizens are stuck there and what can be done to bring them home. By Robin McDowell and Margie Mason. SENT: 590 words, photos.
THAILAND-MARTIAL LAW MAKEOVER — The big topic of conversation in Thailand is martial law. Technically it’s gone, but in reality it’s still there. Thailand’s junta lifted martial law, which was imposed in the run-up to their May 22, 2014, coup — but then quickly replaced it with another set of draconian laws innocuously called “Article 44.” But make no mistake — 10 months after staging the coup, a military junta is still ruling Thailand, essentially with absolute power. By Jocelyn Gecker. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
AFGHANISTAN — A suicide bomber attacks an anti-corruption demonstration in eastern Afghanistan, killing 16 people and wounding up to 60, officials say. SENT: 240 words.
SKOREA-SHIP SINKS — Dozens of relatives of victims of a South Korean ferry sinking that killed more than 300 people a year ago shave their heads in protest of what they say are government efforts to settle compensation claims instead of thoroughly investigating responsibility for the disaster. By Kim Tong-hyung. SENT: 350 words, photos.
JAPAN-US MILITARY — Even as Japan remains divided over proposed changes in the role it should play in regional security issues, senior U.S. and Japanese military officers say they hope the Japanese navy may soon be freed up to play a more active role in the Pacific and beyond, plying some of the world’s most hotly contested waters. By Eric Talmadge. SENT: 630 words, photos.
PHILIPPINES-TYPHOON — A super typhoon blamed for the deaths of at least four people on islands in the western Pacific Ocean weakens after reaching Philippine waters and is expected to further lose strength as it approaches the country’s northeastern coast. SENT: 260 words.
HONG KONG-WOMEN KILLED — A British banker accused of the murders of two Indonesian women appears briefly in a Hong Kong court, where pretrial proceedings were adjourned for five more weeks as prosecutors requested more time. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 310 words, photos.
AUSTRALIA-PRINCE HARRY — Prince Harry arrives in Australia’s national capital next week to begin four weeks of training with the Australian army before he ends his decade-long military career. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 460 words, photos.
INDONESIA-CHILD ABUSE — A court sentences a Canadian teacher to 10 years in jail on charges of sexually abusing three young children at a prestigious international school. UPCOMING: 130 words by 1300 GMT.
NEPAL-DOCTORS STRIKE — Thousands of doctors in Nepal return to work, ending a strike after the government bowed to their demands for reforms in medical education and services. By Binaj Gurubacharya. SENT: 200 words, photos.
KASHMIR-FIGHTING — Suspected Kashmiri rebels kill two Indian security personnel and wound two soldiers and a civilian in a fierce gunbattle in the Himalayan territory, officials say. SENT: 180 words.
CHINA-MYANMAR — China’s Foreign Ministry says Myanmar has apologized for a cross-border bombing last month in which four Chinese farmers were killed, an incident that injected rare tensions into generally good relations between the neighbors. SENT: 340 words.
TAIWAN-LED FARMING-PHOTO GALLERY — Chang Chen-kai is part of Taiwan’s new generation of high-tech farmers that is harnessing the island’s technological edge in light-emitting diodes to grow vegetables indoors under bright LED lights. SENT: 330 words, photos.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE:
VIETNAM-SHOE FACTORY STRIKE — Workers at a major Vietnamese footwear factory for Nike and Adidas end a weeklong strike after the government agrees to their demands on retirement payouts. By Tran Van Minh. SENT: 350 words.
U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:
KENYA-UNIVERSITY ATTACK — Al-Shabab gunmen attack a college in northeast Kenya, targeting Christians and killing at least 15 people and wounding 60 others. Even as security forces corner the gunmen in a dormitory at Garissa University College where they could be holding hostages, survivors describe to The AP a harrowing scene. By Tom Odula. SENT: 900 words, photos.
IRAN-NUCLEAR TALKS — Diplomats from six countries negotiating with Iran huddle in a morning session meant to advance the pace of nuclear negotiations with Iran. Iran’s foreign minister says the sides are close to a preliminary agreement, but not yet there. By Matthew Lee and George Jahn. SENT: 520 words, photos, video.
RUSSIA-TRAWLER SINKING — A Russian trawler sinks in just 15 minutes in waters off Russia’s Far Eastern coast, killing at least 54 crew members. SENT: 310 words, photos.
RELIGIOUS OBJECTIONS — Lawmakers in Arkansas and Indiana are scrambling to revise controversial religious objection measures as Republican governors in both states try to quell a backlash from businesses and other critics who have called the proposals anti-gay. By Andrew DeMillo. SENT: 470 words, photos, videos.
CALIFORNIA DROUGHT —Faced with lowest snow level in the Sierra Nevada snowpack in 65 years of record-keeping, California’s governor orders officials to impose statewide mandatory water restrictions for the first time in history. By Fenit Nirappil. SENT: 520 words, photos.
FRANCE-PLANE CRASH —Germanwings says it was unaware that the co-pilot of its plane which crashed into the French Alps last week had suffered from depression during his pilot training. SENT: 130 words, photos.
JONI MITCHELL HOSPITALIZED — Joni Mitchell’s fans are voicing their support and worry for the folk song icon while she is hospitalized in Los Angeles. SENT: 230 words, photos.
SYRIA — Syrian rebels and fighters from the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front capture the only functioning border crossing with Jordan and three nearby military posts, prompting government bombing raids on the area. By Bassem Mroue. SENT: 480 words.
YEMEN — Al-Qaida militants in Yemen storm the center of the coastal city of al-Mukalla and free about 300 inmates, including scores of militants, as Iranian-backed Shiite rebels fight their way into Aden to the west. By Ahmed Al-Haj. SENT: 350 words, photos.
EGYPT — Islamic militants attack an army checkpoint in the restive north of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 15 soldiers and wounding 19. SENT: 170 words.
RUSSIA-GAYS UNDER PRESSURE — Alevtina lost her teaching job after being outed by an anti-gay activist, part of a wave of anti-gay sentiment in Russia. The hardening of lines, which came after passage of a law banning gay “propaganda,” is thrown into stark relief by an Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll. By Irina Titova. SENT: 720 words, photo.
CUBA-AIRBNB — The online home-rental service Airbnb will allow American travelers to book lodging in Cuba starting Thursday in the most significant U.S. business expansion on the island since the declaration of detente between the two countries late last year. By Michael Weissenstein. SENT: 870 words, photos.
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