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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

October 23, 2014




LAKE CHON, North Korea — When North Korea opens its doors, it does so for a reason. So it was when the authoritarian government granted permission for a road trip so extensive that few North Koreans — let alone a pair of American journalists — could imagine taking it. We drove 2,150 kilometers (1,336 miles) in a country that has barely 25,000 kilometers of road, and only 724 kilometers of those paved. By the time we returned to the capital a week later, our Chinese-made Great Wall SUV had a few new scratches and one less hubcap. By Eric Talmadge. SENT: 2,235 words, photos, interactive. An abridged version is also available. Both have moved in advance.


HONG KONG — At the heart of the political standoff in Hong Kong is an exclusive, and many would say purposefully opaque 1,200-member elections committee supposed to choose candidates for the city’s next leader. Hundreds of the committee’s seats are appointed by pro-Beijing business groups and trade associations , away from public scrutiny. Professional groups such as social workers and lawyers hold elections to fill allotted seats, but they’re outnumbered by groups that don’t. While many pro-democracy protesters are demanding a completely open nomination, some on the streets say they’d settle for reforms that would make the committee more representative of Hong Kong. How to do that and convince the public the committee is fair could determine how soon the crisis can be resolved. By Jack Chang and Kelvin Chan. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 0700 GMT, photos.

— HONG KONG-DEMOCRACY PROTEST-KENNY G — Smooth jazz star Kenny G insists he’s not a foreign provocateur supporting Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, after Beijing signaled its displeasure over his inharmonious visit and repeated concerns about meddling by external forces. SENT: 435 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — An influential Washington think tank is criticizing Myanmar’s government for presiding over a “humanitarian catastrophe” in western Rakhine state and doing little to track down perpetrators of Buddhist-on-Muslim violence around the country. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 440 words.


CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s prime minister says he’s considering a personal request from President Barack Obama to send a medical team to Africa to fight Ebola, but that priority remains responding to an outbreak in the Asia-Pacific region. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 265 words.


MANILA, Philippines — Many Asian and African women working as domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates say their employers beat them with sticks or cables, punched and slapped them, and there’s little they can do because they’re excluded from the country’s labor law protections, a rights group says. By Teresa Cerojano. SENT: 520 words.


WASHINGTON — Nearly 50 years ago, scientists found bones of two large, powerful dinosaur arms in Mongolia and figured they had discovered a fearsome critter with killer claws. Now scientists have found the rest of the dinosaur and have new descriptions for it: goofy and weird. By Seth Borenstein. SENT: 495 words, photos.



NEW DELHI — After months of criticism for not moving aggressively enough on promises of an economic overhaul, India’s new prime minister has announced a string of policies designed to kick-start Asia’s third-largest economy. Over the past week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unveiled an overhaul of India’s archaic labor laws, freed diesel prices from state control and signed an executive order promising to open India’s coal industry to private companies. He also appointed Arvind Subramanian, a respected Washington, DC-based economist, as the country’s top economic adviser. By Muneeza Naqvi. UPCOMING: 700 words by 0700 GMT, photos.


BEIJING — China may ban Facebook, but not its co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, and he entertained an audience of students with a 30-minute chat in his recently learned Mandarin Chinese at a prestigious Beijing university. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 250 words by 0600 GMT, photos.


TOKYO — Asian stocks fall after another slump in oil prices dragged Wall Street lower and China’s manufacturing output grew at the slowest pace in five months. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 375 words, photos.


BEIJING — A gauge of the health of China’s manufacturing industry inches higher in October but factory output is at a five-month low in a sign of slowing domestic and foreign demand. SENT: 115 words.



OTTAWA, Ontario — A masked gunman kills a soldier standing guard at Canada’s war memorial, then storms Parliament in an attack that was stopped cold when he was shot to death by the ceremonial sergeant-at-arms. Canada’s prime minister calls it the country’s second terrorist attack in three days. By Jeremy Hainsworth and Rob Gillies. SENT: 1,000 words, video, photos, audio.

— AP PHOTO CPT140 — Members of Parliament barricade themselves in a meeting room.

— AP VIDEO 1022_CAN_UGC_SHOOTING_VOX — Footage from The Globe and Mail shows police entering Canadian Parliament in Ontario as several shots are fired inside.

— CANADA SHOOTING-US — US increases security, though no threats cited. SENT: 405 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — Most Americans have some confidence that the U.S. health care system will prevent Ebola from spreading in this country, but they’re not so sure their local hospital can safely handle a patient, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. By Lauran Neergaard and Emily Swanson. SENT; 715 words.

— EBOLA-US — All travelers who come into the U.S. from three Ebola-stricken West African nations will now be monitored for three weeks, the latest step by federal officials to keep the disease from spreading into the country. The move is in sync with a new AP poll showing Americans want tighter screening for Ebola. By Medical Writer Mike Stobbe. SENT: 950 words, video, photos, audio.


JERUSALEM — A Palestinian motorist with a history of anti-Israel violence has slammed his car into a crowded train station in Jerusalem, killing a three-month-old baby girl and wounding eight people in what police call a terror attack. By Ian Deitch. SENT: 860 words, photos.


GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Several dozen tons of cement bags stored in a warehouse are one of the few tangible achievements so far of a $2.7 billion plan to rebuild war-wrecked Gaza Strip. The program was launched with high expectations at an international conference in Cairo on Oct. 12, but has run into obstacles, including wrangling between the rival Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah for control in Gaza and what officials say has been a trickle of promised aid. By Karin Laub and Mohammed Daraghmeh. SENT: 650 words, photos.

GAZA-ARAB IDOL — Last year’s feel-good winner of the TV singing contest Arab Idol says he wants to give back to Gaza, where he grew up, by setting up an arts center nurturing young musicians, writers and actors. SENT: 270 words, photos.


RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazil’s tightest presidential race in decades is in the hands of the lower middle class, which accounts for 35 percent of voters. Going into Sunday’s election, the group is torn between those who want to stick with President Dilma Rousseff, whose Workers’ Party has enacted expansive welfare programs that have helped lift millions out of poverty, and those who are ready to take a risk on change and back center-right candidate Aecio Neves, who promises to spark the stalled economy by opening the nation to more trade and shrinking the government. By Brad Brooks. SENT: 1,055 words, photos.

— BRAZIL-POOR VOTERS-PHOTO GALLERY — AP PHOTOS: Brazil’s poor, with a decade of gains, are solid support for Rousseff in election. SENT: 200 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — A 23-year-old man was in custody after he climbed over the White House fence and was swiftly apprehended on the North Lawn by uniformed Secret Service agents and their dogs. By Darlene Superville. SENT: 340 words, photos.


MEXICO CITY — Officials say a drug gang implicated in the disappearance of 43 students in a southern city essentially ran the town, paying the mayor hundreds of thousands of dollars a month out of its profits from opium. By E. Eduardo Castillo and Mark Stevenson. SENT: 645 words, photos.


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A federal court judge has rejected an attempt to end a ban on same-sex marriages in Puerto Rico, saying political order itself depends on traditional marriage and deriding the logic of courts that have overturned such bans. The plaintiffs will appeal. By Danica Coto. SENT: 600 words.


DENVER — The case of three teenage girls being investigated for trying to join Islamic State militants poses vexing questions for U.S. officials about the use of social media by terror groups to recruit people inside the United States, experts say. By Sadie Gurman. SENT: 735 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — Lawyers for four former Blackwater security guards convicted in the 2007 shootings of more than 30 Iraqis in Baghdad plan to appeal, they say. The convictions stemm from an incident that inflamed anti-American sentiment around the globe and was denounced by critics as an illustration of a war gone horribly wrong. By Pete Yost, Sam Hananel and Eric Tucker. SENT: 895 words, photos, video.


SAN FRANCISCO — Signaling her reign has reached a pivotal juncture, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer is trying to convince restless shareholders that the long-struggling Internet company is heading in the right direction. Mayer staunchly defended her strategy during a Tuesday presentation that addressed recent criticism leveled by activist investor Starboard Value LP, a New York hedge fund with a history of leading shareholder mutinies. By Michael Liedtke. SENT: 730 words, photo.





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