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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

August 22, 2013

TOP STORIES:

CHINA-BO XILAI

JINAN, China — Standing trial in China’s biggest scandal in decades, ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai defends himself against allegations that he took bribes, saying he was coerced into making a confession and hoped that the court will judge his case fairly. After months in which little was revealed about the case against Bo, prosecutors begin rolling out details, saying that he used his wife and son to help collect more than $4.3 million in illicit money. Moved. By Gillian Wong. AP Photos.

WITH: CHINA-BO XILAI TRIAL-GLANCE

NKOREAN DEFECTORS-UN INQUIRY

SEOUL, South Korea — Testimony by North Korean defectors at U.N. hearings in Seoul has produced chilling accounts of systematic rape, murder and torture — but it’s also a poignant reminder of past, toothless U.N. efforts to get Pyongyang to better treat its citizens. What’s new, officials say, is that the United Nations has empowered a formal commission of inquiry to collect evidence of human rights abuses in North Korea and ensure “full accountability” for any crimes against humanity. Moved. By Foster Klug. AP Photos.

THAILAND-TERROR PLOT

BANGKOK — Two Iranian men are convicted of taking part in a botched bomb plot that was exposed last year when an accidental explosion blew apart the Bangkok villa where they were staying. Israeli and Thai officials have said the plot was aimed at Israeli diplomats in Bangkok, though Iran denied the allegations and neither defendant was charged with terrorism or attempting to kill Israelis. Moved. By Thanyarat Doksone. AP Photos.

MYANMAR-UN-RIGHTS

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar’s government disputes accusations that it failed to protect a top U.N. human rights envoy who said his vehicle was attacked by a 200-strong Buddhist mob during a visit to a city where religious violence flared earlier this year. Moved. By Aye Aye Win. AP Photos.

PHILIPPINES-WORSENING FLOODS

MANILA, Philippines — Lashed each year by typhoons and stuck with outdated drainage systems, the Philippine capital has been hit by ever-worsening floods. Population growth, inadequate infrastructure, corruption, deforestation and even trash build-up combine to exacerbate the impact. It’s a trend experts expect to continue. Moved. By Hrvoje Hranjski. AP Photos.

KOREAS-TENSION

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea accepts South Korea’s request that this week’s talks on reuniting families separated by war be held at a border village, the latest in a series of conciliatory gestures Pyongyang has recently taken. Moved. By Hyung-Jin Kim. AP Photos.

CHINA-TROPICAL STORM

BEIJING — Southern China is hit by new flooding as the second storm in a week lashes the region after killing 17 people in the Philippines. Moved.

NEW ZEALAND-SPY LAW

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand passes a law that strengthens the powers of its foreign spy agency to operate domestically. The law now explicitly allows the Government Communications Security Bureau to spy on New Zealanders in cases when the agency has a warrant from a domestic agency. Moved.

WITH: NEW ZEALAND-OPPOSITION LEADER

MALAYSIA-ALLAH DISPUTE

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia’s government wins the right to appeal a court ruling that allowed the country’s non-Muslim minority to use the word “Allah” to refer to God. The politically sensitive dispute triggered attacks on churches and other places of worship. Moved. AP Photos.

NEPAL-GAY RALLY

KATMANDU, Nepal — About 1,000 gays, lesbians, transgender people and their supporters, many dressed in colorful clothes and holding banners, march through Nepal’s capital to celebrate and demand rights for their community, in what has become an annual festival. Moved. By Binaj Gurubacharya. AP Photos.

UN-AUSTRALIA-REFUGEES

GENEVA — A U.N. committee says Australia has violated the human rights of 46 refugees from Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Kuwait by holding them in detention for more than two years and refusing to provide them with visas. Moved.

US-JAPAN-SKOREA

WASHINGTON — Japan and South Korea’s unprecedented joint participation in air force exercises over Alaska shows that America’s two staunchest Asian allies are willing to cooperate on security despite their political differences. Moved. By Matthew Pennington.

AUSTRALIAN PLAYER-RANDOM SLAYING

ADA, Oklahoma — Chris Lane traveled from Australia to the United States for the love of the American pastime — and the opportunity to secure a university degree while playing baseball. On the small campus of East Central University in Oklahoma, he made a home for himself in class and on the baseball field. The 22-year-old Melbourne native was fatally shot in the back last week while jogging along a tree-lined street near his girlfriend’s home in Duncan, Oklahoma. Three boys— ages 15, 16 and 17 — are charged with what prosecutors call a thrill killing. Moved. By Kristi Eaton. AP Photos.

AFGHANISTAN MASSACRE

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington — Jurors have two pictures of U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales to consider as they weigh whether he should ever have a shot at freedom: The indulgent dad who let his son soak his chocolate chip pancakes in ranch dressing, and the mass murderer who inexplicably slaughtered children, women and men in a mud-walled compound in Afghanistan. Moved. AP Photos.

TEMPLE SLAYINGS

PHOENIX — Jurors at the retrial of an Arizona man charged with the 1991 murders of nine people at a Buddhist temple in metro Phoenix were played a confession from the man’s high-school friend who said they went to the house of worship to carry out a robbery. The killings stirred outrage in Thailand, where monks are revered and where most men serve a brief stint as apprentice monks at some point in their lives. Moved. By Jacques Billeaud. AP Photos.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

CHINA-NEW ZEALAND-MILK SAFETY

BEIJING — New Zealand’s leaders are on a charm offensive to reassure Chinese consumers after a botulism scare threatened sales in a major market for New Zealand milk. China’s demand for imported milk soared after domestic supplies in 2008 killed six babies and sickened thousands. That fit New Zealand’s ambitions as a food supplier to booming Asian economies. But the announcement by Fonterra, the world’s biggest dairy exporter, of contamination in an ingredient used in baby formula threw up a potentially damaging obstacle. Moved. By Joe McDonald. AP Photos.

WITH: SRI LANKA-FONTERRA

CHINA-MANUFACTURING

BEIJING — China’s manufacturing slowdown stabilized in August in another possible sign the world’s second-largest economy is improving, a survey shows. Moved. By Joe McDonald.

CHINA-PETROCHINA-EARNS

HONG KONG — State-owned PetroChina’s half-year profit rose to nearly $11 billion as Asia’s biggest oil producer increased output of crude and natural gas. Moved.

FEATURES:

CHINA-FLIGHT DELAYS

HONG KONG — China’s fast growing air travel market is the world’s second biggest. But when it comes to flight delays, it’s No. 1. Shanghai resident Chen Chen learned the hard way on a recent business trip when she flew out of Inner Mongolia about 24 hours later than scheduled. Her evening flight to Beijing was delayed until the next day and when staff couldn’t give her a departure time, she bought a ticket on another airline. That flight left late too. Moved. By Kelvin Chan. AP Photos.

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