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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

November 3, 2014



HONG KONG — Hong Kong police charge a British banker with killing two women, including an Indonesian whose body was found in a suitcase on the balcony of the man’s upscale apartment. The killings have shocked Hong Kong, an Asian financial hub with a reputation as a safe city with a low rate of violent crime. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 660 words, photos.


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Attacks in Afghanistan kill a deputy provincial governor, fatally shot while taking a university class, and a judge on his way home from a mosque. In southern Kandahar province, a gunman attacked 32-year-old deputy governor Abdul Qadeem Patyall, shooting at him through the window of a classroom at Kandahar University, an official says. SENT: 190 words, photos.

— AFGHANISTAN — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has decided to drop his tribal name of Ahmadzai and has asked all government departments and media to use his family name only. SENT: 130 words.


LAHORE, Pakistan — A suicide bomber detonates explosives near a Pakistani paramilitary checkpoint near the country’s eastern border with India, killing at least 54 people in the deadliest attack to hit the country in several months. The explosion hits near the checkpoint at the Wagah border crossing as hundreds of people were returning from a military parade on the outskirts of Lahore. By Zaheer Babar and Asif Shahzad. SENT: 550 words, photos.


DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh’s Supreme Court upholds the death sentence given to a senior Islamist leader convicted by a special tribunal last year for his role in mass killings and other atrocities during the country’s 1971 independence war against Pakistan. The decision means Mohammad Qamaruzzaman, an assistant secretary general of Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh’s largest Islamist political party, will be hanged within months. He would be the second person put to death since the tribunals were set up more than four years ago to try suspected war criminals. By Julhas Alam. SENT: 330 words.


BEIJING — Bus accident in Shanghai kills six people on one of the longest cross-sea bridges in the world. SENT: 120 words.


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The Roman Catholic church in Sri Lanka says it has asked the government to ensure that the country’s presidential election does not conflict with Pope Francis’ visit to the country early next year. While a date has not been set, the government has said it wants to hold an election sometime in January. Francis is scheduled to arrive in the island nation on Jan. 13. SENT: 190 words.


Hundreds of thousands of camels, horses and cattle were brought to the huge annual cattle fair last week in Pushkar, in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. The fair and camel races draw foreign tourists as well as many Hindus to take a dip in Pushkar Lake, which they believe washes away their sins. SENT: 300 words, photos.



BEIJING — Global stocks are mostly lower after unexpected weakness in Chinese manufacturing tempered enthusiasm for Japan’s surprise central bank stimulus. SENT: 460 words.



WASHINGTON — The U.S. midterm elections are Tuesday, with a hard-fought battle for control of the Senate at stake. Buoyed by President Barack Obama’s low approval ratings, the Republicans are favored to gain the six seats they need to gain the Senate majority, an outcome that could change how the United States moves forward on free-trade agreements, immigration, oil and natural gas exports and military policy in the Middle East. The Republicans are certain to maintain, and probably expand, their majority in the House of Representatives. A number of tight governor’s races are also getting attention, some of them with implications for the 2016 presidential election. By Steven R. Hurst. SENT: 790 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — Big Republican gains on Election Day would be a blow to much of President Barack Obama’s agenda, but one stymied item on his to-do list might get a fresh chance to move forward: trade. That could breathe life into Asia-Pacific trade talks essential to his efforts to deepen engagement in the region. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 810 words, photos.


PORTLAND, Oregon —A terminally ill woman who renewed a nationwide debate about physician-assisted suicide has ended her life with the lethal drugs available under Oregon’s Death With Dignity Law. Brittany Maynard was 29. Maynard, who had brain cancer, died peacefully in her bedroom “in the arms of her loved ones,” said Sean Crowley, a spokesman for the advocacy group Compassion & Choices. By Steven DuBois and Terrence Petty. SENT: 600 words, photos.


BEIRUT — Syrian activists say al-Qaida fighters are amassing in a Syrian border town in what appears to be an attempt to seize a nearby Turkish border crossing from Syrian rebels. SENT: 140 words, photo.


MOJAVE, California — Federal investigators say Virgin Galactic’s experimental spaceship broke apart in flight over California’s Mojave Desert after a device to slow the craft’s descent prematurely deployed. The National Transportation Safety Board says that while no cause for Friday’s crash of SpaceShipTwo has been determined, investigators found the “feathering” system — which lifts and rotates the tail to create drag — was activated before the craft reached the appropriate speed. By Brian Melley. SENT: 730 words, photos.


NEW YORK — Hotels want guests to skip — or at least not linger at — the front desk. New programs aim to speed busy travelers to their rooms, skipping frustrating check-in lines. Most focus on an express process to pick up keys but a handful are eliminating all human interaction, letting guests enter their room via a smartphone or a unique, reusable keycard. All of the programs are still being tweaked as hotels try to catch up to airlines. Fliers today can use their phones to check-in, select seats and as a boarding pass. By Scott Mayerowitz. SENT: 850 words, photos.


NEW YORK — You don’t get to be the longest-running children’s show in TV history by doing the same thing over and over. So even though parents who grew up watching “Sesame Street” can still see old favorites like Big Bird, things on the street have changed since the show debuted 45 years ago on Nov. 10, 1969. Cookie Monster now exercises self-control and sometimes eats fruits and vegetables. Millions of kids watch the show on phones and computers instead of TV. And there’s less time spent on the street with human characters. They’re just not energetic enough for today’s viewers. By Beth J. Harpaz. SENT: 900 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — Records obtained by The Associated Press show a Jordanian-born Palestinian convicted for a deadly 1982 airline bombing sought to be deported to the West Bank upon completing his prison sentence last year. But the Israeli government denied the request, citing problems with his identity documents. By Eric Tucker. SENT: 880 words, photos.


NEW YORK — Thirteen years after the 9/11 terrorist attack, the resurrected World Trade Center is again opening for business — marking an emotional milestone for both New Yorkers and the nation. Publishing giant Conde Nast will start moving Monday into One World Trade Center, a 104-story, $3.9 billion skyscraper that dominates the Manhattan skyline. It is America’s tallest building. By Verena Dobnik. SENT: 650 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — The U.S. government allowed police in Ferguson, Missouri, to restrict more than 37 square miles of airspace for nearly two weeks in August for safety reasons, but audio recordings show that local authorities instead wanted to keep news helicopters away during violent street protests. By Jack Gillum and Joan Lowy. SENT: 800 words, photos.


SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — The death of 11 babies over a recent weekend at the principal children’s hospital for the Dominican Republic prompted the president to fire the director and appoint a special commission to investigate what went wrong. But problems at the overcrowded and under-staffed hospital have long been evident. It has a mortality rate three times the national average, with more than 10 infants dying over a weekend twice in the previous six months, and there are frequent outages of power and water. The hospital has become emblematic of all that is wrong with Dominican health care for the vast majority of people who can’t afford private medicine. By Ezequiel Abiu Lopez. SENT: 960 words, photos.


TAYBEH, West Bank — A tiny Christian enclave in the overwhelmingly Muslim West Bank has for years crafted the only Palestinian beer and brought thousands of visitors flocking to its annual beer fest. Now, it is adding wine to its list of libations, hoping a boutique winery will be another tourist draw and contribute to keeping the small village afloat. By Tia Goldenberg. SENT: 800 words, photos.


CAIRO — Mohamed Mahmoud is one of Cairo’s donkey barbers, an expert in trimming and styling horses, camels, mules, sheep, goats, dogs and donkeys. He is a third-generation qassasseen, the Egyptian Arabic term for animal barbers, as his grandfather worked in Cairo’s Abdeen Palace. A series of images by Maya Alleruzzo, Middle East regional photo editor for The Associated Press, show the donkey barber’s daily work. By Sam McNeil. SENT: 400 words, photos.


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