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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

October 10, 2013

ASIA:

TAIWAN-NATIONAL DAY

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Thousands of anti-government protesters gather on the fringes of Taiwan’s carefully choreographed National Day celebrations, waving banners and chanting slogans denouncing the policies of President Ma Ying-jeou. The large-scale protests against his increasingly unpopular government were the first to dog the normally staid National Day observance since Ma entered office in 2008. By Peter Enav. SENT: 430 words.

NKOREA-MILITARY CHIEF

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean state media has confirmed that the nation’s hard-line military chief was replaced only a few months after his appointment. The personnel change was believed to have been made in August and came as North Korea was pushing to ease animosity and resume lucrative cooperation projects with South Korea after threatening nuclear war this past spring. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 500 words by 0630GMT.

ASIA SUMMIT-US-VIETNAM

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei — The United States and Vietnam are moving to boost cooperation in the energy sector by signing a deal on civilian nuclear power that will allow American firms into the market and commits the Vietnamese to not producing ingredients for atomic weapons. By Matthew Lee. SENT: 140 words.

INDIA-ROAD ACCIDENT

NEW DELHI — Police say at least 20 people were killed and another 35 injured when a truck carrying Hindu pilgrims crashed into a gorge in northern India. Police officer Sukhchain Singh Gill says the accident happened on Thursday as the driver lost control of the vehicle after its brakes failed. SENT: 120 words.

BUSINESS:

CHINA-OIL IMPORTS

BEIJING — U.S. government data show China passed the United States in September as the world’s biggest net oil importer, driven by faster economic growth and strong auto sales. The Energy Information Administration said this week Chinese oil consumption outstripped production by 6.3 million barrels per day, which indicates the country had to import that much to fill the gap. That surpassed the U.S. gap of 6.13 million barrels per day. SENT: 690 words.

NEW ZEALAND-ASSET SALES

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Five months after the New Zealand government started a new round of contentious asset sales with the IPO of a state-owned power generator, the company announced it plans to buy back some of its shares. Mighty River Power said Thursday the move is a prudent way to return capital to shareholders. But opposition lawmakers said the company is trying to boost its lackluster stock price and that the move highlights broader problems in the government’s asset sales policy. By Nick Perry. SENT: 430 words.

ENTERPRISE:

THAILAND-BIKING IN BANGKOK

BANGKOK — Thailand’s transport minister got some advice from his mother when she learned he was going to bike the chaotic streets of Bangkok to open a bicycle campaign: “Bring your ID card. In case you get run over, they can contact home.” Bicycling has long been almost nonexistent in this city of 10 million, where those who dare to pedal must cope with unfriendly road designs, crumbling pavement, sweltering heat and growing hordes of cars, buses and motorcycles. But it’s making early signs of a comeback, in part because traffic has become so awful that biking can be faster than driving. By Thanyarat Doksone. SENT: 900 words, photos.

U.S. & INTERNATIONAL:

BUDGET BATTLE

WASHINGTON — Officials say House Republican leaders are considering a short-term increase in the U.S. debt limit as a possible way to break the gridlock that threatens the nation with an unprecedented default in as little as a week. By David Espo. SENT: 1160 words, photos.

GLOBAL ECONOMY

WASHINGTON — Concerns that the political impasse in American government will derail a fragile global economic recovery will dominate a meeting Thursday of world financial leaders. By Marjorie Olster. SENT: 900 words.

GUANTANAMO-SICK PRISONERS

MIAMI — Tarek El-Sawah has spent more than a decade locked up at Guantanamo, his health steadily declining. His weight has ballooned over 400 pounds; he has diabetes and other serious health problems, and he can barely walk 10 feet. Other detainees are ill, too, complicating their indefinite confinement in what was supposed to have been a temporary jail for terrorism suspects. By Ben Fox. SENT: 1,090 words.

LIBYA

TRIPOLI, Libya — A government official says Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was kidnapped by gunmen from a hotel in Tripoli where he resides. The abduction comes amid anger among Libya’s powerful Islamic militant groups over the U.S. special forces raid on Saturday that seized a Libyan al-Qaida suspect, known as Abu Anas al-Libi. By Esam Mohammed. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 600 words by 600GMT.

UNITED STATES-EGYPT

WASHINGTON — The United States is cutting hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Egypt in response to the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi and the crackdown by the military-backed government on his supporters. The U.S. decision to slash aid to Egypt will create new friction in Washington’s already uneasy relations with the government that ousted the first democratically elected Egyptian president. By Deb Riechmann. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

YELLEN-THE CHALLENGES AHEAD

WASHINGTON — As President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen would face some extraordinary challenges: Deciding when to slow the Fed’s bond purchases. Absorbing several new members onto the Fed’s board. Calculating when to start selling the Fed’s vast investment portfolio. Responding to any economic slowdown from the current budget impasse. First, though, Yellen has to get there: She needs to be confirmed by the Senate. By Paul Wiseman. SENT: 1,000 words, photos, video.

IRAN

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s internal power struggles have produced moments of political theater, but never one quite like this: The foreign minister checks himself into a hospital because of stress, blaming hard-line critics of the recent thaw with Washington. It’s the latest in a series of ideological skirmishes following President Hassan Rouhani’s outreach to the U.S. Those overtures will be tested next week in Geneva when nuclear talks with world powers resume. By Ali Akbar Dareini and Brian Murphy. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

— IRAN-NUCLEAR — The speaker of the Iranian Parliament tells The Associated Press his country has more enriched uranium than it needs and could use it as a bargaining chip at nuclear talks next week. SENT: 600 words, photos.

NUCLEAR COMMANDER

WASHINGTON — The Navy notifies a three-star admiral that he has been relieved of duty as second-in-command at the military organization that oversees all U.S. nuclear forces. The rare removal of such a high-ranking commander follows allegations that he used counterfeit gambling chips at a casino in Iowa, not far from his base in eastern Nebraska. By National Security Writer Robert Burns. SENT: 500 words, photo.

CLIMATE CHANGE TIMING

WASHINGTON — For Mexico City, it’s in 2031. Cairo in 2036. Sydney in 2038. Honolulu in 2043. A new study looks at the timing of global warming in a different way, calculating the year when cities and ecosystems would likely routinely experience off-the-charts temperatures and other climatic change. For most of the world that’s only a few decades away. By Science Writer Seth Borenstein. SENT: 740 words, photos, graphic.

ENTERTAINMENT:

SKOREA-FILM-SAMSUNG WORKERS-CANCER

BUSAN, South Korea — “Another Family” is a story of individuals who embarked on what turned out to be a long and painful legal battle against the most powerful company in South Korea — Samsung — which not just dominates South Korea’s economy but also wields influence in politics, judiciary system and academics. The crowd-funded movie premiered at the Busan International Film Festival. By Youkyung Lee. UPCOMING: 900 words by 0800 GMT, photos.

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