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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

May 20, 2014

ASIA:

THAILAND-POLITICS

BANGKOK — Thailand’s army declares martial law before dawn Tuesday in a surprise announcement it says is aimed at keeping the country stable after six months of sometimes violent political unrest. The military, however, denies a coup d’etat was underway. The move effectively places the army in charge of public security nationwide. It comes one day after the Southeast Asian country’s caretaker prime minister refused to step down and follows six months of anti-government demonstrations that have failed to oust the government. By Thanyarat Doksone and Todd Pitman. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

— THAILAND-MARTIAL LAW MEASURES — A look at measures and bans covered by martial law. SENT: 130 words, photos.

— AP PHOTO KR101: THAILAND-POLITICS-SELFIES — Sometimes you never know when the opportunity for an interesting selfie will present itself. SENT: 111 words, photo.

CHINA-US-CYBERSPYING

BEIJING — China summons the U.S. ambassador and the Defense Ministry warns of “serious damage” to military relations after the United States charged five Chinese army officers with hacking into U.S. companies to steal vital trade secrets. SENT: 445 words, photo.

CHINA-CYBERSPYING

WASHINGTON — Directly targeting China’s military, the U.S. charges five officials with hacking into American companies to steal vital trade secrets in a landmark cyberspying case that increases already-rising tensions between the international economic giants. China calls the charges ‘ungrounded and absurd’ and a threat to future relations. By Eric Tucker. SENT: 1020 words, photos.

— CHINA CYBERSPYING-GLANCE — A look at the facts of the case, including charges, the accused, their targets and how they did it. SENT: 200 words.

— CHINA-CYBERSPYING-Q&A

— EUROPE-MALWARE — More than a half million computers in over 100 countries were infected by sophisticated malware that lets cybercriminals take over a computer and hijack its webcam, authorities say in announcing charges against more than 100 people worldwide. SENT: 570 words, photos.

CHINA-RUSSIA

SHANGHAI — Russian President Vladimir Putin, facing isolation in the West over Ukraine, receives a diplomatic boost on a state visit to China, where he hopes to extend his country’s dealings with Asia. By Louise Watt. SENT: 500 words, photos.

MALAYSIA-PLANE

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia says it will publicly release satellite data used to narrow down the search for the missing jetliner to the southern Indian Ocean. SENT: 350 words.

INDIA-BUS ACCIDENT

SRINAGAR, India — Police say a private bus has plunged off a mountain road into a deep gorge in the Indian portion of Kashmir, killing 17 people and injuring 30 others. SENT: 100 words, photos.

NEW ZEALAND-OBAMA

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand Prime Minister John Key will meet President Barack Obama in Washington next month to discuss trade and military issues. SENT: 135 words.

ENTERTAINMENT:

JAPAN-PAUL MCCARTNEY

TOKYO — Paul McCartney is canceling his entire Japan tour because of illness. The former Beatle got a virus last week and canceled several appearances, apologizing online to his fans. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 215 words, photo.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

WORLD MARKETS

HONG KONG — Thailand’s stock market and currency fall after the military declared martial law in what it called an attempt to stabilize the country’s precarious political situation. The benchmark SET index in Bangkok dropped 1 percent to 1,397.48. The dollar spiked to about 32.65 baht before easing to about 32.50 baht. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 380 words, photo.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

CREDIT SUISSE

WASHINGTON — European bank Credit Suisse AG plead guilty to helping wealthy Americans avoid paying taxes through secret offshore accounts and agreed to pay about $2.6 billion. The Justice Department says it is the largest penalty imposed in any criminal tax case. Credit Suisee is the largest bank to plead guilty in more than 20 years. By Eric Tucker and Marcy Gordon. SENT: 800 words, photos.

UKRAINE-ELECTION IN THE EAST

DONETSK, Ukraine — The woman sits down on a bench and bursts into tears: “Please don’t mention my last name. I, my family, we have received death threats.” She is not a mafia turncoat or a whistleblower, but a member of a local election commission in Ukraine. Usually a routine task, it has become downright dangerous in the east, according to police and election officials, who accuse pro-Russia gunmen of seizing election commission offices and intimidating members in an effort to spoil Sunday’s presidential vote. By Yuras Karmanau and Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 1,210 words, photos.

— UKRAINE — Russia’s Putin orders troops near Ukrainian border to return to their home bases. SENT: 1,160 words, photos, audio.

BALKANS-FLOODS

OBRENOVAC, Serbia — Serbia orders the evacuation of this town and 11 others along the raging Sava River, but Bratislava Pavlovic won’t budge, even as water rising six feet in an hour lapped outside her third-floor apartment. “I grew up in this town,” the 58-year-old postal worker says. The worst rainfall in more than a century has flooded large swathes of Bosnia and Serbia, threatening a major power plant and unleashing landslides that have swept away homes and unearthed land mines left over from the region’s war. At least 35 are dead. By Jovana Gec and Dusan Stojanovic. SENT: 650 words, photos video.

— AP PHOTO XDMV101 — Two men try to restart their van stuck in a flooded street in Obrenovac, southwest of Belgrade, Serbia.

GAY MARRIAGE OREGON

A federal judge throws out Oregon’s same-sex marriage ban, marking the 13th consecutive legal victory for gay marriage advocates since last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned part of a federal ban. The judge joins jurists in seven other states who have struck down same-sex marriage bans, though appeals are underway. The story includes a look at where things stand across the country. By Jonathan J. Cooper and Brady McCombs. SENT: 900 words, photos, interactive.

NEW YORK TIMES-EXECUTIVE EDITOR

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — In her first public appearance since her dismissal from The New York Times, former executive editor Jill Abramson tells the Class of 2014 that she’s a lot like them: “scared but also a little excited.” In her speech at Wake Forest University, Abramson talked briefly about her time at The Times, calling it “the honor of her life,” but did not directly address her removal last week from the top editorial post. She joked about her speech overshadowing the commencement ceremonies, shook hands with graduates, and left campus without taking questions or commenting further. By Tom Foreman Jr. SENT: 570 words, photos, video.

OBIT-ROMANIA-RADU FLORESCU

BUCHAREST, Romania — He was a Romanian-born historian, professor and philanthropist who intrigued American popular culture by writing a book linking the fictional Count Dracula to the 15th-century Romanian prince Vlad the Impaler. Radu Florescu died Sunday at age 88 in Mougins, France, from complications connected to pneumonia, his son John Florescu says. By Alison Mutler. SENT: 445 words, photo.

IRAQ

BAGHDAD — Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki moves closer to winning a third term as his Shiite-dominated political bloc emerges firmly in first place in the country’s first parliamentary elections since the U.S. military withdrawal in 2011. The challenge now for al-Maliki is to build a ruling coalition as violence rages and instability grows. By Sameer N. Yacoub and Sinan Salaheddin. SENT: 480 words, photos. SENT: 1,050 words, photos.

LIBYA

TRIPOLI, Libya — A revolt by a renegade general against Islamists who dominate Libya’s politics threatens to intensify the conflicts among the country’s numerous militias as armed groups start to line up behind the rival camps. Gen. Khalifa Hifter, who lived for years in exile in the United States during Moammar Gadhafi’s rule, touts himself as a nationalist trying to save Libya from extremists, but his opponents accuse him of seeking to grab power for himself. By Esam Mohamed and Maggie Michael. SENT: 900 words, photos. SENT: 1,030, photos, video.

NIGERIA-KIDNAPPED GIRLS-HUNTERS

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria — Traditional hunters armed with homemade guns, poisoned spears and amulets gather in northern Nigeria, eager to use their skills to help find nearly 300 schoolgirls abducted by Islamic militants. SENT: 770 words, photos.

RIO-WATER POLLUTION

RIO DE JANEIRO — Sailing’s governing body may conduct independent water-quality tests in polluted Guanabara Bay, the sailing venue for the 2016 Rio Olympics that some describe as an “open sewer.” The AP obtained documents that find a cleanup cannot be done soon. By Stephen Wade. SENT: 840 words, photos.

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YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Malcolm Foster. Questions and story requests are welcome. The news desk can be reached at (66) 2632-6911 or by email at asia@ap.org.

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