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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

March 27, 2014

ASIA:

MALAYSIA-PLANE

PERTH, Australia — Search operations for possible debris from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane are suspended Thursday due to bad weather, Australian officials say, after the latest satellite images revealed 122 objects floating in the turbulent Indian Ocean. By Rob Griffith and Scott McDonald. SENT: 620 words, photos, video, audio.

— MALAYSIA PLANE-BLACK BOXE — Chirps that help locate ‘black boxes’ from missing Malaysian plane will fade by mid-April. SENT: 580 words, photo.

— AP PHOTO XMB102 — A graphic released by the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency shows satellite imagery taken on March 23, 2014, with the approximate positions of objects seen floating in the southern Indian Ocean in the search zone for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

JAPAN-DEATH ROW RELEASE

TOKYO — A Japanese court orders the release of the world’s longest-serving death row inmate, saying investigators had fabricated evidence and ordering a retrial in a murder case that left the defendant behind bars for nearly half a century. SENT: 250 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

WORLD MARKETS

MUMBAI, India — Asian stock markets are anemic as investors waiting to see if weak Chinese economic data might prompt new economic stimulus took cues from a sell-off on Wall Street. SENT: 300 words.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

COLLEGE ATHLETES-UNION

CHICAGO — In a stunning ruling that could revolutionize college sports, a federal agency says that football players at Northwestern University can create the nation’s first union of college athletes. The decision says the athletes meet the definition of employees, a ruling that could fundamentally shake an industry worth billions in revenue to American colleges and universities. By Michael Tarm. SENT: 600 words, photos. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos, video by 7 p.m.

— COLLEGE ATHLETES-UNION-Q&A: The decision to allow Northwestern athletes to unionize raises several questions. What’s next in the process? What happens to college sports if athletes start unionizing? How much money is at stake? Does this give public schools, which aren’t subject to the ruling, a big advantage? By Tim Dahlberg. UPCOMING: 600 words by 7 p.m.

EGYPT

CAIRO — Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, the Egyptian military chief who last summer removed the elected Islamist president, announces he will run for president in elections expected next month, putting him on track to lead a nation beleaguered by ongoing turmoil and violence, a dilapidated economy and concerns over the chances for building a democracy. By Sarah El Deeb. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

— EGYPT-TIMELINE — Key events in the past three years of transition in Egypt. SENT: 850 words, photo.

UNITED STATES-RUSSIA-ANALYSIS

BRUSSELS —Even as he criticizes Vladimir Putin and imposes sanctions, President Barack Obama is constrained by his earlier outreach to Moscow. Russia is now inextricably linked to Obama’s key foreign policy objectives, particularly Iran and Syria. By White House Correspondent Julie Pace. SENT: 920 words, photos, video.

—AP POLL-OBAMA-RUSSIA — Foreign policy used to stand out as a not-so-bleak spot in the public’s waning assessment of Barack Obama. Not anymore. He’s getting low marks for handling Russia’s swoop into Ukraine, and more Americans than ever disapprove of the way Obama is doing his job, according to a new poll. SENT: 740 words, photos.

WASHINGTON MUDSLIDE

DARRINGTON, Wash. — Becky Bach watches and waits, hoping that search crews find her brother and three other relatives who are missing in the deadly Washington state mudslide. But as the teams use dogs, bulldozers and their bare hands to dig through the muck, family members like Bach confront a grim reality: Their loved ones might never be found, remaining entombed forever inside a mountain of mud that is believed to have claimed at least 24 lives. “It just generates so many questions if they don’t find them,” Bach said. “I’ve never known anybody to die in a natural disaster. Do they issue death certificates?” By Brian Skoloff and Manuel Valdes. SENT: 860 words, photos, video.

SCHOOL SEGREGATION

NEW YORK — New York state has the most segregated public schools in the nation, with many black and Latino students attending schools with virtually no white classmates, according to a new report. The report by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California at Los Angeles looks at enrollment trends from 1989 to 2010. In New York City, the largest school system in the U.S. with 1.1 million pupils, the study notes that many of the charter schools created over the last dozen years are among the least diverse of all, with less than 1 percent white enrollment at 73 percent of charter schools. By Karen Matthews. SENT: 960 words.

SOBER SMARTPHONES

CHICAGO — A smartphone app for recovering alcoholics that includes a panic button and sounds an alert when they get too close to taverns helped keep some on the wagon, researchers who developed the tool found. The sober app studied joins a host of others that serve as electronic shoulder angels, featuring a variety of options for trying to prevent addicts from relapsing. By AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner. SENT: 740 words.

MORE ON UKRAINE/CRIMEA

CRIMEA-DARK AND DRY

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine — Within days of Crimea being swallowed up by Russia, the lights began flickering out. Officials in the peninsula accused Ukraine of halving electricity supplies in order to bully Crimea, which voted earlier this month in a referendum to secede and join Russia. The combative reaction reflects a sobering reality for Crimea: the strategic peninsula’s overwhelming reliance on electricity and water supplies from mainland Ukraine. The Ukrainian government, which has been unable to prevent the Russian annexation, still wields a weapon it can use to bargain with its aggressive neighbor. By Laura Mills. SENT: 1,130 words, photos.

— UKRAINE-DIVIDED VILLAGE: The prospect of Russian troops marching into eastern Ukraine is dividing one village even more than the border that runs right through the vegetable fields. SENT: 430 words, photos.

— AP PHOTO XPAG104 — Boys play with a toy gun in Simferopol, Crimea.

— OBAMA — The United States plans to join with other NATO nations in increasing ground and naval forces in Eastern European as part of the military alliance’s response to Russia’s incursion in Ukraine, the White House says. SENT: 850 words. UPCOMING: 900 words by 6:30 p.m., photos. Incorporates WEST RESPONSE-RUSSIA, OBAMA-NATO.

SPACE STATION

MOSCOW — A software glitch on a Russian spacecraft heading to the International Space Station has delayed the arrival of three astronauts, including an American. NASA said the crew was in no danger, and the U.S.-Russia space partnership was strong despite tensions over Ukraine. The Soyuz spacecraft carrying Russians Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev and NASA’s Steve Swanson blasted off successfully but its arrival at the space station was pushed back until late Thursday. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT 490 words, photos.

BIN LADEN SPOKESMAN

NEW YORK — Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law is convicted for his role as al-Qaida’s fiery chief spokesman after 9/11 — a verdict prosecutors say vindicates the Obama administration’s strategy of bringing terror suspects to justice in civilian court. A federal jury deliberates six hours over two days before finding 48-year-old Sulaiman Abu Ghaith guilty of charges that included conspiracy to kill Americans and providing support to al-Qaida. Abu Ghaith, a Kuwaiti-born imam who married bin Laden’s eldest daughter about five years ago, is the highest-ranking al-Qaida figure brought to trial on U.S. soil since Sept. 11. SENT: 830 words, photos.

APNEWSBREAK: LA AIRPORT SHOOTING

LOS ANGELES — The Transportation Security Administration is recommending that armed officers be posted at airport security checkpoints during peak hours after conducting a nationwide review in response to a shooting at Los Angeles International Airport last fall. Airport police decided months before the attack to have officers roam terminals instead of staffing checkpoints such as the one approached by a gunman. The recommendations of the internal report, which was obtained by The Associated Press, will be considered by Congress. By Tami Abdollah. SENT: 820 words, photo.

— AP VIDEO: HOUSTON_FIRE_RESCUE — Dramatic video shows a worker being rescued from a burning under-construction Houston apartment complex after flinging himself from a fifth-floor ledge to a lower floor.

ARAB SUMMIT

KUWAIT CITY — An Arab summit exposes cracks in what was once solid Arab support for Syrian rebels, with Saudi Arabia and Qatar divided over which factions to back. The Syrian opposition pleads for unity among its allies at a time when President Bashar Assad’s forces have made gains on the ground. By Hamza Hendawi. SENT: 960 words, photos.

SCIENCE

AUTISM-BRAINS

CHICAGO — A small study that examined brains from children who died found abnormal patterns of cell growth in autistic children but not in kids without the disorder. The research bolsters evidence that something before birth might cause autism, at least in some cases. By Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner. SENT: 640 words.

— PARENTING-AUTISM AND DISNEY — A remarkable new memoir by the father of an autistic boy explains how his son’s love for Disney movies animated his hidden emotional life. SENT: 890 words, photos.

— SOLAR SYSTEM OBJECT — Peering into the far reaches of the solar system, astronomers have spied a pink frozen world 7½ billion miles from the sun. SENT: 690 words, photo.

ENTERTAINMENT

PALTROW UNCOUPLING

NEW YORK — Like any world unto itself, Hollywood has its own lexicon. But Gwyneth Paltrow’s use of the term “conscious uncoupling” to describe her breakup with Chris Martin was a new one. Let’s start with the basics: What the heck does it mean? By National Writer Jocelyn Noveck. SENT: 790 words, photo.

PHOTOGRAPHY

CUBA-RODEO-PHOTO-GALLERY — Barrel races, bucking bulls and dancing horses at Cuba’s rodeo festival. SENT: 420 words, photos.

GREECE-GRAFFITI-PHOTO GALLERY — For graffiti artists in Greece, almost anything is a canvas. SENT: 150 words, photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— US-RUSSIA-COOPERATION. At odds over Ukraine, US and Russia seek balance elsewhere in diplomacy, economy, militarily. SENT: 1,710 words. Stands for UNITED STATES-RUSSIA listed on previous digest.

— FDA-ANTIBIOTICS — FDA says 25 pharmaceutical companies are voluntarily phasing out the use of antibiotics for growth promotion in animals processed for meat, photo. SENT: 350 words.

— FBI RAID-SAN FRANCISCO — FBI: California state senator, second man arrested during series of raids. SENT: 900 words, photos.

— OBIT-JONATHAN SCHELL — Jonathan Schell, anti-war activist and author of ‘The Fate of the Earth,’ dies at 70. SENT: 1,080 words.

— NSA SURVEILLANCE — The Senate Intelligence Committee three years ago secretly considered — but ultimately rejected — alternate ways for the National Security Agency to collect and store massive amounts of Americans’ phone records, The Associated Press has learned. SENT: 990 words, photos.

—SECRET SERVICE —The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee says he’s troubled by an incident involving a drunken Secret Service agent in connection with a foreign trip by President Barack Obama. SENT: 730 words.

— EXECUTION DRUG-OKLAHOMA LAWSUIT — An Oklahoma judge rules the state’s execution law unconstitutional because its privacy provision is so strict that it that prevents inmates from finding out the source of drugs used in executions, number of domestic violence shelters, there is a place for both people and pets. SENT: 850 words, photos.

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

The Asia Photo Desk can be reached at (81-3) 6215-8941 or by fax at (81-3) 3574-8850.

Between 1600 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

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