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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

April 3, 2014



ISLAMABAD — A bomb explodes along a route used by Pakistan’s former President Pervez Musharraf, going off shortly after he drove by on his way home from the hospital, a police official and the former ruler’s spokeswoman say. Musharraf is not harmed in the explosion and there is no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombing. By Asif Shahzad. SENT: 510 words, photos.


PERTH, Australia — Malaysia’s prime minister says the search for the missing jetliner will not stop until answers are found, as his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott calls it “the most difficult in human history.” Prime Minister Najib Razak met with Abbott at the Australian base near Perth that is serving as the hub for the multinational effort and was briefed by Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search in the southern Indian Ocean. By Nick Perry and Eileen Ng. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Weeks of vitriol, conspiracy theories and an informal travel boycott directed at Malaysia by Chinese people upset over the lost jetliner have prompted Beijing to move into damage control to protect the countries’ normally friendly relations. Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on March 8, carrying mostly Chinese passengers, pitching Kuala Lumpur into a high-profile, unprecedented and so far unsuccessful search for the jet. By Gillian Wong. SENT: 860 words, photos.


YANGON, Myanmar — The United States is calling on Myanmar to lift travel restrictions on aid workers trying to get to the strife-torn state of Rakhine, where tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims are living in displacement camps with little access to food, clean water or medical care. Aid groups fled the state last week after their residences and offices were attacked by rampaging Buddhist mobs. Some staff say they have tried to return, but have been barred. By Robin McDowell. SENT: 500 words.


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Suspected Filipino insurgents seize a Chinese tourist and a hotel receptionist from a dive resort in eastern Malaysia and then flee in a speed boat, Malaysian and Philippine officials say. The kidnapping underscores the persistent security threats in Sabah state, a popular tourist destination a short boat ride from the southern Philippines, which has long been home to a dangerous mix of Muslim militants and kidnap gangs. By Eileen Ng and Jim Gomez. SENT: 670 words, photos.


KABUL, Afghanistan — A leading Afghan presidential candidate praises Hamid Karzai for allowing the country’s first democratic transition of power and says he’ll offer the longtime leader an advisory role if he wins this weekend’s election. Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai spoke to The Associated Press in a wide-ranging interview two days before Afghans go to the polls to choose a new president. By Kim Gamel. SENT: 800 words, photos.


BEIJING — Police in a southern Chinese city detain 18 people after a protest against a planned chemical plant turned violent over the weekend, local authorities say. The suspects were accused of disrupting order and causing trouble, according to a transcript of a news conference provided by the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily. SENT: 270 words.


BEIJING — China’s top generals issue an unusually lavish declaration of support for President Xi Jinping as he moves to consolidate his power with a crackdown on corruption in the military. The commanders of the military’s 15 most powerful departments wrote articles published in a special edition of the People’s Liberation Army Daily expressing their understanding of Xi’s thoughts about defense and military reforms. SENT: 410 words.


SYDNEY — A large shark kills a woman near her terrified husband and friends as they take their daily morning swim off a popular Australian east coast beach, police say. Christine Armstrong, 63, was taken by the shark as she attempted to swim the 600 meters (1,970 feet) between the wharf and beach near the village of Tathra. SENT: 410 words, photos.


BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — The doctors and therapists who worked with a little girl from Afghanistan knew the prosthetic arm they gave her would change her life. What they didn’t anticipate was that within weeks of strapping on her new limb, 7-year-old Shah Bibi Tarakhail would be using it to pick up a brush and begin carving out a new life — of abstract painting. By John Rogers. SENT: 690 words, photos.



SEOUL, South Korea — When Samsung unveiled a new smartphone at the storied Radio City Music Hall, the Broadway-style spectacle was memorable not for technology but for a cast of giggling female characters who fantasized about marrying a doctor, fretted about eating too much cake, and needed a man’s help to understand how to work the phone. The stereotypes were blatant even for an industry where skimpily clad booth babes are a staple of trade shows and high-level female executives are a rarity. How could an international company that wants to be seen as an innovator and spends more than $11 billion a year on advertising and promotion so badly misjudge its audience? Without too much difficulty and often it turns out. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 920 words, photos.


HONG KONG — China’s leaders have unveiled a mini-stimulus aimed at shoring up sputtering growth in the world’s No. 2 economy. Under the measures announced by Premier Li Keqiang, small businesses will get bigger tax breaks, social housing will be built to replace shantytowns and railway construction will be sped up. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 540 words, photos.


PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The spectacular temples of Cambodia’s Angkor civilization have been incorporated into Google’s Street View, a boost to the impoverished country’s tourism industry that also adds urgency to efforts to preserve the sprawling historic site. The Internet giant says Street View now includes more than 90,000 photographic panoramas of the sprawling temple complex, and links to Google’s online World Wonders Project, allowing viewers to zoom in to study carvings and other artistic and archaeological details. SENT: 380 words, photos.



FORT HOOD, Texas — An Iraq veteran undergoing treatment for a variety of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, kills three fellow soldiers before taking his own life at Fort Hood, the sprawling Army base in Texas perhaps best known outside the military for a 2009 shooting in which more than a dozen people died. By Will Weissert and Paul Weber. SENT: 830 words, photos, video, interactive.

FORT HOOD-SHOOTING-LOPEZ — Few details known about Fort Hood gunman Ivan Lopez, who killed three before taking his own life. SENT: 350 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration secretly financed a social network in Cuba to stir political unrest and undermine the country’s communist government. An Associated Press investigation found the program evaded Cuba’s Internet restrictions by creating a text-messaging service that could be used to organize political demonstrations. It drew in tens of thousands of subscribers who were unaware it was backed by the U.S. government. An AP Investigation by Desmond Butler, Jack Gillum and Alberto Arce. SENT: 4,580 words, video. A 1,350-word abridged version is also available.


KIEV, Ukraine — Interim authorities in Ukraine on Thursday accuse ousted President Viktor Yanukovych’s government of using a network of hired killers, kidnappers and gangs of thugs to terrorize and undermine the opposition. A top security official, speaking at the presentation of an official report, says there was evidence that Russia’s security service assisted their Ukrainian counterparts’ attempts to suppress anti-government protests which culminated in bloodshed in February that left more than 100 dead. By Maria Danilova. SENT: 450 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — Republicans call the Supreme Court’s latest ruling on campaign donations a victory for free speech. Democrats say it’s more like a win for the wealthy. Either way, it’s likely to benefit the two major political parties and their candidates for Congress, who are now able to seek donations from deep-pocketed contributors able to give more without running afoul of the law. By Special Correspondent David Espo. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee’s vote expected to approve declassifying part of a secret report on Bush-era interrogations of terrorism suspects puts the onus on the CIA and a reluctant White House to speed the release of one of the most definitive accounts about the government’s actions after the Sept. 11 attacks. By Bradley Klapper and Stephen Braun. SENT: 1,120 words, photo.


HUNTSVILLE, Texas — The U.S. Supreme Court will consider halting Thursday’s execution of a Texas serial killer whose attorneys are challenging the state’s refusal to release information about where it gets its lethal injection drug. Texas’ prison system argues that the name of the compounding pharmacy needs to remain secret to protect the company from threats of violence. By Michael Graczyk. SENT: 800 words, photos.


IQUQUE, Chile — Residents of Chile’s far-northern coast spend a second sleepless night outside their homes after a major aftershock rattles an area hit a day earlier by a magnitude-8.2 earthquake that caused some damage and six deaths. By Luis Hidalgo and Luis Andres Henao. SENT: 610 words, photos, videos.


TUNIS, Tunisia — Ahead of his Friday meeting with President Barack Obama, Tunisia’s interim prime minister says the government at last has a handle on extremism and the transition to democracy is back on track. Now, he says, it’s time to fix the faltering economy. In Washington, Mehdi Jomaa will be talking about security in North Africa but also how the United States can support the troubled finances of Tunisia — which not only kicked off the region-wide pro-democracy uprisings in 2011, but remains its poster child. “The security situation in Tunisia is today much more under control,” Jomaa tells The Associated Press in an interview. By Bouazza Ben Bouazza. SENT: 770 words, photos.


TRIPOLI — The U.N. refugee agency says the number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has exceeded 1 million, calling it a “devastating milestone” for the tiny Arab country with depleted resources and an explosive sectarian mix of its own. By Barbara Surk. SENT: 420 words.


WASHINGTON — Don’t expect to find genetically modified salmon — or any other engineered fish or meat — on store shelves anytime soon. The Obama administration has stalled for more than four years on deciding whether to approve a fast-growing salmon that would be the first genetically modified animal approved for human consumption. By Mary Clare Jalonick. SENT: 750 words, photo.


— CANADA-TORONTO MAYOR — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford votes “no” on congratulating Olympians, then says it was a mistake. SENT: 390 words.

— JFK-EMERGENCY LANDING — LaGuardia-bound Delta jet diverted to Kennedy Airport after problems with hydraulic system. SENT: 110 words.

— PEOPLE-SELENA GOMEZ — Man admits trespassing at Selena Gomez’s home near Los Angeles; sentenced to jail, probation. SENT: 130 words, photo.

— JUSTIN BIEBER-PRANK — Artist plants fake copies of Justin Bieber’s latest album in Los Angeles stores on April Fool’s Day. SENT: 660 words, photo.

— STATE OF BLACK AMERICA — Report says blacks and Latinos are losing ground in employment and income compared to whites. SENT: 210 words, photo, video.


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