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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

October 3, 2014

ASIA:

HONG KONG-DEMOCRACY PROTEST

HONG KONG — Hong Kong protesters welcome an overnight offer by the territory’s leader of talks to defuse the crisis over demonstrations seeking democratic reforms, though they continued to demand he resign and maintained barricades around government headquarters, frustrating staff going to work. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 800 words, photos, video.

THAILAND-STUDENTS AND SUPRESSION

BANGKOK — It was supposed to be the latest in a series of university seminars called “Democracy Classroom,” and the Thai students organizing it attempted to steer clear of one particularly sensitive subject — Thailand itself. Police stopped the event, anyway. Since overthrowing an elected government in May, this nation’s military rulers have jailed opponents who dared speak out and silenced the rest with the threat of prosecution. They have censored the media, dispersed protesters, and forbidden open debate over the nation’s fate. The country is relatively peaceful, but incidents like the canceled seminar show the deep tensions that lurk below the surface. By Todd Pitman. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 0700 GMT, photos.

JAPAN-VOLCANO

TOKYO — Doctors have determined that almost all of the dozens of people killed on a Japanese volcano died of injuries from being hit by rocks that flew out during its eruption, police say. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 390 words, photos.

THAILAND-TOURIST DEATHS

BANGKOK — Two workers from Myanmar have confessed to killing a pair of British tourists whose battered bodies were found on a beach in southern Thailand last month, and police say the suspects’ DNA matches that collected from one of the victims. By Thanyarat Doksone. SENT: 420 words, photo.

AUSTRALIA-IRAQ

CANBERRA, Australia — Six Australian F/A-18F Super Hornet jet fighters will launch airstrikes against Islamic State targets in northern Iraq within days as part of the U.S.-led coalition, officials say. By Rod Mcguirk. SENT: 430 words.

— AUSTRALIA-FACE VEILS — Prime Minister Tony Abbott has asked Parliament House officials to reconsider a new security measure that segregates Muslim women who wear face veils from other visitors to the seat of Australia’s national government. SENT: 130 words.

VIETNAM-US ARMS SALES

HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam has welcomed a decision by the U.S. government to ease a ban on lethal arms sales, saying it will benefit both nations. SENT: 295 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

FINANCIAL MARKETS

BANGKOK — Hong Kong stocks fall further as pro-democracy protests enters a second week but most other Asian markets rise ahead of reports on U.S. employment and factory orders. By Joe Mcdonald. SENT: 445 words, photos.

ISIS-COMPANY NAMES

“Isis” is part of the name of more than 270 product, service or business names among active federal trademarks, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For those companies, the “Isis” name can be damaging. Some are deciding to change the company name, while others are taking a “wait-and-see” approach. By Tom Murphy. UPCOMING: 800 words by 0700 GMT, photos.

JPMORGAN-DATA BREACH

LOS ANGELES — New details on a cyberattack against JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s computer servers this summer add to increasing doubts over the security of consumer data kept by lenders, retailers and others. By Business Writer Alex Veiga. SENT: 800 words, photo.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

EBOLA

DALLAS — Four members of a family the U.S. Ebola patient was staying with are confined to their Texas home under armed guard as the circle of people possibly exposed to the virus widened, while Liberian authorities say they will prosecute the man for allegedly lying on an airport questionnaire. By Nomaaan Merchant and David Warren. SENT: 945 words, photos, video.

EBOLA-LIBERIA-US-NEIGHBORHOOD

MONROVIA, Liberia — Thomas Eric Duncan rushed to help his 19-year-old neighbor when she began convulsing days after complaining of stomach pain. Everyone assumed her illness was related to her being seven months pregnant. When no ambulance came, Duncan, Marthalene Williams’ parents and several others lifted her into a taxi, and Duncan rode in the front seat as the cab took Williams to the hospital. She later died. By Krista Larson. SENT: 820 words, photos.

— EBOLA-AIRLINES — United Airlines says it is notifying passengers who were on flights with a man later diagnosed with Ebola and telling them how to contact federal health officials. SENT: 410 words.

— TV-NBC-EBOLA — An American cameraman helping to cover the Ebola outbreak in Liberia for NBC News has tested positive for the virus and will be flown back to the United States for treatment. SENT: 135 words.

— EBOLA-5 Things — Disease detectives working on 2 continents to prevent spread of deadly Ebola virus in US. Five things to know about containing the virus. SENT: 640 words.

IRAQ-YAZIDIS

DOHUK, Iraq — One of the most haunting memories 70-year old Aishan Ali Dirbou has of her encounter with Islamic State militants who overran her hometown is feeling them prod her with their assault rifles as she lay pretending to be dead. Now she’s among tens of thousands of members of Iraq’s Yadizi religious minority living in squalor in Iraq’s Kurdish region, cautiously hoping Kurdish troops will wrest back the town of Sinjar. By Vivian Salama. UPCOMING: 850 words by 0730 GMT, photos.

TURKEY-ISLAMIC STATE

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s parliament gives the government new powers to launch military incursions into Syria and Iraq, and to allow foreign forces to use its territory for possible operations against the Islamic State group. By Suzan Fraser and Diaa Hadid. SENT: 1,130 words, photos.

AP POLL-TERRORISM

WASHINGTON — Nearly 2 out of 3 Americans back U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria to combat the threat from Islamic extremists, yet half also think there’s a high risk of a future terrorist attack on American soil, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. By Deb Riechmann and Jennifer Agiesta. SENT: 740 words, graphic.

EGYPT

CAIRO — The Egyptian judge who oversaw mass death sentence cases against Islamist supporters of the country’s ousted president, drawing strong international criticism, has been removed from his criminal court, officials and the judge himself tell The Associated Press. By Maggie Michael and Mamdouh Thabet. SENT: 815 words.

AFGHANISTAN’S SHAKY ARMY

KABUL, Afghanistan — An Afghan army desperate for more advanced military equipment is suffering death rates 30 percent higher in the 2014 fighting season, the army’s first against the Taliban without large-scale assistance from the U.S.-led international military force, officials say. A bigger worry than the increased deaths, though, is the havoc the military could unleash on the country if the army rips at its ethnic seams, an increased possibility as U.S. and other NATO forces continue to draw down their forces, Afghan and American military experts say. By Jason Straziuso. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

NOBEL PEACE PRIZE

STAVANGER, Norway — With the 2014 Nobel Prize announcements around the corner, Norway is considering shaking up the five-member committee that selects the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Critics say the prestigious panel should no longer be limited to retired Norwegian politicians and have suggested broadening the pool of potential judges to people from other walks of life and even non-Norwegians. Any future changes wouldn’t affect this year’s winner, to be announced Oct. 10 by chairman Thorbjoern Jagland, but could influence next year’s award as Jagland and two other members are up for re-election. By Karl Ritter and Mark Lewis. SENT: 800 words, photo.

SECRET SERVICE

WASHINGTON — The scandal that’s rocked the once-proud Secret Service and raised questions about the president’s safety has also produced rare bipartisan unity on Capitol Hill. A month out from bitterly contested congressional elections, Democratic and Republican lawmakers who are usually at odds have been surprised to find themselves largely agreeing on their response to security breaches at the agency, including an armed intruder who made it all the way into the White House East Room. By Erica Werner. SENT: 650 words, photo.

CARIBBEAN-ERODING BEACHES

NEGRIL, Jamaica — Tourists from around the world are drawn to a stretch of palm-fringed shoreline known as “Seven Mile Beach,” a crescent of white sand along the turquoise waters of Jamaica’s western coast. But the sands are slipping away and Jamaicans fear the beach, someday, will need a new nickname. Each morning, groundskeepers with metal rakes carefully tend Negril’s resort-lined shore. Some sections, however, are barely wide enough for a decent-sized beach towel and the Jamaican National Environment and Planning Agency says sand is receding at a rate of more than a meter (yard) a year. “The beach could be totally lost within 30 years,” said Anthony McKenzie, a senior director at the agency. By David McFadden. SENT: 950 words, photos.

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YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Scott McDonald. 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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