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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

July 9, 2014



JAKARTA, Indonesia — After weeks of bitter campaigning, millions of Indonesians are casting ballots for president in a race far too tight to predict, hoping their vote would bring change to a country plagued by corruption and poverty. The world’s third-largest democracy is divided over two very different choices: a one-time furniture maker and a wealthy ex-army general with close links to former dictator Suharto. By Niniek Karmini. SENT: 950 words, photos.



SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea launches two short-range ballistic missiles into the sea off its east coast, a South Korean defense official says in a continuation of a recent series of missile and rocket test launches. By Jung-Yoon Choi and Hyung-Jin Kim. SENT: 290 words.


TOKYO — As North Korea begins a 10-day period of mourning to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of its first leader, Kim Il Sung, Pyongyang watchers are paying closer attention to his grandson — who was shown on state media walking to his seat for a memorial event with a noticeable limp. SENT: 165 words, photos.


BEIJING — The United States and China vow to improve their economic and security cooperation, saying they wouldn’t let persistent differences over maritime claims, cyberhacking and currency hamper a relationship critical to global peace and prosperity. By Bradley Klapper. SENT: 675 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — The Obama administration urges Southeast Asia’s regional bloc to do more to combat human trafficking after two of its member states were blacklisted for failing to act decisively against exploitation of migrant laborers. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 470 words.


BEIJING — A well-known Tibetan writer says she and her husband have been placed under house arrest in Beijing as China plays host to U.S. State Secretary John Kerry for the latest round of U.S.-China talks. By Didi Tang. SENT: 320 words, photo.


TOKYO — A powerful storm slams through the southwestern Japanese island of Okinawa, leaving at least 28 people injured and 63,000 homes without power before swerving toward the bigger island of Kyushu. SENT: 260 words, photos.


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — A Sri Lankan court has released dozens of asylum seekers who were detained after being returned to their home country following the interception of their boat by Australian border patrol last month. SENT: 450 words.



YANGON, Myanmar — The air in the dark, dingy room is thick with the putrid smell of rubber. Aung Nyunt and a half-dozen other workers toil away there day and night, turning discarded tires into flip-flops, buckets and hard-to-find spare parts for used cars. Their country may be undergoing one of the most remarkable transformations the region has seen in generations, but the trade they learned from their fathers decades ago appears to be as relevant today as ever. By Aye Aye Win. UPCOMING: 500 words by 0700 GMT, photos.



TOKYO — Asian stock markets fall for a third day as caution spread ahead of corporate earnings and after record highs on Wall Street. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 360 words.


HONG KONG — China’s inflation rate eased to 2.3 percent in June as politically sensitive food prices softened. SENT: 130 words.


LONDON — They are a rolling symbol of inequality — cars that start at upwards of $250,000 a pop, with most customers choosing to double the cost with extra options — and they are more popular than ever before. Rolls-Royce says demand for its luxury cars is 33 percent higher than a year ago, based on the number of cars sold worldwide. It’s part of a boom in luxury goods even as much of the world struggles with slow growth and a lack of job security. By Gregory Katz and Matthew Knight. SENT: 730 words, photos.



JERUSALEM — Israel launches its largest offensive in the Gaza Strip in nearly two years, carrying out a blistering aerial assault on scores of targets and killing 25 people in what officials call an open-ended operation aimed at ending weeks of heavy rocket fire. As Gaza militants unleashes salvos on cities including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel mobilizes forces along the border for a possible ground invasion. By Josef Federman. SENT: 1,220 words, photos, video.

— TOP PHOTO — DV109 — An Israeli missile explodes upon impact with a target in Gaza.


BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil — Germany hands Brazil its heaviest World Cup loss ever with an astounding 7-1 rout in the semifinals that stunned the host nation. Miroslav Klose scores a record-setting 16th career World Cup goal in a five-goal spurt in the first half as Brazil’s defense was torn apart. Brazil’s previous biggest World Cup loss was 3-0 to France in the 1998 final. By Chris Lehourites. SENT: 800 words, photos, video.

— WCUP-BRAZIL WATCHES — A drenching, tropical rain and an early onslaught of goals by Germany deflate the Brazilian football faithful who packed onto the golden sands of Copacabana beach to watch the semifinal match. SENT: 570 words, photos, video.


RIO DE JANEIRO — A World Cup corporate hospitality executive who is suspected of involvement with a ticket-scalping ring is released from prison. Ray Whelan, of the MATCH group of companies, arrested Monday at the swanky Copacabana Palace Hotel and accused of involvement in the illegal resale of tickets for World Cup games. By Graham Dunbar. SENT 700 words, photos.


DONETSK, Ukraine — Ukraine’s government vows to expunge pro-Russia insurgents from their area of control in eastern Ukraine and imposes new conditions on the rebels before peace talks can begin again. As the military moves to encircle rebel-held territory, the government also says it will stop using the air and artillery strikes that drove rebels from other towns, to avoid terrorizing civilians. By Yuras Karmanau and Peter Leonard. SENT: 930 words, photos.

— UKRAINE-AFTER THE REBELS — For the first time in three months, Alla Grebenkova says she can go out on the streets of Slovyansk in eastern Ukraine without fear of being recognized as Ukrainian. SENT: 710 words, photos.


SAN PEDRO LIMON, Mexico — Bullet marks and blood on the walls of a warehouse in the mountains of southern Mexico tell a grim story of death involving soldiers and alleged criminals. It may not be the same story officials tell, however. The shootout was one in a string of battles in which the army says criminals fired first at soldiers who then killed them all. There have been so many such incidents that analysts have begun to doubt the military’s version. By Mark Stevenson. SENT: 1,170 words, photos.


MOGADISHU, Somalia — Somalia’s government says its troops have retaken the presidential palace in the capital of Mogadishu, after Islamic militants forced their way in and exchanged heavy gunfire with troops and guards. After more than two hours of fighting, Somalia’s presidency tweeted that “the shameful attack” has been foiled. SENT: 550 words.


MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. — The Air Force asserts with pride that the nation’s nuclear missile system, more than 40 years old and designed to counter the now-defunct Soviet Union, is safe and secure. But it admits to fraying at the edges: time-worn command posts, corroded launch silos and failing support equipment. That could be one reason the nuclear force has suffered discipline and morale problems, as revealed by The Associated Press. By National Security Writer Robert Burns. SENT: 1,200 words, photos, video.

— TOP VIDEO —aging_nuke_base1 — AP was given special access inside an American nuclear missile command center and found antiquated equipment supporting the nation’s deadliest weapons.

— NUCLEAR MISSTEPS-FINDINGS SO FAR — Key findings in AP nuclear missile corps probe. SENT: 680 words.

— NUCLEAR STEPS-PROFILE — A look at the Minuteman missile, mission, future. SENT: 650 words.


ATLANTA — Government workers cleaning out an old storage room at a research center near Washington make a startling discovery — decades-old vials of smallpox in a cardboard box. The vials were sealed, and the virus may well have been dead, officials say. Still, the find is disturbing, because for decades after smallpox was declared eradicated in the 1980s, authorities believed the only samples left were safely stored in super-secure laboratories in Atlanta and in Russia. It’s the second recent incident involving a U.S. government health agency’s mishandling of dangerous germs. By AP Medical Writer Mike Stobbe. SENT: 600 words, photo.





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