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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

July 2, 2013


BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei —North Korea’s top diplomat says the U.S. must accept its offer for dialogue without preconditions if it wants to ease tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula. He draws a quick rebuttal from his South Korean counterpart, who says the international community has made clear that Pyongyang must give up its nuclear ambitions if it wants better relations. Moved. By Hyung-jin Kim. AP Photos.



KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban suicide attackers blow up a truck bomb at the gates of a NATO supply company’s compound in Kabul and spray gunfire at security personnel, killing four guards and two civilians. Moved. By Amir Shah. AP Photos.


MOSCOW — NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s best chance of finding refuge outside the United States may hinge on the president of Venezuela, who is in Moscow meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela says his country has not received an application for asylum from Snowden and dodges the question of whether he would take Snowden away with him. But Maduro also defends the former National Security Agency contractor who released sensitive documents on U.S. intelligence-gathering operations. Moved. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. AP Photos.


WASHINGTON — U.S. President Barack Obama has a simple answer to European outrage over new allegations that his country spies on its allies: The Europeans do it too. Moved. By Kimberly Dozier. AP Photos.



BANDA ACEH, Indonesia — A strong earthquake strikes Indonesia’s Aceh province, killing at least one person and leaving two others missing. Many houses are damaged and dozens of villagers are injured. Moved. By Fakhrurradzie Gade.


BEIJING — Police in China’s tense far west announce a crackdown on weapons as well as rewards for information on “terrorist” threats following recent deadly unrest, while state media raise alarms with reports that local militants are fighting and training abroad. Moved. By Gillian Wong.


THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Japan is opening its defense of its controversial whaling program in the seas around Antarctica during hearings at the United Nations’ highest court. Lawyers for Tokyo are expected to argue that the International Court of Justice has no jurisdiction to hear the dispute with Australia and New Zealand over the annual hunt and slaughter of hundreds of minke and fin whales in the Southern Ocean. Moved. AP Photos.


VIENNA — The United States says experts have removed the last batch of uranium from Vietnam that terrorists could have used in efforts to make a nuclear bomb. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz says the highly enriched uranium, from the Dalat Nuclear Research Institute, has gone to Russia where it will be turned into low-enriched reactor fuel. Moved.



BEIJING — China will join Russia later this week for its largest-ever naval drills with a foreign partner, underscoring deepening ties between the former Cold War rivals along with Beijing’s desire for closer links with regional militaries. China has long been a key customer for Russian military hardware, but only in the last decade have their militaries begun taking part in joint exercises. Moved.


BEIJING — Drugs worth more than 2.5 billion yuan ($400 million) have been seized in a two-month multinational operation targeting crime along the Mekong River, China’s drug enforcement chief says. Moved.


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Doctors Without Borders warns that rising intellectual property rights are blocking the generic production of newer drugs to treat HIV and are keeping them out of reach for developing countries. The medical aid group said at an international AIDS meeting that prices of older drugs long used to treat patients have fallen sharply as India and other countries make generics. But newer drugs that are more effective against the AIDS virus are too expensive, costing up to 15 times more. Moved.


SINGAPORE — This conservative city-state convicted men for homosexual behavior as recently as seven years ago, and the British colonial-era law it used is still on the books. The government shows no interest in making a change: The prime minister’s advice has been to just let things be. Opposition official Vincent Wijeysingha isn’t taking that advice. On his Facebook page last week, he became the first Singaporean politician to come out of the closet, and he is advocating for the law to be scrapped. Moved. By Satish Cheney. AP Photos.



BANGKOK — Asian stock markets are mostly higher as speculation that lukewarm U.S. economic indicators would keep the Federal Reserve from ending its stimulus program early offset pessimism about China’s economy. Major European markets open slightly down. Moved.


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