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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

July 4, 2014

ASIA:

MYANMAR-VIOLENCE

YANGON, Myanmar — Muslims in Myanmar’s second-largest city say early morning prayers in peace after an overnight curfew restored calm following two nights of violent rampages by extremist Buddhists. Authorities imposed the curfew in Mandalay late Thursday after attacks on minority Muslims left two people dead and 14 injured, raising fears that ethnic violence that has plagued the country for two years may escalate again. By Aye Aye Win. SENT: 595 words.

JAPAN-NKOREA

TOKYO — Japan takes a tentative step toward improved relations with North Korea by agreeing to lift some of its sanctions, as North Korea announced the details of a new probe into the fate of at least a dozen Japanese believed to have been abducted by North Korean agents decades ago. By Eric Talmadge. SENT: 900 words, photos.

CHINA-CHURCH CRACKDOWN

BEIJING — A lawyer says the pastor of a Christian church in central China has been sentenced to 12 years in prison following a dispute with local authorities. SENT: 125 words.

VIETNAM-NEW SHIPS

HANOI, Vietnam — Vietnam plans to build 32 new coastal patrol vessels, boosting its maritime muscle and surveillance capacities amid an increasingly tense territorial dispute in the South China Sea with its far larger neighbor China. SENT: 170 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

WORLD MARKETS

TOKYO — Asian stock markets mostly rise after the U.S. reported strong hiring for June. TBy Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 360 words, photo.

ECONOMY

WASHINGTON — A surprisingly robust job market is invigorating the 5-year-old U.S. recovery and driving the economy closer to full health. Employers added 288,000 jobs in June and helped cut the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent, the lowest since 2008. It was the fifth straight job gain above 200,000 — the best such stretch since the late 1990s tech boom. The stock market roared its approval, with the Dow Jones industrial average surging above 17,000 for the first time. By Josh Boak. SENT: 900 words, photos, video.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

TROPICAL WEATHER

RODANTHE, N.C. — A strengthening Hurricane Arthur forced thousands of vacationers on the North Carolina coast to abandon their Independence Day plans while cities farther up the East Coast rescheduled fireworks displays threatened by rain from the storm. After passing over or near North Carolina as a hurricane early Friday, Arthur is expected to travel northward where tropical storm warnings for Nantucket Island and parts of Cape Cod have now been issued. By Emery Dalesio. SENT: 700 words with a new approach, photos, video.

— AP PHOTO — GASM101 — A Savannah, Ga., man checks out the waves on the north beach of Tybee Island as Hurricane Arthur makes its way up the East Coast.

IMMIGRATION OVERLOAD-FLASHPOINT

LOS ANGELES — A California city where protesters forced a bus full of immigrants to leave the city has become the latest flashpoint in an intensifying immigration debate. More buses are expected to arrive in Murrieta on the Fourth of July, and residents of the conservative leaning city say they’ll try again. The mayor has become a hero with his criticism of the federal government’s handling of women and children from Central America who are flooding across the border in Texas and being bused elsewhere. By Matt Hamilton. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. DEVELOPING from 11 a.m. protest in Murrieta, photos and video staffing. By Matt Hamilton. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos.

— OBAMA-IMMIGRATION — President Barack Obama plans to highlight a positive side of the immigration debate by presiding over an Independence Day citizenship ceremony for military members who signed up to defend the U.S. even though they weren’t American citizens. SENT: 450 words, photo.

IRAQ

BAGHDAD — With large parts of Iraq in militant hands, a top Kurdish leader calls on regional lawmakers to arrange a referendum on independence, a vote that would likely spell the end of a unified Iraq. The blitz by Sunni militants has given Iraqi Kurds their best chance ever to seize disputed territory and achieve a decades-old dream of their own state. By Ryan Lucas and Bram Janssen. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

EGYPT

CAIRO — A series of demonstrations and small bombings mark the anniversary of the ouster of Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi, and authorities respond by arresting nearly 200 people as part of their crackdown against Islamists. By Hamza Hendawi. SENT: 835 words, photos.

UGANDA-TERRORIST THREAT

KAMPALA, Uganda — The U.S. Embassy in Uganda warns of a specific threat by an unknown terrorist group to attack the country’s only international airport. By Rodney Muhumuza. SENT: 310 words.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS

JERUSALEM — The Israeli military rushes additional forces to its southern border with the Gaza Strip, vowing to halt a growing wave of rocket fire out of the Palestinian territory, as new clashes erupt in east Jerusalem in response to the death of an Arab boy who Palestinians say was killed by Israeli extremists. By Josef Federman. SENT: 1,000 words with a new approach, photos.

UKRAINE

KIEV, Ukraine — President Petro Poroshenko shakes up Ukraine’s faltering military, appointing a new defense minister and top general with angry words about the years of decay and corruption that left the country unable to deal with an armed insurrection. The shakeup underscores the complex job Poroshenko faces of making peace overtures while putting down the insurgency, with a key factor outside his direct control: the support Ukraine and the West say Russia is providing for the rebels. By David McHugh. SENT: 570 words, photos. UPCOMING: 750 words by 2:30 p.m., photos.

CANADA-OIL TRAIN DISASTER

LAC-MEGANTIC, Quebec — Backhoes and bulldozers are still digging out oil-seeped soil and pavement in this lakeside Quebec town. Where the post office, public library and restaurants once stood, there is only the clanging of machinery. A year has passed since a runaway oil train derailed and exploded, killing 47 people. “It’s a challenge for us to commemorate something that doesn’t yet belong to the past,” says the parish priest. “We’re still in the midst of the tragedy.” By Benjamin Shingler. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

ALONE WITH THOUGHTS

NEW YORK — Wouldn’t you love to escape this busy world and just spend some time alone with your thoughts? Maybe not, says a study of volunteers who actually tried it. Some even started giving themselves electric shocks as the minutes ticked by. By Science Writer Malcolm Ritter. SENT: 600 words, photos.

CAPTIVE MARINE MAMMALS

ORLANDO, Fla. — Since the release of a highly critical documentary last year, Sea World Parks and Entertainment Inc. has been in the crosshairs of animal rights activists distressed over the condition of its killer whales. But an Associated Press analysis of federal data shows that annual survival rates for some marine mammals at Sea World’s three parks are at or near the top of all U.S. parks and aquariums. Sea World’s survival rates for bottlenose dolphins and California sea lions actually exceed estimates for those in the wild. While the survival rates do not speak to the quality of life dolphins, whales and sea lions have at Sea World, they do show that the parks are one of the healthiest environments for captive marine mammals in the United States. By Mike Schneider. SENT: 1,300 words, photos, video.

HEALTH

HOW MUCH ALCOHOL

WASHINGTON — How strong is that pina colada? Depending on how it’s made, it could contain as much alcohol as two glasses of wine. The National Institutes of Health is trying to spread the word: Take a look at its online alcohol calculator to see how much you’re really drinking with those summer cocktails. By Medical Writer Lauren Neergaard. SENT: 600 words, graphic.

WORLD CUP

WCUP-WHY SO MANY GOALS?

RIO DE JANEIRO — There is no single answer to why the Brazil World Cup is on target to smash the record for total goals. From Day 1, when Brazil put three past Croatia and the Croats got one back, teams have treated the showcase tournament to a goal deluge as sustained as an Amazon forest downpour. The Netherlands 5, Spain 1 was Day 2. Day 4 saw Germany 4, Portugal 0. France vs. Switzerland became a seven-goal score-fest. Better fitness, changing tactics, forwards on fire and other factors explain the feast of attacking football. By John Leicester. SENT: 820 words, photos.

— WCUP-BRAZIL-SCOLARI’S FAMILY — Luiz Felipe Scolari has taken the role of a second dad to many players in this young Brazilian team carrying the responsibility of winning the World Cup at home. Players say “Felipao” has won them over with the right balance of discipline and support. SENT: 700 words, photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— RACHEL MELLON-AUCTION — Property from the estate of Rachel “Bunny” Mellon is going on the auction block this fall. Sotheby’s says more than 2,000 paintings, jewelry, furniture and decorative objects are estimated to bring more than $100 million. SENT: 250 words, photos.

— OBIT-ZAMPERINI — Louis Zamperini, an Olympic distance runner and World War II veteran who survived 47 days on a raft in the Pacific after his bomber crashed, then endured two years in Japanese prison camps, has died at age 97. SENT: 700 words, photos. UPCOMING: 750 words with new approach by 4 p.m.

— FLOWER AND DIE — An 80-year-old American agave plant is that will flower once then die appears close to o the former at the University of Michigan. UPCOMING: 300 words by 2:30 p.m., photos.

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