BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS
Aug. 19, 2013
PATNA, India — A train runs over a group of Hindu pilgrims at a crowded station in eastern India, killing at least 37 people. A mob infuriated by the deaths beats the driver severely and sets fire to coaches, officials say. Several hours after the accident, flames and dark smoke can be seen billowing out of the train coaches, as protesters block firefighters from the station. Moved. By Indrajit Singh.
MANILA, Philippines — Torrential rains bring the Philippine capital to a standstill, submerging some areas in waist-deep floodwaters and making streets impassable to vehicles while thousands of people across coastal and mountainous northern regions flee to emergency shelters. Officials report at least three dead, 11 injured and four missing. Moved. AP Photos.
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea and the U.S. begin annual military drills amid signs of easing tension on the divided peninsula, with Pyongyang's state media shunning typical rhetoric against what they call a rehearsal for an invasion. Moved. By Hyung-jin Kim. AP Photos.
NEW ZEALAND-GAY MARRIAGE
QUEENSTOWN, New Zealand — When Lynley Bendall and Ally Wanikau walked down the aisle to exchange vows, the fasten-seatbelt signs were off. The couple celebrated the legalization of gay marriage in New Zealand by getting hitched in a plane at 39,000 feet (11,900 meters). Along for the ride was Jesse Tyler Ferguson, star of the ABC sitcom "Modern Family." Moved. By Nick Perry. AP Photos.
BEIJING — Landslides bury vehicles and trap an unknown number of people in southern China's Guangxi province following days of heavy rain fed by a typhoon. Moved.
TOKYO — Residents in a southern Japanese city wash ash off the streets after a nearby volcano spewed a record-high smoke plume into the sky. Moved. By Mari Yamaguchi. AP Photos.
MEDAN, Indonesia — Security forces retake control of an overcrowded prison in western Indonesia following a night-long riot, and capture most of the estimated 30 convicts who escaped. The Labuhan Ruku jail was built for around 300 prisoners but houses more than 850, most of them drug traffickers. Moved. AP Photos.
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan officials mark the country's 94th year of independence from Britain with a small military parade and folk festivals in the capital. Moved.
BUSINESS AND FINANCE:
TOKYO — U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman urges Japan to open its market to American cars and insurance companies, which would pave the way for a broader regional free trade agreement. Froman says the ongoing talks with Japan dealing with such historical sticking points are tied to the success of the larger and parallel Pacific free trade negotiations. Moved. AP Photos.
TOKYO — Japan's trade deficit ballooned in July to 1.02 trillion yen ($10 billion), almost double a year earlier, as the cost of imports surged because of a cheaper yen and energy needs. Moved. By Yuri Kageyama.
BEIJING — Bestselling Chinese author Murong Xuecun had nearly 4 million followers on his Twitter-like microblog. One day in May his account disappeared. So did his profiles on several other social media sites. No explanation was given, but one is starting to emerge. Many famous Chinese — from pop stars to scholars, journalists to business tycoons — have amassed substantial online followings, and these larger-than-life personalities don't always hew to the Communist Party line. Now Beijing is tightening its grip on China's already heavily restricted Internet by making influential microbloggers uncomfortable when they post material the government doesn't like. Moved. By Didi Tang. AP Photos.
BUENA PARK, California — The ancient Indian religion of Jainism, a close cousin of Buddhism, has often been a hard sell in the U.S. with a strict adherence to nonviolence that forbids eating meat, encourages days of fasting and places value on even the smallest of insects. Now younger Jains who resist the elaborate rituals of their parents, which include meditating 48 minutes a day and presenting statues of idols with flowers, rice and a saffron-and-sandalwood paste, are trying to reinterpret the traditions of their religion for 21st-century American life. By Gillian Flaccus. AP Photos.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Asia Photo Desk can be reached at (81-3) 6215-8941 or by fax at (81-3) 3574-8850.
Between 1700 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.