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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

November 24, 2014

ASIA:

HONG KONG-WOMEN KILLED

HONG KONG — Hong Kong judge deems a British banker charged with murdering two Indonesian women fit to enter a plea in his case based on the results of psychiatric reports. The judge in Rurik Jutting’s case also adjourned pre-trial court proceedings until July 6 to give the prosecution more time to analyze DNA and other forensic evidence. SENT: 280 words, photos.

PHILIPPINES-EXPLOSION

KIDAPAWAN, Philippines — The death toll from a bomb blast in a billiard hall near a crowded town carnival in the southern Philippines has risen to three, officials say. The death toll rose overnight after one of the wounded died in hospital, Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, an army spokeswoman, said Monday. Another 22 people were wounded in the blast. SENT: 160 words.

AUSTRALIA-ABANDONED BABY

SYDNEY — A 30-year-old Sydney mother has been charged with the attempted murder of her newborn son who was allegedly abandoned in a roadside drain for five days before passers-by heard his cries. SENT: 490 words, photos.

NEPAL-BUS CRASH

KATMANDU, Nepal — Rescuers recovered 42 more bodies from the wreckage of a bus that plunged into a river in west Nepal raising the confirmed death toll to 47, police said Monday. Police said the bodies were recovered after the bus wreckage was pulled to the bank of the river on Sunday. SENT: 160 words.

US & INTERNATIONAL

OBAMA-2016

HENDERSON, Nevada — President Barack Obama says voters want a “new car smell” in the 2016 White House race and that Hillary Rodham Clinton would be “a great president.” But would Clinton pass that particular smell test? In a nationally televised interview broadcast Sunday, Obama seemed to suggest that any Democrat other than him would provide the turn of the page that he says voters are interested in. He acknowledged the “dings” to his own political standing during nearly six years of sometimes bruising battles with Congress and said Americans will want something new. SENT: 600 words, photo.

— OBAMA-IMMIGRATION. Obama defends unilateral moves to shield millions from threat of deportation. SENT, 420 words.

ISLAMIC STATE-CHILD SOLDIERS

BEIRUT — Teenagers carrying weapons stand at checkpoints and busy intersections in Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul. In the Syrian city of Raqqa, boys attend training camp and religious courses before heading off to fight. The Islamic State group is actively conscripting children for battle and committing abuses against the most vulnerable at a young age. AP’s Monday Spotlight by Zeina Karam and Vivian Salama. SENT: 1,350 words, photos.

— ISLAMIC STATE — Iraqi forces battling the Islamic State group focus their offensive on the city of Ramadi, backed by Sunni tribal fighters that the U.S. plans to arm. SENT: 490 words.

AFGHANISTAN

KABUL, Afghanistan — A suicide bomber blows himself up at a volleyball tournament in eastern Afghanistan, killing at least 45 people, just hours after Parliament approves agreements allowing U.S. and NATO troops to stay in the country past the end of the year. It is Afghanistan’s deadliest terrorist attack this year. By Rahim Faiez and Lynne O’Donnel. SENT: 600 words.

IRAN-NUCLEAR TALKS

VIENNA — The U.S. and five other nations trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran are turning away from attempting to reach an agreement by deadline and have started internal discussions on extending the talks, diplomats say. By George Jahn and Matthew Lee. SENT: 500 words, photos.

TUNISIA-PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

TUNIS, Tunisia — Tunisia takes another step forward in its peaceful transition to democracy by holding its first free presidential election. By Bouazza Ben Bouazza and Sam Kimball. SENT: 750 words, photos. Official results expected Tuesday, exit polls may be available Sunday night.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS

JERUSALEM — In a move likely to further inflame tensions with Israel’s Arab citizens, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Cabinet approves a bill to legally define the country as the nation-state of the Jewish people. The decision, which could bring down the brittle coalition government, follows weeks of deadly violence and is denounced by critics as undermining the country’s democratic character and poorly timed, with the situation so combustible. By Josef Federman and Aron Heller. SENT: 830 words, photos.

NUCLEAR MISSTEPS

WASHINGTON — An admiral linked by Navy investigators to counterfeit casino chips denied Sunday that he played any role in making them. Investigation records say Rear Adm. Timothy M. Giardina’s DNA was found on the underside of an adhesive sticker used to alter one of the phony chips, but previously undisclosed emails indicate that the presence of his DNA is not conclusive evidence that he was involved in the fakery. By National Security Writer Robert Burns. SENT: 860 words, photo.

HEALTH BEAT-GLOBAL SECURITY

WASHINGTON — The next Ebola or the next SARS. Maybe even the next HIV. Even before the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is brought under control, public health officials are girding for the next health disaster. By Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard. SENT: 910 words, photos.

NAMIBIA-ELECTION

WINDHOEK, Namibia — Namibia’s ruling party, which has ruled the country since independence in 1990, is poised for another election win this week. Analysts say a tougher test of Namibian democracy will come when an opposition party wins. By Christopher Torchia. SENT: 630 words, photo.

BUSINESS

MERGER SURGE-HEALTH INDUSTRY

Large drugmakers are buying and selling businesses to control costs and deploy surplus cash. A rising stock market, tax strategies and low interest rates are also fueling the mergers and acquisitions. It’s all combining to make 2014 the most active year for health care deals in at least two decades. By Linda a. Johnson and Steve Rothwell. SENT: 700 words, photo.

OBIT-MARION BARRY

WASHINGTON — Marion Barry, a controversial, resilient politician and tireless advocate for the nation’s capital who opened pathways to jobs for generations of black families, has died at age 78. The four-term former mayor will be remembered nationally, though, for one night in 1990 when he was caught on video lighting a crack pipe in the midst of the crack cocaine epidemic. By Ben Nuckols and Brett Zongker. SENT: 1,350 words, photo, video. A 760-words abridge version has also moved.

SPORTS

BOX--PACQUIAO-ALGIERI

MACAU — After dispatching Chris Algieri in convincing fashion, Manny Pacquiao has Floyd Mayweather Jr. right where he wants him. Whether this megabout actually happens, of course, depends on Mayweather agreeing to sign on the bottom line. By Boxing Writer Tim Dahlberg. SENT: 850 words, photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— NIGERIA-VIOLENCE — An attack by Islamic extremists kills dozens in the northeastern Nigerian village of Doron Baga, a major fishing center on the shores of Lake Chad. SENT: 300 words.

— KENYA ATTACK — Kenya’s deputy president denounces the killing of 28 bus passengers and says the nation’s military responded by killing more than 100 militants in Somalia. SENT: 345 words, photos.

— BOX OFFICE — ‘Mockingjay, Part 1’ opens with $123 million, down from ‘Catching Fire’ debut. SENT: 130 words.

— AMERICAN MUSIC AWARDS — Australia’s Iggy Azalea is leader of American Music Awards; Swift, Grande, Minaj to perform. SENT: 130 words.

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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.

The Asia Photo Desk can be reached at (81-3) 6215-8941 or by fax at (81-3) 3574-8850.

Between 1600 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

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