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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

October 11, 2013



TOKYO — An American man detained in North Korea for the past 11 months has told his mother in their first meeting since his detention that his health is improving but is still not good, according to a Japanese media report. By Eric Talmadge. SENT: 580 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — North Korea has dangled the prospect of suspending nuclear and long-range missile tests if aid-for-disarmament negotiations get back on track. But it’s not ready to declare a moratorium on space launches — the very act that derailed its last attempt to negotiate with Washington. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 830 words, photo.


BHUBANESHWAR, India — Officials order tens of thousands of coastal villagers to flee their homes as a massive cyclone — so large it fills nearly the entire Bay of Bengal — gathers strength and heads toward India’s eastern seaboard. Officials stockpile emergency supplies in coastal Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states, with forecasters saying Cyclone Phailin will hit the region Saturday evening. SENT: 380 words, photos.

— INDIA-ELECTRICITY STRIKE — Electricity workers in southeastern India temporarily call off their strike ahead of a massive cyclone that is expected to hit the region, ending widespread power blackouts for millions of people. SENT: 130 words.


MANILA, Philippines — A tropical storm barreling toward the northern Philippines intensifies into a typhoon with destructive winds and flooding rains threatening farmlands and populated areas, including the capital Manila. Typhoon Nari forced U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to call off a trip to the Philippines. By Hrvoje Hranjski. SENT: 350 words.


KABUL, Afghanistan — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flies to Afghanistan for urgent talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai as an end of October deadline looms for completing a security deal that would allow American troops to remain in Afghanistan after the end of the NATO-led military mission next year. By Matthew Lee. SENT: 900 words, photos.

— UN-AFGHANISTAN — The U.N. Security Council votes unanimously to extend the mandate of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan for the last time. By Edith M. Lederer. SENT: 400 words.


NEW YORK — A defiant 16-year-old Pakistani girl whose advocacy for education made her the target of a Taliban assassination attempt a year ago tells an audience in New York she one day hopes to become her country’s prime minister. Malala Yousafzai spoke a few hours after she was awarded Europe’s top human rights prize. By Jake Pearson. SENT: 620 words, photos.


TOKYO — A fire breaks out at a hospital in southern Japan, killing 10 people and injuring eight. SENT: 150 words, photo.


SYDNEY — Australian police seize around 200 million Australian dollars ($190 million) worth of methamphetamine hidden in the tires of a truck shipped from China. SENT: 170 words.


BANGKOK — Chinese Premier Li Keqiang addresses the Thai Parliament at the start of a visit focused on boosting economic ties. SENT: 130 words, photos. UPCOMING: 250 words by 1300 GMT.


PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodia inaugurates a $1.2 million monument honoring the country’s late king to mark the first anniversary of his death. SENT: 300 words, photos.



OSLO, Norway — The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons wins the Nobel Peace Prize for working to eliminate the scourge that has haunted generations from World War I to the battlefields of Syria. By Mark Lewis And Karl Ritter. SENT: 920 words, photos, video, graphic, interactive.

— NOBEL-OPCW-EXPLAINER — What is the OPCW, which has won the Nobel Peace Prize, and what does it do? SENT: 420 words, photo.

— NOBEL-PEACE-GLANCE — A glance at the Nobel Peace winner, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. SENT: 300 words, photo.

— NOBEL GLANCE 2013 — Your guide to the 2013 Nobel Prizes: Medicine, Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace and Economy. SENT: 390 words, photos.


BEIRUT — An international human rights group says jihadi-led rebel fighters in Syria killed at least 190 civilians and abducted more than 200 during an offensive this summer against pro-regime villages, committing a war crime. Human Rights Watch says rebels went house to house, in some cases killing entire families and in other cases killing men and taking women and children hostages. By Karin Laub. SENT: 640 words, photo.


TRIPOLI, Libya — A car bomb goes off outside the Swedish Consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, badly damaging the building. A Libyan security official says no casualties were reported from the explosion. Militants attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last year, killing the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. By Esam Mohamed. SENT: 500 words.


WASHINGTON — The threat posed by the U.S. debt standoff is sure to be a prime topic of discussion when finance officials from major nations gather for their latest stock-taking of the global economy. Finance ministers and central bank officials from the Group of 20 nations are in Washington ahead of weekend meetings of the 188-nation International Monetary Fund and its sister lending organization, the World Bank. By Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger. SENT: 840 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — Americans are finding little they like about President Barack Obama or either political party, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll that suggests the possibility of a “throw the bums out” mentality in next year’s midterm elections. SENT: 920 words, photo, graphic.


WASHINGTON — After weeks of ultimatums, Obama and House Republicans are exploring whether they can end a budget standoff that has triggered a partial government shutdown and edged Washington to the verge of a historic, economy-jarring federal default. SENT: 1,000 words, photos, video.



BEIJING — China’s auto sales grew at their fastest rate in eight months in September as Japanese brands rebounded from a slump sparked by political tensions with Tokyo. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 370 words.


MUMBAI, India — Indian IT outsourcing giant Infosys posts a fall in quarterly profit after setting aside funds for a visa-abuse investigation in the United States. Still, the company upgraded its revenue forecast for the year, pleasing investors. By Kay Johnson. SENT: 400 words.


TOKYO — The chief of Sony Corp., one of the best known Japanese companies, praises the country’s prime minister for his efforts to jump-start the economy and put the nation back on the global stage. “From my perspective, he is saying all the right things,” Kazuo Hirai, Sony Corp. chief executive and president, said of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who took office late last year. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 420 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — India defends government regulations designed to protect local businesses that have prompted U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart to hold back on opening superstores there. SENT: 450 words.


LOS ANGELES — A jury finds that Toyota Motor Corp. is not liable for the death of a California woman who was killed when her 2006 Camry apparently accelerated and crashed despite her efforts to stop. By Greg Risling. SENT: 600 words, photos.



DALA, Myanmar — Just after dawn, plainclothes Myanmar naval officers entered a wooden shack and roused a young rice farmer from his sleep. They marched him to their nearby barracks and locked him up without explanation. By the time The Khaw Lu Maw was released, the shack that had been his lifelong home was gone, his belongings scattered amid the debris. One by one, other homes in the riverside community of Dala were bulldozed. Residents had farmed the land for generations, but the navy took it over this year to expand a base. By Esther Htusan. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.


BUSAN, South Korea — Their village was developed as a South Korean propaganda tool against the North, and some residents chose to live there hoping for the day when the two Koreas would become one and they could reunite with family across the border. Those who settled in Cheorwon were trailblazers who cultivated land-mined rice fields even at the cost of losing a child or a limb to the explosives left from the Korean War. Appearing on screen in a new, low-budget South Korean documentary, the dozen residents of the border propaganda village are a rarity in South Korean entertainment. Most South Korean films on North Korea or the Korean War are period dramas set during the 1950-1953 war itself. Some are set against the backdrop of North-South tensions, rarely depicting ordinary North Koreans or the plight of the divided families. Two box-office hits this year, “Secretly, Greatly” and “The Berlin File,” featured a North Korean spy and a secret agent as main characters. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 800 words, 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 asia@ap.org.

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