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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

July 3, 2014

ASIA:

SKOREA-CHINA-SUMMIT

SEOUL, South Korea — Chinese President Xi Jinping’s arrival Thursday in South Korea for a summit simultaneously snubs nuclear-armed North Korea, bolsters an already booming trade relationship with Seoul and sends Washington and Tokyo a message of Beijing’s growing influence south of the Korean Demilitarized Zone. By foster Klug. SENT: 900 words. photos.

-- See also SKOREA-CHINA-SUMMIT ECONOMY. SENT: 790 words.

JAPAN-NKOREA

TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Thursday his government will lift some of its sanctions on North Korea in response to Pyongyang’s decision to create a committee to investigate the fate of at least a dozen Japanese who were abducted by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s. By Eric Talmadge. SENT: 640 words. photos.

CHINA XI’S REACH

BEIJING — The ouster of one of China’s top military figures reflects Communist Party leader Xi Jinping’s determination to impose his personal authority far more ambitiously than his recent predecessors. By Gillian Wong. SENT: 1,100 words. photos.

MYANMAR-VIOLENCE

YANGON, Myanmar — Buddhist mobs on motorbikes drove through the city of Mandalay throwing stones at mosques and Muslim-owned shops in a second night of violence that left at least two people dead, authorities said Thursday. SENT: 490 words.

MALAYSIA-NEW ZEALAND-SEX CHARGES

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — A Malaysian military official who is being sent back to New Zealand to face sexual assault and burglary charges will no longer be protected by diplomatic immunity, New Zealand officials confirmed Thursday. SENT: 380 words.

JAPAN-WEEPING POLITICIAN

TOKYO (AP) — A video clip of a weeping Japanese politician accused of dubious spending has gone viral, leaving many outraged and puzzled. SENT: 140 words.

BUSINESS:

CHINA EXCHANGE RATE CONTROLS

BEIJING — China announced another modest easing Thursday of its currency controls, saying banks will be allowed to set their own exchange rates in dealings with customers. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 545 words.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

LOST JOBS-STATES

WASHINGTON — Five full years after the Great Recession officially ended, most states still haven’t regained all the jobs they lost, even though the nation as a whole has. Despite solid monthly job gains — a trend likely to continue in the June jobs report being released Thursday — the sluggish hiring pace in some states could affect voters in the 2014 elections. Last month, the overall economy finally recovered all the jobs it had lost to the recession.By Economics Writer Paul Wiseman. SENT: 900 words, photos, graphic.

— LOST JOBS-STATES-GLANCE — How states have fared in recovering jobs lost to the Great Recession. SENT: 200 words.

—OBAMA-ECONOMISTS — Over private lunches at the White House, President Barack Obama has been seeking guidance from outside economists as he looks for ways to accelerate job growth. UPCOMING: 650 words. photo.

— YELLEN — Fed Chair Yellen says financial stability concerns not at level to prompt Fed to raise rates. SENT: 420 words.

AP EXCLUSIVE: SERIAL SEX MOLESTER

Matthew Coniglio’s Georgia home held a trove of child pornography, more than 50,000 images and videos. Among the stash hidden in a bedside table, turned around to conceal the doors, authorities made an even more horrifying discovery: 56 8-millimeter tapes that investigators say showed him raping and molesting young girls dozens and dozens of times. However, Coniglio killed himself just 10 days after his arrest, leaving the FBI struggling to discover who the girls were and if they even knew they had been assaulted. An AP Exclusive. By Mitch Weiss, Ray Henry and Kate Brumback. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

— SERIAL SEX MOLESTER-JAIL — Several errors may have contributed to the apparent jailhouse suicide of suspected serial child rapist Coniglio, eliminating the best chance that investigators had for identifying victims across the Southeast. SENT: 300 words.

AIRPORT SECURITY

WASHINGTON — Intelligence officials are concerned about a new al-Qaida effort to create a bomb that would go undetected through airport security, a counterterrorism official says, prompting the U.S. to call for tighter security measures at some foreign airports. The counterterrorism official, who would not be named because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, declined to describe the kind of information that triggered this warning. But officials in the past have raised concerns about non-metallic explosives being surgically implanted inside a traveler’s body, designed to be undetectable in pat-downs or metal detectors. By Ken Dilanian and Eileen Sullivan. SENT: 600 words, photo.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS

JERUSALEM — The Palestinians accuse Israeli extremists of abducting and killing an Arab teenager and burning his body, sparking hours of clashes and drawing charges that the youth was murdered to avenge the killings of three kidnapped Israeli teens. Israel’s prime minister urges a swift inquiry into the “reprehensible murder” and the Palestinian president accuses Jewish settlers of the killing. By Josef Federman. SENT: 900 words with a new approach, photos, video.

HOBBY LOBBY-EMPLOYERS

NEW YORK — Some business owners who don’t want to pay for their employees’ birth control are ending that coverage after the Supreme Court said they could choose on grounds of religious belief not to comply with part of the health care law. The ruling applies to businesses that by some estimates employ about half the nation’s workforce. But many companies are likely to continue providing coverage for birth control — they believe it’s an important benefit that helps them attract and retain good workers. By Joyce Rosenberg SENT 780 words, photo.

HIGH-ALTITUDE GENE

NEW YORK — Tibetans living on the “roof of the world” can thank an extinct human relative for providing a gene that helps them adapt to the thin air, a study suggests. Researchers say the high-altitude gene is found in virtually no other population today. By Science Writer Malcolm Ritter. SENT: 490 words, photos.

IRAQ

BAGHDAD — A Sunni extremist group is trying to tighten its hold on territory spanning the border of Syria and Iraq where it has declared the foundation of an Islamic state. Iraq’s embattled prime minister warns that the whole region is threatened by the group, whose gunmen have rampaged across his country in recent weeks. By Ryan Lucas and Zeina Karam. SENT: 1,000 words with a new approach, photos.

RUSSIA-PUTIN-ANALYSIS

MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin has been slammed for arming rebels and fanning flames of separatism in eastern Ukraine. But there is strong evidence that he now wants to bring about a truce. Putin’s strategic aims have not changed: He wants to keep Ukraine at least partly in Russia’s orbit and keep it out of NATO. But he is also mindful of Russia’s other relationships, and he must move carefully to avoid more sanctions from Europe and the United States. His solution? Try to negotiate a truce while securing some long-term levers over Ukraine. By Vladimir Isachenkov. SENT: 970 words, photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— EUROPE-FACEBOOK — UK data protection authority to speak to Facebook about psychological study on users. SENT: 400 words, photo.

— FOOTBALL PLAYERS-RAPE — Charges dropped for 2 school employees in Ohio football players’ rape case as part of deal. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 340 words by 7 p.m.

— ABORTION BUFFER ZONES-MASSACHUSETTS — Massachusetts governor expects abortion clinic safety bill by end of the month. SENT: 470 words.

— CANADA-TORONTO MAYOR — Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he’s used many drugs, blames substance abuse for racist remarks. SENT: 140 words.

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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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