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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

May 15, 2014



SEOUL, South Korea — South Korean prosecutors indict 15 crew members over last month’s ferry sinking, four of them on homicide charges, in a disaster that has left more than 300 people dead or missing. Prosecutors said they brought homicide charges against the ship’s captain and three other crew members because they failed to carry out their duties to protect passengers in need, which led to their deaths. If convicted, they could face up to death penalty, according to the Supreme Court. SENT: 400 words.


HANOI, Vietnam — A 1,000-strong mob storms a Taiwanese steel mill in Vietnam overnight, killing at least one Chinese worker and injuring 90, Taiwan’s ambassador says, the first deadly incident in a wave of anti-China protests prompted by Beijing’s deployment of an oil rig in disputed seas. By Chris Brummitt. SENT: 700 words, photos.


BANGKOK — Anti-government protesters enter a military compound and disrupt a key meeting on the fate of controversial July elections, forcing the acting prime minister to flee for security reasons. It follows overnight violence that left 2 dead and at least 22 injured and marked the latest sign of Thailand’s failure to resolve a deepening political crisis. By Thanyarat Doksone. SENT: 620 words, photos.


TOKYO — Citing threats from China and North Korea, a government-appointed panel urges Japan to reinterpret its pacifist constitution to allow the use of military force to defend other countries. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 320 words.


TOKYO — A baby white dolphin is captive in a small Japanese town notorious for its slaughter of dolphins, documented in the Oscar-winning film “The Cove.” And saving that dolphin, informally named Angel by animal-rights activists around the world, is what Ric O’Barry is out to do. The former trainer for the 1960s “Flipper” TV series has spent the last 40 years trying to save dolphins — arguing that even marine shows and aquariums are cruel, let alone hunting them. The Japanese government allows about 20,000 dolphins to be caught each year and defends the hunts as tradition, although most Japanese have never eaten dolphin meat. By Yuri Kageyama. UPCOMING: 600 words by 0900 GMT.


KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan officials are set to release the final results of the first round of voting in the presidential election and a runoff between the top two candidates is widely expected. Sent: 130 words, photo. UPCOMING: Full story.


MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government says it has released military surveillance photos of Chinese land reclamation on a reef claimed by Manila in the South China Sea to show that Beijing violated a regional agreement not to escalate territorial disputes. By Oliver Teves. SENT: 540 words, photos.



TOKYO — Japan’s economy grew at a 5.9 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, the fastest in nearly three years, as companies and consumers brought forward spending to beat a sales tax increase that is expected to cause a contraction in the current quarter. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 530 words, photos.


WELLINGTON, New Zealand — New Zealand says it will become one of the first developed nations to return to a budget surplus since the 2008 financial crisis plunged the global economy into recession. By Nick Perry. SENT: 700 words.



SOMA, Turkey — Amid wails of grief and anger, rescue workers coated in grime trudged repeatedly out of a coal mine with stretchers of bodies that swelled the death toll to 274 — the worst such disaster in Turkish history. Hopes faded for 150 others still trapped deep underground in smoldering tunnels filled with toxic gases. By Desmond Butler and Suzan Fraser. Sent: 1,100 words, photos, video.


DONETSK, Ukraine — Pro-Russian insurgents say they’ll join Ukraine’s peace talks only if Kiev recognizes their sovereignty. The government in Kiev isn’t inviting them anyway; it calls them “terrorists.” The first day of a Europe-backed “road map” toward peace in Ukraine gets off to a rocky start, with the two sides as far apart as ever. By Yuras Karmanau. SENT: 940 words, photos, audio.


BAUCHI, Nigeria — Islamic militants again attack the remote Nigerian town from which nearly 300 schoolgirls were kidnapped, Nigeria’s military says, resulting in a firefight that killed 12 soldiers and led angry troops to fire on a commanding officer. By Haruna Umar and Adamu Adamu. SENT: 670 words, photos, video.


PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius will undergo psychiatric evaluation after the judge rules at his murder trial that his state of mind when he killed his girlfriend should be assessed by experts, possibly delaying court proceedings for two months. By Christopher Torchia and Gerald Imray. SENT: 700 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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