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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

February 11, 2015



BEIJING — China’s leader Xi Jinping will make his first state visit as president to the United States in September, Chinese official media reported Wednesday, underlining positive momentum in the often-troubled relationship between the world’s largest economies. The state-run Xinhua News Agency said Xi had accepted President Barack Obama’s invitation to visit in a telephone call between the two overnight. SENT: 320 words, photos.


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysian police have detained a cartoonist and are investigating two lawmakers for sedition over tweets and a cartoon condemning the judiciary for dismissing opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s final appeal against a sodomy conviction. Anwar began a 5-year prison sentence Tuesday after the country’s top court ruled there was overwhelming evidence showing that he sodomized a former male aide. The case was widely seen as politically motivated. SENT: 720 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — The sodomy conviction of Malaysia’s opposition leader has set back, but not derailed, Washington’s improved ties with a country that is becoming increasingly important for U.S. diplomacy and trade policy in Asia. The White House strongly criticized the conviction of Anwar Ibrahim, whose case was widely seen as politically motivated. That could dash Prime Minister Najib Razak’s hopes this year of being the first Malaysian leader to be invited to the White House since 2004. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 720 words.


SYDNEY — Two men were charged with planning to launch an imminent terrorist attack in Australia, after police seized a homemade flag associated with the Islamic State group, a machete and a hunting knife in a counterterrorism raid. The men, aged 24 and 25, would have carried out the attack on Tuesday if they had not been arrested that day in the raid in the Sydney suburb of Fairfield, New South Wales state Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn told reporters. SENT: 700 words.


BEIJING — Deng Liqun, a former conservative propaganda chief known for his criticism of China’s economic reforms, died in Beijing of illnesses, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. He was 99. Xinhua did not specify the illnesses. SENT, 130 words.


BANGKOK — Thai police have arrested a man accused of masterminding a conspiracy to slander the country’s monarchy on the Internet, in the latest move by the military-installed government to protect the palace’s reputation. SENT: 330 words, photos.


SEOUL, South Korea — Two people were killed and more than 60 were injured after a pileup involving about 100 vehicles in foggy weather on a bridge near the Incheon International Airport. Kim Tong-Hyung. SENT: 160 words.


BEIJING — Prosecutors in Taiwan’s capital have indicted 119 people over the occupation of the legislature and cabinet offices in a protest against a proposed agreement to loosen trade restrictions with rival China. Those indicted included leaders of the three week-long protests that broke out last March and attracted hundreds of people, many of them university students. SENT: 280 words, photos.


SYDNEY — A shark that killed a Japanese surfer off Australia’s east coast was a great white 3 to 4 meters (10 to 13 feet) long. Tadashi Nakahara, 41, was surfing off Shelly Beach in the New South Wales town of Ballina on Monday when a shark came up behind him and tore off his legs. Nakahara’s friends, who were surfing nearby, rushed him to shore and tried to administer first aid, but he quickly bled to death. SENT:


WAITANGI, New Zealand — Thousands of New Zealanders watched indigenous Maori dancers twirl white “poi” balls in a blur of motion and take to traditional canoes, or waka, in the picturesque Bay of Islands as the country celebrated its 175th anniversary over a three-day weekend. The national day, which was marked on Friday, is a mix of protests, music, celebration and reflection. By Nick Perry. SENT, 450 words, photos.


SEOUL, South Korea — A South Korean court sentences a former coast guard officer to four years in prison for negligence while rescuing of passengers during last year’s ferry sinking that killed more than 300 people. SENT: 310 words, photos.


HANOI, Vietnam — A prominent Vietnamese blogger who is partially paralyzed and was jailed two months ago for posting articles that oppose the Communist Party said Wednesday he was released from prison on medical parole. SENT: 290 words.


BEIJING — Nearly half of foreign companies in China feel singled out in a wave of anti-monopoly and other investigations, and a growing number are deciding not to expand their investments, the American Chamber of Commerce in China said Wednesday. The report adds to complaints Beijing is improperly using regulation to limit foreign access to technology and other promising markets in violation of its free-trade pledges. By Joe Mcdonald. SENT.



WASHINGTON — Foreign fighters are streaming into Syria and Iraq in unprecedented numbers to join the Islamic State and other extremist groups, including at least 3,400 from Western nations among 20,000 from around the world, U.S. intelligence officials say in an updated estimate of a top terrorism concern. By Intelligence Writer Ken Dilanian. SENT: 920 words, photo.

— CONGRESS-WAR POWERS — Obama wants congressional backing to fight Islamic State, without ‘enduring offensive combat.’ SENT: 870 words, video, photos.


DES MOINES, Iowa — Jeb Bush releases a trove of emails from his time as Florida’s governor, showing the likely GOP presidential candidate engaging with constituents. But he draws criticism for not redacting personally identifiable information from the records. By Thomas Beaumont and Stephen Braun. SENT: 630 words, photos.


LILLE, France — Former IMF boss Dominique Strauss-Kahn tells a French court he didn’t know that women who participated in orgies at hotels in Paris and Washington, D.C., were prostitutes. The 65-year-old and 13 co-defendants are on trial accused of aggravated pimping in connection with a sex ring centered on the Hotel Carlton in Lille. By Philippe Sotto and Greg Keller. SENT: 570 words, video, photos.


DONETSK, Ukraine — At the Trudovskoi bus station in Donetsk, the gossip these days focuses on whose house has been hit by shelling and where you can get food handouts. Day and night, as mortars and rockets rain down on this poor district, residents scramble to find food, heat, water and some way to power up their cellphones. By Peter Leonard. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

— UKRAINE — Fighting intensifies in eastern Ukraine ahead of peace talks, with both sides claiming significant advances. SENT: 830 words, photos.


JOHANNESBURG — The photographer could barely steady himself as crowds pushed and shoved, eager to hear Nelson Mandela speak hours after his release from prison, 25 years ago on Wednesday. Chris Ledochowski took an image of newly freed Mandela that captured the historic moment that changed South Africa. By Lynsey Chutel. SENT: 870 words, photos.


NEW YORK — After plunging 60 percent in six months, the price of oil has bounced back more than 20 percent. The debate about where prices will ultimately settle is as volatile as the recent trading. By Jonathan Fahey. SENT: 910 words, photo.


WASHINGTON — It’s time to study and maybe even test the idea of cooling the Earth by injecting sulfur pollution high in the air to reflect the sun’s heat, a first-of-its-kind federal science report says. By Science Writer Seth Borenstein. SENT: 710 words.


WASHINGTON — Often dismissed or misdiagnosed, chronic fatigue syndrome gets a new name and straightforward description of symptoms to guide doctors in treating a serious disease that afflicts up to 2.5 million people. By Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard. SENT: 750 words, photos.



Sadly, “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the movie, has stripped away the fun and settled for palatable. “There have been perfume commercials with more depth and story arc,” writes AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr. SENT: 700 words, photos.

— FILM-50 SHADES-AUTHOR — During the filming of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ book author EL James says she ‘had to fight for a lot of things really hard.’


— UNITED STATES-YEMEN — U.S. closing its embassy in Yemen amid political deadlock and deteriorating security conditions. SENT: 390 words, photo.

— AMERICAN SNIPER-TRIAL — Wife of ‘American Sniper’ Chris Kyle to testify at Texas trial of man accused in his death. SENT: 370 words, photos.

— ITALY SHIPWRECK TRIAL —Failure of Costa Concordia’s captain to order evacuation of cruise ship is reason 32 people on board died, prosecutors say in final arguments. SENT: 550 words, photos.

— GREECE-BAILOUT — New Greek government wins confidence vote in parliament on eve of bailout talks. SENT: 610. UPCOMING: Developing.

— DEEP SPACE OBSERVATORY — Dangerously high wind scraps SpaceX observatory launch, rocket landing test at sea. SENT: 130 words, photos, audio.


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