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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

January 25, 2014

ASIA:

PHILIPPINES-MUSLIM REBELS

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The Philippine government and the country’s largest Muslim rebel group have completed talks on a deal to end four decades of fighting that has killed tens of thousands of people and helped foster Islamic extremism in Southeast Asia. By Sean Yoong. SENT: 860 words, photos.

THAILAND-POLITICS

BANGKOK — A tense Thailand prepared for Sunday’s round of advance voting as the main Feb. 2 elections still hung in the balance. The ruling party indicated it wants the vote to go ahead but was willing to delay it if political rivals end months of protests and agree to recognize the legitimacy of a new vote. By Jinda Wedel. SENT: 815 words, photos.

CHINA-XINJIANG

BEIJING — Six people have died in explosions and another six shot dead by police in fresh violence in China’s restive western region of Xinjiang, home to the ethnic minority of Turkish Muslim Uighurs, state media report. SENT: 420 words.

UNITED STATES-INDIA-AMBASSADOR INTERVIEW

WASHINGTON — India’s new envoy to the United States says he wants to raise the “morale” of the India-U.S. relationship as the two nations look to mending ties damaged by the row over American treatment of an Indian diplomat who was arrested and strip-searched in New York. An AP Interview. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 870 words, photos.

INDONESIA-EARTHQUAKE

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A strong undersea earthquake rocks parts of Indonesia’s main Java island on Saturday, causing some damage but there are no reports of casualties. SENT: 190 words, photos.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

— LIBYA — Libyan foreign ministry says 4 more Egyptian diplomats and embassy workers abducted overnight. SENT: 110 words.

— EGYPT-US — American, Egyptian filmmaker held by Egyptian police in undisclosed location, says lawyer. SENT: 120 words. SENT: 130 words.

— PAKISTAN — Thousands near restive Afghan border flee after Pakistani airstrikes against Taliban militants. SENT: 115 words.

— IRAQ — Bombings in and north of Iraqi capital kill 12. SENT: 200 words.

— AFGHANISTAN — Afghanistan’s Karzai says he won’t sign pact with US unless peace process is launched. SENT: 130 words.

— AUSTRALIA OPEN — Li Na beats Cibulkova to win Australian Open title in her 3rd appearance in the final. SENT: 325 words, photos.

— CANADA-QUEBEC FIRE — Firefighters suspend search of burned Quebec retirement home for the night; 8 dead, 30 missing. SENT: 675 words, photos. UPCOMING: Search resumes at 7 a.m., updates throughout the day.

EGYPT-REVOLUTION ANNIVERSARY

CAIRO — As Egyptians mark the third anniversary of their revolution against autocrat Hosni Mubarak in the name of democracy, there has been a powerful sign of the country’s stunning reversals since: letters of despair by some of the prominent activists who helped lead the uprising, leaked from the prisons where they are now jailed. The letters show a daunted and broken spirit, no longer speaking of imminent democracy, but of injustices and a failed struggle. By Sarah El Deeb. SENT: 1,330 words, photos.

— EGYPT —Police clash with ousted president’s supporters across Cairo. SENT: 270 words, photos.

SYRIA-PEACE TALKS

GENEVA — Syria peace talks are expected to continue over the weekend and around the clock for weeks more in the U.N.‘s European headquarters at the historic Palais des Nations under a timeframe set by the U.N.’s envoy, Lakhdar Brahimi, who has said the talks should not be open-ended. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 800 words by noon, photos.

UKRAINE-PROTESTS

KIEV, Ukraine — Clashes continue in the Ukrainian capital, as President Viktor Yanukovych refuses to resign and offers only minor concessions to the opposition. Two protesters’ deaths this week and reports of widespread abuses by police have caused riots to spread to nearly half the country. By Yuras Karmanau and Maria Danilova. SENT: 365 words. UPCOMING: updates throughout the day.

GUANTANAMO-PRISONER REVIEWS

MIAMI — Some prisoners at Guantanamo are getting an opportunity to plead for their release, but journalists and observers from human rights groups won’t get to hear them in what critics say is a break from past practice at the U.S. base in Cuba. The Department of Defense is restricting access to a series of hearings that start Tuesday, requiring reporters and observers from non-governmental organizations to view the proceedings only by video link from Washington. By Ben Fox. SENT 1,000 words, photo.

BRAIN DEAD-PREGNANCY

FORT WORTH, Texas — A judge has ruled that a Texas hospital must follow the wishes of a brain-dead pregnant woman’s family and remove life support. The ruling means the husband may finally get the chance to bury his dead wife, but it would also mean the fetus inside her would never be born. By Nomaan Merchant. SENT: 850 words, photos, video.

WALL STREET

Fear is back in the market. Investors are worried about slower economic growth in China, a gloomier outlook for U.S. corporate profits and an end to easy-money policies in the United States and Europe. They’re also fretting over country-specific troubles around the world — from economic mismanagement in Argentina to political instability in Turkey. Those fears converged this week to start a two-day rout in global markets that was capped by a 318-point drop in the Dow Jones industrial average Friday. It was the blue-chip index’s worst day since last June. The Dow plunged almost 500 points over the two days. By Paul Wiseman and Joshua Freed. SENT: 1,450 words, photos, video.

STATE OF UNION-Q&A

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama reports to Congress and the nation Tuesday on the State of the Union, an annual rite in official Washington that for one night squeezes the three branches of government underneath the same roof for the speech. Some questions and answers about the State of the Union. By Darlene Superville. SENT: 920 words, photo.

— OBAMA — Obama, in weekly address, warns that sexual assaults hurt entire US. UPCOMING: 130 words at 7 a.m.

JORDAN-SMOKING BAN

AMMAN, Jordan — In Jordan, a country where smoking is so popular that motorists can be seen puffing away on miniature water pipes in traffic, the kingdom’s government now wants to enforce a Western-style smoking ban in restaurants, cafes and other public places. The ban, coming from a law passed in 2008 but not full enforced, also would see the government revoke the licenses of all 6,000 coffee shops that serve shisha by the end of this year. But business owners and smokers are criticizing the push, saying it goes against the culture of a country where smoking is seen as an attractive sign of manhood and elderly Bedouins roll their own cigarettes in public. By Jamal Halaby. SENT: 750 words, photos.

KENYA-POLICE CLEANUP

NAIROBI, Kenya — The senior police officers sat in front of the vetting panel and squirmed. They could not explain how they acquired property or the large sums of money in their accounts. One suggested the panel not fire him because he could be killed. Threats, including the delivery of a decapitated head, have warned that could be the fate of the vetters. Kenya is investigating its 71,000 police officers in an attempt to transform the nation’s most vilified public institution, known for corruption, impunity and human rights abuses. By Tom Odula. SENT: 650 words.

TUNISIA-CONSTITUTION

TUNIS, Tunisia — After two years of squabbling, debating and negotiating, Tunisia’s constitutional assembly will take a final vote on the new constitution, described as one of the most progressive in the Arab world. The document enshrines a civil state, guarantees freedoms but still forbids attacks on the sacred. By Paul Schemm and Bouazza ben Bouazza. UPCOMING: 130 words by 7 a.m., 900 words by 10 a.m.

ENTERTAINMENT

SUNDANCE-FIRST LOOK-RUDDERLESS

PARK CITY, Utah — Award-winning actor William H. Macy premiers his first feature directing effort at the Sundance Film Festival, where he received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd. By Sandy Cohen. SENT: 300 words, photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— ZIMMERMAN ARTWORK — Associated Press says Zimmerman painting is copy of AP photo, asks that sale be stopped. SENT: 480 words, photos.

— COCA-COLA-DATA STOLEN — Coca-Cola says laptops stolen from Atlanta HQ held personal information of up to 74,000 people. SENT: 140 words.

— AP PHOTOS: BIG WAVE CONTEST — A storm creating huge waves provides the backdrop for the Maverick surf contest. UPCOMING: 160 words, photos by Eric Risberg.

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YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Hrvoje Hranjski. 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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