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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

December 8, 2014



LEGAZPI, Philippines — Typhoon Hagupit weakens into a storm after it left at least three people dead and sent more than a million others into shelters, sparing the central Philippines the massive devastation that a monster storm inflicted on the region last year. Shallow floods, damaged shanties and ripped off tin roofs were a common sight across the region, but no major destruction has been reported after Hagupit slammed into Eastern Samar and other island provinces. By Teresa Cerojano. SENT:


SRINAGAR, India — Separatists are calling for a strike across the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, where India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to lead a campaign rally for local elections. The region is on high alert with snipers on rooftops, road barricades and sniffer dogs near campaign rally venues in the main city of Srinagar. Authorities imposed a daytime curfew on parts of Srinagar. SENT: 120 words, photos.


NAGORO, Japan — This village deep in the rugged mountains of southern Japan once was home to hundreds of families. Now, only 35 people remain, outnumbered three-to-one by scarecrows that Tsukimi Ayano has crafted to help fill the days and replace neighbors who have died or moved away. Even more than its fading status as an export superpower, Japan’s dwindling population may be its biggest challenge. By Elaine Kurtenbach. UPCOMING by 1130GMT: 800 words, photos, video, graphic.


KASER KALAN, India — Three years ago, Faizul Hasan Qadri’s wife died. They married 58 years ago, when they were teenagers. Now, he can look out that window and see the monument he is building in Tajammuli’s memory. The central building has a rounded ceiling and archways, echoing the architecture of the long-gone Mughal kings who once ruled India. Four towers are on the building’s perimeter. It is her tomb. UPCOMING by 0700GMT: 400 words, photos.


BANGKOK — Opium production in Myanmar fell for the first time in nearly a decade in 2014, the United Nations says. The drop was due to lower crop yields, though, as the total area under cultivation was roughly the same as last year. SENT: 200 words. By Todd Pitman.


WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Health authorities in New Zealand says that about 200 passengers on a cruise ship have been sickened by an outbreak of norovirus. The passengers were among more than 1,500 aboard the Dawn Princess, which was due to leave for Australia Monday as it completes a 13-day voyage. The ship is operated by Princess Cruises, a division of Miami-based Carnival Corp. SENT: 160 words.


TOKYO — Godzilla is stomping back. And this time, it’s Made in Japan, like the original. The announcement this week from Japanese film studio Toho comes after the success earlier this year of the Hollywood Godzilla, directed by Gareth Edwards. SENT: 120 words.


BEIJING — China’s export growth tumbles in November and imports contracted unexpectedly in a new sign of weakness in the world’s second-largest economy. Exports rose by a smaller-than-expected 4.7 percent, down from October’s 10.6 percent, trade data showed Monday. Imports were forecast to rise but instead shrank by 6.7 percent from a year earlier. By Joe Mcdonald. SENT: 260 words, photos.


TOKYO — The contraction in Japan’s economy last quarter was larger than initially estimated, according to figures released Monday that confirmed a recession ahead of an election on Sunday. The world’s third-biggest economy shrank an annualized 1.9 percent in the July-September quarter compared with the initial estimate of a 1.6 percent contraction. Business and public spending were weaker. In the previous quarter, the economy dived 7.3 percent. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 350 words.



NEW YORK — Protesters staged a “die in” in one city, blocking traffic with their bodies, while mostly peaceful demonstrations continued across the United States against police killings of unarmed black men. The recent deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City led to “two of the worst weeks” in modern American history, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, a black man himself, told NBC on Sunday. He called for a review of police training. SENT, photos.


Ferguson, Missouri. Cleveland, Ohio. Staten Island, New York. Eutawville, South Carolina. In each place, individuals — all unarmed except for a child carrying a pellet gun — died at the hands of police officers. To many Americans, it feels like a national tidal wave. And yet, no firm statistics can say whether this spate of officer-involved deaths is a growing trend or simply a series of coincidences generating a deafening buzz in news reports and social media. By Allen G. Breed. SENT: 1,135 words, photos.

— LOOKALIKE GUNS — Latest US deaths from police shootings renew action calls on gun lookalikes; 2 killed in Ohio. SENT: 740 words, photos.

— OBAMA — ‘Deeply rooted’ problems such as racism, bias will take time, vigilance to address. SENT: 210 words, photo.


The widow of the South African hostage killed during a rescue attempt in Yemen says she has chosen to forgive her husband’s killers. Issuing a statement for the first time since Pierre Korkie was killed by al-Qaida militants during a U.S.-led rescue mission, Yolande Korkie thanks Gift of the Givers, the South African aid organization that supported her campaign for her husband’s freedom, and the Yemeni tribes who directly negotiated for his release with his al-Qaida captors. By Lynsey Chutel. SENT: 670 words, photos.


TACTICAL BASE GAMBERI, Afghanistan — It’s only a slight stretch to say America’s longest war stops here. The several hundred American soldiers on this remote base in Afghanistan’s wild east are the vanguard of a transformed U.S. military mission meant to avoid the kind of unraveling of security that happened this year in Iraq and ensure that the reason for invading Afghanistan in the first place — al-Qaida’s haven for plotting the Sept. 11 attacks — never recurs. By National Security Writer Robert Burns. SENT: 730 words, photos.


It began with a spark, four years ago: An itinerant fruitseller, despairing of life in authoritarian Tunisia, set himself on fire and burned to death. It provoked a revolution, and the flames caught across a region that had known little but despotism since the day colonial rulers went home. The world celebrated the “Arab Spring” as evidence that the huddled masses of the Middle East, like people everywhere, simply yearn for freedom. But time has not been kind to the optimists. Bloodshed, chaos and dashed dreams have largely been the result. By Dan Perry. SENT: 1,570 words, photos.

— MIDEAST-GLANCE — A country-by-country look at how the Arab Spring has progressed four years after pro-democracy uprisings erupted. SENT: 890 words, photos.


MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay — Six prisoners held for 12 years at Guantanamo Bay arrive in Uruguay to be resettled as refugees in a nation with only a tiny Muslim population. The six men are the first prisoners transferred to South America from the U.S. base in Cuba, part of a flurry of recent releases amid a renewed push by President Barack Obama to close the prison. By Leonardo Haberkorn and Ben Fox. SENT: 850 words, photos.


NEW YORK — Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Kate, have arrived in New York City on the royal couple’s first official visit to the U.S. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s motorcade pulled up outside the Carlyle Hotel on Sunday night to a throng of media and shrieking admirers, who were kept behind police barricades. Kate is expecting their second child in April. SENT: 250 words, photos, video.


JERUSALEM — Israel’s military ordered a criminal investigation of one of its deadliest airstrikes in last summer’s war in the Gaza Strip — an attack that killed 24 members of one family, most of them children, according to death certificates obtained by The Associated Press. The military says it closed seven other cases of alleged wrongdoing by troops after an internal review, including two strikes in which it said troops were unaware of the presence of civilians in the area and two incidents in which Israel apparently was not involved. Eighty-five incidents are still under review, it says. SENT: 370 words, photos.


DAMASCUS — Syria says Israeli warplanes bomb two areas near Damascus, striking near the city’s international airport as well as outside a town close to the Lebanese border. The Israeli military says it does not comment on “foreign reports.” By Albert Aji and Ryan Lucas. SYRIA: 600 words, photos.


LIMA, PERU — The momentum from a historic U.S.-China climate change deal is showing signs of fading at U.N. climate talks, where familiar disputes have reopened over who should do what to save the planet from overheating. By Karl Ritter. Chunky text highlighting the main areas of discord heading into final week of talks. SENT: 630 words, photos.


HARARE, Zimbabwe — Nobel Prize-winning novelist Doris Lessing, who died last year, is still giving back to the country where she was raised and whose former white rulers banished her for speaking against racial discrimination. The bulk of Lessing’s book collection was handed over to the Harare City Library, a donation from her will that complements the author’s role in opening almost 200 libraries in rural Zimbabwe. By Farai Mutsaka. SENT: 350 words, photos.


— CIA TORTURE REPORT — House Intelligence Committee chairman: Foreign governments, U.S. intelligence agencies predict the release of a Senate report on CIA’s use of torture will cause “violence and deaths” abroad. SENT: 430 words.

— MADOFF-FRAUD TRIAL — Imprisoned financier Bernard Madoff’s former director of operations for investments faces sentencing Monday. SENT: 660 words.

— QATAR-ADOPTION CASE — US couple cleared in young daughter’s death in Qatar attend Southern California church service. SENT: 325 words, photos.

— FILM-BOX OFFICE — ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1’ tops slow weekend at the box office. SENT: 750 words.


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