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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

March 24, 2014

ASIA:

MALAYSIA-PLANE

PERTH, Australia —Ships rush to the location of floating objects spotted by Australian and Chinese planes in the southern Indian Ocean close to where multiple satellites have detected possible remains of the lost Malaysian airliner. One ship is carrying equipment to detect the plane’s vital black box, but it remains uncertain whether the vessels are reaching the end of the search or another frustrating dead end. By Rob Griffith and Todd Pitman. SENT: 1,150 words, photos.

MALAYSIA-MINISTER IN SPOTLIGHT

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Hishammuddin Hussein’s wife is a princess. His cousin is prime minister, and he’s been mentioned as a possible successor. But right now, as the face of his country’s effort to find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, he is the man who has delivered more than two weeks of frustrating news about one of the most confounding searches in aviation history. The bespectacled 52-year-old defense minister has come under fire for just about everything that’s gone wrong with the unprecedented hunt — from delayed radar tracking data to confusion over when police searched the homes of the missing plane’s pilots. His handling of the search could affect not only his own future but that of Malaysia’s ruling party, which has been struggling to stay in power after six decades in charge. By Todd Pitman and Eileen Ng. SENT: 950 words, photos.

MALAYSIA PLANE-PILOT MENTAL HEALTH

DALLAS — Reinforced doors with keypad entries. Body scanners and pat-downs. Elaborate crew maneuvers when a pilot has to use the restroom. All those tactics are designed to keep dangerous people out of the cockpit. But what if the pilot is the problem? By David Koenig. SENT: 1,270 words, photo.

— MALAYSIA-PLANE-NEWS GUIDE — Summary of the latest information in the search for the plane. SENT: 290 words, photos.

— MALAYSIA-PLANE-SEARCH — A look at the planes, ships involved in the multinational search for Malaysia’s missing jet. SENT: 110 words, photos.

— HONG KONG-MALAYSIA-EMERGENCY LANDING — Malaysia Airlines jet makes emergency landing in Hong Kong after main power generator fails. SENT: 140 words.

JAPAN-NUCLEAR WEAPONS

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Japan plans to turn over to the United States more than 700 pounds of weapons-grade plutonium and a supply of highly-enriched uranium, a victory for President Barack Obama’s efforts to secure nuclear materials around the world. American and Japanese officials confirm the plan ahead of a formal announcement at a Nuclear Security Summit set to get underway in the Netherlands. By Julie Pace and Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 400 words.

CHINA-US-SPYING CLAIMS

BEIJING — China demands an explanation from Washington over allegations U.S. intelligence agencies hacked into the email servers of Chinese tech giant Huawei and targeted top Chinese officials and government institutions. SENT: 220 words.

TAIWAN-PROTEST

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Baton-wielding riot police clear Taiwan’s Cabinet offices of scores of angry protesters opposed to a trade pact with China, escalating tensions over the island’s rapidly developing ties with the Communist mainland. SENT: 320 words, photos.

AFGHANISTAN-ETHNIC ALLIANCES

KABUL, Afghanistan — On the edge of a Kabul neighborhood dominated by members of Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazara minority, an election poster of presidential candidate Abdul Rasoul Sayyaf is damaged — partially scraped away by someone trying to remove it. The vandalism could be his past as a warlord coming back to haunt him. By Kathy Gannon. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

NEPAL-CROWDED EVEREST

KATMANDU, Nepal — Nepal plans to minimize the congestion of climbers near the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit of Mount Everest, which gets clogged with scores of climbers during the short window of good weather. One of the initiatives includes the introduction of separate fixed ropes for climbers ascending and descending near the summit to help ease the traffic. By Binaj Gurubacharya. SENT: 380 words, photos.

BANGLADESH-FACTORY COLLAPSE

SAVAR, Bangladesh — Bangladesh has begun compiling details about the victims of the 2013 Rana Plaza factory collapse as part of a global compensation deal, but dozens of people have taken to the streets demanding a more complete accounting of the disaster. By Julhas Alam. SENT: 420 words, photos.

INDIA-TIGER ATTACKS

LUCKNOW, India — India has called off its hunt for a man-eating tiger after six weeks with no reports of a new killing. The tiger has killed at least nine people since late December, eluding a team of hunters in Uttar Pradesh state who set out on foot to kill the animal. SENT: 240 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

CHINA-MANUFACTURING

HONG KONG — China’s manufacturing falls to an eight-month low in March in another sign of slowing growth in the world’s No. 2 economy. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 330 words.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

UKRAINE

KIEV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s fledgling government orders troops to withdraw from Crimea, ending days of wavering as Russian troops consolidate control over the peninsula. Russia has seized at least three military installations in Crimea in as many days, while the pro-Western government has come under increasing criticism for its indecision. By Peter Leonard. SENT: 370 words, photos, video.

WASHINGTON MUDSLIDE

ARLINGTON, Wash. — Hopes of finding any more survivors from a massive mudslide that killed at least eight people wane as searchers pull more bodies from the tangled debris field and crews worked through the night into Monday in rural Washington state. Several people remain missing. By Donna Gordon Blankinship. SENT: 700 words, photos, video.

CIA INVESTIGATIONS

WASHINGTON — A Senate Intelligence Committee vote this week to release key sections of a voluminous, still-secret report on terrorist interrogations would start a declassification process that could severely test the already strained relationship between lawmakers and the CIA, and force President Barack Obama to step into the fray. The committee hopes that by publishing a 400-page summary of its contentious review and the 20 key recommendations, it will shed light on some of the most unsavory elements of the Bush administration’s fight against terrorism after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The CIA maintains the report underestimates the intelligence value of waterboarding and other methods employed by intelligence officials at undeclared facilities overseas. By Bradley Klapper and Stephen Braun. SENT: 730 words, photos.

OBAMA

SCHIPHOL, Netherlands — Obama begins a week of international travel with Russia’s Crimean incursion at the top of his agenda. But Obama is also attempting to personally reconnect not only with Europe but with Asia and the Middle East, all strategically crucial regions with their own tensions and their own qualms about the U.S. By Jim Kuhnhenn. SENT: 990 words, photos. UPCOMING: video.

PISTORIUS-TRIAL

PRETORIA, South Africa — A neighbor of Oscar Pistorius testifies at his murder trial that she heard gunshots as well as screams from both a man and a woman on the night that the double-amputee runner fatally shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The testimony matches some of the evidence from other witnesses who have said they also heard a woman screaming around the time that Pistorius killed Steenkamp before dawn on Feb. 14, 2013. By Christopher Torchia and Carley Petesch. SENT: 470 words, photos.

CUBA-NOUVEAU RICHE

HAVANA — The Cuban capital is seeing a boom in stylish, privately run bars and clubs, evidence of a small but growing class of relatively affluent artists, musicians and entrepreneurs. Cuba’s nouveau riche, once routinely vilified by the government, are coming out of the woodwork, if not quite flaunting their personal wealth. By Peter Orsi. SENT: 900 words, photos.

UN-CLIMATE PANEL

If you think of climate change as a hazard faced by some far-off polar bear decades from now, you’re mistaken. That’s the message from top climate scientists gathering in Japan this week to issue a report on the impact of global warming. In fact, they will say, the dangers of a warming Earth are immediate and human. “The polar bear is us,” says one scientist. By Science Writer Seth Borenstein. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

TEXAS BAY-OIL SPILL

TEXAS CITY, Texas — No timetable has been set to reopen one of the nation’s busiest shipping channels after nearly 170,000 gallons of tar-like oil spilled into the Texas waterway, but officials are calling in more help Monday to contain the spill and protect important shorebird habitat. A barge carrying some 900,000 gallons of oil collided with a ship in the Houston Ship Channel on Saturday, stranding as many as 60 vessels, and oil has been detected 12 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. By Michael Graczyk. SENT: 800 words, photos.

CUBAN PLANE LIMBO

KEY WEST, Florida — At face value, they are three old planes not worth much more than their parts and scrap metal. Stolen from the Cuban government during a six-month period ending in April 2003 — two by hijackers, one by its pilot — all three landed at Key West International Airport, a 116-mile flight from struggling Havana to the gleaming shores of the U.S. Fidel Castro repeatedly demanded the planes be returned. Instead, they were seized by U.S. courts to satisfy part of a $27 million judgment. The story of what happened to the planes in the ensuing years reads like another chapter in the history of stymied, contentious U.S.-Cuba relations, with the new owners unable to get the aircraft anywhere. By Christine Armario. SENT: 930 words, photo, video.

GETTING ATTENTION

— OBIT-JAMES REBHORN — James Rebhorn, character actor who appeared in “Homeland,” ″My Cousin Vinny,” dies at 65. SENT: 250 words, photos.

— TV-GOOD WIFE SHOCKER — “Good Wife” episode leaves viewers shocked, incredulous, bereaved. SENT: 230 words, photo.

— AUSTRIA-MOON CAMERA — Camera used in 1971 moon landing fetches $758,489 at Austrian auction. SENT: 120 words, photo.

— COLORADO PLANE CRASH — Officials seek more help to recover bodies of plane crash victims; five feared dead. SENT: 100 words, photos.

— SOUTH AFRICA-HONEYMOON SLAYING — Report: British man accused in South Africa honeymoon slaying to be extradited in April. SENT: 130 words.

— SYRIA —Hard-line Islamic rebels captured a small town in northwestern Syria near the Turkish border. SENT: 270 words, photos.

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