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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

November 27, 2013

ASIA:

THAILAND-POLITICS

BANGKOK — Protesters vowing to topple Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra take to the streets for a fourth straight day, declaring they would take over “every ministry” of the government. The brash threat is the biggest challenge yet to the embattled premier’s administration, raising fears of fresh political violence in the Southeast Asian nation. By Thanyarat Doksone. SENT: 800 words, photos.

CHINA-ASSERTING AIRSPACE

WASHINGTON — Days after China asserted greater military control over a swath of the East China Sea to bolster claims to a cluster of disputed islands, the U.S. defies the move as it flies two B-52 bombers through the area. The U.S. said what it described as a training mission was not flown to respond to China’s latest military maneuver, yet the dramatic flights made clear that the U.S. will not recognize the new territorial claims that Beijing laid out over the weekend. By Lolita C. Baldor and Christopher Bodeen. SENT: 970 wors, photos.

UNITED STATES-ASIA PIVOT PROBLEMS

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is making diplomatic progress on some of Mideast’s most thorny security issues but problems are piling up in a region that Barack Obama had wanted to play a bigger part in American foreign policy: Asia. Despite efforts to forge deeper ties with China to make East Asia more stable, Beijing’s declaration of a maritime air defense zone has escalated its territorial dispute with U.S. ally Japan. The U.S. responded by flying B-52 bombers through it on a training mission Tuesday without informing Beijing. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 980 words.

CHINA-AIRCRAFT CARRIER

BEIJING — China’s sole aircraft carrier departs for its first-ever sea trials in the South China Sea, a mission likely to draw scrutiny amid Beijing’s drive to assert its claims to those waters and their island groups. The official Xinhua News Agency said the cruise aims to test the Liaoning’s crew and equipment over long distances and a variety of sea conditions. SENT: 380 words.

INDONESIA-AUSTRALIA SPYING

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The political row over spying allegations that has ratcheted up tensions between Indonesia and Australia appears to have softened after Australian Prime Minster Tony Abbott responded to concerns from his Indonesian counterpart. Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told reporters he will send Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa or a special envoy to Australia to discuss creating a code of conduct that would allow the two countries to continue cooperating on a number of issues, including intelligence information sharing, military and police. SENT: 360 words, photos.

AUSTRALIA-SUU KYI

SYDNEY — Myanmar pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi arrives in Sydney for her first Australian visit. The National League for Democracy lawmaker is on a five-day trip to Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra and will make a number of speeches, including one at the Sydney Opera House. SENT: 230 words, photos.

WORLD MARKETS

MANILA, Philippines — Asian stocks were muted as funds switched to better performing markets and trading thinned out ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. SENT: 270 words.

FEATURES:

CHINA-WRONGFUL CONVICTIONS

BEIJING — Chen Keyun’s legal nightmare began in 2001 when he was accused of detonating a bomb outside a Communist Party office in his southern coastal city of Fuqing. Chen denied committing the crime but was held for 12 years, during which he was tortured into confession and twice sentenced to death. He finally was released and exonerated this year, a case that exemplifies the miscarriage of justice that China’s Supreme People’s Court now says it wants to curtail. By Gillian Wong. UPCOMING by 0700GMT, photos.

CHINA-USED CARS

GUANGZHOU, China — As car enthusiasts converge on the Guangzhou auto show in China, few have second hand vehicles in mind. But explosive growth that transformed China into the world’s largest auto market is also giving life to a new industry: used cars. Chinese started buying new cars in huge numbers about four years ago, about the length of time analysts say drivers will stick with a vehicle before considering trading it in for new wheels. How foreign and domestic brands fare in the second hand market will be a telling referendum on quality that reinforces buyer preferences at showrooms in a country where homegrown autos have lagged foreign offerings. Kelvin Chan. UPCOMING by 0700GMT, photos.

U.S. & INTERNATIONAL:

CHILD ABUSE REPORTS

NEW YORK — The calls come in at a rate of nearly 10,000 a day, to hotlines and law-enforcement offices nationwide, reporting suspicions of child abuse and neglect. They add up to 3.4 million reports annually — a challenge for state child protection agencies, which must sort out the flimsy reports from the credible, the trivial allegations from the dire. Many states, after an initial review, deem more than half incoming reports to be unworthy of full investigation. As evidenced by new revelations in Arizona, the system sometimes breaks down. But in general, experts credit child-protection agencies with diligence in sorting the reports. By National Writer David Crary. SENT: 1,000 words, photo.

OBAMA-FRUSTRATED CHIEF OF STAFF

WASHINGTON — White House chief of staff Denis McDonough was ready to vent. “I’ve had too much humble pie,” he fumed, striding into a top aide’s West Wing office another meeting with anxious health care advocates. “That was the last slice. I’m full.” For weeks, President Obama and White House officials had been apologizing for the disastrous health care rollout, and now McDonough wanted to change the conversation to the benefits of the law — and try to get past one of the roughest patches in Obama’s presidency. By Jim Kuhnhenn. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.

CONNECTICUT SCHOOL SHOOTING

HARTFORD, Connecticut — The gunman who massacred 26 people at a Connecticut elementary school had written a book in the fifth grade about children being slaughtered and grew up to become obsessed with mass murders, according to a yearlong investigation into the Newton shooting. By Michael Melia. SENT: 780 words, photos.

— SCHOOL SHOOTING-TRANSPARENCY — Judge orders Newtown 911 recordings released, but gives prosecutor time to appeal. SENT: 360 words.

IRAN-SELLING THE DEAL-ANALYSIS

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Even before Iran’s envoys could pack their bags in Geneva after wrapping up a first-step nuclear deal with world powers, President Hassan Rouhani was opening a potentially tougher diplomatic front: selling the give-and-take to his country’s powerful insider interests led by the Revolutionary Guard. Iran’s ability to fulfill its part of the six-month bargain will depend largely on the Guard and its network. An AP News Analysis. By Brian Murphy. SENT: 900 words, photos.

HONDURAS-ELECTIONS

TEGUCHIGALPA — Honduras’ newly elected president named his transition team, while about 200 students protested to demand a recount of the vote in the poor Central American nation. Juan Orlando Hernandez, the ruling National Party’s candidate who campaigned on a law-and-order platform, hadn’t spoken publicly since just after the election Sunday, but he released a statement that included the names of those who will help him take over the government from President Porfirio Lobo. SENT: 600 words, photos.

VATICAN-EVANGELIZATION

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis denounces the global financial system that excludes the poor as he issues the mission statement for his papacy, saying he wants the Catholic Church to get its hands dirty as it seeks to bring solace and mercy to society’s outcasts. In a 224-page document, Francis pulls together the priorities he has laid out over eight months of homilies, speeches and interviews, pushing to shift the church away from a focus on doctrine to one of joyful welcome in a bid to draw in believers in a world marked by secularization and vast income inequalities. By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 850 words, photos.

KEY WEST-CUBA FLIGHTS

KEY WEST, Florida — More than two years after Key West was granted approval to begin operating flights to Cuba, not a single plane to the island has taken off. U.S. Customs and Border Protection agreed in October 2011 to permit Key West to become a port of entry for Cuba. The Florida island and Cuba are 90 miles apart and have a long and intertwined history. However, flights between the two stopped after the 1959 Cuban revolution. Several charter airlines have expressed interest in operating the new flights but none have been successful thus far. By Christine Armario. SENT: 1,000 words, photos, video.

TV-CBS-BENGHAZI

NEW YORK — CBS ordered “60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan and her producer to take a leave of absence Tuesday following a critical internal review of their handling of the show’s October story on the Benghazi raid, based on a report on a supposed witness whose story can’t be verified. By David Bauder. SENT, photos.

RODRIGUEZ LAWSUIT

NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez’s lawyers have updated his lawsuit against Major League Baseball and Bud Selig, adding new criticism of the commissioner for not testifying in the union’s grievance to overturn the 211-game suspension given to the New York Yankees star last summer. By Ronald Blum. SENT, photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION:

— SYRIA — Main opposition group reiterates demands that Assad step down and humanitarian aid corridors be opened as it weighs whether to join peace conference. SENT: 800 words, photos.

— ITALY-KNOX — The prosecution continues its summations in the murder retrial of Amanda Knox and her ex-boyfriend. SENT: 570 words, photos.

— ADOPTED SON RETURNED — Abandonment charges over Ohio boy stir concern among adoptees, adoptive parents and others. SENT: 670 words, photos.

— ROMANIA-NETHERLANDS-ART HEIST — A Romanian court hands down sentences of six years, eight months to the ringleaders of a gang that stole paintings by Matisse, Monet and Picasso from a Dutch museum in a daring nighttime raid. SENT: 115 words.

— FRANCE-CONTRACEPTIVE — A French contraceptive maker says its morning-after pill doesn’t work when taken by women who weigh more than 176 pounds and plans to change its labels to warn patients. SENT: 725 words.

— PAKISTAN-AFGHANISTAN — Pakistan releases 3 senior Taliban prisoners to facilitate the peace process. SENT: 470 words.

— COLONIAL PSALM BOOK-AUCTION — NYC auction of rare colonial psalm book from Boston church could fetch up to $30 million. SENT: 490 words, photos. UPCOMING: Updates from 7 p.m. auction, then 500 words by 8 p.m.

— TV-MSNBC-BALDWIN — Suspended Alec Baldwin’s show not returning to MSNBC following an off-the-air episode. SENT: 290 words, photo.

— PEOPLE-JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT — Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt and her “The Client List” co-star Brian Hallisay are the proud parents of a baby girl. Hewitt’s publicist Sarah Fuller said in an email statement the couple is “thrilled” over Tuesday’s birth of Autumn James Hallisay. SENT, photos.

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YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Scott McDonald. 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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Between 1700 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

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