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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

July 23, 2014

ASIA:

UKRAINE-PLANE-THE FINAL DAYS

In a bedroom in a townhouse near Amsterdam, Miguel Panduwinata reached out for his mother. “Mama, may I hug you?” Samira Calehr wrapped her arms around her 11-year-old son, who’d been oddly agitated for days, peppering her with questions about death, about his soul, about God. The next morning, she would drop Miguel and his big brother Shaka at the airport so they could catch Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the first leg of their journey to Bali to visit their grandmother. It was 11 p.m. on Wednesday, July 16. Miguel, Shaka and the 296 other people aboard Flight 17 had around 15 hours left to live. By Kristen Gelineau. UPCOMING: 2,700 words by 0700 GMT, photos.

— UKRAINE-PLANE-THE BOY WHO KNEW — Young MH17 victim has eerie premonition of crash. UPCOMING: 560 words by 0700 GMT, photos.

UKRAINE-PLANE

KHARKIV, Ukraine — A train bearing the dead from the downed Malaysian airliner finally reached Ukrainian government-held territory Tuesday, but the pro-Russian separatists in control of the crash site showed little willingness to allow the full-scale investigation demanded by world leaders. By Sergei Chuzavkov and Juergen Baetz. SENT: 875 words, photos, video, audio.

AUSTRALIA-MALAYSIA-PLANE

CANBERRA, Australia — The monthslong hunt for the Malaysian airliner that vanished off the Australian coast will not be interrupted by the top search official’s new job in recovering bodies from the downed airliner in Ukraine, the Australian government says. By Rod Mcguirk. SENT: 390 words.

— UNITED STATES-UKRAINE-EVIDENCE — Senior U.S. intelligence officials say they have no evidence of direct Russian government involvement in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. SENT: 430 words, photos, video.

— OBAMA-UKRAINE-PLANE-NETHERLANDS — President Barack Obama pays tribute to the nearly 200 citizens of the Netherlands who died when a Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down in Ukraine, visiting the Netherlands Embassy in Washington and pledging unity during a phone call with the Dutch leader. SENT: 200 words, photos.

ASIA-STORM

BEIJING — China is bracin for the arrival of a second typhoon in as many weeks, as communities along the country’s southern coast cleared away debris in the wake of the earlier storm that killed 46 people. SENT: 275 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-VIETNAM-NUCLEAR

WASHINGTON — The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approves an agreement on civilian nuclear cooperation between the U.S. and Vietnam, as Washington looks expand its relationship with its former Southeast Asian foe. SENT: 380 words.

UNITED STATES-INDONESIA

WASHINGTON — The U.S. says it looks forward to working with Joko Widodo who was elected Tuesday to become Indonesia’s next president. SENT: 130 words.

CHINA-PLAGUE CITY

BEIJING — Parts of a northern Chinese city have been quarantined after state media said a man there died of bubonic plague. SENT: 135 words.

CHINA-INTERNET CRACKDOWN

BEIJING — Chinese authorities have tightened already rigorous Internet controls by cracking down on online pornography and what state media called “rumormongers” and “slanderous content.” SENT: 175 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

WORLD MARKETS

SEOUL, South Korea — Asian stock markets post moderate gains, bolstered by solid U.S. earnings and home sales. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 600 words, photos.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS

JERUSALEM — A Hamas rocket explodes near Israel’s main airport, prompting a ban on flights from the U.S. and many from Europe and Canada as aviation authorities respond to the shock over seeing a civilian jetliner shot down over Ukraine. Israel declares that Ben-Gurion Airport is safe and says there is no reason to “hand terror a prize” by halting flights. By Aron Heller. SENT: 1,200 words, photos, video, interactive, graphic.

PALESTINIANS-LIVING UNDER BLOCKADE

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Ibrahim Zain was driven from his home by Israeli tank fire, but says he’d rather endure more Israel-Hamas fighting than accept a cease-fire he and others here fear will only prolong the border blockade of the Gaza Strip. Many residents say the closure, enforced by Israel and Egypt since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, is like a slow death: it prevents them from traveling, from importing cement to build homes and increasingly from earning enough to feed their families. “We want a good life or no life,” says Zain. By Karin Laub. SENT: 1,400 words, photos.

FLIGHTS CANCELED-ISRAEL

When U.S. and European airlines quickly canceled flights to Israel, they showed both a skittishness and a new sense of urgency in dealing with global trouble spots following last week’s downing of a passenger plane over Ukraine. Delta Air Lines turned around one of its jets midflight and indefinitely canceled all future flights between the U.S. and Israel after a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed near Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion Airport. Other U.S. airlines quickly took similar action, and counterparts in Europe and Canada followed within hours, despite protests from the Israeli government. Israeli airline El Al maintained its regular flight schedule. SENT: 830 words, photos.

— ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS-GAZA GLANCE — A look at where things stand in the Gaza Strip. SENT: 550 words, photo.

— UNITED NATIONS-ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS — The U.N. secretary-general says it is his “hope and belief” that his emergency mission to the Middle East will lead to an end to the fighting between Hamas and Israel “in the very near future.” SENT: 995 words, photos.

VENEZUELA-VERTICAL SLUM

CARACAS — It’s the beginning of the end for one of Caracas’ strangest landmarks. Thousands of squatters who’ve made their home in a soaring, half-built skyscraper in the heart of Caracas are being forced out and relocated to free apartments in another town. The 45-story tower has no walls or windows, and is said to be a den of kidnappers and thugs. Residents, however, say they’re sad to leave their centrally-located home. “We were lucky to live here,” says one. By Hannah Dreier. SENT: 470 words, photos.

BRITAIN-POISONED SPY

LONDON — The British government announces plans for a public inquiry into the 2006 death of poisoned ex-Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. The decision, which comes at a time of rising tensions with Russia, means investigators can look into whether the Russian state played a role in Litvinenko’s demise. A look at the case. By Sylvia Hui and Gregory Katz. SENT: 600 words, photos.

NIGERIA-KIDNAPPED GIRLS-HOMETOWN

LAGOS, Nigeria — In the three months since Islamic extremists kidnapped more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls, 11 of their parents have died, town residents say. The town where the girls were kidnapped, Chibok, is cut off by militants, who have been attacking villages in the region. By Michelle Faul. SENT: 1,040 words, photos.

IMMIGRATION OVERLOAD

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats prepare to whack $1 billion from President Barack Obama’s emergency spending request for the border, while leaving out policy changes Republicans have demanded as their price for agreeing to any money. The developments point to a hardening stalemate over the crisis in Texas, where unaccompanied children are arriving by the tens of thousands from Central America. SENT: 795 words, photo.

— OBAMA-BORTH CONTROL — The Obama administration is developing a new way for religious nonprofits that object to paying for contraceptives in their health plans to opt out, without submitting a form they say violates their religious beliefs. Sent: 230 words.

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