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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

March 24, 2015

ASIA:

JAPAN-US-MILITARY

TOKYO — The governor of the southern Japanese island of Okinawa orders a Defense Ministry branch to suspend all work in the area where a key U.S. military air base is to be relocated in a growing confrontation between the island and the central government. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 530 words.

UNITED STATES-PAKISTAN-NULCEAR.

WASHINGTON — Pakistan needs short-range “tactical” nuclear weapons to deter arch-rival India, a top adviser to its government says, dismissing concerns it could increase the risk of a nuclear war. By Matthew Pennington. 550 words.

JAPAN-PRODUCTIVITY PUZZLE

TOKYO — Japan’s future prosperity will depend on improving its lagging productivity, says a report by McKinsey Global Institute that urges companies to boost their competitiveness by better use of their workers. Japan’s population of about 127 million began declining in 2011 and is rapidly aging, a trend seen in many industrialized countries. The country’s gains in productivity — or the value added for each hour of labor — have lagged behind other wealthy countries in almost all industries, even advanced manufacturing. By Elaine Kurtenbach.

CHINA-TRAIN STATION ATTACK

BEIJING — A court in southwestern China has executed three men convicted of masterminding a knife attack last year that killed 31 people outside a railway station in the city of Kunming. A notice from the Kunming City Intermediate People’s Court said Iskandar Ehet, Turgun Tohtunyaz and Hasayn Muhammad were put to death Tuesday. SENT: 230 words.

CHINA-CHRISTIANITY

BEIJING — A Christian pastor who questioned authorities in eastern China over the forced removal of rooftop crosses is standing trial in Zhejiang province. Lawyer Zhang Kai says Huang Yizi was charged in the city of Pingyang with gathering crowds to disrupt the social order. If convicted, Huang could face up to seven years in jail. SENT: 120 words.

MYANMAR-MONKS LAWSUIT

YANGON, Myanmar — Police in northwestern Myanmar have rejected a lawsuit filed by two Buddhist monks against Myanmar’s home minister and police chief, saying they are protected by law. In declining to accept a first information report, which is needed for a lawsuit to proceed, the police said no lawsuit can be brought against any officer who carries out acts in good faith. SENT:

AFGHANISTAN

KABUL, Afghanistan — Gunmen in eastern Afghanistan attacked passing vehicles on a darkened highway during a midnight assault Tuesday, killing at least 13 people. The attack happened in Wardak province’s Sayad Abad district, where Taliban fighters hold much territory and launch frequent attacks on security forces. However, no group immediately claimed responsibility for the assault, which comes after several recent attacks targeting buses in the country. SENT.

CHINA-ADB-ASIAN BANK

BEIJING — The president of the Asian Development Bank says a proposed Chinese-led regional bank is a potential partner rather than a rival and the ADB is talking with Beijing to share its experience. Takehiko Nakao’s comments came after Washington softened its opposition to the Chinese-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and suggested it work together with existing entities such the World Bank. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 480 words.

CHINA-MANUFACTURING

HONG KONG — China’s manufacturing fell to the lowest level in nearly a year as new orders shrank, according to a report Tuesday that underscored the weakening outlook for the world’s second biggest economy. SENT: 310 words.

AUSTRALIA-QANTAS-CHINA EASTERN

CANBERRA, Australia — Australia’s competition watchdog said Tuesday it was leaning toward blocking a tie up between Qantas Airways and China Eastern Airlines because it could increase fares on the popular Sydney-Shanghai route. SENT: 230 words.

BEIJING 2022

BEIJING — IOC evaluators began a five-day inspection tour of Beijing’s bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics on Tuesday, in a key test of the city’s status as a front-runner in the competition for hosting rights. Following meetings, the 19-member Evaluation Commission was visiting Beijing’s indoor sites for hockey, skating and curling, along with the iconic Bird’s Nest stadium used for the 2008 Summer Games. By Christopher Bodeen. SENT: 550 words.

INTERNATIONAL:

UNITED STATES-AFGHANISTAN — President Barack Obama welcomes Afghanistan’s new president to the Oval Office on Tuesday with fraught questions staring them in the face: Will the U.S. slow its departure from Afghanistan — and for how long? By Josh Lederman. SENT: 500 words, photos.

SYRIA-NUSRA FRONT — The Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaida affiliate, is quietly consolidating power in territory stretching from the Turkish border to central and southern Syria as the Islamic State group gets most of the world’s attention. By Bassem Mroue. SENT: 1,040 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-YEMEN— Once hailed by President Barack Obama as a model for fighting extremism, the U.S. counterterrorism strategy in Yemen all but collapses as the country descends into chaos. By Julie Pace and Ken Dilanian. SENT: 870 words, photos.

VENEZUELA-MASTECTOMIES — Doctors say that the economic crisis plaguing Venezuela revived a medical practice rarely seen in developed countries since the 1970s: the radical mastectomy. With radiotherapy machines in short supply, doctors are turning to the disfiguring surgery to save breast cancer patients’ lives. By Hannah Dreier. SENT: 860 words, photo.

INTERNET VIDEO-FREE OR FEE? — Instead of free distribution supported solely by advertising, former Hulu Plus CEO Jason Kilar is betting viewers will pay $3 a month for Vessel, a new video service showcasing music, sports, comedy and many other clips that won’t be available on YouTube or any other digital video service for at least three days. By Michael Liedtke. SENT: 600 words, photo.

BRITAIN-POUND SWINGS — The British pound is getting caught between the dollar’s surge and the euro’s slump, and that is shaking things up for businesses and consumers here. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 750 words, photo.

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