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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

August 4, 2014



BEIJING — Rescuers dug through shattered homes Monday looking for survivors of a strong earthquake in southern China’s Yunnan province that killed at least 381 people and injured more than 1,800. By Jack Chang. SENT: 590 words. photos.


KATMANDU, Nepal —Rescuers recovered two more bodies, taking the death toll to 10 from a massive weekend landslide in northern Nepal, but said there was no chance of finding alive any of the more than 150 people believed still buried under the rubble. By Binaj Gurubacharya. SENT: 460 words, photos.


BEIJING —The death toll in for an explosion at a Chinese auto parts factory has risen to 75 people, as investigators fault poor safety measures and news reports reveal that workers had long complained of dangerous levels of dust at the facility. By Gillian Wong. SENT: 680 words, photos.


CANBERRA, Australia — The Australian government is considering intervening in the case of a sick Down syndrome baby left with a Thai surrogate mother by Australian biological parents. SENT: 545 words, photos.


BEIJING — When a remote village in China’s far west exploded in the worst ethnic violence since 2009, it took the government nearly one whole week to put out an exact death toll. Given Beijing’s tight grip on the minority region, it isn’t clear when, if ever, a full or independent accounting might emerge. The Chinese government is well-positioned to maintain a virtual monopoly on the narrative of what goes on in the tense region of Xinjiang that’s home to Turkic-speaking minority Uighurs. This limits outsiders to a predominantly one-sided view on escalating ethnic unrest that has killed dozens over the past year and poses a major test to Beijing’s rule. By Gillian Wong. UPCOMING. 1,000 words. Expect by 0900 GMT.



GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Israel withdraws the bulk of its ground troops from the Gaza Strip, signaling a possible end in sight to the nearly monthlong operation against Hamas militants that has killed more than 1,800 Palestinians and at least 64 Israelis. Even as Israel says it is completing its mission, heavy fighting rages in parts of Gaza, with at least 10 people killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike on a U.N. school, according to U.N. and Palestinian medical officials. With Hamas continuing to fire rockets into Israel, it remains uncertain whether Israel will be able to unilaterally halt the fighting. By Karin Laub and Josef Federman. SENT: 1,080 words, photos, video.

— UNITED STATES-ISRAEL — United States ‘appalled’ by Israel’s attack on a United Nations school in Gaza. SENT: 350 words, photo.


BEIRUT — Syrian rebels kill 10 Lebanese troops and likely capture over a dozen more in an ongoing raid on a Lebanese border town, the country’s military chief says, the most serious spillover of violence yet into the tiny country from its neighbor’s civil war. The capture raises fears Lebanon could become further entangled in the Syrian civil war and could worsen already-brewing sectarian tensions. By Diaa Hadid. SENT: 700 words, photos.


DONETSK, Ukraine — Fighting rages on the western outskirts of Donetsk as the advancing Ukrainian army tried to seize control of the rebel stronghold. In danger of being encircled, the separatists renew their calls for Russia to send troops to their aid. By Yuras Karmanau. SENT: 870 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — An Obama administration program secretly dispatched young Latin Americans to Cuba using health and civic programs to provoke political change. An new Associated Press investigation finds the operation put those foreigners in danger even after a U.S. contractor was hauled away to a Cuban jail. The project was among Cuban programs funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, including the creation of a once-secret “Cuban Twitter” program first revealed by the AP in April. By Desmond Butler, Jack Gillum, Alberto Arce and Andrea Rodriguez. UPCOMING: 2,500 words. photos, video, interactive. An abridged version of 950 words will also be available.


ATLANTA — A second American medical missionary stricken with the deadly Ebola virus is expected to flown Tuesday to the U.S. for treatment, joining a colleague who was admitted Saturday to Emory University Hospital’s infectious disease unit. By Bill Barrow and Krista Larson. SENT: 130 words, photos. UPCOMING: 600 words by 6:30 p.m., photos.


TOLEDO, Ohio — The toxins contaminating the drinking water supply of 400,000 people didn’t just suddenly appear. Water plant operators along western Lake Erie have long been worried about this very scenario as a growing number of algae blooms has turned the water into a pea soup color, leaving behind toxins that can sicken people and kill pets. In fact, the problems from farm fertilizer runoff and sludge from sewage treatment plants have been building on the lake for more than a decade. By John Seewer. SENT: 830 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — No one on the Supreme Court objected publicly when the justices voted to let Arizona proceed with the execution of Joseph Wood, who unsuccessfully sought information about the drugs that would be used to kill him. Nor did any of the justices try to stop the deaths of inmates in Florida and Missouri by lethal injection. Even as the number of executions annually has dropped by more than half over the past 15 years and the court has barred states from killing juveniles and the mentally disabled, no justice has emerged as a principled opponent of the death penalty. By Mark Sherman. SENT: 1,055 words, photos.


EDINBURGH, Scotland — It’s not much of an exaggeration to say that Jo Macsween has haggis in her blood. The business founded by her grandfather is a leading purveyor of Scotland’s national dish: a blend of offal, oats and spices, traditionally served in a sheep’s stomach. Macsween has dedicated her life to transforming the modern-day image of haggis, which she says “goes to the very identity of what makes Scotland Scotland.” Like millions of other Scots, she has been thinking a lot recently about what that means. On Sept. 18, Scottish voters will decide whether to break up Britain and become an independent country. The outcome will be decided partly by economic arguments: Would independence make businesses like Macsween’s better or worse off? But questions of identity and national image — and haggis lies at the center. By Jill Lawless. SENT: 1,500 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — Midterm elections that will decide control of the Senate are three months away, and the 2016 presidential campaign will start in earnest soon after. Yet the Republican Party still can’t figure out what to do about illegal immigration. It’s the issue that vexed Republicans as much as any in their 2012 presidential loss. It’s the one problem the party declared it must resolve to win future presidential races. And it still managed to bedevil the party again last week, when House Republicans splintered and stumbled for a day before passing a face-saving bill late Friday night. By Charles Babington. SENT: 938 words, photos.


OAK CREEK, Wis. — The prognosis remains bleak for a Sikh priest shot in the head two years ago during a mass shooting at his Wisconsin temple, but his family says they remain optimistic for his recovery. By Dinesh Ramde. SENT: 700 words.


NEW YORK — One boy uses an iPad and dances to Michael Jackson tunes, but the other has significant, possibly permanent problems walking and talking. The delicate separation 10 years ago of conjoined twins Carl and Clarence Aguirre wasn’t perfect, but their survival is reason enough to celebrate the anniversary, their mother and surgeon say. SENT: 770 words, photos.



William Kistler views retirement like someone tied to the tracks and watching a train coming. It’s looming and threatening, but there’s little he can do. “It’s completely frightening, to tell you the truth,” he says. With traditional pensions becoming rarer in the private sector, and lower-paid workers less likely to have access to an employer-provided retirement plan, there is a growing gulf in the retirement savings of the wealthy and people with lower incomes. By Michael Hill. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.



NASHVILLE, Tenn. — It’s the Hollywood ending every studio wants: Low-cost production and high returns at the box office. Filmmakers Alex and Stephen Kendrick seem to have the formula down — grossing nearly $80 million on four films made for less than $4 million combined. Only thing is the Kendrick brothers work far from Hollywood and, outside the world of Christian-themed cinema, many have never heard of their films. That could change. Increasingly, major studios appear to be taking a leap for faith-based audiences with biblical epics such as “Noah” starring Russell Crowe, the planned December release of “Exodus” and a remake of “Ben-Hur” for early 2016. By Lucas L. Johnson II. SENT: 2,000 words.


— NEPAL FLOODING — Nepal official says there’s ‘no chance’ of finding any of the 159 people missing in landslide. SENT: 570 words, photos.

— TOP PHOTO — NEPAL FLOODING — DEL116 — Damaged vehicles lie among the debris after a massive landslide in village Mankha, Nepal.

— IRAQ — Militants with the Islamic State extremist group on Sunday seize two small towns in northern Iraq after driving out Kurdish security forces, further expanding the territories under their control. SENT: 500 words.

— ENTERS UNMARKED CAR — Pittsburgh police say a drunken woman tried to drive away in an unmarked police car — with two officers still inside. SENT: 130 words.

— FOOD AND FARM-AGRICULTURE TOURISM — Agriculture tourism is gaining ground in the U.S., as farms, distilleries and markets look to attract visitors — and their money. The business generated roughly $700 million in 2012, a 24 percent increase over the last five years, the USDA says. SENT: 800 words.

— BOX OFFICE — ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ rockets to top of weekend box office with $94M debut.

— STURGIS-YOUNGER BIKERS — Sturgis Motorcycle Rally courts younger adrenaline crowd to annual Black Hills party. SENT: 630 words, photos.





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