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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

November 10, 2014



BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held an ice-breaking meeting on the sidelines of an Asia-Pacific conference in Beijing, following more than two years of deep tensions over an island dispute. The spat between China and Japan over uninhabited East China Sea islands raised concerns of a military confrontation between Asia’s two largest economics. China also has been angry over what it sees as effort by Japan to play down its brutal 20th century invasion and occupation of China. By Christopher Bodeen. SENT: 450 words, photos.


BEIJING — President Barack Obama is pressing world leaders to break stubborn logjams that have held up an agreement on a trans-Pacific trade deal that is eagerly sought by the White House and could lead to rare consensus with congressional Republicans. “This has the potential for being an historic agreement,” Obama said as he opened the trade talks being held on the sidelines of the broader Asia-Pacific conference in Beijing. Ahead of Obama’s arrival in China Monday, U.S. officials had downplayed the prospect that an elusive deal would be reached during the president’s eight-day, three-nation trip to the region. However, the fact that Obama convened the leader-level discussions prompted some speculation of a breakthrough in the 12-nation negotiations. By Julie Pace. SENT: 300 words, photos.


BEIJING — South Korea says it has agreed to sign a free trade deal with China that will remove tariffs on more than 90 percent of goods over two decades. The announcement from South Korea’s presidential office Monday came after South Korean President Park Geun-hye met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit being held in Beijing. SENT: 330 words, photo.


HONG KONG — A British banker charged with murdering two Indonesian women in Hong Kong will undergo a psychiatric assessment to determine whether he is fit to enter a plea in his trial. Rurik Jutting appeared briefly at a pre-trial hearing before the judge adjourned proceedings for two weeks while the psychiatric assessments are carried out. Rurik is charged with murdering two young Indonesian women found dead in his 31st floor luxury apartment in the Wan Chai red light and nightlife district, including one found stuffed in a suitcase on his balcony. SENT: 190 words, photos.


WASHNINGTON — The North Koreans passed word they wanted a high-ranking U.S. government official for the job, so President Barack Obama sent a gruff former general to spirit home two Americans held captive by the hard-line communists. National Intelligence Director James Clapper is no diplomat by training, and that’s perhaps just why he earned the clandestine call. By Intelligence Writer Ken Dilanian and Josh Lederman. SENT: 710 words, photos, video.

— NKOREA-FREED DETAINEES-ANALYSIS — Some clues to what could be behind North Korea’s release of 2 US detainees. SENT: 690 words, photos.


IPOH, Malaysia — It was the last round of a recurring argument: M. Indira Gandhi’s husband wanted her to convert to Islam. A committed Hindu, she refused. He threatened divorce. Both started shouting. Neighbors came looking. Suddenly, he snatched their 11-month-old daughter from the arms of an older child, tucked her under one arm and sped off on his motorbike. That was more than five years ago. Gandhi hasn’t seen her child since, even though a Malaysian civil court awarded her custody. Her husband — who converted to Islam shortly before taking his daughter away — won custody in an Islamic court. Because Gandhi is not a Muslim, she was not even called to appear. Gandhi’s case and others highlight perils of Malaysia’s divided legal system, where majority Muslims use Shariah courts for religious and family issues. The other 40 percent of the country — mainly Christians, Buddhists and Hindus — use a secular legal system inherited from the Southeast Asian country’s British colonial rulers. By Eileen Ng. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.


HANOI, Vietnam — A Vietnamese maritime official says authorities are searching for eight sailors who went missing after their cargo ship collided with another vessel off the country’s southern coast. SENT: 100 words.


BEIJING — China’s consumer inflation rate was steady in October, government data shows, amid signs of cooling economic growth. The National Bureau of Statistics said that the consumer price rose 1.6 percent in October from a year earlier, the same increase as in September. SENT: 110 words.


HONG KONG — Regulators give the green light to a cross-border trading link allowing investors in Shanghai and Hong Kong to buy and sell shares on both exchanges. The long-awaited approval for the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect link will give foreign investors greater access to China’s stock market. SENT: 340 words.



BAGHDAD — Iraqi officials say the head of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was wounded in an airstrike in western Anbar province. Pentagon officials say they had no immediate information on such an attack or on the militant leader being injured. By Qassim Abdul-Zahra and Vivian Salama. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.


A $10 billion-a-year effort to protect sensitive government data, from military secrets to Social Security numbers, is struggling to keep pace with an increasing number of cyberattacks and is unwittingly being undermined by federal employees and contractors. Workers and contractors scattered across more than a dozen agencies, including the Defense, State and Homeland Security departments, are responsible for more than half of the federal cyberincidents reported each year since 2010 by clicking on links in bogus phishing emails or getting tricked by scammers into sharing information, according to an Associated Press analysis of records. By Martha Mendoza. SENT: 1,750 words, photos, video, graphics. An abridged version is also available.



MUSCAT, Oman — The Obama administration is facing its last best chance to curb Iran’s nuclear program — not just to meet an end-of-the-month deadline to secure a deal, but get one done before skeptical Republicans who will control Congress next year are able to scuttle it. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and European Union adviser Catherine Ashton are trying to work toward an agreement in talks in Oman. By National Security Writer Lara Jakes. SENT: 990 words, photos.


BERLIN — Germany celebrates the 25th anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall, and with it communist East Germany’s heavily fortified border with the West. By Frank Jordans. SENT: 500 words, photos.


LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II and other senior royals lead a solemn ceremony at the Cenotaph at the heart of central London to honor those fallen in World War II. The ceremony should have special meaning on the centenary of the outbreak of war. By Gregory Katz. SENT: 385 words, photos.


BARCELONA, Spain — More than a million voters are participating in a symbolic poll on whether wealthy Catalonia should secede from the rest of Spain. The regional Catalan government pushed forward with the vote despite Spain’s Constitutional Court ordering its suspension after it agreed to hear the Spanish government’s challenge that the poll is unconstitutional. By Joseph Wilson. SENT: 370 words, photos. Results are expected Monday.


CAIRO — The Islamic State group has established an outpost in the Libyan city of Darna, about 1,000 miles from the nearest territory controlled by the extremists who are trying to set up a “caliphate” in the region. Activists and others in the city tell The Associated Press that religious courts have ordered public killings and floggings, as well as segregating male and female students in what could be a model for the group as it seeks to expand its control. By Maggie Michael. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.


WASHINGTON — Republican leaders and President Barack Obama say the message of the midterm elections is clear: Voters want them to work together. But on what? The two parties’ voters, like their politicians, are far apart on health care, immigration and climate change, exit polls show. The voters can’t even agree on whether the economy is looking worse or getting better. A look at what voters said about the issues as they left the polls. By Connie Cass. SENT: 830 words, photos, interactive.


WASHINGTON — The 2016 presidential race was about the new Republican-controlled Congress even before the polls closed Tuesday night. As the GOP rout became clear late on election night, would-be Democratic front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton found herself with a ready-made foil in the Republican-led Congress that begins next year just as a few high-profile senators seized on their new status as a springboard into 2016. Some Republican governors already have begun to try to distance themselves from unpopular congressional leaders in both parties. Republicans are facing their most unpredictable presidential primary campaign in a generation, while Clinton remains the overwhelming favorite for Democrats who are reeling from heavy losses in last week’s midterm elections. By Ken Thomas and Steve Peoples. SENT: 830 words, photos.


PORTLAND, Maine — With the completion of a 21-day incubation period for Ebola on Monday, a nurse who successfully fought efforts to restrict her movements hopes to resume a normal life. Kaci Hickox says she fought quarantines in New Jersey and Maine on behalf of all health care volunteers who go to West Africa to fight Ebola. By David Sharp. SENT: 800 words, photos.


DETROIT — The largest U.S. city to endure bankruptcy has exited insolvency billions of dollars lighter in debt. But many in Detroit still fall asleep at night to sporadic and frightening echoes of gunfire and wake up the next day surrounded by blight. Many wonder how long it will be before the city can improve services enough to stop the draining population and give the city a chance to grow and become vibrant again. By Corey Williams. SENT: 700 words, photos.


ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Near hurricane-strength winds blasted parts of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands as the remnants of Typhoon Nuri moved through the remote region hundreds of miles from the mainland. Sustained winds of 70 mph (113 kph) and gusts up to 96 mph (155 kph) were recorded Friday morning on Shemya Island, where 120 people had locked themselves indoors to wait out the storm. SENT: 650 words, photo, audio.



GLASGOW, Scotland — Nicki Minaj hosts as the annual MTV Europe Music Awards come to Scotland. Performers include Beyonce and U2, while Katy Perry, Eminem and the ubiquitous Pharrell Williams are among leading nominees. By Jill Lawless. SENT: 370 words, photos.



LAS VEGAS — When they take their seats around a studio-lit table starting Monday night to vie for a $10 million top prize playing Texas Hold ’em, the nine players will be among the youngest and greenest in the last few years at the World Series of Poker. None is older than 32 and none has won a title. By Kimberly Pierceall. SENT: 600 words, photos.


— CESAREAN SECTION SURVIVOR — Florida woman survives despite going 45 minutes without pulse after cesarean section. SENT: 260 words.

— COAL MINERS-NEW CAREERS — As coal jobs vanish, ex-miners begrudgingly get training, new skills for lesser-paying careers. SENT: 800 words, photos.

— SHATTERED STATUE RESTORED — A 15th-century statue that shattered into pieces when it fell from its pedestal at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is going back on display after a 12-year repair job. SENT: 250 words.

— MADONNA AUCTION — Madonna’s clothes from films, music videos, wedding to Sean Penn fetch top prices at auction. SENT: 120 words.




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