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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

December 8, 2013

ASIA:

THAILAND-POLITICS

BANGKOK — Thailand’s main opposition party resigned from Parliament to protest what it called “the illegitimacy” of a government with which it can no longer work. The move deepens the country’s latest political crisis one day before new street demonstrations that many fear could turn violent. By Todd Pitman. SENT: 650 words, photos.

KOREAS-KIM’S UNCLE

SEOUL, South Korea — Images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s uncle have been removed from an official state TV documentary, a disappearing act that appears to lend credence to Seoul’s claim that Pyongyang’s second most powerful official may have been purged by his nephew. By Hyung-Jin Kim. SENT: 590 words, photo.

AFGHANISTAN

KABUL, Afghanistan — The United Nations complained that Afghan authorities have been slow in enforcing a law protecting women against forced marriages, domestic violence and rape. By Patrick Quinn. SENT: 390 words, photos.

PHILIPPINES-TYPHOON-ONE MONTH ON

TACLOBAN, Philippines — The government is back at work, and markets are laden with fruits, pork, fish and bread. Shredded trees are sprouting new leaves. Above all, the sounds of a city getting back on its feet fill the air: the roar of trucks hauling debris, the scrape of shovel along pavement, the ping of hammer on nails. One month since Typhoon Haiyan, signs of progress in this shattered Philippine city are mixed with reminders of the scale of the disaster and the challenges ahead. By Oliver Teves. SENT: 920 words, photos.

INDIA-ELECTIONS

NEW DELHI —India’s main Hindu nationalist party appeared to make strong electoral gains in four heartland states, sidelining the ruling Congress party in a race seen as a test before next year’s general election, according to preliminary results. By Katy Daigle. SENT: 1,030 words, photos.

NKOREA-DETAINED AMERICAN

SAN FRANCISCO — An 85-year-old U.S. veteran of the Korean War who was detained for several weeks in North Korea arrives home in California. Merrill Newman lands in San Francisco on a flight from Beijing and said he was “delighted to be home.” By Haven Daley. SENT: 600 words, photos, video.

— AP VIDEO (http://apne.ws/1bPdt5W) — Asked what he wants to do when he gets home, the Californian smiles and says: ‘I think probably take my shoes off.’

SKOREA-CHINA

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea announced an expansion of its air defense zone following China’s move to establish a similar zone that has been criticized by Beijing’s neighbors. SENT: 260 words, photos.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

CHINA-TRADE

BEIJING — China’s November exports accelerated but import growth slumped in a sign the recovery of the world’s second-largest economy might be slowing. SENT: 300 words.

FOOD AND FARM-APPLES FROM CHINA

SPOKANE, Wash. — China, the world’s largest apple producer, wants to export the fruit into the United States. That’s OK with growers in Washington, who are trying at the same time to break back into the massive Chinese market. “It should be a net positive for our industry,” said Mark Powers, vice president of the Northwest Horticultural Council, which handles trade issues for apple growers. By Nick Geranios. SENT: 700 words, photos.

U.S. & INTERNATIONAL:

MANDELA-MOURNING

JOHANNESBURG — South Africans of all races flocked to houses of worship for a national day of prayer and reflection to honor Nelson Mandela, unified in their love for a historic figure whose funeral is expected to be one of the biggest in modern times. By Ray Faure and Jon Gambrell. SENT: 800 words, photos.

MANDELA-JAILER

CAPE TOWN, South Africa — The man who was Nelson Mandela’s jailer on Robben Island said he was saddened by the leader’s death but said Mandela was successful in ending South Africa’s white minority rule. The two men — the black political prisoner and the white Afrikaans jailer — forged an unlikely but enduring friendship at the Robben Island prison. By Andrew Meldrum. SENT: 520 words, photos, video.

MANDELA-SYMBOLS OF FREEDOM

The passing of Nelson Mandela leaves a waning number of global figures representing freedom and resilience against oppression — and a changing world that makes it harder for anyone to approach Mandela’s iconic power. Mandela may be one of the last of a breed for all sorts of reasons including the circumstances of his heroism, his extraordinary success, and the onset of an age when heroes’ foibles are often exposed. By National Writer Jesse Washington. SENT: 900 words, photos.

MALI-FINDING THE BODIES

TIMBUKTU, Mali — When a hole is dug in the smooth, rippling sand of the desert, you see it immediately. That’s how you know where the bodies are buried. Close to three dozen people in northern Mali were killed earlier this year by the country’s military or disappeared in an ethnic backlash against Arabs and Tuaregs, according to human rights groups. To find out what had happened, I tracked down six of their bodies in the desert, including that of a 70-year-old grandfather who had become a symbol of the killings. By Rukmini Callimachi. SENT: 2,800 words, photos.

UKRAINE-PROTEST

KIEV, Ukraine — Several hundred thousand Ukrainians occupied a central square in the capital, denouncing President Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to turn away from Europe and align this former Soviet republic with Russia. By Jim Heintz and Yuras Karmanau. SENT: 580 words, photos.

CUBA-CHANGING SOCIETY

HAVANA — It’s not dog-eat-dog. Not just yet. But as more and more islanders go into business for themselves under President Raul Castro’s economic reforms, the ethos of capitalism is increasingly seeping into Cuban daily life, often in stark conflict with fundamental tenets of the Cuban Revolution. Some fear — and others hope — that values anathema to a half-century of Communist rule are taking root more with each passing day. By Andrea Rodriguez. SENT: 1,480 words, photos.

FRANCE-COUNTERFEIT WINE

SAINT-EMILION, France — Counterfeiting high-end wines, some of which sell for $10,000 a bottle, is on the rise. And the forgerers are becoming more sophisticated and ambitious, forcing producers to act to make more transparent what has for centures been a secretive industry dominated by private deals. In France, high-tech labs are used to test wines to determine their provenance and study the labels and bottle glass for age. Mobile apps are being developed to create unique IDs for bottles that will disappear for decades in cellars across the world. By Sarah DiLorenzo. SENT: 1,400 words, photos.

GENE THERAPY-CANCER

In one of the biggest advances against leukemia and other blood cancers in many years, doctors are reporting unprecedented success by using gene therapy to transform patients’ blood cells into soldiers that seek and destroy cancer. The one-time experimental treatment has been given to more than 120 patients with many types of blood and bone marrow cancers, with stunning results. By Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

AFTER NEWTOWN-DIVIDED OVER GUNS

A year ago, Americans promised to confront vexing questions about the role of guns in modern life. Instead, the country has found only renewed ambivalence and deepened division. In Webster, N.Y. — where two firefighters were shot and killed last Christmas Eve — a gun control advocate is dismayed by the animosity he felt from neighbors. In Nelson, Ga., two men who took opposite sides in the debate over a local law requiring everyone to own a gun say the other side won’t listen to reason. In Newtown, itself, a defender of gun rights says the rush to bring the town together has left people like him marginalized. The divisions, so easily quantifiable in opinion polls, sound more complex — and harder to resolve — in real life. By National Writer Adam Geller. SENT: 2,200 words, photos.

CELEBRITY CHEFS-BUMPY ROADS

When celebrity chefs cut themselves, how much they bleed is all a matter of brand. Case in point: this year’s messy public eruptions around two of the food world’s most powerful women, Paula Deen and Nigella Lawson. Both made unsavory admissions about their pasts after being accused of unsavory acts. Both found themselves at the center of a whirlwind of negative publicity and lawsuits. And both had fortunes and reputations to lose. But while Deen seemed helpless and shocked as her empire crumbled, Lawson is remaining stoic and mostly unscathed. And the difference tells us much about the power of brand in 2013. By Food Editor J.M. Hirsch. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

PEARL HARBOR ANNIVERSARY

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii — For the first time since the war, Alvis Taylor returned to Pearl Harbor and recalled the surprise Japanese air attack that plunged America into World War II. He was serving as an Army medic when the Dec. 7, 1941 attack began. His superiors, who were doctors, rushed to hospitals to care for the wounded. He went to Pearl Harbor, about 18 miles south of his Army post at Schofield Barracks, with dozens of ambulances. By Audrey McAvoy. SENT: 600 words, photos, audio.

— AP-WAS-THERE-PEARL HARBOR ATTACK — Japan attacks Pearl Harbor, as reported by The Associated Press on Dec. 7, 1941. SENT: 460 words, photos.

NYC GOOD SAMARITANS

NEW YORK — A doctor, a plumber, a personal trainer and a truck driver: These four men in the past year each saved a person’s life in New York City by jumping down into subway tracks, or rescuing someone from a burning car, and in some cases, risked their own lives in the rescue. They each say they were just doing what they felt was right, but let’s face it, most people wouldn’t risk death or dismemberment to help out a stranger. If something goes wrong, you want these guys around. By Colleen Long. SENT: 930 words, photos.

BOSNIAN MEMORIES

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Five thousand miles from Sarajevo, a small Catholic college in St. Louis wants to preserve the intimate stories of the Bosnian exiles displaced by war in the former Yugoslovia two decades ago. The Bosnian Memory Project at Fontbonne University began in 2008 when professor Benjamin Moore and a colleague created a class on the local immigrant experience. An estimated 60,000 Bosnians live in the St. Louis area, making it the largest such settlement outside the country of Bosnia-Herzegovina. By Alan Scher Zagier. SENT: 700 words, photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— ECUADOR-BESEIGED JOURNALISTS — The journalism profession faces increasing hostility in Ecuador and international rights groups blame President Rafael Correa. SENT: 800 words, photos.

— WTO-TRADE TALKS — Deal to boost global trade reached at WTO summit despite late objections from Cuba. SENT: 540 words, photos.

— CZECH-PREMIER-MANDELA — Caught by microphones, Czech PM uses vulgarity to show aversion to attending Mandela’s funeral. SENT: 250 words, photo.

— BRITAIN-PRINCE HARRY-ANTARCTIC — Prince Harry’s Antarctic race called off in harsh conditions, but journey to Pole goes on. SENT: 240 words, photo.

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