AP NEWS
Related topics

BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

January 5, 2014

ASIA:

BANGLADESH-ELECTION

DHAKA, Bangladesh — Many Bangladeshis stay away from polling stations in Sunday’s general elections, marred by an opposition boycott and relentless violence that threatens to deepen the crisis in the South Asian nation. By Julhas Alam. SENT: 900 words, photos. UPCOMING: Will be updated throughout the day.

ANTARCTICA-ICEBOUND SHIP

CANBERRA, Australia — A U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker has left Australia for Antarctica to rescue more than 120 crew members aboard two icebreakers trapped in pack ice near the frozen continent’s eastern edge, officials say. By Rod Mcguirk. SENT: 660 words, photos, video.

INDONESIA-VOLCANO ERUPTS

KARO, Indonesia — Authorities extend a danger zone around a rumbling volcano in western Indonesia on Sunday after it spewed blistering gas farther than expected, sending panicked residents streaming down the sides of the mountain. By Binsar Bakkara. SENT: 360 words, photos.

INDIA-BUILDING COLLAPSE

PANAJI, India — A five-story building under construction has collapsed in the southern Indian state of Goa, killing at least 14 workers and leaving dozens more feared trapped under the rubble, police say. SENT: 175 words, photos.

JAPAN-PRICEY TUNA

TOKYO — Sushi chain operator Kiyoshi Kimura netts a real bargain, taking home a 507 pound (230 kilogram) bluefin tuna for a mere 7.36 million yen (about $70,000), a fraction of the price he paid last year at the year’s first auction at the Tsukiji market in Tokyo. SENT: 230 words.

AP NEWSBREAK: RODMAN-NKOREA

Dennis Rodman has named a team of former National Basketball Association players to participate in an exhibition basketball game in Pyongyang, North Korea. By Dan Gelstone. SENT: 43 words, photos.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

DEEP FREEZE-HAZARDS

MINNEAPOLIS — There’s cold. And then there’s subzero, frostbite bite cold. Record-breaking frigid temperatures will blast through the Midwest beginning Sunday after, part of a “polar vortex,” that one meteorologist says will send piles of North Pole air down into the U.S. These below-zero cold temperatures can be dangerous, and officials in several states are warning residents to take precautions and stay indoors. SENT: 900 words, photos.

— DEEP FREEZE — It’s been decades since the Midwest has seen a deep freeze like the one expected to arrive Sunday, with temperatures well below zero. SENT: 770 words, photos.

— NYC MAYOR-FIRST TEST — In his first test of leadership, pundits say new Mayor Bill de Blasio weathered a snowstorm that hit the city just a day after he took office successfully. By Jonathan Lemire. SENT: 840 words, photos.

IRAQ

BAGHDAD — The city center of Iraq’s Fallujah falls completely into the hands of fighters from the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, yet another victory for the hardline group that has made waves across the region in recent days. By Qassim Abdul-Zahra. SENT: 610 words, photos, video.

SYRIA

BEIRUT — An al-Qaida linked group has claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing last week in a Shiite-dominated neighborhood in Lebanon, as its fighters clashed with other rebels in neighboring Syria. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s operations, now in both countries, underscore how the ever more complex Syrian war is increasingly spilling over into its smaller neighbor. SENT: 930 words, photos.

— KERRY-MIDDLE EAST — U.S. secretary of state cites progress on the Mideast peace process, yet acknowledges that some of the most intractable disputes are unsolved after more than 20 rounds of negotiations. SENT: 560 words.

SMOKING REPORT ANNIVERSARY

ATLANTA — Fifty years ago, ashtrays seemed to be on every table and desk. Athletes and even Fred Flintstone endorsed cigarettes in TV commercials. Smoke hung in the air in restaurants, offices and airplane cabins. More than 42 percent of U.S. adults smoked. The turning point came on Jan. 11, 1964, when U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry released an emphatic and authoritative report that said smoking causes illness and death — and the government should do something about it. In the decades that followed, warning labels were put on cigarette packs, cigarette commercials were banned, taxes were raised and new restrictions were placed on where people could light up. And while the U.S. smoking rate has fallen by more than half to 18 percent, that still translates to more than 43 million smokers. By Medical Writer Mike Stobbe. SENT: 1,180 words, photos.

— SMOKING REPORT ANNIVERSARY-TIMELINE — Some key events in the fight over tobacco during the last 50 years. SENT: 100 words.

OBAMA-NEW YEAR

HONOLULU — President Barack Obama returns to Washington eager to test whether a modest budget deal passed in the waning days of 2013 can spark bipartisan momentum on Capitol Hill. As he opens his sixth year in office, he also faces legacy-defining decisions on the future of government surveillance programs and the American-led war in Afghanistan. Looming over it all will be the November congressional elections, Obama’s last chance to stock Capitol Hill with more Democratic lawmakers who could help him expand his presidential playing field. For Republicans, those contests are an opportunity to seize control of the Senate, which would render Obama a lame duck for his final two years in the White House. The wild card in 2014 will be the fate of the president’s health care law. By White House Correspondent Julie Pace. SENT: 800 words, photos.

SOCHI-PUTIN’S GAMES

After a journey of joy across nine time zones and into space, the Olympic torch relay is approaching something the 2014 Winter Games’ organizers and Russia’s leaders didn’t plan for and certainly didn’t want: a city in mourning. The Russian city of Volgograd is burying its dead this week — 34 victims of twin suicide bombings that went off just 400 miles from where the Sochi Games will be held. These Olympics are being dubbed “Putin’s Games.” For Russia’s top man, that moniker could turn out to be a compliment or a curse. By Rob Harris. SENT: 1,390 words, photos.

ENTERTAINMENT

OBIT-PHIL EVERLY-REMEMBRANCE

NEW YORK — The Everly Brothers, who will blend their voices no more following Phil Everly’s death Friday, were the architects of rock ‘n’ roll harmony. Simon & Garfunkel were unimaginable without them. So, too, is any practitioner of what is rare today in pop music: multiple voices that serve each other to become one sound. By Entertainment Writer David Bauder. SENT: 850 words, photos.

— OBIT-PHIL EVERLY-DON EVERLY STATEMENT — Don Everly receives ‘special spiritual message’ before passing of brother Phil. SENT: 340 words, photo.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— OBIT-FORST — Donald Forst, veteran newsman and editor-in-chief of Newsday and the Village Voice, dies at 81. SENT: 510 words, photo.

— BARBARA BUSH HOSPITALIZED —Family spokesman: Barbara Bush discharged from a Houston hospital, was treated for pneumonia. SENT: 120 words, photo.

— PLANE HIGHWAY LANDING — No serious injuries after plane lands on NYC expressway after touring Statue of Liberty. SENT: 140 words.

— VATICAN-COLD-CALLING POPE — Pope to nuns: Why aren’t you answering the phone? Francis cold-calls nuns, gets machine. SENT: 130 words.

— OBIT-ZAENTZ — Saul Zaentz, producer of 3 Oscar winners including “The English Patient,” dies at 92. SENT: 990 words.

___

YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Hrvoje Hranjski. Questions and story requests are welcome. The news desk can be reached at (66) 2632-6911 or by email at asia@ap.org.

The Asia Photo Desk can be reached at (81-3) 6215-8941 or by fax at (81-3) 3574-8850.

Between 1600 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

AP RADIO
Update hourly