BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

ASIA:

SKOREA-POLITICS — South Korean prosecutors grill the country's just-ousted president in a long-awaited investigation of corruption allegations that ended her rule and now threaten to put her in jail. The questioning of Park Geun-hye came 11 days after the Constitutional Court unanimously ruled to dismiss her over suspicions she colluded with a confidante to extort money from businesses and committed other wrongdoings. By Hyung-jin Kim. SENT: 460 words, photos. With AP EXPLAINS-SKOREA-POLITICS.

EAST TIMOR-ELECTION — An unofficial vote count shows a former guerrilla leader has won East Timor's presidency in the first election without U.N. supervision since peacekeepers left in 2012. By Raimundos Oki. SENT: 440 words, photos.

HONG KONG-NEW LEADER — The three candidates vying to be Hong Kong's next leader square off in a feisty debate over policy proposals for the semiautonomous Chinese city. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 910 words, photos.

TAIWAN-DEFENSE — Taiwan will build its own submarines to get around Beijing's efforts to prevent it from purchasing such craft from overseas and ensure an adequate defense against Chinese threats, President Tsai Ing-wen says. SENT: 340 words, photos.

PAKISTAN-AFGHANISTAN — A Pakistani border official says hundreds of trucks have crossed into Afghanistan from Pakistan after the border reopened for the first time in more than a month, ending the protracted closure of one South Asia's busiest trade routes. SENT: 130 words, photos.

AFGHANISTAN — A suicide car bomber targets an Afghan forces' checkpoint in southern Helmand province, killing at least six members of an intelligence service unit. SENT: 150 words.

PAKISTAN — Pakistani authorities suspend mobile phone service and block roads in parts of the country's capital during a rehearsal for a military parade due later this week in Islamabad. SENT: 130 words.

JAPAN-CHERRY BLOSSOM — Cherry blossom season officially kicks off in Tokyo, marking the beginning of spring for the Japanese. SENT: 110 words, photos.

THAILAND-PHILIPPINES — Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is in Thailand for a two-day visit rounding out his nine-country tour of Southeast Asia as chairman of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. SENT: 110 words.

THAILAND-TURTLE'S TROUBLE — A 25-year-old sea turtle who swallowed nearly a thousand coins tossed by tourists seeking good luck dies two weeks after having surgery to remove the coins from its stomach. By Kaweewit Kaewjinda. SENT: 250 words, photos.

INDIA-LIVING RIVERS — Two of India's most iconic rivers, considered sacred by nearly a billion Hindus in the country, have been given the status of living entities to save them from further harm caused by widespread pollution. By Nirmala George. SENT: 410 words, photos.

INDIA-TIGER CRUSHED — Indian conservation authorities are investigating the death of a tiger after it was crushed by an earthmover in a bungled operation by rescue workers to move the animal back to a wildlife park. SENT: 240 words.

NEW ZEALAND-CARELESS DRIVING — A 63-year-old Wisconsin heart surgeon who was on vacation in New Zealand with his wife pleads guilty to careless driving charges after police say he caused an accident while attempting a U-turn on a coastal highway, killing two people and injuring four others. By Nick Perry. SENT: 310 words.

MALAYSIA-BEAUTY AND THE BEAST — Malaysia's largest cinema chain says it will begin showing the Disney movie "Beauty and the Beast" on March 30 without cutting a gay scene as had been ordered by film censors. SENT: 330 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

FINANCIAL MARKETS — Global shares are mostly higher as crude oil prices advance, though Japan's benchmark falls as investors weigh uncertainties over trade and exchange rates. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 330 words, photos.

CHINA-TRADE — An American business group appeals to China to ease import restrictions on agricultural goods including genetically modified seeds and other biotechnology, highlighting complaints Beijing blocks market access despite its vocal support for free trade. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 350 words, photos.

CHINA-AUSTRALIA-NEW ZEALAND — China hopes Australia will continue to look beyond the countries' ideological differences and focus on bilateral business ties and other forms of cooperation, a senior Chinese official says. SENT: 210 words.

AUSTRALIA-TAX AVOIDANCE — Facebook, Google and other multinational companies are now paying tax in Australia based on their Australian profits instead of shifting income to low-tax countries since the government cracked down on such tax avoidance, the treasurer says. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 320 words.

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