BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

ASIA:

AUSTRALIA-TAX FRAUD — A senior Australian tax bureaucrat and his son are among 10 people charged over a sophisticated tax fraud that police say netted 165 million Australian dollars in less than a year. By Rod McGuirk. Sent 430 words.

PHILIPPINES-EU — The Philippines will no longer accept new grants from the European Union, forgoing possibly more than 250 million euros ($ 278.7 million) in funds for development projects in the country. By Teresa Cerojano. Sent 570 words.

HONG KONG-DEATH EXPO — Death is inevitable but it doesn't have to be bad for the environment. Caskets made of paper and wicker coffins on display at a Hong Kong funeral industry trade highlighted a trend toward "green burials" in an industry booming as Asia's population rapidly ages. By Kelvin Chan.

SOUTH KOREA-THAI ACTIVIST — A Thai law student arrested for sharing a critical article about his country's new king that was posted on Facebook is this year's winner of South Korea's most prestigious human rights award. By Kim Tong-Hyung. Sent 460 words, photo.

CHINA-INTELLIGENCE LAW — China's intelligence agencies would have stronger powers to monitor and investigate foreigners and conduct operations inside China and abroad under a proposed law codifying the work of Beijing's vast security apparatus. Sent 350 words.

VIETNAM-POLLUTION — Vietnam is maintaining the ban on deep-water fishing in four central provinces one year after a Taiwanese-owned steel plant discharged toxins into the sea and caused the country's worst environmental disaster. Sent 270 words, photo.

CAMBODIA-SURROGACY — The lawyer for an Australian woman charged with providing commercial surrogacy services in Cambodia says his client is innocent. Sent 130 words, photo.

NEW ZEALAND-EARTHQUAKE ENERGY — When researchers in New Zealand drilled deep into an earthquake fault, they stumbled upon a discovery they say could provide a significant new energy source for the South Pacific nation. By Nick Perry. Sent 700 words, photos.

INDIA-OBIT-REEMA LAGOO — Bollywood actress Reema Lagoo, the ever-smiling screen mother to some of India's top actors, has died at age 59. Sent 180 words, photos pursuing.

PIRATES-KANG — A South Korean court upheld a suspended prison sentence for Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang over a drunken driving conviction, a ruling that may complicate his plans to rejoin the baseball team this season. By Kim Tong-Hyung. Sent 340 words, photos.

INTERNATIONAL:

TRUMP — The Justice Department appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to lead an investigation into allegations that Donald Trump's campaign collaborated with Russia to sway the 2016 election. By Eric Tucker, Julie Pace and Nancy Benac.

TRUMP-ANALYSIS — Trump is facing a crisis he can't manage with a tweet or a taunt. The appointment of a special counsel overseeing the federal government's Russia investigation dramatically raises the legal and political stakes. By White House Correspondent Julie Pace. SENT: 760 words, photos, video.

IRAQ-AFTER MOSUL — Iraq's Sunni minority is pushing for a greater say in power once the Islamic State group is defeated, reflecting a growing sentiment that the government must be more inclusive to prevent extremism from gaining ground again. But so far, many Shiites are wary, and the Sunni leadership is divided and disorganized. By Muhanad al-Saleh and Qassim Abdul-Zahra. SENT: 1,260 words, photos.

TRUMP-DUBAI — Donald Trump Jr. traveled recently to Dubai to discuss "new ideas" with a billionaire business partner and give a commencement address at a private university. Recent filings suggest tycoon Hussain Sajwani's DAMAC wants more business deals with the Trump Organization, though it says it won't make new foreign deals while Donald Trump is president. By Jon Gambrell. SENT: 760 words, photo.

FRANCE-CANNES-OPENING — The 70th Cannes Film Festival opened under the lights of Cote D'Azur sunshine and high-wattage stars such as Will Smith and Marion Cotillard. But a brewing storm over Netflix's place at the world's most prestigious film festival clouded the event. By Jake Coyle. Sent 840 words, photos.

OBIT-CHRIS CORNELL — Rocker Chris Cornell, who gained fame as the lead singer of Soundgarden and later Audioslave, has died at age 52, his representative said. The cause was unknown. By Nekesa Mumbi Moody. Sent 130 words, developing.

FINANCIAL:

AUSTRALIA-FAIRFAX MEDIA — Australia's second-largest newspaper empire, Fairfax Media, said it has received rival takeover offers from two U.S. private equity investment firms. By Rod McGuirk. Sent 300 words.

JAPAN-ECONOMY — Japan reports that its economy grew at a faster-than-expected 2.2 percent annual pace in January-March. Sent 290 words.

FINANCIAL MARKETS — Asian stock benchmarks skidded lower following Wall Street's worst day in months as Washington's political chaos made investors more nervous about risky assets and the outlook for President Donald Trump's business agenda. By Kelvin Chan. Sent 490 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US:

The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk will be David Thurber. 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. Expanded AP content can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact apcustomersupport@ap.org or call (1) 877-836-9477.