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Asian News Digest, AS
Associated Press
2013-08-21 08:22 PM

TOP STORIES:

CHINA-POLITICAL SCANDAL

JINAN, China -- Outside the courthouse where fallen political juggernaut Bo Xilai is about to stand trial, a woman pumps her fist, declares him a champion of ordinary folks and shouts that punishing him will turn the world upside down. Another woman rides up on a bicycle topped with a pink umbrella and yells, "Give me justice!" But she isn't talking about Bo at all. China's most anticipated trial in years begins here Thursday when Bo, former Communist Party leader in the megacity of Chongqing, faces charges of corruption and abuse of power. But the venue presents a rare opportunity for a few dozen people, fans of the fallen politician and government critics alike, to let off steam in front of a gaggle of international reporters. Moved. By Gillian Wong. AP Photos.

WITH: CHINA-POLITICAL SCANDAL-GLANCE

JAPAN-NUCLEAR

TOKYO -- The Japanese nuclear watchdog says it is taking the leakage of highly radioactive water at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant seriously, and proposes raising the rating to describe it from "an anomaly" to a "serious incident." The operator of the plant said about 300 tons (300,000 liters, 80,000 gallons) of contaminated water has leaked from one of hundreds of steel tanks around the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi plant. Tokyo Electric Power Co. hasn't figured out how or where the water leaked, but suspects it did so through a seam on the tank. Moved. By Mari Yamaguchi. AP Photos.

MALAYSIA-BUS ACCIDENT

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- A passenger bus plunges into a deep ravine while traveling downhill near a Malaysian highland resort, killing 33 people, an official says. Sixteen people survive the accident on a winding slope in central Genting Highlands, a popular destination that houses Malaysia's sole casino. Moved.

WITH: INDONESIA-CHURCH BUS CRASH

TAIWAN-STORM

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Severe Tropical Storm Trami strikes heavily populated northern Taiwan, prompting schools and offices to close as heavy rains trigger landslides and other disruptions throughout the island. Moved. AP Photos.

CHINA-FLASH FLOOD

BEIJING -- A flash flood sweeps through a construction site in the northwestern Chinese province of Qinghai, killing at least 21 workers, state media say. Moved.

CHINA-US-NAVY DRILLS

BEIJING -- Three Chinese ships sail east to join rare naval drills with the United States as Beijing ramps up its military diplomacy amid regional territorial disputes and other tensions. Moved. By Christopher Bodeen.

KOREAS-TENSION

SEOUL, South Korea -- The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross visits North and South Korea to discuss proposed reunions of families separated by the Korean War and other humanitarian issues. Moved.

PAKISTAN-INDIA

ISLAMABAD -- The Pakistani military accuses Indian troops of shelling across the disputed Kashmir border and killing an army captain, the latest in a series of alleged attacks over the past two weeks that have sparked tension between the nuclear-armed rivals. The violence along the border threatens to derail an expressed desire from the leaders of both countries to improve relations after decades of war and animosity. Moved. By Munir Ahmed. AP Photos.

PAKISTAN-US

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- The United States places unprecedented sanctions on an Islamic school in northwest Pakistan for allegedly training and financing fighters from al-Qaida and other militant groups. The sanctions are the first to target an Islamic school, the U.S. Department of the Treasury says. Moved. By Riaz Khan.

INDONESIA-TERROR ARRESTS

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Police say Indonesia's anti-terror squad has arrested eight more suspected militants accused of involvement in a plot to attack Myanmar's embassy. Moved.

AFGHANISTAN

KABUL, Afghanistan -- A spokesman for Afghanistan's attorney general denies reports that the senior judicial official was fired by the president for meeting Taliban officials in Dubai. Moved. AP Photos.

AFGHANISTAN MASSACRE

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Washington -- An Afghan farmer shot during a massacre in Kandahar Province last year takes the witness stand against the U.S. soldier who attacked his village, cursing him before breaking down and pleading with the prosecutor not to ask him any more questions. Moved. By Gene Johnson. AP Photo.

AUSTRALIA-ELECTION

CANBERRA, Australia -- Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott is fighting perceptions that he is sexist and old-fashioned in his attitudes toward women with a taxpayer-funded parental leave policy for working mothers that even his political allies have criticized as too generous. Moved. By Rod McGuirk. AP Photos.

INDIA-ACTIVIST KILLED

NEW DELHI -- The killing of an Indian activist who crusaded against black magic and religious charlatans prompts hundreds of chanting protesters to shut down a western Indian city as they march through the streets to protest the attack. Moved. By Katy Daigle.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

CHINA-EARNS-CHINA TELECOM

HONG KONG -- State-owned China Telecom, the country's third biggest mobile phone operator by subscribers, says its profit grew in the first half of the year as revenue from iPhone sales kicked in. Moved. By Kelvin Chan. AP Photos.

MALAYSIA-ECONOMY

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia's central bank cuts its economic growth forecast for this year after a slower-than-expected expansion in the second quarter. Moved.

MALAYSIA AIRLINES

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia Airlines says it is on track to become profitable by the end of next year because its business turnaround plan has gained momentum. Moved. AP Photos.

FEATURES:

MYANMAR-BIG TOBACCO FRONTIER

YANGON, Myanmar -- As some of the world's biggest companies trumpet their arrival in Asia's hottest frontier market, the tobacco industry has a different strategy: It's slipping into Myanmar without fanfare. The impoverished nation of 60 million people emerged from a half-century of isolation and brutal military rule two years ago. With most international sanctions against the country lifted or suspended, foreign businesses from Coca-Cola and Unilever to Suzuki Motors have scrambled to get in. So too has Big Tobacco but without the ribbon cuttings or grandly worded press announcements. In a country where roads in many places are almost unnavigable and power outages constant, the nominally civilian government is hopeful that foreign investment will create new jobs and help speed development. But other priorities such as health, the environment and public welfare are sometimes swept aside. Moved. By Aye Aye Win. AP Photos.

___

YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is 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 or by fax at (81-3) 3574-8850.

Between 1700 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

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