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Asian News Digest, AS
Associated Press
2013-10-11 02:01 PM

ASIA:

INDIA-CYCLONE

BHUBANESWAR, India -- State officials have reached out to the Indian military for help as they prepared for a massive cyclone expected to hit the country's eastern seaboard over the weekend. Officials have cancelled holy day celebrations in coastal Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states, with forecasters saying Cyclone Phailin will hit the region Saturday evening. SENT: 250 words.

AMERICAN DETAINED

SEATTLE -- The mother of an American man detained in North Korea for the past 11 months is being allowed to visit him. Myunghee Bae has arrived in Pyongyang and was scheduled to meet with her son, Kenneth Bae, Friday morning local time, Bae's sister Terri Chung says. By Gene Johnson. SENT: 450 words, photos.

ASIA-TYPHOON

MANILA, Philippines -- A tropical storm barreling toward the northern Philippines intensifies into a typhoon with destructive winds and flooding rains threatening farmlands and populated areas, including the capital Manila. Typhoon Nari forced U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to call off Friday's trip to the Philippines. By Hrvoje Hranjski. SENT: 350 words.

UNITED STATES-NKOREA-DIPLOMACY

WASHINGTON -- North Korea has dangled the prospect of suspending nuclear and long-range missile tests if aid-for-disarmament negotiations get back on track. But it's not ready to declare a moratorium on space launches -- the very act that derailed its last attempt to negotiate with Washington. Recent informal discussions between former U.S. officials and North Korean negotiators in Europe showed Pyongyang's desire to restart six-nation talks on its nuclear program. But it also underscored the major hurdles that remain before U.S. would be persuaded that diplomacy with the secretive regime is worth another shot. By Mat Pennington. SENT: 800 words.

MALALA

NEW YORK -- A defiant 16-year-old Pakistani girl whose advocacy for education made her the target of a Taliban assassination attempt a year ago told an audience in New York on Thursday she one day hopes to become her country's prime minister. Malala Yousafzai made her comments in an interview with CNN's chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour. She spoke a few hours after she was awarded Europe's top human rights prize and on the eve of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize, for which she is considered a likely contender. By Jake Pearson. SENT: 620 words, photos.

JAPAN-DEADLY FIRE

TOKYO -- A fire broke out at a hospital in southern Japan early Friday, killing 10 people, and injuring eight. SENT: 150 words, photo.

INDIA-MISS UNIVERSE IN TROUBLE

LUCKNOW, India -- Indian police have filed a case against Miss Universe, American Olivia Culpo, for an unauthorized fashion shoot at the Taj Mahal, India's white-marble monument to love. SENT: 260 words, photo.

AUSTRALIA-DRUGS

SYDNEY -- Australian police seized around 200 million Australian dollars ($190 million) worth of methamphetamine hidden in the tires of a truck shipped from China. SENT: 170 words.

UN-AFGHANISTAN

UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. Security Council votes unanimously to extend the mandate of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan for the last time before it hands over total responsibility for security to Afghan forces at the end of 2014. The resolution adopted by the council said the situation in Afghanistan "still constitutes a threat to international peace and security." By Edith M. Lederer. SENT: 400 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

WORLD MARKETS

BANGKOK -- Asian stock markets are boosted by a glimmer of progress in resolving the U.S. budget row that has threatened to leave the U.S. unable to pay its bills. The gains came after Republican leaders said Thursday they would vote to extend the government's borrowing authority for six weeks. SENT: 350 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-INDIA-INVESTMENT

WASHINGTON -- India defends government regulations designed to protect local businesses that have prompted U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart to hold back on opening superstores there. SENT: 450 words.

GOLDMAN SACHS LAWSUIT

NEW YORK -- A former employee sues the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, saying she was wrongfully terminated because she refused to change the results of her investigation into the banking firm Goldman Sachs. SENT: 190 words.

U.S. & INTERNATIONAL:

BUDGET BATTLE

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama and House Republicans, after weeks of ultimatums, are exploring whether they can end a budget standoff that has triggered a partial government shutdown and edged Washington to the verge of a historic, economy jarring federal default. The two sides continued discussions into the night Thursday after Obama and top administration officials met for 90 minutes with House Speaker John Boehner and other House Republican leaders at the White House. SENT: 860 words.

NOBEL-PEACE PRIZE -- With no clues from the judges in Norway, speculation about the front-runners for Friday's announcement is primarily based on the committee's previous choices and current events. Aa look at some of those getting the most attention. SENT: 550 words, photo.

-- NOBEL GLANCE 2013 -- A look at the prizes won so far in the 2013 Nobels. SENT: 410 words, photos.

OBIT-CARPENTER

DENVER -- Astronaut Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit the Earth and first person to explore both the heights of space and depths of the ocean, has died after a stroke. He was 88. With John Glenn, who flew three months before him, Carpenter was one of the last two surviving original Mercury 7 astronauts for the fledgling U.S. space program. By Kristen Wyatt and Seth Borenstein. SENT: 1,600 words, photos.

OBAMA-PRESS FREEDOM

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. government's aggressive prosecution of leaks and efforts to control information are having a chilling effect on journalists and government whistle-blowers, according to a report released Thursday on U.S. press freedoms under the Obama administration. SENT: 980 words, photos.

RUSSIA-NSA SURVEILLANCE

MOSCOW -- Four former U.S. officials who met with former National Security Agency analyst Edward Snowden say he is adjusting to life in Russia and expresses no regrets about leaking highly classified information. By Caro Kriel. SENT: 800 words, photos.

SYRIA

BEIRUT -- International inspectors have so far visited three sites linked to Syria's chemical weapons program, a spokesman says, as the team races to destroy the country's stockpile and delivery systems amid a raging civil war. Underscoring the complexity of the mission, a regime warplane bombed the rebel-held town of Safira, an activist group said. A regime-controlled military complex believed to include chemical weapons facilities is located near the town. By Diaa Hadid. SENT: 755 words, photos, video.

SOMALIA-RAIDED TOWN

MOGADISHU, Somalia -- The al-Shabab stronghold of Barawe, a coastal town in Somalia where U.S. Navy SEALs came ashore in a failed raid last weekend, is gripped by fear and tension as residents worry they'll be accused of spying and the insurgents ready for another attack. Foreign fighters and Somali members of al-Shabab have in recent years moved into the town, edged by red desert and emerald seas, as African Union peacekeeping troops and Somali government forces pushed the Islamic insurgent group from Somalia's capital and other areas. By Abdi Guled. SENT: 700 words, photos.

AZERBAIJAN-ELECTION

MOSCOW -- Something funny happened the day before Azerbaijan's presidential election: The election commission announced the winner. The commission says it was a mistake -- a test conducted by the software developer -- and apologizes. By Vladimir Isachenkov. SENT: 870 words, photos.

ENTERPRISE:

MYANMAR-SEIZED LAND

DALA, Myanmar -- Just after dawn, plainclothes Myanmar naval officers entered a wooden shack and roused a young rice farmer from his sleep. They marched him to their nearby barracks and locked him up without explanation. By the time The Khaw Lu Maw was released, the shack that had been his lifelong home was gone, his belongings scattered amid the debris. Recent political reforms have won Myanmar widespread praise, but for poor farmers who happen to be in the way of military or business plans, land rights have improved little since the military junta stepped aside in 2011. By Esther Htusan. UPCOMING: 1100 words by 0900GMT, photos.

SKOREA-FILM-DIVIDED FAMILIES

BUSAN, South Korea -- Stories about tensions between the Koreas and spies from the North abound in South Korean pop culture and blockbuster films, but few artists focus on the displaced people or refugees. Documentary feature "Dream House by the Border" shows the lives of people in a propaganda village who grow rice in a minefield and yearn to see relatives in the North again. By Youkyung Lee. UPCOMING: 750 words by 0700 GMT, photos.

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YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Chris Blake. 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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