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Asian News Digest, AS

Asian News Digest, AS



BANGKOK -- Thailand's powerful army declares martial law and deployed troops into the heart of Bangkok in a dramatic move it says is aimed at stabilizing the Southeast Asian country after six months of turbulent political unrest. The military insisted a coup d'etat was not underway. The surprise, pre-dawn operation, which places the army in charge of public security nationwide, came amid deepening uncertainty over the nation's fate and one day after the caretaker prime minister refused to step down in the face of long-running anti-government protests. By Thanyarat Doksone and Todd Pitman. SENT: 1,240 words, photos.

-- THAILAND-POLITICS-NEWS GUIDE -- A guide to understanding what martial law means for Thailand and the country's tumultuous political crisis. By Jocelyn Gecker. SENT: 1,030 words, photos.

-- THAILAND-MARTIAL LAW MEASURES -- A look at measures and bans covered by martial law. SENT: 130 words, photos.

-- THAILAND-WORLD VIEW -- Comments from other nations about martial law in Thailand. SENT: 350 words, photos.

-- THAILAND-POLITICS-SELFIES -- Sometimes you never know when the opportunity for an interesting selfie will present itself. SENT: 110 words, photos.


BEIJING -- China warns the United States is jeopardizing military ties by charging five Chinese officers with cyberspying and tries to turn the tables on Washington by calling it "the biggest attacker of China's cyberspace." China announced it was suspending cooperation with the United States in a joint cybersecurity task force over Monday's charges that officers stole trade secrets from major American companies. The Foreign Ministry demanded Washington withdraw the indictment. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 830 words, photos.


NEW DELHI -- India's president invites opposition Hindu nationalist party leader Narendra Modi to form a new government and sets next Monday as his swearing-in date. Modi met with President Pranab Mukherjee after he was formally chosen by his party as the next prime minister, just days after a resounding victory in national elections. By Ashok Sharma. SENT: 410 words, photos.


SEOUL, South Korea -- When a South Korean ferry sank with hundreds trapped inside last month, the whole world knew about it. But in North Korea, there was utter silence about the collapse of a 23-story apartment building for five days, until state media issued a rare apology. With no Internet for most citizens, a local press that operates as the government's propaganda wing and a security apparatus that severely curbs foreigners and citizens alike, if North Koreans get news about something, it is almost always because young leader Kim Jong Un wants them to get it. By Foster Klug. SENT: 900 words, photos.


TOKYO -- Asia's robust economy and strong demand for drugs drove global production and trafficking of methamphetamine to record levels last year, with Japan one of the most lucrative markets, the United Nations says. Asia is the world's largest market for stimulants and seizures of methamphetamine pills and crystal meth have tripled to at least 36 tons over the last five years, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime says in a report released in Tokyo. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 410 words, photos.


SHANGHAI -- President Vladimir Putin meets with China's president in a diplomatic boost for the isolated Russian leader but the two sides have yet to agree on a widely anticipated multibillion-dollar natural gas sale. Putin, shunned by the West over Ukraine, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping at a start of a two-day meeting on Asian security with leaders from Iran and Central Asia. The Russian leader is hoping to extend his country's dealings with Asia and diversify markets for its gas, which now goes mostly to Europe. By Louise Watt. SENT: 810 words, photos.


BEIJING -- A Chinese man with a kitchen knife attacks first- and second-graders at a school in central China, injuring eight children, local authorities say. SENT: 160 words.


DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan -- A Chinese tourist traveling through northwestern Pakistan is abducted by gunmen, Pakistani police say. A militant commander says his Taliban-allied group was behind the kidnapping. SENT: 320 words.


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia says it will publicly release satellite data used to narrow down the search for the missing jetliner to the southern Indian Ocean. SENT: 350 words.


WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand Prime Minister John Key will meet President Barack Obama in Washington next month to discuss trade and military issues. SENT: 135 words.


TOKYO -- Paul McCartney is canceling his entire Japan tour because of illness. The former Beatle got a virus last week and canceled several appearances, apologizing online to fans. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 210 words, photos.



BEIJING -- China's government says it will avoid buying computer equipment that runs on Windows 8 in a setback for Microsoft's efforts to promote the operating system. Tuesday's announcement said desktop, laptop and tablet personal computers bought for government use must use a different operating system. The brief statement gave no explanation. SENT: 110 words.



MOSCOW -- Pro-Russian insurgents fighting Ukrainian government forces face a new challenge from the country's richest man, while Russia's Defense Ministry says its units have started dismantling their camps in the border regions in line with President Vladimir Putin's order. Metals tycoon Rinat Akhmetov toughens his stance against the rebellion, saying it has devastated the eastern regions that form the nation's industrial heartland, and called for his thousands of employees to blow sirens "in support of peace and against bloodshed." By Vladimir Isachenkov. SENT: 830 words, photos.


PORTLAND, Oregon -- Dozens of gay and lesbian couples are now legally married in Oregon after a judge invalidated the state's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage. Jubilant couples began applying for marriage licenses immediately after U.S. District Judge Michael McShane issued his ruling Monday, and many were married hours later. By Jonathan J. Cooper and Brady McCombs. SENT: 750 words, photos.


TOPCIC POLJE, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- It took only a few minutes for a roaring landslide to leave Ramiz Skopljak homeless for the second time in his life. The first time he had been 47, and though his house was a ruin, the Bosnian war at least left him his land in Topcic Polje, central Bosnia, on which to start anew. Now he is 65 and even if he could find the folder with the title deed buried somewhere in the mud covering his village it wouldn't help. The land itself has disappeared, along with a chunk of the hill it stood on. More than 2,000 landslides have been recorded in the past few days in Bosnia, which along with neighboring Serbia is struggling with the worst flooding in southeastern Europe in more than a century. By Aida Cerkez. SENT: 670 words, photos.


ODESSA, Ukraine -- The fleet is in the harbor, though it can be hard to spot. It's tucked behind storage tanks, and overshadowed by immense cargo. There are a couple dozen boats, all painted battleship grey and many in desperate need of repair. The government is begging the public to help pay their bills. This is Ukraine's Navy. Or at least what remains of its fleet since Russia seized control of the Crimean peninsula two months ago, and with it the country's key navy base and most of its ships. By Tim Sullivan. SENT: 960 words, photos.


For 12-year-old Ahmed Mahmoud, school is a distant memory. Already, the Syrian refugee boy insists he is no longer a child. Mahmoud is one of a half-million Syrian refugee children who have flooded neighboring nations Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and others in the region. Here is a selection of photos of Mahmoud and other refugee children by Associated Press photographer Khalil Hamra. SENT: 360 words, photos.


ATHENS, Greece -- There were no intimidating guards at the door, or chants of "Blood, Honor, Golden Dawn." In fact, the guests looked more like members of a large wedding party than supporters of Europe's most prominent extreme right political group. As anti-establishment parties across the EU seek gains in this month's European Parliament elections, even groups considered the most radical and xenophobic have been attempting to soften their image. By Derek Gatopoulos. SENT: 800 words, photos.


NEW YORK -- So, a lady walks into a bar. ... Wait, scratch that. A lady takes out her phone. With a left swipe of her finger she dismisses Alex, 26 and Robert, 48. She swipes right when a photo of James, 24, pops up. It's a match. James had swiped right too. They chat. Welcome to the new world of dating. As the rise of smartphones has made people more comfortable with disclosing their locations, a new class of mobile dating applications has emerged. The apps span a range as broad as human desire itself. By Barbara Ortutay. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.


WASHINGTON -- Credit Suisse AG's guilty plea and $2.6 billion payment in a high-profile case are being held out as a warning to foreign banks believed to be helping U.S. taxpayers conceal assets. After a yearslong investigation, Switzerland's second-largest bank pleaded guilty to helping wealthy Americans avoid paying taxes through secret offshore accounts. The Justice Department said it was the largest penalty imposed in any criminal tax case. By Marcy Gordon and Eric Tucker. SENT: 800 words, photos.


-- PISTORIUS-TRIAL -- Oscar Pistorius to start psychiatric evaluation next week, trial postponed to June 30. SENT: 560 words, photos.

-- CIA VACCINATIONS: CIA: Vaccination programs won't be used as cover. SENT: 570 words.


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

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.