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Asian News Digest, AS

Asian News Digest, AS



HONG KONG -- Crowds of protesters who filled Hong Kong's streets with demands for a greater say in choosing the territory's leader thin dramatically after student leaders and the government agree to hold talks in the increasingly frustrated city. Just a couple days after tens of thousands of demonstrators thronged the city's streets, only a few hundred protesters were scattered across the city's three main protest areas. By Tim Sullivan and Kelvin Chan. SENT: 920 words, photos, video.


SEOUL, South Korea -- Warships from the rival Koreas exchange warning shots after a North Korean ship briefly violated the disputed western sea boundary, a South Korean defense official says. The shots were fired into the sea and there were no reports of injuries and damage to the ships of either side. By Kim Tong-Hyung. SENT: 280 words.


SEOUL, South Korea -- The voice on the North Korean end of the line seemed too old to be Lee Seo Yeon's sister, but when they started talking about childhood memories, she knew. Their first talk in 16 years was an emotional moment, interrupted by a financial transaction: With help from go-betweens, Lee, a defector now in South Korea, transferred 2 million won ($1,880) to her sister, with the intermediaries getting a cut. Smuggled phones, combined with a resourceful underground network of brokers inside and outside North Korea, are allowing defectors not only to connect with long-lost relatives, but to send them desperately needed cash. By Hyung-jin Kim. SENT: 1,150 words, photos.


SRINAGAR, India -- Indian and Pakistani troops fire bullets and mortar shells across the border between Kashmir and Pakistan for a second day, with both accusing the other of provoking the violence. Police in both countries said troops exchanged fire for hours overnight, killing a Pakistani man and injuring at least 22 others. Earlier violence on Monday killed nine civilians. By Aijaz Hussain and Zarar Khan. SENT: 710 words, photos.


STOCKHOLM -- Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and U.S. scientist Shuji Nakamura win the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes, a breakthrough that spurred the development of LED technology used to light up computer screens and modern smartphones. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences says their invention is just 20 years old, "but it has already contributed to create white light in an entirely new manner to the benefit of us all." By Karl Ritter and Malin Rising. SENT: 680 words, photos.

-- NOBEL-PHYSICS-GLANCE. SENT: 150 words, photos.


BEIJING -- The dengue virus has killed six people and infected more than 23,000 in southern China's worst outbreak of the mosquito-transmitted disease in about two decades, officials say. Authorities in worst-affected Guangdong province attribute the severity of this year's outbreak to exceptionally hot and wet weather, plus increasing travel by residents to regions where dengue is endemic, especially Southeast Asia. SENT: 170 words.


ISLAMABAD -- Pakistani intelligence officials say a suspected U.S. drone strike on a Taliban compound in a tribal region bordering Afghanistan has killed at least six militants. Two intelligence officials say missiles hit the compound of a suspected Taliban commander in the village of Kund Ghar in the North Waziritan tribal region. It was the second drone strike in 24 hours. By Zarrar Khan. SENT: 300 words.


CANBERRA, Australia -- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott says he hopes that legal hurdles can be cleared quickly so that Australian special forces troops can begin their assistance role in Iraq. Australian F/A-18F Super Hornet jet fighters have flown their first missions over Iraq since Cabinet ministers approved their combat deployment on Friday last week. The jets have yet to find an Islamic State group target to fire at. By Rod McGuirk. SENT 270 words.


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Human rights groups urge Malaysia not to deport 155 ethnic Uighur migrants, including 76 children, back to China, fearing they could face persecution. A senior Malaysian immigration official says authorities found 90 members of the Muslim minority group hiding in a three-bedroom apartment and 65 other Uighurs in another unit in an Oct. 1 raid on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur that followed a tip-off. By Eileen Ng. SENT: 310 words.


YANGON, Myanmar --The Myanmar government pardons 3,073 prisoners as part of an amnesty, a month before a summit of regional leaders convenes in the country. SENT: 470 words.


YANGON, Myanmar -- A foundation in Myanmar says three people who were on board a Thai rescue helicopter that disappeared 10 days ago walked to safety. SENT: 120 words.



SEOUL, South Korea -- The world's biggest smartphone maker is suffering a stunning financial decline in the face of intense competition from Apple Inc. and upstart Chinese brands. In a preview to earnings due out this month, Samsung Electronics Co. says its quarterly profit is estimated to have fallen to its lowest level in more than three years, dragged down by weak sales of its new Galaxy model. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 600 words, photos.


TOKYO -- A smartphone-controlled dinosaur, synchronized cheerleaders and a ping pong-playing spider are some of the robot technology showcased at the CEATEC Japan electronics exhibition. Exhibitors used such attention-grabbing gadgets to showcase their technology and stand out at the event. Sadly for gadget lovers, the robots aren't for sale. By Haruka Nuga. SENT: 360 words, photos.



MURSITPINAR, Turkey -- Warplanes believed to have been sent by the U.S.-led coalition strike positions held by Islamic State militants near a Syrian border town that beleaguered Kurdish forces have been struggling to defend. The airstrikes began late Monday and came as Kurdish forces pushed Islamic State militants out of the eastern part of Kobani, where the jihadists had raised their black flag over buildings hours earlier, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. On Tuesday morning journalists on the Turkish side of the border heard the sound of warplanes before two large plumes of smoke billowed just west of Kobani. By Lefteris Pitarakis and Bassem Mroue. SENT: 460 words, photos, video.


MADRID -- In a case underscoring the perils of caring for Ebola patients, a nurse in Spain who cared for an Ebola patient comes down with the disease -- the first known transmission outside West Africa during the current epidemic. Her husband and a second nurse who treated the patient are now in quarantine, Spanish officials say. A man who arrived on a flight from Nigeria is also quarantined, they say. By Ciaran Giles and Mike Stobbe. SENT: 820 words, photos, videos.


NEW YORK -- Public hospitals in New York City are concerned enough about Ebola that they've secretly been sending actors with mock symptoms into emergency rooms to test how good the triage staff is at identifying and isolating possible cases. A small hospital in the Ohio countryside has hung up signs, imploring patients to let nurses know immediately if they have traveled recently to West Africa. And across the U.S., one of the nation's largest ambulance companies has put together step-by-step instructions on how to wrap the interior of a rig with plastic sheeting while transporting a patient. Ebola has yet to infect a single person on U.S. soil -- the one confirmed case here involves a man who contracted the virus overseas. But health care providers are worried enough that they are taking a wide variety of precautions. By David B. Caruso. SENT: 1,270 words, photos.


WASHINGTON -- It took just a few words for the Supreme Court to deal with the question of whether gay marriage is legal. For Republicans thinking about running for the White House in 2016, it won't be that easy. The court's decision to reject appeals from five states that sought to prohibit same-sex marriage reignited a debate inside the GOP between pragmatic Republican officials eager to avoid a fight over a divisive social issue and religious conservatives, a vocal minority that vowed to redouble its efforts and punish those unwilling to join them. By Steve Peoples and Ken Thomas. SENT: 820 words, photo.


WASHINGTON -- Vice President Joe Biden's supporters often brush off his slips of the tongue as a byproduct of the speak-your-mind politics that many Americans crave. But this time, Biden's verbal blunders are causing more than just a few rough headlines and a momentary nuisance for the White House. By Josh Lederman. SENT: 800 words.


KETTAMA, Morocco -- In the rugged Rif mountains, Abdelkhalek Benabdallah strode among towering marijuana plants, checking the buds for the telltale spots of white that indicate they are ready for harvest. Benabdallah says he openly grows the crop, while understanding the risk: "We are regularly subject to blackmail by the gendarmes," he said. Morocco's marijuana farmers live in a strange limbo in which the brilliant green fields are left alone, while the growers themselves face constant police harassment. A new draft law may bring some reprieve: It aims to legalize marijuana growing for medical and industrial uses, a radical idea for a Muslim nation that could alleviate poverty and social unrest. But it faces stiff opposition in this conservative country, as well as the suspicions of farmers themselves. By Paul Schemm and Smail Bellaoualli. SENT: 1,500 words, photos. An abridged 700-word version also moved.


WASHINGTON -- Just because you can talk to your car doesn't mean you should. Two new studies have found that voice-activated smartphones and dashboard infotainment systems may be making the distracted-driving problem worse instead of better. By Joan Lowy. SENT: 270 words, photos.


SAN FRANCISCO -- Smartphones, tablets and other gadgets aren't just changing the way we live and work. They are shaking up Silicon Valley's balance of power and splitting up businesses. Long-established companies such as Hewlett-Packard Co. and eBay Inc. are scrambling to regain their footing to better compete with mobile-focused players like Apple and Google as well as rising technology stars that have built businesses around "cloud computing." By Michael Liedtke. SENT: 850 words, photo.


NEW YORK -- Actress Marian Seldes, the Tony Award-winning star of "A Delicate Balance" who was a teacher of Kevin Kline and Robin Williams, a muse to playwright Edward Albee and a Guinness Book of World Records holder for most consecutive performances, dies at age 86. She dies peacefully at her home after an extended illness, her brother Timothy Seldes says. By Mark Kennedy. SENT: 640 words, photos.


-- OBAMA -- President's midterm effort getting off to late start. SENT: 620 words. SENT: 650 words, photos.

-- IRAN -- President Hassan Rouhani calls for more academic freedom in Iran's universities, saying restrictions stifle innovation and breed sycophancy. SENT: 290 words.

-- EUROPE-AMAZON-TAX PROBE -- The European Union's competition authority is opening a formal investigation of Amazon's European corporate income tax practices. SENT: 130 words.

-- COFFEE GENES -- How much coffee do you drink every day? A huge study has identified genes that may influence that. SENT: 320 words, photo.


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.

Updated : 2021-05-10 01:46 GMT+08:00