Asian News Digest, AS

Asian News Digest, AS



HONG KONG -- When Beijing cracked down on student protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989, Bobby Yim was among many in Hong Kong who sympathized with the demonstrators and angrily denounced the Chinese government. But 25 years later, his views on China have changed -- and he couldn't muster any support for the students now clamoring for democratic reforms in his own city. Yim's views are echoed by many of the older generation in this city of 7 million, which has been deeply divided over Hong Kong's student-led pro-democracy protests pushing for a greater say in choosing the city's leader. By Sylvia Hui. SENT: 980 words, photos.

-- CHINA-HONG KONG-DETENTIONS -- BEIJING -- Chinese police detained a well-known poet and seven other people ahead of a poetry reading planned in Beijing to support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, relatives of the detained say. By Jack Chang and Isolda Morillo. SENT: 470 words.


SRINAGAR, India -- Troops trade heavy fire between Pakistan and Indian-controlled Kashmir, killing at least four civilians and worsening tensions between the long-time rivals, officials on both sides say. The fire exchanges -- which Indian officials called the worst violation of a 2003 cease-fire -- also wounded 18 civilians on the Indian side and three others on the Pakistani side. By Aijaz Hussain and Munir Ahmed. SENT: 770 words, photos.


SEOUL, South Korea -- The captain of a doomed South Korean ferry apologizes for abandoning passengers but says he didn't know his actions would lead to the deaths of more than 300 people. Capt. Lee Joon-seok and three other crew members from the ferry Sewol were indicted on homicide charges alleging they were negligent and failed to protect passengers when the ferry sank in April. Eleven other crew members were indicted on less serious charges. The 15 crew on trial were among the first group of people to leave when the ship began badly listing. SENT: 320 words.


SEOUL, South Korea -- Fighting plans to build a nuclear power plant, a South Korean fishing village is holding a referendum Thursday, even though the government has warned the vote is illegal. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 660 words, photos.


TOKYO -- Japan and the United States are revising their mutual defense guidelines for the first time in nearly two decades to respond to China's military expansion and increase Japan's role in regional defense. An interim report says the U.S. and Japan are pursuing a wider partnership that requires "enhanced capabilities and greater shared responsibilities." By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 430 words.


YANGON, Myanmar -- Authorities sealed off villages for months in Myanmar's only Muslim-majority region and in some cases beat and arrested people who refused to register with immigration officials, residents and activists say, in what may be the most aggressive effort yet to compel Rohingya to identify themselves as migrants from neighboring Bangladesh. Immigration officials, border guards and members of the illegal-alien task force in the northern tip of Rakhine state -- home to 90 percent of the country's 1.3 million Rohingya -- said they were simply updating family lists, as they have in the past. But this year, in addition to questions about marriages, deaths and births, people were classified by ethnicity. By Robin McDowell. SENT: 1,020 words, photos.


KABUL, Afghanistan -- An Afghan official says a suicide car bomber has killed at least five people in an attack that targeted a former district police chief in southern Helmand province. Omar Zwak, spokesman for Helmand's provincial governor, says the bomber detonated his explosives-laden vehicle near the house of the former police chief in Lashkar Gah, the provincial capital. SENT: 120 words.


KABUL, Afghanistan -- Kabul's police chief says Afghan authorities have executed five men convicted of armed robbery and gang rape in a case that galvanized the nation this summer. SENT: 130 words.


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- A maritime watchdog agency says a Vietnamese tanker carrying gas oil has lost contact and may have been hijacked by pirates after leaving Singapore almost a week ago. SENT: 350 words.


CANBERRA, Australia -- Australia will soon introduce a system to ban foreign "hate preachers" from entering the country and will attempt to outlaw the radical Islamic group Hizb-ut-Tahrir under proposed tougher counterterrorism laws, the prime minister says. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 480 words.


UNITED NATIONS -- North Korea publicly acknowledges the existence of its labor camps for the first time, an admission that appears to come in response to a highly critical U.N. human rights report earlier this year. Diplomats for the reclusive, impoverished country also tell reporters that a top North Korea official has visited the headquarters of the European Union and expressed interest in dialogue, with discussions on human rights expected next year. By Cara Anna. SENT: 690 words, photo.


BANGKOK -- Human rights group Amnesty International urges Thailand to investigate allegations that police tortured a pair of suspects who reportedly confessed to killing two British tourists on a southern island last month. The tourists were found dead on the rocky shores of Koh Tao on Sept. 15, and police last week arrested two migrant workers from neighboring Myanmar who they said had admitted responsibility for the killings. Police deny the suspects were tortured, and say they have DNA evidence that backs up the confessions. By Todd Pitman. SENT: 480 words.


SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korean police are searching for seven athletes and a reporter who went missing after the Asian Games closed on Saturday in the port city of Incheon. The whereabouts of three athletes from Nepal, two from Sri Lanka, and one each from Bangladesh and the Palestinian territories are unknown, police inspector Baek Seung-cheol said. A TV reporter from Pakistan was also missing, he added. SENT: 130 words.


PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island -- Nearly 250 years ago, Capt. James Cook ran aground on Australia's Great Barrier Reef during a voyage to the South Pacific to observe the planet Venus. His ship was the Endeavour, an ugly and awkward little vessel that improbably helped him become the first European to chart Australia's east coast. Today, schoolchildren in Australia learn about the Endeavour's historic 1768-71 voyage. But few people give a second thought to what ultimately happened to the ship. A marine archaeologist in Rhode Island thinks she knows. By Jennifer McDermott and Kristen Gelineau. SENT: 560 words, photos.



HANOI, Vietnam -- A ministry official is proposing that the temperature in restaurants selling beer in Vietnam should not exceed 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), a rule that will be hard to enforce considering outdoor beer parlors are hugely popular in the country's big cities. The Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted an official at the Ministry of Industry and Trade which was drafting the regulation as saying the rule aims to "protect consumers." SENT: 230 words, photos.



MURSITPINAR, Turkey -- Several Syrian human rights groups call on the world to save the embattled Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani from falling into the hands of the Islamic State group as new U.S.-led airstrikes target the extremists near the town. The dramatic appeal comes after Islamic State fighters pushed into parts of the town. By Lefteris Pitarakis and Bassem Mroue. SENT: 380 words, photos.

-- IRAQ -- Militants with Islamic State group shoot down an Iraqi military attack helicopter, killing the two pilots on board in the second such incident in a week. SENT: 250 words, photos.

-- EUROPE-KURDISH PROTESTS -- Police in the German city of Hamburg say 14 people were injured overnight in clashes between Kurdish protesters and members of a hard-line Islamic movement. SENT: 130 words.


FREETOWN, Sierra Leone -- Burial teams in Sierra Leone abandon the dead bodies of Ebola victims in the capital after going on strike this week, though an official claims the situation had been "resolved." SENT: 460 words, photos.


WASHINGTON -- With a late-November deadline approaching, America's top diplomat is plunging back into Iranian nuclear talks with an eye on his adversary and another on developments at home as pressure rises in Washington for a deal ensuring the Islamic republic cannot become a nuclear state. The prospect of a Republican takeover of the Senate means Secretary of State John Kerry will be on a tight leash. By Bradley Klapper and Matthew Lee. SENT: 850 words, photo.

-- IRAN-NUCLEAR -- The Iranian president acknowledges that Tehran and world powers agree on the principles of a final deal on Iran's nuclear program but that differences remain on "details." SENT: 440 words, photo.

-- IRAN-NUCLEAR-DISSIDENTS -- Iranian dissidents say that Tehran is still researching nuclear arms at facilities it relocated to escape detention. SENT: 140 words.


STOCKHOLM -- Americans Eric Betzig and William Moerner and German scientist Stefan Hell win the Nobel Prize in chemistry for developing new methods that let microscopes see finer details than they could before. The three scientists are cited for "the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy," which the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences says bypassed the maximum resolution of traditional optical microscopes. SENT: 700 words, photos.

-- NOBEL-CHEMISTRY-GLANCE -- A look at winners of 2014 Nobel Prize in chemistry: Betzig, Moerner, Hell. SENT: 150 words, photos.

-- NOBEL PRIZES-GLANCE -- The 2014 Nobel Prizes at a glance. SENT: 250 words.


THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Lawyers for Kenya's president ask judges at the International Criminal Court to drop the crimes-against-humanity case against him -- and acquit him -- saying the prosecution has collapsed and cannot be resurrected. Prosecutors acknowledge that they do not currently have enough evidence to prosecute Uhuru Kenyatta for his alleged role in instigating and funding violence that left more than 1,000 people dead and forced 600,000 people from their homes in the aftermath of Kenya's 2007 presidential elections. By Mike Corder. SENT: 620 words, photos.


JERUSALEM -- These are treasures that Israel doesn't allow a soul to check out of its national library. Kafka's Hebrew vocabulary notebook. The first written evidence of the Yiddish language. And the bibles of Damascus, smuggled out of Syria twenty years ago in a Mossad spy operation so classified that their very existence in Israel was kept secret for years. This week, Israel's National Library gave The Associated Press a rare peek at a selection of rare historical manuscripts in its collection. By Daniel Estrin. SENT: 1,170 words, photos.


WASHINGTON -- Timothy Geithner, a key player in the U.S. government's 2008 bailout of American International Group Inc., is due back in court in a trial of a lawsuit filed by the insurance giant's former CEO over the handling of the rescue. On Tuesday, Geithner affirmed his belief that the bailout was needed to avert disaster for the financial system. By Marcy Gordon. SENT: 600 words, photo.


PAWTUCKET, R.I.-- The U.S. military is testing out a new way of making clothes-- welding the pieces together. The hope is that it will save money and make the clothes lighter. A Rhode Island-based company, Propel, is using a federal grant to make a stitchless Navy parka. It's a process that seen limited success in manufacturing overseas -- Patagonia sells a parka that uses the technique. The company's president says the work here could help revive U.S. textile factories and bring back some of the garment manufacturing business from overseas. By Jennifer McDermott. SENT: 640 words, photos, video.


-- UKRAINE -- At least 331 deaths are reported in eastern Ukraine since last month's cease-fire deal between Russian-backed separatists and government troops, the United Nations says. SENT: 370 words, photos.

-- ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS -- Israeli police say Palestinian demonstrators have clashed with police forces on Jerusalem's Temple Mount and that three policemen were lightly injured. SENT: 250 words.

-- PALESTINIANS-GAZA EXPLOSION -- An explosion rocks the French Cultural Center in Gaza City, causing some damage but no casualties. SENT: 140 words.

-- CANADA-IRAQ -- Canada's Parliament votes to authorize airstrikes against the Islamic State militant group in Iraq. SENT: 400 words.

-- BRITAIN-WITCHCRAFT -- London police report a rising number of child abuse cases linked to witchcraft and ritual beliefs. SENT: 130 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.

Updated : 2021-02-28 12:05 GMT+08:00