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Asian News Digest, AS

Asian News Digest, AS

ASIA:

NKOREA-DETAINED CANADIAN -- North Korea's Supreme Court sentenced a Canadian pastor to life in prison with hard labor for what it called crimes against the state. Hyeon Soo Lim, who pastors the Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Toronto, was given the sentence after a brief trial. SENT: 330 words.

CHINA-US-TAIWAN -- China has strongly criticized an expected U.S. arms sale to Taiwan, saying it should be canceled to avoid harming relations between Taipei and Beijing. SENT: 130 words; 250 word version upcoming, photos.

NKOREA-CHINA-KIM'S DERAILED DIVAS -- A planned Beijing performance by North Korea's most popular all-female pop group was touted by Pyongyang as the perfect chance to warm up relations with its biggest and most important ally, but the miniskirt-and-sequin diplomacy did not go as planned. By Eric Talmadge. UPCOMING: 800 words by 1000GMT, photos.

JAPAN-SURNAME DEBATE -- Japan's Supreme Court rules on whether married couples can each keep their surnames. The age-old practice requiring them to choose one, usually the man's, has been criticized as unfair and outdated. Ruling expected at 0600 GMT. By Yuri Kageyama.

CHINA-INTERNET -- Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for international cooperation in regulating Internet use, stepping up efforts to promote controls that have prompted criticism by human rights and free speech activists. SENT: 120 words, will be updated.

TAIWAN-LIGHTSABER MASTER -- This is not your father's lightsaber, Luke. This is not the weapon of a Jedi knight, but the handcrafted replica of a Taiwanese man who disliked the official "Star Wars" products, started making his own blades and now sells them for up to $400 each. SENT: 500 words, photos.

TRAVEL-TRIP-MARSHALL ISLANDS-DIVING -- Tuna, turtles and shipwrecks among the highlights of diving in the remote Marshall Islands. SENT, photos.

US & INTERNATIONAL

RUSSIA-US -- In a major policy change, Secretary of State John Kerry accepts Russia's longstanding demand that Syrian President Bashar Assad's future be determined by his own people. By Matthew Lee and Bradley Klapper. SENT: 620 words, photos, video.

PRESIDENTIAL RACE-REPUBLICAN DEBATE -- In a presidential race reshaped by national security concerns, Republican front-runner Donald Trump defends his provocative call for banning Muslims from the United States on Tuesday as the candidates debated their plans for fighting Islamic State militants and keeping Americans secure. SENT: 1,030 words, photos.

SAUDI-TERRORISM -- Projecting its ambition for regional leadership, Saudi Arabia says it has lined up most of the Arab world, NATO member Turkey and several African and Asian countries behind a vaguely defined "Islamic military alliance" against terrorists. But Shiite nations are noticeably absent and there appears to be no concrete plan for an assault on Islamic State strongholds in Syria and Iraq. By Aya Batrawy and Adam Schreck. SENT: 1,300 words, photos, audio.

LOS ANGELES SCHOOLS THREAT -- The nation's two biggest school systems -- New York City and Los Angeles -- receive threats of a large-scale attack, and L.A. reacts by shutting down the entire district. New York dismisses the warning as an amateurish hoax and holds class as usual. By Christopher Weber and Tami Abdollah. SENT: 870 words, video, photos.

IRAN-NUCLEAR -- UN agency closes the books on probe of allegations that Iran worked on nuclear arms. By George Jahn. SENT: 750 words, photos. With UNITED NATIONS-IRAN-MISSILE LAUNCH (sent).

COLOMBIA-PEACE TALKS -- Colombia's government and the country's largest rebel group take another major step toward signing a peace deal, agreeing on a framework to address the needs of millions of victims left by a half century of fighting. SENT: 390 words, photos.

BRAZIL-CORRUPTION -- Brazil's federal police carry out sweeping raids in the homes and offices of top political figures ensnared in a massive corruption investigation. SENT: 820 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-AFGHANISTAN -- Violence in Afghanistan is on the rise, according to a Pentagon report that says the Taliban was emboldened by the reduced U.S. military role and can be expected to build momentum from their 2015 attack strategy. SENT: 790 words, photo.

BERGDAHL -- AP Interview: The attorney for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl lashes out at Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and congressional committees for peddling misinformation that he says is impeding his client's right to a fair trial. SENT: 850 words, photos.

FED-LESSONS FROM HISTORY -- The Federal Reserve is poised to raise interest rates for the first time in 9? years. It may take far less time to know whether its decision was correct. History is filled with cases when central banks raised rates prematurely, sometimes with severe consequences. By Pan Pylas. SENT: 860 words, photos.

CALIFORNIA SHOOTINGS-WORKPLACE SECURITY -- The shootings in San Bernardino are a reminder of how vulnerable workplaces can be if targeted by someone with a gun. As a result, companies are reevaluating their security and emergency plans, and some city officials are posting videos online to help them prepare. By Elliot Spagat and Joyce M. Rosenberg. SENT: 790 words, photo.

FILM-STAR WARS-REACTION -- Premiere audiences spilled into the street and onto the Internet with abundant enthusiasm for "The Force Awakens." By Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen. SENT: 410 words, photos.

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HOW TO REACH US: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Scott McDonald. 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. Between 1600 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

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Updated : 2021-09-22 16:12 GMT+08:00