Asian News Digest, AS

ASIA:

MYANMAR-NEW ERA DAWNING -- Led by a triumphant Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar is preparing to take a historic leap into uncharted territory, having only known democracy for 14 of its 1,000 years of recorded history. Suu Kyi, who scored a stunning victory in last year's elections, follows a procession of absolute monarchs, British colonial rulers and home-bred generals who are still standing tall in the wings. By Denis Gray. SENT: 1,200 words, photos.

AFGHANISTAN -- U.S. airstrikes on a remote region of Afghanistan have destroyed a radio station operated by the Islamic State group. SENT.

AUSTRALIA-POLITICS -- Australia's prime minister tells government colleagues that an early general election within weeks was "a live option." Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull alone decides the timing of the next election. By Rod McGuirk. SENT, photos.

TAIWAN-GLASS SHOE -- A Taiwanese county has built an enormous glass shoe as a tribute to local women who suffered from a debilitating foot disease. SENT: 220 words, photos.

CHINA-SUSPECT MEAT -- A U.S. meat supplier is disputing a Chinese court's verdict that its local subsidiary sold expired chicken and beef to McDonald's and KFC restaurants in China. SENT.

US & INTERNATIONAL

PRESIDENTIAL RACE -- Ted Cruz, a fiery, conservative Texas senator loathed by his own party's leaders, swept to victory in Iowa's Republican caucuses Monday, overcoming billionaire Donald Trump and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were deadlocked in a tight race. SENT: 850 words, photos.

ZIKA VIRUS -- The World Health Organization declares a global emergency over the explosive spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus, which has been linked to birth defects in the Americas, calling it is an "extraordinary event" that poses a public health threat to other parts of the world. By Jamey Keaten and Maria Cheng. SENT: 790 words, video, photos.

SYRIA -- Syrian peace talks gain a small measure of momentum with the U.N. special envoy formally declaring the start of indirect negotiations, even as the opposition spokesman accuses Russia of producing a "new Hitler" in Moscow and supporting another Hitler in Damascus. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.

ISRAEL-JEWISH DIVIDE -- JERUSALEM -- The Israeli government's decision to allow non-Orthodox Jewish prayer at the Western Wall is a major breakthrough for the country's long-marginalized liberal streams and their powerful supporters in the U.S. SENT: 1,100 words, video, photos.

MIGRANTS-HARDENING ATTITUDES --Five months ago, a 3-year-old Syrian boy's corpse on a Turkish beach galvanized public action. Now, strikingly similar images are generating little more than a collective shrug. UPCOMING: 880 words, photos. With EUROPE-MIGRANTS -- 10,000 young migrants unaccounted for, EU police agency says. SENT: 810 words, photos.

ALPHABET-BETTING ON GOOGLE -- Alphabet, Google's new parent company, tops Apple as the world's most valuable business in after-hours trading after reporting surging earnings. By Technology Writer Michael Liedtke. SENT: 570 words, photos.

BLACKWATER TRIAL -- Former Blackwater security contractors found guilty for their roles in a deadly Baghdad shooting appeal their convictions. SENT: 300 words, photo.

GENE EDITING -- In what some ethicists warn is a step down the path toward "designer babies," Britain gives approval to scientists to conduct experiments in which they will try to edit the genes in human embryos. By Medical Writer Maria Cheng. SENT: 770 words, photo, audio.

BABY BACTERIA -- Researchers are giving babies born by C-section a dose of presumably protective bacteria from mom's birth canal that such babies normally miss and might be important for later health. By Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard. SENT: 735 words, photos.

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