Asian News Digest, AS

Asian News Digest, AS


INDONESIA-PHILIPPINES-HIJACKING -- Indonesia's foreign ministry says 10 Indonesian nationals are being held hostage after their ship was hijacked in Philippine waters. By Niniek Karmini and Jim Gomez. SENT: 450 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-ASIAN LEADERS -- President Barack Obama will be meeting with Asian leaders in Washington this week as fears grow that long-smoldering tensions on the Korean Peninsula and in the South China Sea risk flaring into conflict. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 830 words, photos.

MISSILE DEFENSE -- As North Korea threatens to bomb the U.S. with a nuclear weapon at "any moment," a nerve-jangling question hangs in the air: If Pyongyang is ever able to make good on the threat, could US missile defenses shoot the weapon down? By National Security Writer Robert Burns. SENT: 900 words, photo.

CHINA-BARBIE HACK -- The email seemed unremarkable: a routine request by Mattel Inc.'s chief executive for a new vendor payment to China. It was well-timed, arriving on Thursday, April 30, during a tumultuous period for the Los-Angeles based maker of Barbie dolls. Barbie was bombing, particularly overseas, and CEO Christopher Sinclair had officially taken over only that month. Mattel had fired his predecessor. By Erika Kinetz. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.

ASIA-JOURNALISTS UNDER PRESSURE -- In many countries across Asia, governments are growing less tolerant of critical reporting, arresting journalists and closing media outlets in some cases. A look at which countries are clamping down on press freedoms. UPCOMING: 1,000 words by 0800GMT, photos.

CHINA-PROBLEM VACCINES -- The World Health Organization says China must exert stronger oversight over vaccines sold on the private market in the wake of a scandal involving expired or improperly stored vaccines. SENT: 130 words.

CHINA-FOREIGN NAMES -- China says it will clamp down on foreign-sounding and "bizarre" names after too many streets and developments called "Manhattan" or "Venice" have popped up amid decades of frenzied building. SENT.

STARWOOD-BUYOUT -- The fight for Starwood Hotels swings back in favor of China's Anbang after the insurance company offered $15 billion in a counterpunch to Marriott International. SENT: 660 words, photos.

YANKEES-TANAKA -- Masahiro Tanaka is just one of the guys now. The Japanese pitcher says he can walk the streets unnoticed in Manhattan, strolls that are impossible for him to take in Tokyo. As he enters his third season in the major leagues, the New York Yankees ace can communicate with his teammates in English. SENT: 740 words, photos.


APPLE ENCRYPTION -- The FBI says has successfully used a mysterious technique without Apple Inc.'s help to hack into the iPhone used by a gunman in a mass shooting in California, effectively ending a pitched court battle between the Obama administration and one of the world's leading technology companies. By Tami Abdollah. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

BELGIUM ATTACKS -- As the number of victims in the Brussels suicide attacks rises to 35, Belgian police release a video of a mysterious man in a dark hat seen in the company of the bombers who attacked Brussels Airport, indicating that he is still at large. By John-Thor Dahlburg. SENT: 650 words, video, photos.

PRESIDENTIAL RACE -- Republican front-runner Donald Trump faces a rough reception as the primary race turns toward Wisconsin where his two remaining rivals hope to put a roadblock on the billionaire's drive to secure the party's presidential nomination. SENT: 970 words, photos.

ISLAMIC STATE -- The recapture of Syria's ancient city of Palmyra from the Islamic State group brings revelations of the destruction the militants wreaked: In the city museum, priceless statues have been defaced, their heads knocked off, and relics have been smashed or looted. By Albert Aji and Bassem Mroue. SENT: 790 words, video, photos.

HOSPITAL HACKING -- Hackers cripple computer systems at the MedStar Health hospital chain, forcing records systems offline for thousands of patients and doctors. The FBI says it is investigating whether the unknown hackers demanded a ransom to restore systems. By Jack Gillum, David Dishneau and Tami Abdollah. SENT: 620 words.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC-LGBT RIGHTS -- Two men are openly running for offices as homosexuals, a sign of a cultural shift that activists say has been helped by the presence of Ambassador James "Wally" Brewster -- the first openly gay U.S. envoy in a Latin American country. SENT: 890 words, photos.

ARCTIC SEA ICE -- The growth of Arctic sea ice this winter peaks at the lowest maximum level on record, thanks to extraordinarily warm temperatures, federal scientists say. By Science Writer Seth Borenstein. SENT: 350 words, photo.

FIFA INVESTIGATION -- A former president of Honduras pleads guilty to conspiracy charges and admits to taking bribes in the wide-ranging FIFA soccer scandal over lucrative broadcast rights. SENT: 440 words, photos.



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. 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 : 2021-03-05 22:34 GMT+08:00