Asian News Digest, AS

ASIA:

THAILAND-KING'S ANNIVERSARY -- Thailand's King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world's longest-reigning monarch, marks his 70th year on the throne -- from his hospital bed, immobile and wracked by a variety of age-related ailments that have made Thais wonder what their world would be like without him. By Gabrielle Paluch and Grant Peck. SENT: 1,240 words, photos.

NKOREA-PARLIAMENT -- North Korea will hold a meeting of its national parliament later this month, following up on the first congress of its ruling workers' party in 36 years. By Eric Talmadge. SENT: 440 words, photos.

JAPAN-CHINA-DISPUTED ISLANDS -- Japan protests to China after spotting a Chinese warship for the first time near disputed islands in the East China Sea. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 310 words.

THAILAND-TIGER TEMPLE -- A Buddhist temple denies that its abbot was involved in illegal trafficking of tigers, after Thailand's wildlife authority removed scores of big cats from the popular tourist attraction and found dead cubs in jars and freezers. By Tassanee Vejpongsa. SENT: 390 words, photos.

AUSTRALIA-POLICE SHOOTING -- Police officers open fire on a man armed with a carving knife in a Sydney shopping mall, wounding the man and three women aged between 60 and 80. SENT: 300 words, photos.

AUSTRALIA-ELECTION -- Midway through a national election campaign in Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's honeymoon with voters continues to wane, raising the prospect of the country having its fifth leader in just over three years. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 630 words, photos.

UNITED STATES-INDIA -- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tells the U.S. Congress that the world's two largest democracies can anchor stability and prosperity from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific, in an aspirational speech that glossed over continuing divisions in the relationship. By Matthew Pennington. SENT: 780 words, photos, video.

INDIA-AFRICANS-RACISM -- Fear and anger. Those are the emotions that shadow Odole Emmanuel Opeyemi every time the Nigerian man steps out of his New Delhi apartment. Every encounter with Indians is fraught with those feelings, whether he's taking an autorickshaw or the Metro, buying vegetables or trying to find a spot to park his car. By Muneeza Naqvi. SENT: 1,030 words, photos.

INDIA-WILDLIFE DISPUTE -- An Indian Cabinet minister accuses her colleagues in the Environment Ministry of failing to protect the country's wildlife by allowing states to cull populations of monkeys, elephants, wild boars and antelopes. By Ashok Sharma. SENT: 520 words, photos.

JAPAN-US MILITARY -- Japanese police say a U.S. military contractor arrested on suspicion of abandoning the body of a young woman on Okinawa is now officially the prime suspect in her murder and rape, in a high-profile case that has sparked outrage on the southern island. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 480 words, photos.

MYANMAR-COSTLY CHEWING -- It's as vital to life in Myanmar as cheese is to France or tea to Britain. For millions of people in the Southeast Asian country, the day is incomplete without chewing the juicy, teeth-staining parcels of betel leaf wrapped around areca nut and a slake of lime. But Myanmar's dedicated legions of red-toothed betel nut chewers are now having to swallow hard -- at the thought of paying double, thanks to extreme weather that has caused a sharp spike in prices of the ingredients for the addictive stimulant. By Min Kyi Thein and Esther Htusan. SENT: 550 words, photos.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

FINANCIAL MARKETS -- Global shares are mostly lower despite gains on Wall Street as a weaker dollar negatively impacted Japanese stocks and investors weighed risks given the Federal Reserve's cautious stance about tightening rates. Financial markets were closed for holidays in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. By Teresa Cerojano. SENT: 450 words, photos.

JAPAN-HONDA RECALL -- Japanese automaker Honda is recalling 784,000 vehicles in Japan due to faulty Takata Corp. air bag inflators for front passenger seats. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 220 words.

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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 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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