BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

ASIA:

SKOREA-CHOI'S TRIAL — — The jailed confidante of disgraced South Korean President Park Geun-hye denied on the first day of her trial on Monday that she used her ties to the president to extort money from big companies. By Hyung-Jin Kim. SENT: 730 words, photos.

SOUTH CHINA SEA WATCH -- Just days after Adm. Harry Harris, commander of U.S. Pacific forces, warned that the U.S. would not back down from challenging Beijing's territorial claims in the South China Sea, a Chinese warship snatched an underwater Navy glider that was collecting scientific data about 50 nautical miles (93 kilometers) northwest of Subic Bay in the Philippines. By Hrvoje Hranjski. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

MYANMAR-ROHINGYA — The actions of Myanmar's military may constitute crimes against humanity, human rights group Amnesty International has warned, based on accounts of violence against the country's Muslim Rohingya minority. By Dake Kang. SENT: 500 words.

INDONESIA-PAPUA PROTEST — Indonesian police have detained dozens of people ahead of a West Papua independence protest on Monday. SENT: 200 words.

JAPAN-EMPEROR — Japan's Emperor has canceled an annual year-end palace banquet because of a cold. The Imperial Household Agency said Monday that Emperor Akihito had developed a fever last week and is still recovering. SENT: 200 words.

INIDA-BRUTAL POLICE -- Nearly 600 people died in Indian police custody from 2009-2015, many after being tortured, a human rights group said Monday, urging India to implement a string of often-ignored regulations and prosecute officers involved in the mistreatment of prisoners. By Ashok Sharma. SENT: 650 words.

AUSTRALIA-FRENCH SUBMARINES — The Australian and French defense ministers said Monday that they have given top priority to concealing design details of a new Australian submarine after data was leaked from French shipbuilder DCNS about a submarine built for India. SENT: 270 words, photos.

BUSINESS AND FINANCIAL

FINANCIAL MARKETS — Most Asian stock benchmarks lost ground Monday as investors fretted over the potential political and economic fallout from China's capture of a U.S. underwater glider. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 440 words, photos.

AUSTRALIA-ECONOMY — Australia's projected budget deficits for the next four years have increased by 10.3 billion Australian dollars ($7.5 billion) to AU$94.9 billion as the economy continues to slow following a China-driven mining boom, the government's latest forecasts showed Monday. By Rod McGuirk. SENT: 400 words.

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