BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

ASIA:

MALAYSIA-NORTH KOREA — Malaysian police have arrested two women in the death of Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of North Korea's leader who was reportedly poisoned this week by a pair of female assassins as he waited for a flight in Malaysia, police said Thursday. By Eileen Ng. SENT: 750 words, photos. With MALAYSIA-NORTH KOREA-THE LATEST.

MALAYSIA-NORTH KOREA-FEMALE SPIES - A pair of women suspected of killing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half brother at a Malaysian airport carried out the Cold War-era assassination job at the order of Kim's spy service in Pyongyang. Male agents were likely involved in the hit-squad too, but it's the two women who South Korean spies believed used needles, spray or something else to poison Kim Jong Nam to death on Monday. Here is a look at some of famous North Korean female spies. By Hyung-jin Kim. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos.

CHINA-CARFENTANIL — China is adding the deadly elephant tranquilizer carfentanil and three related synthetic opioids to its list of controlled substances effective March 1, China's National Narcotics Control Commission said Thursday. By Erika Kinetz. SENT: 400 words, photos.

CHINA-BIRDFLU — An outbreak of H7N9 bird flu in China killed 79 people in January, the most in a single month in at least three years, the country's national health authority said. By Nomaan Merchant. SENT: 300 words.

INDONESIA-JAKARTA ELECTION — A tight and possibly ugly contest is expected in a second round election for governor of the Indonesian capital that will pit the minority Christian incumbent against a former cabinet minister backed by conservative Muslim clerics. By Stephen Wright. SENT: 700 words, photos.

NEW ZEALAND-WILDFIRES — Firefighters in New Zealand's second-largest city were able to halt a wildfire's advance on suburban homes Thursday after it burned down 11 houses in the hill suburbs and forced hundreds of people to evacuate. By Nick Perry. SENT: 400 words, photos.

SKOREA-POLITICS — A South Korean court began deliberating on Thursday whether to issue an arrest warrant for a Samsung heir in connection to a massive corruption scandal that led to the impeachment of the country's president. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 500 words, photos.

CHINA-HUMAN RIGHTS — Lawyers who defend human rights activists and dissidents targeted by China's communist government have increasingly themselves become subject to political prosecutions, violence and other means of suppression, according to a report released Thursday. By Nomaan Merchant. SENT: 660 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE

FINANCIAL MARKETS — Asian stocks were mixed Thursday as investors took profit amid expectations that the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates more aggressively than expected following upbeat U.S. economic data. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 530 words, photos.

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