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Asian News Digest, AS
Associated Press
2014-01-10 09:01 PM

ASIA:

INDIA-DIPLOMAT ARREST

NEW DELHI -- A diplomatic spat between India and the U.S. flares anew, with India asking the American Embassy to remove one of its officers despite the U.S. allowing an indicted Indian diplomat to return home. By Katy Daigle. SENT: 630, photos.

PHILIPPINES-CHINA

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippines and Vietnam condemn China's new law that requires foreign fishermen to seek Beijing's approval to operate in much of the South China Sea, where overlapping territorial claims have increased tensions. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs says the new regulation "escalates tensions, unnecessarily complicates the situation in the South China Sea, and threatens the peace and stability of the region." SENT: 260 words.

INDIA-MUMBAI AIRPORT

MUMBAI, India -- India's overcrowded financial capital unveils its long-awaited $2 billion new airport terminal, an ambitious, art-filled space that developers hope will be a showcase success in a country struggling to modernize inadequate infrastructure that is holding back economic growth. By Kay Johnson. SENT: 780 words, photos.

PAKISTAN

PESHAWAR, Pakistan -- Police say gunmen have shot to death two workers at a small Sufi Muslim shrine in northwest Pakistan. SENT: 130 words.

AFGHANISTAN

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The U.S.-led international coalition in Afghanistan says two of its service members and one civilian employee have died in an aircraft accident. SENT: 90 words.

CHINA-OIL PIPE EXPLOSION

BEIJING -- Chinese authorities are holding the chief of China's largest oil refiner responsible for a November pipeline explosion that killed 62 people and injured scores of others. State broadcaster CCTV reported Friday that the state council decided that an administrative demerit be recorded against Fu Chengyu, chief of state oil company Sinopec, which operated the pipeline. Fu is one of the most prominent figures in China's oil industry. SENT: 320 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

INDIA-POSCO

NEW DELHI -- India's environment ministry has cleared South Korean steel giant Posco's planned $13 billion steel plant in eastern India but has asked the company to spend more on social welfare, an official says. The Odisha plant would be the largest-ever foreign investment in India. By Nirmala George. SENT: 450 words, photos.

INDIA-EARNS-INFOSYS

MUMBAI, India -- Leading Indian IT outsourcer Infosys posts higher quarterly profit and raised its revenue projection for the year after gaining more than 50 international clients. Shares of the Bangalore-based company surge 3 percent after it reports net profit of $463 million, up 6.7 percent for the October to December quarter. It raises its revenue growth outlook for the financial year ending March to between 11.5 and 12 percent, up from 9-10 percent. By Kay Johnson. SENT: 290 words.

CHINA-TRADE

BEIJING -- China's export growth slowed in December while imports accelerated, possibly helping to temper fears of a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy. By Joe McDonald. SENT: 600 words, photos.

FEATURES:

INDONESIA-SYRIA-NEW JIHAD

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- The young Indonesian was raised in an extremist household and graduated from a boarding school notorious for teaching generations of terrorists. So it was perhaps no surprise that when Muhammad Fakhri Ihsani left to study in Pakistan, the lure of jihad proved inescapable. But the 21-year-old didn't sneak into nearby Afghanistan or the lawless border areas, as scores of other foreigners have in recent years. Indonesian authorities believe that after flying to Turkey, he and three other Indonesian students traveled overland to Syria to fight there with fellow countrymen and jihadists from all over the world. Their journey shows how determined some Indonesians are to join what has become the new theater of choice for international jihadists, and points to an emerging threat for Southeast Asian authorities. By Chris Brummitt and Niniek Karmini. SENT: 1,380 words, photos.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

ECONOMY

WASHINGTON -- Healthy U.S. economic growth in the second half of last year has raised expectations that 2013 ended with a fifth straight month of solid hiring. Economists predict that employers added 196,000 jobs last month, according to a survey. That would be nearly as strong as November's robust gain of 203,000. The unemployment rate is forecast to remain at a five-year low of 7 percent. By Christopher S. Rugaber. SENT: 400 words.

CHRISTIE-TRAFFIC JAMS

TRENTON, N.J. -- A wounded Chris Christie is working to move beyond the most challenging test of his political career, while the New Jersey Republican governor's critics promise to keep probing a traffic scandal that rocked his administration this week and threatens to tarnish his national image ahead of the next presidential contest. By Steve Peoples and Angela Delli Santi. SENT: 760 words, photos, video.

HAGEL-NUCLEAR FORCES

F.E. WARREN AIR FORCE BASE, Wyo. -- Moments before he launches a carefully planned pep talk to members of the Air Force's nuclear missile force, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is undercut by yet another sign of trouble in their ranks: a drug probe of two missile officers. By National Security Writer Robert Burns. SENT: 700 words, photos.

ISRAEL-UNWANTED ARABS

TAYBEH, Israel -- Israel's powerful and outspoken foreign minister has enraged the country's Arab minority by proposing that some of its towns and villages be handed over to a future Palestine in exchange for parts of the West Bank where Jewish settlers live. The proposal, rejected by both Palestinians and other Israeli leaders, nonetheless has deepened Arab fears that they are not welcome in the Jewish state and leaves them in the awkward position of insisting on staying Israeli. They say that their solidarity with their Palestinian brethren does not mean they are disloyal to their own country and should not be treated as second-class citizens. By Aron Heller. SENT: 950 words, photos.

CONGO-COLONEL KILLED

BENI, Congo -- In a place where death is never far away, the colonel seemed larger than life, invincible. The dream blew up in an explosion last week, when his convoy came under attack. The man who was supposed to be beyond death died, and with him died some of the first faint stirrings of hope the people of the troubled east Congo have dared to feel in years. By Joseph Kay. SENT: 990 words, photos.

MEXICO-BOATS SEIZED

MEXICO CITY -- When heavily armed marines and government tax agents stormed eight marinas on Mexico's Pacific and Caribbean coasts, boaters thought they were witnessing a major drug bust. The mostly American and Canadian retirees found out the target was actually them -- couples spending their golden years sailing warm-weather ports in modest 40-foot boats. After inspecting more than 1,600 vessels in late November, the Mexican government's Treasury Department announced it had initiated seizure orders against 338 boats it accused of lacking a $70 permit. By Mark Stevenson and Amy Taxin. SENT: 750 words, photos.

ITALY-COSTA CONCORDIA

ROME -- Italian officials say the shipwrecked Costa Concordia will be removed from its watery graveyard off Tuscany in June and taken to a port to be dismantled, the final phase of an unprecedented 600 million-euro ($817 million) salvage effort. By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 480 words.

GETTING ATTENTION

-- HELICOPTER CRASH -- Coast Guard: Search called off for sailor missing since Navy helicopter crash off Virginia. SENT: 180 words, photos, video.

-- DEATH PENALTY-OHIO -- A federal judge in Ohio will again weigh competing testimony from experts over the effects of a lethal injection method. SENT: 120 words.

-- COMICS-MARVEL'S ULTIMATES -- With world-altering events in play, Marvel sees big changes for its 'Ultimate universe' line. SENT: 620 words, photos.

-- TV-BOARDWALK EMPIRE -- HBO says 'Boardwalk Empire' will end after fifth season this fall. SENT: 80 words.

___

YOUR QUERIES: 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 or by fax at (81-3) 3574-8850.

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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