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Asian News Digest, AS
Associated Press
2014-01-26 09:22 PM

ASIA:

THAILAND-POLITICS

BANGKOK -- Anti-government demonstrators swarm dozens of polling stations in Thailand to stop advance voting for next week's general elections, chaining gates shut, threatening voters and preventing hundreds of thousands of people from casting ballots. By Thanyarat Doksone and Todd Pitman. SENT: 980 words, photos.

CHINA-CITIZENS MOVEMENT

BEIJING -- A Beijing court has sentenced a legal scholar and founder of a social movement to four years in prison for disrupting order in public places, a case that the U.S. government and other critics say is retribution for his push to fight corruption and create equal educational opportunities. By Louise Watt. SENT: 625 words, photos, video.

-- CHINA-FIRE -- A fire in a 300-year-old village populated by an ethnic minority has destroyed more than 100 houses, Chinese officials say. SENT: 185 words, photos.

PHILIPPINES-MUSLIM REBELS

MANILA, Philippines -- The Philippine government will grant amnesty to Muslim guerrillas who are facing or have been convicted on rebellion-related charges under a newly signed peace pact, which calls for the 11,000-strong rebel force to be deactivated, an official says. By Jim Gomez. SENT: 600 words.

CAMBODIA-PROTESTS

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Riot police in Cambodia clash with hundreds of anti-government protesters in the capital, leaving several people injured. The protesters are demanding the release of 23 other demonstrators who were arrested during a crackdown earlier this month. SENT: 210 words, photos.

-- CAMBODIA-WEDDING ATTACK -- Police say a hand grenade thrown at a wedding reception party in Cambodia has killed at least nine people and wounded 28. SENT: 110 words.

AUSTRALIA-UNCONSCIOUS PILOT

CANBERRA, Australia -- A teenager describes how he took the controls of a light plane for more than half an hour after the pilot passed out during a joy flight over rural Australia. By Rod Mcguirk. SENT: 400 words.

AUSTRALIA-CROCODILE ATTACK

DARWIN, Australia -- A crocodile is suspected to have taken a 12- year-old boy after attacking his friend as they swam in a water hole in a popular Outback tourist destination in northern Australia. SENT: 185 words.

AUSTRALIA-SHARK CULL

CANBERRA, Australia -- A large shark was killed off the west Australian coast, the first under a contentious new state government culling policy aimed at curbing fatal shark attacks. By Rod Mcguirk. SENT: 395 words.

JAPAN-FOOD POISONING

TOKYO -- Japanese police arrests a factory worker at a plant that churned out food laced with pesticide, which led to massive poisoning and a recall of more than 6 million packages of frozen food. SENT: 265 words, photos.

INDIA-REPUBLIC DAY

NEW DELHI -- Millions of Indians watch a display of the country's military power and cultural diversity amid tight security during national day celebrations. SENT: 130 words.

FEATURES:

INDIA-VILLAGE JUSTICE

NEW DELHI -- In the hours after her 6-year-old daughter was kidnapped, screaming in terror as she was dragged away from home, Rimaila Awungshi appealed for help from the most powerful authority she knew -- the council of elders in her rural Indian village. In her anguish, Awungshi told the village leaders what happened. She was a single mother to a beloved little girl named Yinring, whose name translates as "living in God's shelter." Her ex-boyfriend had refused to marry her or care for their child. But as the years passed and he never found a wife, his family demanded custody. By Ashok Sharma and Nirmala George. SENT: 1,150 words, photos.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

EGYPT

CAIRO -- Egypt's interim president says he is amending the country's transitional plan to allow for presidential elections before parliamentary polls. According to Egypt's new constitution, the presidential vote is to be held before the second half of April. SENT: 100 words. DEVELOPING.

-- AP PHOTOS: Rage and celebration on Egypt's streets

UKRAINE-PROTESTS

KIEV, Ukraine --Ukraine's opposition calls off a massive rally planned for Sunday because of the funeral for a protester killed in clashes with police last week, underscoring the rising tensions in the country's two-month political crisis. By Maria Danilova and Yuras Karmanau. SENT: 370 words, photos.

SYRIA-PEACE TALKS

GENEVA -- Syrians on opposite sides of their country's civil war try again Sunday to find common ground, with peace talks focusing on the release of prisoners and an aid convoy to a besieged city that once more came under mortar attacks from the government. Once again the delegation for President Bashar Assad complained that the talks are avoiding the main issues and questioned their usefulness. By Zeina Karam. SENT: 600 words, photos.

NSA SURVEILLANCE-SNOWDEN

BERLIN -- Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden claims in a new interview that the U.S. agency is involved in industrial espionage. SENT: 120 words, photo. Will be updated after interview is aired.

FRANCE-PRESIDENT'S AFFAIR

PARIS -- French President Francois Hollande has split with the country's first lady two weeks after a tabloid reported that the leader was having an affair with an actress, an official says. By Greg Keller and Sylvie Corbet. 690 words, photos.

CANADA-QUEBEC FIRE

L'ISLE-VERTE, Quebec -- Crews pull just two more bodies from the ice-covered rubble of a Quebec retirement home on the third day of the excruciating search, bringing to 10 the number of confirmed dead from a massive fire. The effort to recover another 22 people presumed killed will resume Sunday morning. SENT: 700 words, photos.

SOCHI-SCENE

SOCHI, Russia -- If you are flying to Sochi for the Winter Games, book a window seat on the right side of the plane. That way you'll get a bird's-eye view of how Russia spent $51 billion on gleaming new sports arenas and a cobweb of highways for this southern city on the Black Sea. That's the Russia that President Vladimir Putin wants you to see. By Nataliya Vasilyeva. SENT: 840 words, photos.

DOG SHOW-MIXED BREEDS

NEW YORK -- With the Westminster Kennel Club's decision to welcome purebreds and no-breeds alike in a new event at the nation's pre-eminent dog show this year, it would seem that every dog is finally having its day. Westminster's new agility competition reflects years of owners' effort to get mixed-breed pets into elite skill contests alongside their pedigreed peers, and many are thrilled to see dogs like theirs get a slice of the Westminster spotlight next month. Yet that isn't quelling longtime criticism from some of mixed-breeds' staunchest fans: animal-rights advocates who still feel the show champions a dog-breeding culture they see as unhealthy and unjust. But if the change is hardly likely to end debate over the pros of purebreds and the merits of mutts, it's still a development that has tongues wagging, and maybe a few tails. By Jennifer Peltz. SENT: 830 words, photos.

CALIFORNIA POLITICS-INDIAN INFLUENCE

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The most recently announced challenger to California Gov. Jerry Brown's expected re-election bid is a 40-year-old engineer and U.S. Treasury official whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from India. Neel Kashkari isn't running on his heritage, but he is the latest example of a rising political trend in the nation's most ethnically diverse state. While Latinos have received much of the attention for their increasing political muscle, Californians with roots in India are making deep inroads into the state's political landscape. By Juliet Williams. SENT: 940 words, photos.

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YOUR QUERIES: The editor in charge at the AP Asia-Pacific Desk in Bangkok is Hrvoje Hranjski. 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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