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Asian News Digest, AS
Associated Press
2014-01-27 03:42 PM

ASIA:

PHILIPPINES-MUSLIM REBELS

MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine troops clash with hardline Muslim rebels opposed to the government's newly concluded peace deal with a main insurgent group, wounding at least two militants in fighting. The clash underscored the difficulty of ending violence in the country's south despite the widely hailed conclusion over the weekend of Malaysian-brokered peace talks between the government and the 11,000-strong Moro Islamic Liberation Front. By Jim Gomez. SENT: 360 words.

KOREAS-TENSION

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea has proposed that the rival Koreas hold reunions next month for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, the latest response from a wary Seoul to Pyongyang's recent charm offensive. By Foster Klug and Hyung-Jin Kim. SENT: 530 words, photos.

MALAYSIA-ALLAH DISPUTE

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- A Malaysian church is attacked with firebombs early Monday, police said, sparking concerns of escalating tensions amid a dispute over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims. SENT: 350 words.

CHINA-CITIZENS MOVEMENT

BEIJING -- Four members of a grassroots movement seeking to curb corruption among Chinese officials and boost fairness in education stand trial on charges of disrupting public order, a day after the group's founder was sentenced to prison. SENT: 240 words.

JAPAN-COMFORT WOMEN

TOKYO -- Japan's top government spokesman has defended the new head of public broadcaster NHK for his remarks that the use of women as military prostitutes was common worldwide during World War II. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 370 words, photos.

INDIA-BOAT SINKS

NEW DELHI -- Police say a tourist boat that capsized off India's remote Andaman and Nicobar islands was overcrowded and may have hit a rock before it went down. At least 21 people were killed. SENT: 130 words.

NEW ZEALAND-BEECHCRAFT MILITARY CONTRACT

WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand announces it had signed a $127 million contract with Wichita, Kan.-based Beechcraft Corp. for military pilot training. SENT: 140 words.

BUSINESS AND FINANCE:

SKOREA-EARNS-LG ELECTRONICS

SEOUL, South Korea -- LG Electronics Inc. suffers a loss in the final quarter of 2013 because of the stronger South Korean currency while higher marketing costs and falling smartphone prices continued to batter its mobile business. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 340 words, photo.

OIL PRICES

The price of oil inch up Monday but gains were tempered by the prospect of a further reduction in U.S. central bank stimulus. By The Associated Press. SENT: 290 words.

SKOREA-SAMSUNG-GOOGLE

SEOUL, South Korea -- Samsung Electronics Co. has signed an agreement with Google Inc. to cross-license their patents, reducing the risk of costly legal disputes over intellectual property and likely fostering greater collaborate between the two tech giants. By Youkyung Lee. SENT: 310 words.

JAPAN-TRADE

TOKYO -- Japan's trade deficit has surged to a record 11.47 trillion yen ($112 billion) in 2013 as the shutdown of nuclear power plants swelled the nation's energy import bill. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 530 words.

WORLD MARKETS

HONG KONG -- Asian stock markets are pummeled Monday by the possibility of slowing growth in China and a further reduction in U.S. central bank stimulus. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 530 words, photos.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

-- FRANCE-PRESIDENT -- Ex-French first lady arrives in India on charity visit, a day after split with president. SENT: 410 words, photos.

MARYLAND MALL SHOOTING

COLUMBIA, Md. -- The gunman who killed two people at a Maryland mall was a teenage skateboarding enthusiast who had no criminal record before he showed up at the shopping center armed with a shotgun, plenty of ammunition and a backpack filled with crude homemade explosives. The attack baffles investigators and acquaintances of Darion Marcus Aguliar, 19, a quiet, skinny young man who graduated from high school less than a year ago. Police spend Sunday trying to piece together his motive, but it remains elusive. By Ben Nuckols. SENT: 900 words, photos.

SYRIA-PEACE TALKS

GENEVA -- Two days of face-to-face peace talks yield a narrow and tentative agreement for women and children trapped in a besieged Syrian city, and the government says President Bashar Assad had no intention of giving up "the keys to Damascus." With little progress to show after months of international pressure for the conference in Geneva, the U.N. mediator hoping to broker an end to Syria's civil war defends their pace. By Zeina Karam. SENT: 920 words, photos.

STATE OF THE UNION

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama will work with Congress where he can and circumvent lawmakers where he must, his top advisers warn in previewing his State of the Union speech. The president faces a politically divided Congress Tuesday and will use his annual address to demand expanded economic opportunity. By Philip Elliott. SENT: 450 words, photo.

BRAIN-DEAD PREGNANCY

FORT WORTH, Texas -- A brain-dead, pregnant Texas woman is removed from life support as the hospital keeping her on machines against her family's wishes acceded to a judge's ruling that it was misapplying state law. Marlise Munoz' body soon will be buried by her husband and parents, after John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth announces it will not fight a Friday order to pronounce her dead. She had been carrying a 23-week-old fetus. By Nomaan Merchant. SENT: 950 words, photos, video.

TUNISIA-CONSTITUTION

TUNIS, Tunisia -- After decades of dictatorship and two years of arguments and compromises, Tunisians finally have a new constitution laying the foundations for a new democracy. The document is groundbreaking as one of the most progressive constitutions in the Arab world -- and for the fact that it got written at all. It passed late Sunday by 200 votes out of 216 in the Muslim Mediterranean country that inspired uprisings across the region after overthrowing a dictator in 2011. By Paul Schemm and Bouazza ben Bouazza. SENT: 1,090 words, photos.

MUSIC-GRAMMYS

LOS ANGELES -- Macklemore believes Kendrick Lamar deserves the best rap album Grammy, but if he and his producer take home the award, he feels it is justified. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, like Lamar, are nominated for seven trophies, and the performers will compete in five of the same categories. The rap duo is up for best new artist, along with Lamar, and their gay acceptance hit, "Same Love," is nominated for song of the year. By Music Writer Mesfin Fekadu. SENT: 820 words, photos. UPCOMING: Updates throughout day.

HEALTH

HEALTHBEAT-DELIBERATE FLU

BETHESDA, Md. -- Forget being sneezed on: Government researchers are deliberately giving dozens of volunteers the flu by squirting the virus straight up their noses. It may sound bizarre, but the rare type of experiment is part of the quest to improve flu vaccines. By Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard. SENT: 900 words, photos.

UKRAINE-PROTESTS

KIEV, Ukraine -- Thousands of Ukrainians chant "Hero!" and sing the national anthem, as a coffin carrying a protester who was killed in last week's clashes with police is carried through the streets of the capital, underscoring the rising tensions in the country's two-month political crisis. Meanwhile, protests against President Viktor Yanukovych continue to engulf the country, and are now spreading to central and eastern Ukraine. By Maria Danilova and Yuras Karmanu. SENT: 650 words, photos, video.

EGYPT

CAIRO -- Egypt's interim leader said the country will pick a president before parliament, a widely expected change in a political transition plan as public support for army chief and July coup leader Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi grows stronger. But Egypt remains dangerously divided, as seen in clashes that killed at least 49 people a day earlier and militant attacks I the country's restive Sinai peninsula that left several soldiers dead. By Sarah El Deeb. SENT: 980 words, photos.

SPORTS

AUSTRALIAN OPEN-WRAPUP

MELBOURNE, Australia -- On Stan Wawrinka's left arm are the words of the Irish poet Samuel Beckett: "Try again. Fail again. Fail better." The Swiss star did far more than that, beating an ailing but gritty Rafael Nadal in four sets in the Australian Open final for his first Grand Slam title. By John Pye. SENT: 750 words, photos.

SUPER BOWL 2014-ECONOMY

NEW YORK -- Despite lofty predictions, sports economists say the Super Bowl likely won't provide much of an economic boom to the snow-covered New York City area. Academic studies show that at best, past Super Bowls generated tens of millions, not hundreds of millions. By Meghan Barr. This is the 21st installment in a three-month series on the New York-New Jersey Super Bowl. SENT: 1,040 words, photos.

-- SUPER BOWL -- With more snow hitting the New York suburbs and yet another storm in the forecast for next weekend -- yep, Super Bowl weekend -- the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks make their way to the Big Apple. SENT: 550 words, photos. UPCOMING: Developing from team availabilities at 5:30 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

-- BOMB MATERIALS-ARREST -- The roommate of a Penn State student from Russia charged with building a suspected bomb in his bedroom says the 19-year-old recently set off three 'mini-bombs' just outside their apartment. SENT: 280 words.

-- CARIBBEAN-CRUISE SHIP OUTBREAK -- US officials investigate illness outbreak that has stricken 300 on Caribbean cruise ship. SENT: 450 words.

-- TEACHER TENURE LAWSUIT_A lawsuit in Los Angeles seeks to dramatically reform California's public school system by abolishing tenure for teachers and allowing school districts to use performance standards to decide who stays on the job. SENT: 870 words.

-- NEW ORLEANS CORRUPTION -- Bribery trials brings ex-New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin into spotlight. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.

-- VATICAN-PEACE-DOVES -- Peace doves set free from pope's window attacked by seagull and crow as crowd of thousands watch. SENT: 110 words, photos.

-- PANAMA-BIEBER -- Witness spots Justin Bieber relaxing on Panama Beach following storm over Miami Beach arrest. SENT: 140 words.

-- BOX OFFICE -- The Kevin Hart, Ice Cube police comedy 'Ride Along' cruises to the top of the box office again, taking in $21.2 million in its second weekend. SENT: 110 words, photos.

____

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