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Asian News Digest, AS
Associated Press
2014-02-23 02:22 PM

ASIA:

THAILAND-POLITICS

BANGKOK -- Gunmen in a pickup truck attack an anti-government protest in Thailand's east, killing at least one, an 8-year-old girl, and wounding dozens, as violence in the country's 3-month-old political crisis spreads outside the capital, Bangkok, officials say. By Jinda Wedel. SENT: 670 words, photos.

AUSTRALIA-TV STAR DEAD

SYDNEY -- Australian TV star and former model Charlotte Dawson, who became an anti-bullying activist after she was targeted online, has been found dead at age 47. Police say there are no suspicious circumstances, which is how they usually describe suicide. SENT: 435 words, photos.

CHINA-CHILDREN DROWN

BEIJING -- Six children have drowned while skating on a river in a rural area of northern China, a local government says. SENT: 110 words.

U.S. AND INTERNATIONAL:

UKRAINE-PROTESTS

KIEV, Ukraine-- In a stunning reversal of fortune, Ukrainian opposition icon Yulia Tymoshenko was freed from imprisonment Saturday and spoke to a massive, adoring crowd, while her arch-foe President Viktor Yanukovych fled the capital and vowed he would remain in power. By Jim Heintz and Angela Charlton. UPCOMING: New approach with 1,200 words, photos, graphic, video.

-- UKRAINE-PRESIDENT'S FALLEN BASTION -- The opulent residence of President Viktor Yanukovych has always been a closely guarded secret -- and a symbol of the alleged corruption at Ukraine's highest levels. On Saturday, after he fled the capital and its gates were thrown open, thousands streamed into the compound to get a first-hand look. Inside the walled compound, posh mansions stood amid manicured lawns. There were parks dotted with statues, ponds with fountains and wild ducks, a tennis court, a golf course and a colonnaded pavilion. By Maria Danilova. SENT: 860 words, photos.

-- BACH INTERVIEW -- IOC President Thomas Bach says in an interview with the AP that Ukraine's victory in the women's biathlon relay was the standout moment of the Sochi Olympics, a powerful symbol of unity during the country's bloody political crisis. By Stephen Wilson. SENT: 750 words, photos

DRUG WAR-MEXICO

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican authorities captured the world's most powerful drug lord in a resort city Saturday after a massive search through the home state of the legendary capo whose global organization is the leading supplier of cocaine to the United States. By Alicia A. Caldwell, Elliot Spagat and Mark Stevenson. SENT: 1660 words, photos, video. UPCOMING: 1,500 words, photos, video.

-- EL CHAPO-REAPPEARANCE -- Mexico's most-wanted capo Joaquin 'El Chapo' Guzman looks pudgy, bowed post-arrest. SENT: 140 words, photos.

-- DRUG WAR-MEXICO-HOMELAND SECURITY -- US official: Homeland Security intelligence helped lead to arrest of top cartel boss in Mexico. SENT: 120 words.

-- DRUG WAR-MEXICO-BIO BOX -- Key dates in life of captured Mexican drug lord Joaquin Guzman. SENT: 330 words, photo.

NUCLEAR MISSTEPS

WASHINGTON -- When dozens of nuclear missile officers were believed to be cheating on their exams, test scores were among the lowest of the year, according to Air Force records obtained by The Associated Press. That is the opposite of what might be expected if answers were being shared as widely as officials allege. Were they inept cheaters? Was there, in fact, no cheating during that period? Did commanders purposely make the test questions so difficult those months that even the sharing of answers failed to produce higher-than-usual scores for the group? The Air Force isn't saying. By National Security Writer Robert Burns. SENT: 1,100 words, photo, graphic.

ASSESSING THE GAMES

SOCHI, Russia -- For organization, the Sochi Games deserve a solid 7 marks out of 10. Unless, of course, you had to shower in cold, brown water in an unfinished mountain hotel and griped to #SochiProblems on Twitter. For atmosphere and feel-good factor, give it anywhere from zero to 10, depending on where you're from and which of the millions of images beamed from Sochi struck you most: glowing Olympians with electric smiles taming ice and snow, going faster, higher, gnarlier; or militia thugs horsewhipping and pepper-spraying the women from Pussy Riot, footage the punk band then exploited in its new music video. In between, pretty much everything happened. By Sports Columnist John Leicester. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.

TOP VIDEO -- vatican_cardinals -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI joins Pope Francis at a ceremony creating the cardinals who will elect their successor in an unprecedented blending of papacies past, present and future.

AUTOMAKERS-UAW-UNCERTAIN FUTURE

DETROIT -- Detroit's carmakers are worried about the future of the United Auto Workers. The union's membership and revenues have plummeted since the Great Recession. And its failure to unionize workers at a key plant in Tennessee last week was another sign of its fading power. It may seem counterintuitive, but Ford, Chrysler and General Motors want this huge union to thrive, even though they've clashed for decades. If the UAW can't make it on its own, its failure could disrupt a newfound peace between the car companies and their former adversary, who have come together the last eight years to help the industry survive and emerge more competitive. By Auto Writer Tom Krisher. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.

-- AUTOMAKERS-UAW-UNCERTAIN FUTURE-Q&A -- Top UAW official says union is financially strong, automakers shouldn't worry about its future. Sent: 1,320 words, photos.

SOCHI OLYMPICS

OLYMPICS OR X GAMES

SOCHI, Russia -- Without them the U.S. would have just a few gold medals and NBC would have trouble getting the younger eyeballs it needs to justify its $775 million investment in the Winter Olympics. Extreme sports are making a big impact in the Winter Olympics. By Tim Dahlberg. SENT: 850 words, photos.

-- HKO-US-FINLAND -- A day after losing to Canada in the semifinals, Finland routs the U.S. 5-0 in the game for bronze. The Americans had been looking for their first medal outside North America since 1972. By Hockey Writer Larry Lage. SENT: 750 words, photos.

-- HKO-SWEDEN-CANADA -- The final obstacle in Canada's defense of its Olympic men's hockey title is another unbeaten team with ample reason to believe it is destined for gold. Sweden overcame major injuries to reach Sunday's matchup. SENT: 750 words, photos.

UN-SYRIA-HUMANITARIAN

UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. Security Council unites for the first time on a resolution on Syria's humanitarian crisis, unanimously demanding that President Bashar Assad's government and the opposition provide immediate access everywhere in the country to deliver aid to millions of people in desperate need. The fate of the Western and Arab-backed resolution rested with Russia, Syria's closest ally, and China, another supporter. By Edith M. Lederer. SENT: 1,200 words, photos, video.

VENEZUELA-PROTESTS

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelans on both sides of the nation's bitter political divide take to the streets after two weeks of mass protests that have President Nicolas Maduro scrambling to squash an increasingly militant opposition movement. By Joshua Goodman and Fabiola Sanchez. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos.

ENTERTAINMENT

TONIGHT SHOW-TAX BREAK

NEW YORK -- After a 42-year sojourn on the West Coast, "The Tonight Show" returned to its birthplace this week with Jimmy Fallon at the helm, in part due to a tax break created by the state and aimed directly at the NBC talk show. To qualify, the show must film before a studio audience of at least 200, spend at least $30 million in annual production, have originated in New York but then have been outside the state for at least five years. Only "The Tonight Show" qualifies. NBC saves about $20 million a year thanks to the credit, while the city says the move has created more than 100 jobs and is the latest example of its flourishing TV and movie industry that contributes more than $7 billion to the local economy annually. By Jonathan Lemire. SENT: 850 words, photos.

SPORTS

NFL COMBINE-MICHAEL SAM

INDIANAPOLIS -- Defensive end Michael Sam, who revealed two weeks ago that he's gay, meets the media at the NFL combine in his first public appearance since the announcement. His former Missouri teammates have praised his character and toughness, and general managers and head coaches around the league have said the right things about acceptance, but only time will tell about how seamlessly he can enter an NFL locker room. By Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell. SENT: 520 words, phtoos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

-- WHATSAPP-OUTAGE -- WhatsApp service goes down Saturday after agreeing to be acquired by Facebook for $19 billion. SENT: 140 words.

-- EGYPT -- A court acquits six policemen on charges of killing 83 protesters during the country's 2011 revolution, the last case accusing officers of violently suppressing demonstrators. SENT: 840 words, photos.

-- IRAQ -- Iraqi election officials begin handing out new, computerized voter identification cards across its capital as the country prepares for its first nationwide election since the withdrawal of U.S. troops. SENT: 600 words, photos.

-- ITALY-POLITICS -- Matteo Renzi becomes Italy's youngest premier, promising a new era of stable government after using old-school politicking to engineer the ouster of a fellow Democrat. SENT: 380 words, photos.

___

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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