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BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

September 19, 2013



OKUMA, Japan — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe orders the operator of the country’s crippled nuclear power plant to scrap all six reactors at the site instead of just four already slated for decommissioning and to concentrate on tackling pressing issues like radioactive water leaks. By Mari Yamaguchi. SENT: 740 words, photos.


ZAMBOANGA, Philippines — The Philippine president calls on the last rebels holding hostages in coastal communities in the south to surrender and prevent further bloodshed as a major government offensive to end an 11-day standoff crawls toward an end. More than 200 Moro National Liberation Front rebels stormed five communities on the coastal outskirts of Zamboanga city on Sept. 9 and took about 200 residents hostage. By Bullit Marquez. SENT: 490 words, photos.


BEIJING — Days before a Chinese court is to issue a verdict in the corruption trial of fallen Chinese politician Bo Xilai, a defiant letter attributed to him says he will wait quietly in jail to be vindicated, and that “everything will be clear one day.” The letter, which began circulating on the Internet this week, blames Bo’s wife for his legal troubles. It also suggests that Bo hopes to follow in the footsteps of his father, Bo Yibo, who was imprisoned several times during his political career but was eventually rehabilitated and served as China’s vice premier. SENT: 400 words, photos.


DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladeshi police open fire during clashes with supporters of the country’s largest Islamic party who were enforcing a nationwide general strike, leaving one man dead, local media report. SENT: 350 words, photos.


TAIPEI, Taiwan — A powerful typhoon approaches the northern Philippines and southern Taiwan and is expected to strengthen into one of the most violent storms of the season, weather officials say. SENT: 240 words.


COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — A Sri Lankan newspaper editor has fled the country following death threats and an attack in her home in which her family was held at knifepoint, a media rights group says. More than 80 journalists have fled Sri Lanka since 2005. By Bharatha Mallawarachi. SENT: 350 words.


JAKARTA, Indonesia — More than 15,000 residents have fled a volcano that rumbled to life less than a week ago and local airlines have been warned to avoid flying near the mountain as thick ash continues to spew from its crater, an official says. SENT: 240 words.


WASHINGTON — Former first daughter Caroline Kennedy is preparing to testify before a Senate panel weighing her nomination to be U.S. ambassador to Japan. If confirmed, she would be the first woman in a post where many other prominent Americans have served to strengthen a vital Asian tie. By Donna Cassata. SENT: 130 words, photos.



TOKYO — Hiroshi Yamauchi, who ran Nintendo for more than 50 years and led the Japanese company’s transition from traditional playing-card maker to video game giant, has died. He was 85. Kyoto-based Nintendo said Yamauchi, who owned the Seattle Mariners major league baseball club before selling it to Nintendo’s U.S. unit in 2004, died of pneumonia. SENT: 130 words.


CHIBA, Japan — The Tokyo Game Show this year has two big stars, Sony’s PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft Xbox One, the first new home consoles to go on sale in seven years. But neither console will be on sale in Japan until next year, far behind November releases in the U.S and Europe. Many in the gaming world see the delay as symbolic of Japan’s loss of its pioneering and leading role in the industry. By Yuri Kageyama. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.


HONG KONG — Chinese authorities investigating corruption at the country’s state-owned oil giant have seized records and frozen bank accounts at a PetroChina Co. supplier, the company says. Wison Engineering Services Co. also says it couldn’t contact its chairman, Hua Bangsong, who is one of the country’s richest self-made entrepreneurs. By Kelvin Chan. SENT: 360 words.


TOKYO — Honda Motor Co. says it is recalling 318,000 Odyssey minivans in the U.S. and 63,400 Acura MDX sport-utility vehicles in several nations for an airbag defect. Honda is also recalling 23,300 Odyssey minivans in Canada. SENT: 130 words.


TOKYO — Japan’s trade deficit swells to a larger-than-forecast 960.3 billion yen ($9.8 billion) in August, the 14th straight month of red ink, as imports outpaced growth in exports. By Elaine Kurtenbach. SENT: 600 words, photos.



HANOI, Vietnam — As Vietnam’s first property boom crashed around him, American developer Edward Chi kept promising investors their flashy apartments were on track. The businessman even told them he would sell his California properties to pay them back if construction stopped on projects that were heavily marketed by a well-known American real estate company. But Chi ducked out of a tense meeting with the prospective home owners last year and never returned, leaving the rusting foundations of an apartment block and at least 128 angry investors, many who had already put down more than $150,000 from life savings or bank loans. Police say Chi has left the country and is unreachable. By Chris Brummitt. SENT: 1,300 words, photos.


KABUL, Afghanistan — Ten years ago, Roeen Rahmani and some friends spent $300 on an overhead projector and a rented room to teach a business course to Afghans emerging from civil war and Taliban rule. Nobody showed up for the first class. Today, that initial effort has evolved into Kardan University, a private institution educating more than 8,000 students in programs ranging from political science to civil engineering. But for Rahmani, the school’s chancellor, it’s not enough. By Nahal Toosi. SENT: 1,380 words, photos.


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