BC-AS--Asian News Digest, AS

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Associated Press

Posted on January 25, 2013 at 5:30 AM

NKOREA-NUCLEAR

TOKYO — According to its official statements, North Korea is ready to go to the brink. But how serious are Pyongyang's threats? This week, new U.N. sanctions punishing the North's successful December rocket launch have elicited a furious response from Pyongyang: strong hints that a third nuclear test is coming, along with bigger and better long-range missiles; "all-out action" against its "sworn enemy," the United States; and on Friday, a threat of "strong physical countermeasures" against South Korea if Seoul participates in the sanctions. Moved. By Eric Talmadge. AP Photos.

INDIA-GANG RAPE

NEW DELHI — In the court of public opinion, the men being tried in the gang rape of an Indian university student should be hanged in a public square. That demand for swift justice might make it impossible for them to get a fair trial in a court of law. By Muneeza Naqvi. AP Photos.

DREAMLINER DIFFICULTIES

NEW YORK — On the drawing board, the 787 Dreamliner promised to be lighter and more technologically advanced than any other passenger jet. But once production started, the gap between vision and reality quickly widened. A dozen former Boeing engineers, designers and managers recount how employees labored under intense pressure to meet tight deadlines. Adding to the chaos was the untried plan to build a plane from parts made around the globe. By Airlines Writer Scott Mayerowitz.

With DREAMLINER DIFFICULTIES-TIMELINE.

UN-US-DRONE KILLINGS

UNITED NATIONS — A U.N. expert is investigating drone warfare and targeted killings, which the United States relies on as a front-line weapon in its global war against al-Qaida. Pakistan requested the investigation, along with two unnamed countries that appear to be Russia and China. Moved. By Peter James Spielmann.

CHINA-SEX TAPE SCANDAL

BEIJING — A scandal involving Chinese city officials having sex with women hired by developers who secretly videotaped the trysts to extort construction deals broadened Friday with state media announcing 10 more officials fired. Moved. By Gillian Wong.

CHINA-JAPAN

BEIJING — A senior envoy handed China's leader a letter from Japan's prime minister in the countries' highest-level contact since tensions spiked in September over an island dispute, but the meeting yielded little beyond commitments to talk again. Moved. By Christopher Bodeen. AP Photos.

PAKISTAN-ELITE MURDER

KARACHI, Pakistan — More than 2,000 people were murdered in Pakistan's largest city last year, but the shooting death of 20-year-old Shahzeb Khan in one of Karachi's most upscale neighborhoods sparked an unusual outcry and highlighted a growing trend of citizens using social media to hold the country's rich and powerful to account. Moved. By Adil Jawad and Sebastian Abbot. AP Photos.

INDONESIA-RAPE COMMENT

JAKARTA, Indonesia — A candidate for the Indonesian Supreme Court who suggested in a panel interview that rape victims might enjoy the act has not been selected for the post and may lose his job as a judge. Moved.

ANTARCTICA-PLANE MISSING

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Hurricane-force winds and snow were preventing searchers again from reaching a plane believed to have crashed in an Antarctic mountain range while carrying three Canadians. A break in the weather may allow them to reach the plane Saturday. Moved. By Nick Perry.

BUSINESS:

SKOREA-EARNS-SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS

SEOUL, South Korea — Samsung Electronics Co. said quarterly profit soared 76 percent, boosted by the popularity of its Galaxy smartphones, which outsold the iPhone for a fourth straight quarter. But it expects earnings to take a hit this year from the strong won. By Youkyung Lee.

JAPAN-ECONOMY

TOKYO — Japan's consumer prices fell in 2012 for the fourth straight year, highlighting the central bank's challenge in fighting deflation as its governor reaffirmed plans for aggressive monetary easing. Moved. By Elaine Kurtenbach.

SANDS-MACAU-LAWSUIT

HONG KONG — U.S. billionaire Sheldon Adelson's flagship Macau casino is suing two mainland Chinese high rollers over debts worth millions in a case that provides a rare glimpse into the VIP culture that powers the gambling enclave. Moved. By Kelvin Chan.

SKOREA-EARNS-KIA MOTORS

SEOUL, South Korea — Kia Motors Corp. said its fourth-quarter operating profit was halved as the won's rise erased overseas earnings and production was disrupted by a strike. Moved. By Youkyung Lee.

WORLD MARKETS

BANGKOK — Japan's benchmark stock index hit a 32-month high as the yen continued to retreat against the dollar and investors cheered the new government's plans to boost the economy. Other stock markets edged up. Moved. By Pamela Sampson.

OIL PRICES

BANGKOK — The price of oil topped $96 per barrel despite ample stockpiles of crude amid signs of growth in the world's two largest economies. Moved. By Pamela Sampson.

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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(at)ap.org.

The Asia Photo Desk can be reached at (81-3) 6215-8941 or by fax at (81-3) 3574-8850.

Between 1700 GMT and 0000 GMT, please refer queries to the North America Desk in New York at (1) 212-621-1650.

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