KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian authorities expanded their search for the missing jetliner westward toward India on Thursday, saying it may have flown for several hours after its last contact with the ground. That scenario would make finding the Boeing 777 a vastly more difficult task, and raises the possibility that searchers have been looking in the wrong place for the plane and its 239 passengers and crew since it disappeared early Saturday en route to Beijing.
TOKYO (AP) — Nearly every navy with a presence in Southeast Asia is involved in the extensive search for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared early Saturday. Some details on the key responders and their capabilities: UNITED STATES:
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — With tears in his eyes, the chief editor scoured the last-ever edition of his newspaper before sending the proofread copy to the printing press. His once-bustling newsroom was quiet. Some reporters cleared their desks while others tried to cheer up their boss with words of gratitude, or even some homemade pork stew. Khin Maung Lay is one of many Myanmar journalists who last year embraced the chance to produce independent daily newspapers free from censorship for the first time in five decades. It was not the government that shut him down, but economics: His paper and others have been losing money as they struggle to compete with state-owned papers for advertisers and circulation.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Human Rights Watch criticized the United Nations Thursday for raising the possibility of Myanmar contributing U.N. peacekeepers, describing the nation's military as among the most abusive in the world. The New York-based group voiced its concerns in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It said that despite the democratic opening in the country also known as Burma, its military remains unreformed and continues to use child soldiers.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — One of the main front-runners in the race to succeed Afghan President Hamid Karzai tells The Associated Press that he will sign a security agreement with the United States within a month if he wins the race. Abdullah Abdullah criticized Karzai for refusing sign the deal, which would pave the way for international forces to keep a residual force in Afghanistan after withdrawing combat troops by the end of 2014.
BEIJING (AP) — Police in southwestern China on Thursday took away a veteran activist who runs a rights monitoring website, and seized his computers and mobile phones, the campaigner's mother said. Eleven police officers turned up at Huang Qi's home in the city of Chengdu and produced a summons for Huang before taking him away, said his mother, Pu Wenqing.
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — From his home off a dirt road cluttered with trash in Pakistan's teeming city of Karachi, policeman Didar Ahmed's son shows the bloodstained jacket his father was wearing when gunmen cut him and three colleagues down in a hail of bullets last month. Ahmed's brother Gulzar looks at the bullet-riddled garment with a blank stare. He recalled how days before his brother's death, they had talked about the rising dangers of police work as officers increasingly come under attack by criminal gangs and militants from the Pakistani Taliban.
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — A tanker in Libya allegedly trying to set sail with a shipment of oil from rebel forces has nothing to do with North Korea and has had its North Korean registration revoked, an official in Pyongyang said Thursday. Libyan government forces and loyal militia fighters claim a rival militia hoped to load the tanker with oil for export in defiance of central authorities. Because it flew a North Korean flag, that raised questions about whether North Korea was trying to get Libyan oil.
BEIJING (AP) — China will keep this year's economic expansion strong enough to create new jobs but will emphasize market-opening reform and cleaning up smog-choked cities over hitting its official growth target, the premier said Thursday. Li Keqiang's comments reinforced the ruling Communist Party's pledge to shift to cleaner, more sustainable growth based on domestic consumption and service industries instead of trade and investment.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An Afghan election commission official says four election coordinators were kidnapped in Afghanistan's restive Nangarhar province, which borders neighboring Pakistan. Sareer Ahmed Barmal, a commissioner with the Independent Election Commission, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the four men were taken a day earlier and no one has taken responsibility for their abduction or demanded a ransom. Barmal says area elders have been meeting in an attempt to discover the identities of the kidnappers in order to negotiate the release of the men.
BEIJING (AP) — The death toll from a little-reported road explosion was disclosed Thursday to be a much higher 31, nearly two weeks after the blast shook a highway tunnel in northwestern China. The city government of Jincheng in Shaanxi province said a team assembled by the State Council to investigate the blast met Thursday in the city to brief on the latest developments. It said another nine people were missing.
NEW DELHI (AP) — A New Delhi court on Thursday confirmed the death penalty imposed by a lower court to four men convicted for the gang rape and murder of a young woman on a moving bus in 2012. A special fast track court had sentenced the men in September, saying their crime was one of the rarest of rare cases that warranted the death penalty.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Philippine authorities say a cargo ship smashed into a small fishing boat in Manila Bay, causing the fishing boat to sink and leaving nine of its 21 crew members missing. Coast guard spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo says the incident occurred late Wednesday off Cavite province, south of Manila.
TOKYO (AP) — As radiation spewed from Japan's nuclear disaster three years ago, the top U.S. atomic energy regulator issued a 50-mile evacuation warning for any Americans in the area, a response some found extreme. Gregory Jaczko, who stepped down as chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2012, still believes he was right, and says the events at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant show that nuclear power should be phased out in Japan and worldwide.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Heavy smoke from illegal fires set to clear land for plantations has blanketed parts of Indonesia's Sumatra island, disrupting flights and hampering search efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner, officials and a pilot said Thursday. Forest and brush fires have raged for the past week, mostly in peat-rich Riau province, forcing schools to close. Children and the elderly have filled local clinics and hospitals, complaining of respiratory problems.
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