KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Vietnam says it has downgraded but not stopped its search for the missing jetliner in the South China Sea and has been asked by Malaysian authorities to consider sending planes and ships to the Strait of Malacca. The statement Friday is a sign that the focus of the search effort is switching to the west of Malaysia, to the strait and further west into the Indian Ocean.
BEIJING (AP) — Four people were hacked to death in a knife fight at a market Friday in southern China, and one person was fatally shot by police, state media said. Conflicting reports said the violence was either a fight between two peddlers from the far west Muslim region of Xinjiang or between peddlers and customers.
TOKYO (AP) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Friday his government is not considering a revision of the country's 1993 apology for forcing South Korean and other women to have sex with Japanese soldiers during World War II. Answering questions in parliament, Abe reiterated Friday what his government's top spokesman said earlier this week about the 1993 statement on the so-called comfort women system.
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) — Abdullah Abdullah, a front-runner in April's presidential race in Afghanistan, vowed Thursday to sign a security agreement with the United States within a month if he wins, echoing widespread Afghan fears that security will deteriorate even further if all international forces leave the country at the end of this year. Abdullah, who was runner-up in the disputed 2009 election, criticized President Hamid Karzai for refusing sign the deal that would allow the U.S. and its allies to keep thousands of troops in Afghanistan after ending their 13-year combat mission.
BEIJING (AP) — A popular Chinese instant messaging service has removed at least 40 accounts with content about political, economic and legal issues in a possible sign communist authorities are tightening control over discussion of sensitive topics. The accounts were closed Thursday on WeChat, a service run by TenCent Holdings Ltd. The action came hours after the closing of the eight-day annual session of China's ceremonial legislature.
TOKYO (AP) — An overnight earthquake has caused minor injuries and scattered damage in southwestern Japan and delayed trains Friday morning. The 2:06 a.m. quake had a magnitude of 6.3 according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It struck offshore in the Inland Sea between three of Japan's four main islands and nearest to the northern coast of the island of Kyushu. It was also felt on nearby parts of Honshu and Shikoku islands.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Three people are dead and six more missing in Vanuatu after a cyclone hit the Pacific Island nation. Authorities were flying over the affected northern islands Friday to assess the extent of the damage, said Shadrack Welegtabit, the director of Vanuatu's National Disaster Management Office. He said Cyclone Lusi struck Monday and lasted through Wednesday.
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.
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.
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