KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says he is launching an “immediate investigation” into reports of a Malaysian jetliner crash. Malaysia Airlines said it lost contact with Flight 17 over Ukrainian airspace Thursday. It was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Malaysia Airlines lost contact with one of its flights Thursday, four months after a plane flying to China disappeared. The latest information on Flight 370: The Boeing 777 vanished March 8 while carrying 239 passengers and crew from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. While over the sea east of Malaysia, the plane made a sharp turn, crossed the Malaysian Peninsula and turned south over the Indian Ocean.
SYDNEY (AP) — Australia’s government repealed a much-maligned carbon tax on the nation’s worst greenhouse gas polluters on Thursday, ending years of contention over a measure that became political poison for the lawmakers who imposed it. The Senate voted 39 to 32 to axe the 24.15 Australian dollar ($22.60) tax per metric ton of carbon dioxide that was introduced by the center-left Labor government in July 2012. Conservative lawmakers burst into applause as the final tally was announced.
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Chinese President Xi Jinping wrapped up a state visit to Brazil on Thursday by signing a series of trade agreements with the leader of Latin America’s biggest nation. Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff said the agreements show that ties between China and Brazil have never been stronger.
TOKYO (AP) — Rocket science long dismissed as too impractical and expensive for everyday cars is getting a push into the mainstream by Toyota, the world’s top-selling automaker. Buoyed by its success with electric-gasoline hybrid vehicles, Toyota is betting that drivers will embrace hydrogen fuel cells, an even cleaner technology that runs on the energy created by an electrochemical reaction when oxygen in the air combines with hydrogen stored as fuel.
VU HOI, Vietnam (AP) — When his wife moved to Taiwan nine years ago to work as a maid — earning far more than she could in the rice paddies of this northern Vietnamese hamlet — Pham Duc Viet took over the household chores and raised their two children on top of his regular work as a farmer and carpenter. Now, the double duty is second nature for Viet, 48, as it with many male neighbors. Hundreds of women have left the village of Vu Hoi, 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Hanoi, to take better-paying jobs in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea and send money home, part of a wider migration of female labor from Vietnam over the past 15 years.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Gunmen carried out a pre-dawn rocket attack on Kabul International Airport on Thursday, temporarily shutting down the facility and setting off a gunbattle with security forces in which four attackers were killed, officials said. The militants occupied two buildings which were under construction some 700 meters (yards) north of the facility, and were using them as a base to direct rockets and gunfire toward the airport and international jet fighters flying over Kabul, said Afghan army Gen. Afzal Aman.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Military commanders did not recommend that the White House announce the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2017 as the president ordered, the top U.S. commander there told senators Thursday. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford said U.S. and Afghan military leaders would have preferred to see American officials be “a bit more ambiguous” about the troop numbers for 2017, and not telegraph to the enemy that international forces would leave.
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani police fought for more than 10 hours with militants they said were planning to attack the home of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, officials said Thursday. An intelligence officer and two militants were killed when the shootout erupted during an overnight operation in the eastern city of Lahore, said police chief Zulfiqar Hameed. Shuja Khanzada, a provincial counterterrorism official, said the gunbattle took place at a house near Sharif’s residence, which he said was the “prime target” of the militants.
BANGKOK (AP) — An anti-corruption body on Thursday recommended criminal charges against Thailand’s ousted prime minister over her government’s rice subsidy program, which cost the country’s billions of dollars. National Anti-Corruption Commissioner Vicha Mahakun said the commission voted unanimously that former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra committed dereliction of duty for failing to stop the program, a flagship policy of her administration.
TOKYO (AP) — For Japan, the ramping up of sanctions by the West against Russia can be summed up in a familiar phrase: It’s complicated. The tug-of-war over Ukraine threatens to derail Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s moves toward rapprochement with Russia. Relations between Japan and Russia have suffered for decades due to a territorial dispute that has prevented the signing of a peace treaty after World War II.
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — More than 700 workers protested Thursday in front of the South Korean Embassy in Myanmar to demand officials help them after a Korean-owned factory closed without paying their wages. The workers from the Master Sports Footwear Factory in Yangon said the owner closed the plant illegally and without notice in May and has left the country. They are demanding that the Korean ambassador help them. They said they were having trouble paying their rent and wanted assistance in finding new jobs.
TOKYO (AP) — Japan has approved the export of a locally-made component for a missile defense system to the U.S. and is launching joint research with Britain on air-to-air missile technology for fighter jets. The approval late Thursday marks the first defense technology transfer since Japan eased military export rules in April.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Two German tourists who have been missing for three months had been abducted by Abu Sayyaf militants and were being held “unharmed” by the al-Qaida-linked gunmen in their jungle encampments in the southern Philippines, security officials said Thursday. Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, commander of the military’s Western Mindanao Command, said the government has ordered troops to locate the Germans in Sulu province and ensure their safe recovery but he declined to say what the military intends to do.
BOSTON (AP) — A federal jury continued deliberating Thursday in the trial of a man accused of trying to protect Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev during the investigation into the deadly attack. Azamat Tazhayakov, 20, is accused of agreeing with another friend to take a backpack containing opened fireworks and other items from Tsarnaev’s dorm room. He is charged with obstruction of justice and conspiracy.