ARMIANSK, Ukraine (AP) ? An Associated Press reporter says warning shots were fired Saturday as pro-Russian forces refused to let a foreign military mission enter Crimea.
SOPOT (Poland) (AFP) - American combined events king Ashton Eaton remained on course to break his own world heptathlon record at the World Indoor Championships on Saturday. Day two of the three-day competition also saw Jamaican sprint legend Veronica Campbell-Brown take to the blue running track at Sopot's Ergo Arena after a 10-month lay-off following a botched doping case. While Campbell-Brown and teammate Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce both qualified without difficulty for Sunday's 60m semi-finals, it was Eaton who stole the show in the Polish Baltic Sea resort. Eaton, whose Canadian wife Brianne Thiesen Eaton won silver in the women's pentathlon on Friday, started Saturday as the leader in the seven-discipline event on 3,653 pts.
Russia may suspend nuclear arms inspections set down in a treaty with the United States in reaction to Western sanctions over Ukraine, Russian news agencies quoted an unnamed defense ministry source on Saturday as saying. The source said the ministry was studying the possibility of suspending on-site inspections agreed in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) between Moscow and Washington. The United States suspended military cooperation such as joint exercises and port visits with Russia on Monday as Washington sought ways to punish Moscow over its intervention in Ukraine without escalating the crisis. "The ungrounded threats to Russia from the US and NATO over its Ukrainian policy are regarded by us as an unfriendly gesture and allow us to announce force majeure," the unnamed source is quoted as saying by the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency.
JERUSALEM (AP) ? Jack Angelides was about to board a flight out of Israel's international airport when he was given a curious choice that baffles him to this day. Traveling with a laptop and a stack of printed reading material, he was told to part with one or the other, due to unspecified security concerns.
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) ? During breaks in his murder trial, Oscar Pistorius sometimes confers intensely with his camp, murmuring in the ear of his chief defense lawyer. When witnesses testify, the double-amputee athlete takes notes or sits with hands clasped, occasionally covering his face, head bowed, as though troubled by the graphic accounts of how he fatally shot his girlfriend last year.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) ? Vietnamese air force planes on Saturday spotted two large oil slicks in the area where a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 vanished earlier in the day, the first sign that the aircraft carrying 239 people on board had crashed.
By Peter Graff and Andrew Osborn KIEV/SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) - The mood darkened in Russian-occupied Crimea on Saturday after overnight confrontations between Russian troops and besieged Ukrainian soldiers raised tensions on the ground in the biggest East-West face-off since the Cold War. Pressure levels have increased markedly in the two days since the region's pro-Moscow leadership declared that it is now part of Russia and announced a March 16 referendum to confirm it. President Vladimir Putin declared a week ago that Russia has the right to invade Ukraine to protect Russian citizens, and his parliament has voted to change the law to make it easier to annex territory. So far, Russia's seizure of the Black Sea peninsula has remained bloodless, but its forces have become increasingly aggressive towards Ukrainian troops, who are trapped in bases and have offered no resistance.
By Anuradha Raghu and Nguyen Phuong Linh KUALA LUMPUR/HANOI (Reuters) - A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew went missing off the Vietnamese coast on Saturday as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and was presumed to have crashed. There were no reports of bad weather and no sign why the Boeing 777-200ER, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent engines, would have vanished from radar screens about an hour after take-off. A large number of planes and ships from several countries were scouring the area where the plane last made contact, about halfway between Malaysia and the southern tip of Vietnam. "The search and rescue operations will continue as long as necessary," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
KRANJSKA GORA, Slovenia (AP) ? Olympic champion Ted Ligety held on to his first-run lead to win a men's World Cup giant slalom on Saturday.
China said on Saturday that there was no room for compromise with Japan on questions of history and disputed territory, "each inch" of which it would defend from its Asian neighbor. China's ties with Japan have long been poisoned by what China sees as Japan's failure to atone for its occupation of parts of China before and during World War Two. Beijing's anger over the past is never far from the surface, and relations have deteriorated sharply over the past 18 months because of a dispute over a chain of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea. "On the two issues of principle, history and territory, there is no room for compromise," Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters on the sidelines of China's annual parliament.
MOSCOW (AP) ? Russia is considering a freeze of U.S. military inspections under arms control treaties in retaliation to Washington's decision to halt military cooperation with Russia, news reports said Saturday.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) ? Southeast Asian nations dispatched ships and planes to scour the seas between Malaysia and Vietnam on Saturday in search of a missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared with 239 people on board.
SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP) ? Russia on Saturday was reported to be reinforcing its military presence in Crimea as Moscow's foreign minister ruled out any dialogue with Ukraine's new authorities, whom he dismissed as puppets.
The pro-Russia prime minister of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula has defended a decision to hold a referendum on whether the region should join Russia, saying on Saturday that "no one" could cancel the voting. On Thursday, Crimea's parliament, dominated by ethnic Russians, voted to join Russia and set a referendum for March 16, escalating the crisis. The conflict resulted from the overthrow last month of President Viktor Yanukovich after protests in Kiev that led to violence. European Union leaders and the U.S. President Barack Obama have said the referendum plan is illegitimate and would violate Ukraine's constitution.
WASHINGTON (AP) ? Four Central European nations are urging the United States to boost natural gas exports to Europe as a hedge against the possibility that Russia could cut off its supply of gas to Ukraine.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) ? Iran's moderate-leaning president strongly criticized hard-line judicial officials Saturday for ordering reformist newspapers shut down, highlighting the internal political tensions in the Islamic Republic as it negotiates a final nuclear deal with world powers.
BEIRUT (AP) ? A militant group issued a rare apology Saturday for a twin suicide bombing in Beirut that killed eight people and wounded dozens, including children from a nearby orphanage.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) ? A bomb placed under the car seat of a district chief exploded Saturday in eastern Afghanistan, killing him and wounding six other people, officials said.
SOCHI, Russia (AP) ? The first Ukrainian medalist of the Sochi Paralympics dedicated her achievement to "an independent Ukraine," appealing for peace as Russia intensifies its control of Crimea.
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Saturday that no sign had yet been found of a missing Malaysia Airlines plane that vanished from radar screens over the South China Sea with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board. He said search operations in an area about midway between Malaysia and Vietnam's southern coast were being intensified. (Reporting by Anuradha Raghu, Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)
BEIRUT (AP) ? Government aircraft have dropped have crude "barrel bombs" on an embattled rebel-held city in western Syria, killing civilians, activists said.
Armed protesters who have seized oil ports in eastern Libya said on Saturday they had started exporting oil, bypassing the Tripoli government, with their first shipment going to a North Korean-flagged tanker. Officials at state-run National Oil Corp (NOC) confirmed earlier on Saturday that the tanker was docked at the Es-Sider port, which is under the control of a rebel group demanding autonomy and a greater share of Libya's oil wealth. This is our first shipment," said a spokesman for the protesters, who have seized Es-Sider and two other ports. "We have informed the government and the defence ministry so they can take action," the official said, adding that the tanker's crew "are trying to buy oil illegally." There was no immediate word from the government, but Prime Minister Ali Zeidan and the justice minister scheduled news conferences in the afternoon.
WASHINGTON (AP) ? President Barack Obama says he's hearing from business owners across the country who are voluntarily paying their workers more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
SEVASTOPOL, Ukraine (AP) ? Moscow mounted pressure on Ukraine Saturday, with Russia's foreign minister denouncing the new Ukrainian authorities as puppets of armed radicals and pro-Russia forces in Crimea trying to flush Ukrainian soldiers out of the few military bases still under their control.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) ? In 2009, the United States gave Wazhma Frogh the International Woman of Courage award for her women's rights activism in Afghanistan. Prominently displayed in Frogh's office is a picture of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton granting her the award as First Lady Michelle Obama smiles, clapping by her side.
By Natalie Thomas BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese relatives of passengers on a Malaysia Airlines flight missing between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing on Saturday angrily accused the airline of keeping them in the dark, while state media criticized the carrier's poor response. Relatives were taken to a hotel near Beijing airport, put in a room and told to wait for information from the airline, but none came. Malaysia Airlines said at least 152 of the 227 passengers on flight MH370 were Chinese. Another relative, trying to evade a throng of reporters, muttered: "They're treating us worse than dogs." Amid chaotic scenes, an unidentified Malaysia Airlines official spoke to reporters for just a few minutes without taking questions before leaving.
A group of armed protesters who have been seizing oil ports in eastern Libya said on Saturday they had started exporting oil, with their first shipment going to a North Korean-flagged tanker. Oil sources confirmed earlier on Saturday that the tanker was docked at the Es-Sider port, which is under the control of the group which is demanding autonomy and a greater share of Libya's oil wealth.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) ? Iran's moderate-leaning president has strongly criticized hard-line officials for ordering reformist newspapers shut down.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday the new Ukrainian government should stick to an agreement signed by the ousted president, signaling no change in Moscow's position over the Crimea crisis. The peace deal on February 21 between now-deposed President Viktor Yanukovich and leaders of what were then opposition parties foresaw the creation of a national unity government and an investigation into the deaths of protesters in Kiev. "This document is not being adhered to in terms of the obligations which these people undertook," Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow. Yanukovich was backed by Moscow, which is worried by the new Ukrainian government's plans to forge closer ties with the European Union in a geopolitical battle between East and West over the fate of the former Soviet republic.
China declared a "red line" on North Korea on Saturday, saying that China will not permit chaos or war on the Korean peninsula, and that peace can only come through denuclearization. China is North Korea's most important diplomatic and economic supporter, though Beijing's patience with Pyongyang has been severely tested following three nuclear tests and numerous bouts of saber rattling, including missile launches. "The Korean peninsula is right on China's doorstep.
Ukraine's acting foreign minister said on Saturday his country would not give up Crimea and would do all in its power to resolve the crisis over the Black Sea peninsula peacefully. Andriy Deshchytsia also urged Russia to do more to ensure foreign observers can enter Crimea and made a new call for the creation of an international "contact group" to discuss the crisis over the region, now controlled by Russian forces. "Crimea is and will be Ukrainian territory and we will not give up Crimea to anyone," Deshchytsia told a news conference in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
By Siva Govindasamy and Alwyn Scott MUMBAI (Reuters) - Malaysia Airlines, the operator of Flight MH370 that went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on Saturday, has established a record as one of the Asia-Pacific's best full-service carriers in terms of safety and service despite some recent financial problems. The Kuala Lumpur-based carrier competes with AirAsia domestically, and with the likes of AirAsia X, Emirates, Singapore Airlines , Thai Airways and Cathay Pacific on international routes. The airline, part of the Oneworld alliance that includes British Airways and Qantas, has 88 aircraft in its fleet, including Airbus A330s and A380s, and Boeing 777-200s and 737s, according to its website.
The U.S. women's soccer team's two-year unbeaten streak ended at 43 games Friday with a 1-0 loss to Sweden and former coach Pia Sundhage at the Algarve Cup in Albufiera, Portugal.
09:21 GMT - AFP IS CLOSING THIS LIVE REPORT on the Malaysia Airlines jet that has gone missing over Southeast Asia with 239 people aboard. Malaysia Airlines said the plane, on an overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, relayed no distress signal, indications of rough weather, or other signs of trouble.
A missing Malaysia Airlines flight was carrying 154 people from China and Taiwan, 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians and six Australians among the 227 passengers, the airline said on Saturday. There were also five Indians, four French, three U.S. citizens, two passengers each from New Zealand, Ukraine, and Canada, and one each from Russia, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria, the airline said in a statement.
Russia is open to having an "honest, equal" dialogue with foreign states on the crisis in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday. "We are open to an honest, equal and objective dialogue with our foreign partners to find a way to help all of Ukraine come out of the crisis," Lavrov said at a televised news conference in Moscow with his Tajik counterpart, in a clear reference to the West.
OXON HILL, Md. (AP) ? The nation's largest annual gathering of conservative activists comes to a finish Saturday but not before a final group of Republican all-stars takes the stage.
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian naval vessels saw no immediate sign of wreckage when they reached the maritime area off the country's northeast coast where a missing Malaysia Airlines flight last made contact on Saturday, a senior rescue official said. Malaysia has sent three maritime enforcement ships and a navy vessel to the area, backed by three helicopters, a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency official told Reuters. "Our aircraft asset spotted an orange speck in the sea where the last signal came from. ...
The Denver Nuggets took their head coach Brian Shaw's advice and tried to run up the score against the hapless Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center. While they didn't quite hit their lofty goal of 160 points, they still managed to manhandle the last-place Lakers 134-126 on Friday, guaranteeing Los Angeles will suffer their first losing season since 2004-05 when Shaw was their assistant coach. "Coach said he wanted to score 40 a quarter, so he was pretty excited," said Denver's Ty Lawson. Shaw played four National Basketball Association seasons for the Lakers before becoming an assistant coach with the team in 2005.
DORAL, Fla. (AP) ? Dustin Johnson was one of the few players who looked like he was having a good time at the Cadillac Championship.