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The Philippines is to upgrade a navy base facing disputed South China Sea waters to serve the extra ships being acquired to protect its territory, the military said Thursday. Navy spokesman Lieutenant-Commander Gregory Fabic said the military would build a 500-million-peso ($11.2 million) port at Ulugan Bay, the Philippine military base nearest to the Spratly Islands. President Benigno Aquino is set to visit the base on May 20 to launch the upgrading, Fabic added. In recent years, the Philippines has been locked in an increasingly tense standoff with China involving disputed reefs and islands in the Spratlys and other areas of the South China Sea.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Spring is closer than you think, and here's a sure sign: Daylight saving time arrives this weekend.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Vietnamese air force planes on Saturday spotted two large oil slicks close to where a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 went missing earlier in the day, the first sign that the aircraft carrying 239 people had crashed.
BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Hundreds of Serbs have rallied against plans by the Serbian Orthodox Church and nationalist leaders to move the ashes of scientist Nikola Tesla from his museum in Belgrade to the country's biggest church.
ARMIANSK, Ukraine (AP) — An Associated Press reporter says pro-Russian forces refused to let a foreign military mission enter Crimea on Saturday.
Russia is open to having an "honest, equal" dialogue with foreign states on the crisis in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Saturday, insisting that Russia bore no responsibility for the situation. "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. "We are ready to continue dialogue on the understanding that this dialogue should be honest and partner-like, without attempts to portray us as one of the sides in the conflict." But Lavrov challenged Western accusations that Russia was to blame for the crisis and implied the West had wanted to challenge Moscow's authority in the post-Soviet sphere. He added: "This crisis was not created by us (Russia).
WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department confirms that three Americans were aboard the Malaysia Airlines jet that vanished Saturday.
Concern was mounting Saturday over the safety of journalists in Crimea after reports that Ukrainian reporters were beaten by pro-Russian militants and an international television crew had its equipment seized. Ukraine's Channel 5 television reported that its journalists were among several beaten by pro-Russian militants late Friday as they covered a confrontation at a Ukrainian air force base in Sevastopol. Pro-Russian militia in Crimea have often been confrontational with Ukrainian and international journalists, whom they accuse of working for foreign powers against Moscow.
PRAGUE (AP) — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says there is enormous potential for doing business in the Palestinian territories.
Tearful and angry, the friends and relatives of passengers on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 lashed out at the company Saturday as journalists besieged them in a Beijing hotel. Many were taken there by the airline after going to the Chinese capital's airport to meet the flight, scheduled to land at around 6:30am. A press conference was expected at the same location, and when others arrived later, they had to run the gauntlet of scores of Chinese and international reporters shoving microphones and cameras in their faces. A man in his 20s struggled to help a grieving older woman, possibly his mother, into a quiet room as journalists shouted questions at her.
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.
AP reporter: Warning shots fired, foreign military observers barred from entering Crimea.
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.
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 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.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Four Central European nations are urging the United States to boost natural gas exports to Europe as a hedge against the risk that Russia could cut its supply of gas to Ukraine, but the White House says such a move would take more than a year.
One of four business jets converted to train NASA astronauts to land the space shuttle is on final approach to the Alabama home of Space Camp, pending the result of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center's first crowd-funding campaign. Currently on the ground at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport, all that stands between the STA and its installment in the center's Shuttle Park are the funds needed to prepare its display. "The U.S. Space & Rocket Center Foundation, along with the help of some amazing Space Camp alumni, are aiming to raise $70,000 for this project, the total cost of which is $192,000," Trevor Daniels, spokesman for the effort, said in a video posted on the "Land the STA" Indiegogo page. At higher pledge levels, donors receive flight suits, behind-the-scenes tours of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, lifetime memberships at the museum or even reservations to attend adult/family Space Camp.
KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — An Indian jetliner caught fire while landing in Nepal's capital on Saturday, but there were no casualties reported among the 170 people on board, officials said.