World News

    Malaysia Denies Providing Inconsistent Information on Missing Plane

    Malaysian officials are denying accusations they have provided inconsistent information on a missing jetliner with 239 people on board, as the search for the plane entered its fifth day.

    Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia is dealing with an "unprecedented" situation and will do "whatever it takes" to find the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that went missing Saturday.



    "My heart reaches out to the families of the passengers and crew, and I give you my assurance that we will not reduce the tempo and that we will not spare any effort to find the missing plane."



    At a news conference Wednesday, the minister said 42 ships and 39 aircraft from 12 countries have so far "found nothing" in their search, which now spans over 50,000 square kilometers.

    He said the focus is both on the South China Sea, where the plane was last tracked by civilian air traffic controllers, and the Strait of Malacca, which is across the Malaysian peninsula and several hundred kilometers away.

    Earlier Wednesday, the Malaysian military backed away from statements that it last tracked the plane in the strait, which is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

    At the news conference, a military official said the plane may have been spotted on radar at 2:15 a.m. Saturday local time 320 kilometers northwest of the Malaysian island of Penang. But, the official said, he cannot be sure it was indeed the flight in question.

    If the plane did make it to the Strait of Malacca, it would call into question theories that the jet experienced some sort of sudden catastrophic event shortly after takeoff that prevented pilots from communicating with authorities.

    The plane disappeared from civilian radar without any distress calls about an hour after leaving Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing early Saturday, when weather conditions appeared to be clear.



    Many relatives of those on the plane are growing frustrated with a lack of answers and sometimes contradictory information from the Malaysian government.

    After meeting with Malaysian government representatives Wednesday in Beijing, one family member, who identified herself as Ms. Li, said she does not feel sufficiently informed.



    "I'm not very satisfied (with the meeting). There are many things that have still not been clearly explained and they still haven't met our requests."



    China's government also said Wednesday that the conflicting information on the plane's course was "pretty chaotic."

    Meanwhile, new allegations arose concerning past behavior of one of the plane's pilots. A South African woman, Jonti Roos, told Australia's Channel Nine TV the plane's first officer, Fariq Abdul Hamid, invited her and another woman into the cockpit on a flight two years ago.

    Roos shared several pictures that appear to show her posing with Fariq and his co-pilot. She said the men talked and flirted with her for the entire flight from Thailand to Kuala Lumpur in December 2011.

    In a statement, Malaysia Airlines said it was "shocked" by the allegations, which it said it takes "very seriously." The airline said it has not been able to confirm the validity of the pictures.

    Malaysian officials have been exploring scenarios of what may have brought down the jet, including an explosion, hijackers, pilot error or mechanical failure.

    At the Kuala Lumpur International Airport where the plane took off, many passengers were jittery. One passenger, Johan, said he is more concerned for the families of those on board the missing jet.



    "I think the family members need to be strong with regard, you know, while waiting, although it's a very long wait, but they have to be strong and hope for the best because we still have no clues even at this point."



    Aerospace expert Wayne Plucker tells VOA he believes the Boeing 777 jet eventually will be found but that it might take some time.



    "This may be a while. Remember that the Air France plane that went down off of Brazil (in 2009), it took quite awhile even though there was apparent wreckage on the surface. "



    Plucker said the Boeing 777 has had a good safety record.



    "There's nothing that points a finger at a problem. Malaysian Airlines has a good history of maintenance."



    About two-thirds of the people on board were Chinese nationals, with the remainder from other Asian countries, Europe and North America.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora