World News

    Malaysia Military Denies Tracking Missing Jetliner

    The Malaysian military is backing away from reports that it tracked a missing passenger jet far away from its intended flight path, casting further doubt on the plane's whereabouts.

    In a statement Wednesday, Air Force chief Rodzali Daud said he could not rule out that the Malaysia Airlines jetliner veered drastically off course. But he said a media report that claimed the military tracked the jet over the Strait of Malacca was "clearly an inaccurate and incorrect report."

    The Strait of Malacca is off the west coast of the Malaysia peninsula and is hundreds of kilometers from where civilian air traffic controllers lost contact with the Boeing 777. The initial search for the plane had focused mainly on the South China Sea, which lies off the east coast.

    The plane, with 239 people on board, disappeared from civilian radar without any distress calls about an hour after leaving Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing early Saturday.

    The head of Interpol says the disappearance of the jet does not appear to be related to terrorism. But John Brennan, the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, said he would not rule out the possibility.



    Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said new information about two Iranian men who used stolen passports to board the plane makes terrorism a less likely explanation for the jet's disappearance.

    Interpol, the international police agency, released photos showing the two Iranians boarding the plane at the same time. They are identified as 19-year-old Pouria Nour Mohammadi and 29-year-old Seyed Mohammad Reza Delavar.

    Malaysian Police Inspector General Khalid Tan Sri says the 19-year-old likely was trying to migrate to Germany.



    "We have been checking his background. We have also checked him with other police organizations on his profile, and we believe that he is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group. And we believe that he is trying to migrate to Germany."



    The other man's identity is still under investigation. But the development reduces the likelihood they were working together as part of a terror plot.

    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."



    The search area spans a radius of 185 kilometers from where the jet disappeared, including areas on land.

    Dozens of ships and planes involved in the search have failed to turn up any trace of the plane.

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

    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.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora