World News

Search Widens for Missing Malaysia Jet

Malaysia said Monday the search for a missing passenger jet is under way along both the northern and southern corridors where it is believed to have been deliberately diverted.

Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein says 26 countries are now involved in the search, including in water, and on land in 11 countries. The search spans tens of millions of square kilometers.

Investigators believe the Boeing 777 flew either north toward Central Asia or south deeper into the vast Indian Ocean in the hours after it mysteriously vanished on March 8.

Australia on Monday agreed to take charge of the southern section of the search, at the request of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

"He asked that Australia take responsibility for the search in the southern vector, which the Malaysian authorities now think was one possible flight path for this ill-fated aircraft. I agreed that we would do so. I offered the Malaysian prime minister additional maritime surveillance resources which he gratefully accepted."

Earlier, Mr. Abbott said he had not seen any signs the Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 239 people had come close to Australian airspace.

Meanwhile, Malaysian investigators are more closely examining the final moments before the plane disappeared from civilian radar.

Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya says the last known message from the cockpit - a calm, "All right, goodnight" - is believed to have come from the plane's co-pilot.

But investigators now say it is not clear whether the radio transmission came before or after a signaling system was partially disabled or switched off, allowing the plane to further avoid detection.

The voice in the cockpit did not mention any trouble on board, suggesting he may have been misleading ground control or acting under coercion by someone familiar with aviation technology.

Family members of those missing and countries involved in the search have criticized Malaysia for repeatedly releasing seemingly contradictory or incomplete information.

China's Foreign Ministry Monday urged Malaysia to "immediately" expand and clarify the scope of the search, saying it should provide "more thorough, accurate information to countries participating."

Defense Minister Hishammuddin Monday denied holding back crucial information. He said he would not withhold any details that could help, but that any information released "must be verified by international investigation teams."

Authorities are also increasing their scrutiny of the pilots, searching their homes in the quest for clues. Police are examining an elaborate flight simulator taken from one of them. Authorities also are questioning engineers who may have had contact with the plane before it left Kuala Lumpur.

A full-scale criminal investigation was triggered when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib said Saturday there is a "high degree of certainty" that someone who knew what he was doing deliberately turned off the jet's communications systems.

Investigators say the plane had enough fuel to fly for several hours after disappearing from radar.

Authorities also have not ruled out the possibility the plane was on the ground at an unknown location when some satellite signals were sent.

The missing passenger plane was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared. About two-thirds of the people on board were Chinese. Other passengers included Europeans and Americans.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs