• AIDS conference attendees on downed Malaysian jet

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    SYDNEY (AP) — Several world-renowned AIDS researchers and activists heading to an international AIDS conference in Australia were on board a Malaysian jetliner that was shot down over Ukraine, officials said Friday, as news of their deaths sparked an outpouring of grief across the global scientific community. "A number of people" on board the Boeing 777 were en route to the southern Australian city of Melbourne to attend the 20th International AIDS conference, which starts Sunday, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop told reporters in Brisbane. The plane, which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, crashed Thursday with 298 people on board.

  • Malaysia says jetliner did not make distress call

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Malaysia Airlines jetliner that went down in war-torn Ukraine did not make any distress call, Malaysia's prime minister said Friday, adding that its flight route had been declared safe by the global civil aviation body. Najib Razak, who addressed a middle-of-the-night news conference after speaking with leaders of Ukraine and the Netherlands, and to President Barack Obama, said "no stone will be left unturned" in finding out what happened to Flight 17 and the 298 people on board. It is the second tragedy to hit Malaysia Airlines this year. Its Flight 370 disappeared March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has not been found, but the search has been concentrated in the Indian

  • Military: Germans abducted by Filipino extremists

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Two German tourists who have been missing for three months had been abducted by Abu Sayyaf militants and were being held "unharmed" by the al-Qaida-linked gunmen in the jungle in the southern Philippines, security officials said Thursday. Lt. Gen. Rustico Guerrero, commander of the military's Western Mindanao Command, said the government has ordered troops to locate the Germans in Sulu province and ensure their safe recovery but he declined to say what the military intends to do. "The latest is that they're unharmed," Guerrero told The Associated Press. German officials have declined to comment on the reported abductions.

  • For Malaysia Airlines, disaster strikes twice

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Two Boeing 777s. Two incredibly rare aviation disasters. And one airline. In what appears to be a mind-boggling coincidence, Malaysia is reeling from the second tragedy to hit its national airline in less than five months. On March 8, a Malaysia Airlines jetliner vanished about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, spawning an international mystery that remains unsolved. On Thursday, the airline — and the nation — were pitched into another crisis after the same type of aircraft was reported shot down over Ukraine. Ukraine said the plane was brought down by a missile over the violence-wracked eastern part of the country. Other details were only just beginning to emerge.

  • Malaysia Airlines says 298 on board doomed flight

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia Airlines has increased the death toll from Flight 17 that was shot down over war-torn eastern Ukraine on Thursday to 298 from 295, saying that three infants had not been included in the original list. The airline also said in a statement Friday on its website that all of its European flights "will be taking alternative routes avoiding the usual route." Of the known nationalities of the victims, the majority — 154 — were from the Netherlands, while 43, including 15 crew, were from Malaysia. It said that the nationalities of 41 passengers had not been verified yet.

  • Afghan ballot audit starts; Kabul airport attacked

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Afghanistan's election commission began auditing ballots Thursday following a U.S.-brokered deal between the two presidential contenders while a brazen attack on the Kabul airport underscored the dangers the country still faces in its troubled democracy. The pre-dawn rocket attack on Kabul International Airport temporarily shut down the facility and set off a gunbattle with security forces in which four attackers were killed, officials said. The militants occupied two buildings that were under construction some 700 meters (yards) north of the facility and used them to direct rockets and gunfire toward the airport and international jet fighters flying over Kabul, said Afghan army Gen. Afzal Aman.

  • UN chief calls for Ukraine crash investigation

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. secretary-general says "there is clearly a need for a full and transparent international investigation" into the plane crash in Ukraine. Ban Ki-moon said during a media event Thursday that the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency, is closely monitoring the disaster involving the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people. Ban adds, "I offer my deep condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims and people of Malaysia." Both Ukraine's government and the pro-Russia separatists fighting in the region have denied any responsibility for downing the aircraft.

  • Deliberations to begin in Guam crash-stabbing case

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — Jurors are expected to begin deliberating Friday in a murder trial against a man accused of killing three Japanese tourists in a crash and stabbing rampage in Guam. Closing arguments ended Thursday with Chad Ryan DeSoto's public defender reiterating his client's mental illness defense. DeSoto has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to charges of aggravated murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors say the 22-year-old knew what he was doing when he barreled his car down a sidewalk, crashed into a convenience store, then got out and stabbed bystanders. Eleven others, including two children, were injured in last year's attack in a busy tourist spot.

  • Latest on Malaysian plane missing since March

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    Malaysia Airlines lost contact with one of its flights Thursday, four months after a plane flying to China disappeared. The latest information on Flight 370: The Boeing 777 vanished March 8 while carrying 239 passengers and crew from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. While over the sea east of Malaysia, the plane made a sharp turn, crossed the Malaysian Peninsula and turned south over the Indian Ocean. In late June, Australian officials said investigators believe MH370 flew on autopilot for hours before running out of fuel and crashing at sea. Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner Martin Dolan said the assumption was that the autopilot was switched on intentionally, rather than automatically through a

  • Report: Slow medical response for Guam inmates

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    HAGATNA, Guam (AP) — The latest status report submitted by the Guam Department of Corrections says most inmate requests to see a doctor or nurse in the past couple of weeks have gone unfulfilled. The biweekly report says 97 of 144 inmates who made the medical requests have not been seen. Pacific Daily News (http://is.gd/U8jst7) says the department is under federal court order to submit reports on the number of prisoners and detainees who request medical, dental or mental health services. The reports also provide updates on efforts to hire more medical staff and corrections officers. The DOC is responding to federal concerns about prisoner rights and prison conditions.

  • Markets roiled by fresh US sanctions on Russia

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — Another round of U.S. sanctions on Russia weighed on markets Thursday. News that a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 had been shot down over Ukraine added to the negative tone. Russia's MICEX index underperformed the world market, closing down 3.8 percent, a day after the latest round of U.S. sanctions, which targeted two major energy firms, a pair of powerful financial institutions, eight weapons firms and four individuals. The U.S. penalties are meant to increase pressure to end the insurgency in eastern Ukraine believed to be supported by Moscow.

  • Heavy rains, landslides hit China, at least 45 die

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    BEIJING (AP) — Heavy rains and landslides over the past week have killed at least 45 people in southern China and left 21 others missing, the country's Ministry of Civil Affairs and an official said Thursday. Southern China was also bracing for the arrival of Typhoon Rammasun around midday Friday, with wind gusts expected to surpass 140 kilometers per hour (90 mph). The typhoon left at least 40 dead in the Philippines, where it damaged homes and knocked out power Wednesday. Rain fell in Hong Kong, which issued a strong wind advisory as the typhoon passed.

  • 700 protest S. Korean factory closure in Myanmar

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — More than 700 workers protested Thursday in front of the South Korean Embassy in Myanmar to demand officials help them after a Korean-owned factory closed without paying their wages. The workers from the Master Sports Footwear Factory in Yangon said the owner closed the plant illegally and without notice in May and has left the country. They are demanding that the Korean ambassador help them. They said they were having trouble paying their rent and wanted assistance in finding new jobs. After an elected government took office in 2011 in Myanmar, industry has grown and foreign investment poured in in the wake of Western nations dropping most of the sanctions they had maintained against the previous rep

  • Chemical fumes sicken 139 people near Thai seaport

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    BANGKOK (AP) — Fumes from a chemical leak on a ship at a Thai seaport spread inland on Thursday, sickening 139 people, including schoolchildren, authorities said. Those exposed to the fumes had difficulty breathing, nausea and headaches. They were treated at hospitals. The disaster prevention department said 139 villagers and students were exposed to the fumes before the areas near the eastern seaport were evacuated. The hazardous flammable liquids leaked early Thursday morning when a container fell onto the liquid tank on the Hong Kong ship that was anchored at a dock in Laem Chabang industrial seaport in Chonburi province, said Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department Director-General Chatchai Promlert in a sta

  • Criminal charge recommended against ousted Thai PM

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    BANGKOK (AP) — An anti-corruption body on Thursday recommended criminal charges against Thailand's ousted prime minister over her government's rice subsidy program, which cost the country's billions of dollars. National Anti-Corruption Commissioner Vicha Mahakun said the commission voted unanimously that former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra committed dereliction of duty for failing to stop the program, a flagship policy of her administration. "The defendant insisted on continuing the rice subsidy, causing further damages to the state, even though she had the direct authority to stop or cancel the government's rice scheme to prevent more corruption and losses, which is considered the biggest loss to the country," Vicha

  • As Vietnam's women go abroad, dads tend the home

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    VU HOI, Vietnam (AP) — When his wife moved to Taiwan nine years ago to work as a maid — earning far more than she could in the rice paddies of this northern Vietnamese hamlet — Pham Duc Viet took over the household chores and raised their two children on top of his regular work as a farmer and carpenter. Now, the double duty is second nature for Viet, 48, as it with many male neighbors. Hundreds of women have left the village of Vu Hoi, 120 kilometers (75 miles) south of Hanoi, to take better-paying jobs in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea and send money home, part of a wider migration of female labor from Vietnam over the past 15 years. "Not a big deal," Viet said of the extra chores. "I'm willing to sacrifice so that my

  • Pakistan police foil attack against PM's home

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani police fought for more than 10 hours with militants they said were planning to attack the home of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, officials said Thursday. An intelligence officer and two militants were killed when the shootout erupted during an overnight operation in the eastern city of Lahore, said police chief Zulfiqar Hameed. Shuja Khanzada, a provincial counterterrorism official, said the gunbattle took place at a house near Sharif's residence, which he said was the "prime target" of the militants. Sharif was away from the residence at the time, receiving a briefing at Pakistani military headquarters on a major offensive launched against militants in the lawless northwest.

  • Nissan signs as sponsor of Man City, global clubs

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    LONDON (AP) — Premier League champion Manchester City signed Nissan Motor Co. as the first global sponsor of its portfolio of clubs on Thursday. The five-year deal with Nissan was announced two months after City bought a stake in Japanese team Yokohama F Marinos from the carmaker. Man City, which has been rapidly remodeled on and off the pitch since being bought by Sheikh Mansour in 2008, turned its focus to building a network of teams through its Abu Dhabi backing. A Major League Soccer expansion team, New York City FC, has been formed with the NY Yankees which has a minority stake, and City recently bought Australian side Melbourne Heart, which has subsequently been renamed Melbourne City.

  • Australia repeals maligned 2-year-old carbon tax

    Updated: Thu, Jul 17, 2014

    SYDNEY (AP) — Australia's government repealed a much-maligned carbon tax on the nation's worst greenhouse gas polluters on Thursday, ending years of contention over a measure that became political poison for the lawmakers who imposed it. The Senate voted 39 to 32 to axe the 24.15 Australian dollar ($22.60) tax per metric ton of carbon dioxide that was introduced by the center-left Labor government in July 2012. Conservative lawmakers burst into applause as the final tally was announced. Prime Minister Tony Abbott's conservative coalition government rose to power last year on the promise of getting rid of the tax, assuring voters that removing it would reduce household electricity bills. He plans to replace the measure with

  • Typhoon kills 38 in Philippines, spares Manila

    Updated: Wed, Jul 16, 2014

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A typhoon that barreled through the northern Philippines left at least 38 people dead and knocked out power in entire provinces and forced more than half a million people to flee its lethal wind and rains, officials said Thursday. Most businesses, malls and banks in the Philippine capital reopened a day after Typhoon Rammasun left the country but schools remained closed Thursday as workers cleaned up storm debris, which littered roads around Manila, slowing traffic. The eye of the typhoon made a late shift away from Manila on Wednesday, but its peak winds of 150 kilometers (93 miles) per hour and gusts up to 185 kph (115 mph) toppled trees and electric posts and ripped off roofs across the capital