In Kuala Lumpur, relatives of those missing on the disappeared Malaysia Airways flight MH370 anxiously await fresh news.The airline told passengers’ next of kin to come to the airport with their passports in preparation to fly to a potential – as yet unidentified – crash site.Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak came to Kuala Lumpur airport to offer his support to the families.People from at least 14 nationalities are reported to be on the flight. They are mostly Chinese (152 nationals) and Malay (38), but there are also four French people, two Ukrainians, one Russian and a Dutch person on the passenger list.Early reports of there being Italian and Austrian nationals on board have since been refuted. An Italian man originally named on the passenger list has apparently called his father from Thailand to say he is safe and well. Meanwhile, the Austrian foreign ministry has confirmed a citizen of its country who was at first believed to be on board, had actually had his passport stolen.Meanwhile, in Beijing, it’s a similar story. The flight was due to land there in the early hours of Saturday morning. Relatives of those on board are still waiting for news; many say they are being kept in the dark.The flight remained on the arrivals board in the airport for up to six hours after it was due to land.Malaysia Airlines’ top official said the aircraft last made contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.The country has reportedly sent three maritime enforcement ships and a navy vessel to the area, backed by three helicopters, but China is urging them to do more.China is also conducting search operations, as well as Vietnam and Singapore.
Hundreds of people have demonstrated in Belgrade against plans to transfer the ashes of electricity pioneer Nikola Tesla to a Serbian Orthodox Cathedral. “Tesla brought the light, don’t leave him in the dark,” said a banner held by one protester. An urn containing the physicist and inventor’s ashes has been on display for decades at his museum in the city.Tesla, a Serb born in Croatia, was a pioneer in electricity, wireless communication and radio.Church and nationalist authorities want Tesla’s ashes moved to the cathedral and interred, not kept on display. The protesters, among them scientists, want his ashes to stay in the museum that honours his life’s work.
Kyiv’s Independence Square – which has been at the heart of anti-government protests – was a scene of reflection on Saturday, as people marked International Women’s Day.While many of the demonstrators in the capital have been men, women have also been voicing their discontent.A woman was among those killed in violence.“I have come here with my sister and my mother. We’re taking the opportunity to come here as it’s a holiday. We’ll look, light candles and pray,” said Maria Bodnar.International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world – to recognise female achievements. “It’s so nice to celebrate 8th March in Maidan. Many people have congratulated us. We’ve been given some presents too,” said Katya Tsyovka, in Kiev.“And talking about the role of women in this revolution, it’s really important. If there were no women here, there would be no tea and food for those at the barricades,” she continued. Women’s Day is also about uniting and fostering change – something that is particularly poignant in this crisis-hit country.
It has one of the best safety records of any commercial aircraft in service.But, if confirmed, the Malaysia Airlines crash would mark the second fatal accident involving a Boeing 777 in less than a year and by far the worst since it entered service in 1995.The US-built twin-engined jet is often used for intercontinental flights of 12 hours or more.The first serious incident took place in 2008, whena British Airways 777-200ER crash-landed just short of London’s Heathrow airport, injuring 45 people.The only fatal crash so far occurred in July 2013 when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 struck a seawall on landing in San Francisco. Three people died and over 180 were injured.The investigation into that crash has so far indicated no mechanical failure and focused on the actions of the pilot.
With the fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH-370 unclear, anger has been growing among Chinese relatives of passengers.In Beijing, where the flight was due to touch down, families accused the carrier of keeping them in the dark.Relatives were taken to a hotel near the airport to wait for information from the airline.But very little came – and some stormed out, enraged over how they were being treated. One woman, whose mother was on the plane, said: “We hope the Chinese government sends search teams as soon as possible.”“We don’t trust the Vietnamese people.”She added: “Nobody has got in touch with us. Nobody talks to us except volunteers and hotel staff.”A Malaysia Airlines official told reporters that they were working with the authorities, who had deployed search and rescue teams.The official added that the carrier’s thoughts and prayers were with the affected passengers and their families. For more information, visit the Malaysia Airlines website
Ukraine won’t give up Crimea but it will do all in its power to resolve the crisis there peacefully.That is the message from acting foreign minister Andriy Deshchytsia as the region prepares for a referendum on joining Russia following a pro-Russian takeover there.“Crimea was and will remain Ukrainian territory,” Deshchytsia told a news conference in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. “We are not giving Crimea to anyone. We will do everything possible to secure the territorial integrity of Ukraine and its borders.”But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov insists that interim authorities in Kyiv are taking orders from extremists. He says, however, that Moscow is open to further talks with the West, if the right conditions are met. “We are ready to pursue dialogue if we have the assurance that it will be an honest dialogue between equal partners and without attempts to portray us as a party to the conflict,” Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow.Russia has warned the West over punitive measures, pledging to retaliate over an EU decision to freeze talks on visa-free travel, for instance. As for Washington, Moscow says imposing sanctions on Russia will boomerang back on the United States.
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 has reportedly crashed into the sea off Vietnam with 239 people on board.It took off from Kuala Lumpur and was bound for Beijing.Vietnamese State media has reported that the aircraft came down near Tho Chu Island. Malaysian authorities have not yet confirmed the crash and say no wreckage has been found. A huge search is underway.Contact was lost two hours into the flight and anxious relatives at Beijing airport were initially told it had been delayed before confirmation came that it was missing.The plane disappeared without giving a distress signal – achilling echo of an Air France flight that crashed into theSouth Atlantic on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board. It vanished for hours without issuing a distress call.The vast majority of those on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 were Chinese but passengers were of 14 nationalities, among them Malaysians, Australians, Americans and French citizens.If the crash is confirmed, it would mark the second fatal accident involving a Boeing 777 in less than a year.
“Equality for women is progress for all”.That is the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, being celebrated today, March 8, across the world.Lamenting discrimination against women and girls worldwide, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: “Where men and women have equal rights, societies prosper.”Organisers of a rally marking the event in the Philippines capital, Manila, couldn’t agree more.“The reason why we are doing this is because we want to reaffirm our commitment to create an enabling environment for women to become better in what they do,” said Organising Committee Partner, Gilda Patricia Maquilan. “In that way, they can help in uplifting the lives of their family and their communities.”The Manila rally, at the Quirino grandstand,involved thousands of women standing in a giant human formation of the cross-like female scientific symbol.Not only was it a huge statement on behalf of women but the female formation could also make it into the Guinness Book of Records.
A local election campaign in France gets underway this weekend and will run for the next two weeks.The vote is seen as a crucial test for the French government. President Francois Hollande has his lowest approval ratings since coming to office.The first round of voting is scheduled for March 23.
More than 200 people are feared to have been killed after a Malaysia Airlines flight went missing. The plane, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, was travelling between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported radar contact was lost around two hours into flight while it was in Vietnamese airspace.Officials say most of the people on board are Chinese and a search and rescue operation is underway.If the plane is found to have crashed, the loss would mark the second fatal accident involving a Boeing 777 in less than a year, after an unblemished safety record since the jet entered service in 1995.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has told Ukraine’s Paralympic chief Valeriy Sushkevich that politics must not affect sports events such as the Paralympic Games.However Sushkevich insisted his team would quit the Games if Russia invaded his home country and that he hoped the competition would be able to spread peace instead.Russia is hosting the Games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi while being criticised for its actions in Ukraine’s southern region of Crimea. The West blames Russia for seizing military and government institutions there.Moscow says the armed men in Crimea are members of local self-defence units. President Vladimir Putin says he has the right to send in troops to defend Russian compatriots but that so far he has seen no need to do so.Speaking hours before the opening ceremony, Sushkevich said he had a “calm and reserved” conversation with Putin.“I repeated my one request, the one and most important request, that before and during (the Games) there will be peace,” he said, adding that the Russian leader answered that he would think about his words.“The Ukrainian team, as well as hoping for good results, came with colossal hopes for peace, peace in our country, in Europe, in the world. I am sure .. that the majority is aware of the colossal danger to peace and the right of every person to have peace in the current situation,” he said.Putin later told International Paralympic Committee (IPC) President Philip Craven: “I very much hope the Paralympics will help us reduce the degree of passions around Ukraine.”
A Turkish court has released a former army chief who was jailed for plotting to overthrow the government. Ilker Basbug was given a life sentence in 2013.“The great Turkish nation soon realised that it was not possible to accuse a state chief Major General and its military structure to be at the head of a terrorist organization and that we had nothing to do with ‘putschist’ activities,” Ilker Basbug said on his release on Friday evening.The order to free him came after Turkey’s constitutional court ruled that Basbug’s detention for his alleged role in the “Ergenekon” conspiracy violated his rights. The move could set a precedent for more than 200 other defendants who’ve been jailed over the Ergenekon affair. It comes as Erdogan is engaged in a power struggle with some members of the judiciary who had helped him jail Basbug and other army officials.
Armed men, thought to be Russians according to Reuters reporter, drove a truck into a Ukrainian missile defence post in the Crimea region on Friday and took control without ashot being fired, a Reuters reporter on the scene said.Initial reports said the truck had smashed through the gates and that post in the city of Sevastopol was being stormed but the reporter could not see any signs of the gates being damaged.A Ukrainian military official, Vladislav Seleznyov, said by telephone that the armed men took over the base without any shooting and that no one was hurt. Another Ukrainian official told Reuters at the post that he was now mediating between the Ukrainian forces and the armed group inside, and that no arms had been seized.Reuters
One of the world’s most treasured archaeological sites, the ancient city of Pompeii, has a new head of restoration.Pompeii is a UNESCO World heritage site and was home to around 13,000 people when it was buried under ash from a volcanic eruption in 79 AD. The EU has allocated 105 million euros for Pompeii to be spent by the end of next year.Massimo Osanna, was recently appointed superintendent of the Archeological Site of Pompeii by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzy “We are ready to re-start work immediately. There is an issue with inadequate drainage systems. We need to take decisive action on the entire archeological site,” said the new superintendent. “So far, we’ve started to work on the third area, that is the most delicate, because the soil from the unexcavated area weighs down on this third area of the site. This could result in other issues and dangers,” Osanna added.A series of recent collapses have sparked international outcry over the neglect of the site.Pompeii attracts more than 2 million tourists each year, making it one of Italy’s most popular attractions.
Turkey’s president has ruled out a ban on Facebook and YouTube in the country calling it “out of the question.”President Abdullah Gul was responding to a threat by Prime Minister Erdogan on Thursday to shut down the sites after local elections this month.Erdogan made his comments after audio recordings were posted on the sites allegedly showing him involved in corruption.The latest supposedly has the prime minister berating a newspaper owner on the phone about an article and telling him to sack the journalist.Erdogan said the recordings were fabricated by his political enemies and were fragments of different conversations fitted together to give a false impression.“Myself and some of my friends – not all of them – We are determined on this subject. We will not leave this nation at the mercy of YouTube and Facebook, “ Prime Minister Erdogan told Turkish broadcaster ATV. Turkey’s president said authorities could only block access to the sites if a “person’s privacy is violated. “The prime minister’s threat however is not an empty one. Turkey banned YouTube for more than two years until 2010 after users posted videos the government said were insulting to the republic’s founder, Ataturk.
Foreign ministers from Nordic, Baltic and Visegrad countries have condemned the “Russian attack on Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.” They’ve called for an EU observer mission in Ukraine.A statement by the group of ministers, who met for a summit in Estonia on Thursday and Friday, said that “an act of aggression has been committed against a European country by Russian military forces.” Carl Bildt, Swedish Foreign Minister, attended the summit and explained that the Russian Federation has to do two things: “They have to take back the decision by the Federation Council, which was a decision to threaten an invasion of a neighbouring country. And they have to take their forces back to the barracks (bases) in Crimea.”Anders Borg, Swedish Foreign Minister, whose country has strong ties to the Baltics, said Russia was “a bit more erratic and unpredictable” and called for more defence spending. His statement came a day after Sweden moved two fighter jets to Gotland, a Baltic island almost demilitarized in recent years.Meanwhile, a US Navy guided-missile destroyer has passed through Turkey’s Bosphorus straits en route to the Black Sea. Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula extends into the north of the Black Sea and is home to Russia’s military base there in Sevastopol.A US military statement said “the ship will conduct a port visit and routine, planned exercises with allies and partners in the region.”The Pentagon is deploying F-16 jet fighters to the region, as well as 200 service personnel, for a training exercise in Poland, which has been expanded since the Ukraine crisis broke.
US job growth rose more than expected in February, even though extreme winter weather disrupted economic activity.American employers added 175,000 workers to their payrolls. In addition the totals for December and January were revised up to show 25,000 more jobs created during those months than previouslyreported..With snow and ice covering densely populated areas during the week employers were surveyed for the February statistics, the financial world had been braced for much weaker numbers.The unemployment rate did rise slightly from 6.6 to 6.7 percent of the workforce, though that was blamed on people staying home in the bad weather.The survey of households from which the unemployment rate is derived showed 601,000 people could not get to work because of the storms, the highest level for February since 2010.In addition 6.9 million people with jobs reported they were working part-time because of the weather. That was the highest reading for February since the series started in 1978.The jobs figures showed professional and business services hiring increased by the most in a year. Private sector payrolls rose by 162,000 and government added 13,000 jobs. Federal Reserve officials, including Chair Janet Yellen, have indicated they believe the recent weakness in job creation is largely weather-related and temporary.Most economists expect Fed policymakers to announce further cuts in their stimulus programme when they meet later this month.“This bodes well for the economy since there were massive headwinds,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive at Sarhan Capital in New York. “This report plays perfectly into the Fed’s script of tapering.”Wall Street – which was expecting something lower – reacted positively. The S&P 500 share index hit a fresh intraday high, but traders remained cautious amid the simmering crisis in Ukraine.
Ukrainian border guards say Moscow has poured almost 20-thousand troops into crisis-hit Crimea.That is on top of the 11-thousand already permanently based with Russian Black Sea fleet in the port of Sevastopol.President Vladimir Putin denies that forces with no national insignia are under Moscow’s command. He has also rebuffed a US warning over military intervention.Following a telephone conversation with Barack Obama, Putin reiterated that his country cannot ignore calls for help from Russian speakers in the region. Obama announced the first sanctions against Moscow since the start of the crisis.Meanwhile, unarmed military observers deployed by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe have been denied access to Crimea – after arriving in the Ukrainian port of Odessa.The crisis escalated on Thursday, when Crimea’s regional government set a referendum on the peninsula’s status for 16 March.The vote is coming under from the West, but it has won Russian backing. One Russian parliament leader has stressed that Crimea has a right to self-determination.
The head of the Ukrainian paralympic team has said his athletes will stay in Sochi for now but would quit if there were an escalation in the conflict or if Russia invaded Ukraine.Valeriy Sushkevich said he had met personally with Putin and asked him to guarantee peace during the Games. Putin had apparently replied saying he would think about his words.The Games take place at Sochi with the ongoing crisis in Crimea just 600 kilometres away, along the Black Sea coast.The opening ceremony will happen on Friday evening. Several countries including Britain, the US, Poland and Canada have cancelled plans to send their government ministers in protest over events in Crimea.Putin has said that any boycott of the Paralympics over Ukraine would be “the height of cynicism”.
Worldwide, gender inequality remains widespread. In extreme cases in some global regions girls are still sold as child brides, verbally, physically or sexually assaulted and denied access to education. Even in developed nations committed to gender equality, women often suffer from a lack of opportunity, unfair treatment and simple prejudice. In this edition of Learning World, presented by Maha Barada, we focus on three women who have defied the odds, overcoming different challenges to reach the top. Our first report takes us to New York where we meet Grammy-winning singer Angelique Kidjo.As well as being a top recording artist Kidjo, who was born in Benin, devotes her time to helping girls and women in Africa. One of her projects is the remarkable career that has included a stint as a government minister and senior posts at the World Health Organisation. She says her success is all down to having had an education, and she is determined that more African girls have the same opportunity. Our third subject did not have to overcome such adversity, but her achievements in the male-dominated world of diving are amazing nonetheless. ==