MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — A prosecutor says that the third mate steering a South Korean ferry at the time of a major accident was navigating those waters for the first time. Senior prosecutor Yang Jung-jin told reporters that the 25-year-old mate was steering the ship as it passed through an area with lots of islands clustered close together and fast currents.
MOKPO, South Korea (AP) — The captain of the ferry that sank off South Korea, leaving more than 300 missing or dead, was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need — three of whom were seen lifeless in the drowned vessel by a diver who was unable to get them out. Rescuers planned 40 dives Saturday in an attempt to enter the ferry and retrieve at least some of the more than 270 people missing. A civilian diver saw the three bodies inside the ship through windows but was unable to break the windows, said Kwon Yong-deok, a coast guard official. Strong currents and rain made it difficult to get inside the ferry, where most of the passengers are believed to have been trapped, coast guard spokesman Kim Jae-in said.
KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Rescuers were digging through piles of snow and ice Saturday for four Sherpa guides buried on Mount Everest when an avalanche swept down the slopes and killed 12 other Nepalese guides in the deadliest disaster on the world's highest peak. Seven of the 12 bodies pulled out and brought down Friday have been handed over to their families in the Everest region, while the other five were taken to Katmandu.
PERTH, Australia (AP) — An underwater robotic submarine is expected to finish searching a narrowed down area of the Indian Ocean seabed for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane within the next week, after completing six missions and so far coming up empty, the search coordination center said Saturday. As the hunt for Flight 370 hit week six, the Bluefin 21 unmanned sub began its seventh trip into the depths off the coast off western Australia. Its search area forms a 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) circle around the location of an underwater signal that was believed to be coming from the aircraft's black boxes before the batteries died. The sonar scan of the seafloor in that area is expected to be completed in five to seven days, the center said in an email to The Associated Press.
Travelers at Asian airports have asked questions about the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Here are some of them, followed by answers. Samuel Rogers, a 20-year-old German on a backpacking trip, in Bangkok and on his way to Malaysia.
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Following is the transcript released by the Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries of the conversation between Jeju Vessel Traffic Services Center (VTS) on Jeju Island and The Sewol, the ferry that sank on Wednesday. The original transcript is in Korean and the translation was done by The Associated Press. It starts off form the first distress call made by the ferry: Radio conversation on VHF (very high frequency) Channel 12
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Most didn't notice the new library at this Islamic seminary for girls near Pakistan's capital, until locals saw the paper sign in Urdu posted on its wooden door: "Library of Osama bin Laden, the Martyr." Cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz, a radical preacher who runs the Jamia Hafsa madrassa, wanted to honor the memory of the al-Qaida leader, killed in a May 2011 raid by U.S. Navy SEALs on his hiding place in Abbottabad, a garrison town about 125 kilometers (75 miles) north of the capital, Islamabad.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is focusing President Barack Obama's upcoming Asia-Pacific trip on the economic benefits of closer ties to the region, but regional security concerns are likely to be pushed higher on the president's agenda because of the tense situation between Russia and Ukraine. Japan and South Korea, two of the four countries Obama will visit next week, are eyeing the fluid developments in Eastern Europe through the lens of their own sea and air disputes with China, and North Korean provocations. The leaders of Japan and South Korea, both close U.S. allies, will want Obama's reassurance that the U.S. will back them up.
MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday. The man returned Tuesday on an Etihad Airways flight and immediately subjected himself to quarantine along with relatives and others who greeted him on arrival from the United Arab Emirates, Health Secretary Enrique Ona said.
TOKYO (AP) — Japan will target fewer whales when its Pacific hunt begins next week and will observe them in the Antarctic next season with the aim of resuming full-fledged commercial whaling, the fisheries minister said Friday. The announcement underscored that Japan hasn't abandoned its plans to continue whaling in both oceans for research purposes, an allowed exception to a global ban on commercial whaling. Last month, the International Court of Justice ordered Japan to suspend its Antarctic program because it was virtually commercial, not scientific as Japan had contended.
BEIJING (AP) — Faced with growing public anger about a poisonous environment, China's government released a yearslong study that shows nearly one-fifth of the country's farmland is contaminated with toxic metals, a stunning indictment of unfettered industrialization under the Communist Party's authoritarian rule. The report, previously deemed so sensitive it was classified as a state secret, names the heavy metals cadmium, nickel and arsenic as the top contaminants.
WASHINGTON (AP) — When President Barack Obama travels abroad, sometimes it's not enough for just the leader of the free world to show up. People in other countries want the first lady, too. But Michelle Obama won't join her husband when he heads to Asia next week, and her absence is likely to sting, especially in image-conscious Japan. It's the first of four countries on Obama's travel schedule and one of two that are welcoming him with official state visits.
SAN PEDRO CUTUD, Philippines (AP) — Devotees in northern Philippine villages had themselves nailed to wooded crosses to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ as thousands of local and foreign spectators watched the bloody annual rites to mark Good Friday in Asia's largest Roman Catholic nation. Church leaders and health officials have spoken against the practice, which mixes Roman Catholic devotion with folk belief, but the annual rites continue to draw participants and huge crowds, particularly in northern Pampanga province.
KUPANG, Indonesia (AP) — A boat loaded with people in a Good Friday procession capsized in high waves off eastern Indonesia, leaving dozens of people missing and at least seven dead, police said. Rescuers and fishermen saved 30 injured people who were rushed to a hospital, local police spokesman Lt. Col. Okto Riwu said. The fishing boat was designed to hold only 30 people but had more than 70 aboard.
HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — A Chinese man who was being repatriated from Vietnam along with 15 other migrants seized a gun from a border guard on Friday, triggering a gunfight and standoff in which five Chinese and two Vietnamese guards died, Vietnam's government said. Vietnamese authorities detained the 16 Chinese — 10 men, four women and two children — after they entered the country illegally in Quang Ninh province, the regional government said in a statement.
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