KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- No sign of the missing Malaysian jetliner has been found at a spot where Chinese satellite images showed what might be plane debris, Malaysia's civil aviation chief says, deflating the latest lead in the five-day hunt. "There is nothing. We went there, there is nothing," Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. By Chris Brummitt and Jim Gomez. Sent: 320 words; UPCOMING: 800 words, photos.
YANGON, Myanmar -- Tearfully, the chief editor scours the last-ever edition of his newspaper before sending the proofread copy to the printing press. His once-bustling newsroom is quiet. Some reporters clear their desks while others try to cheer up their boss with words of gratitude -- or even some homemade pork stew. Khin Maung Lay is one of many Myanmar journalists who last year embraced the chance to produce independent daily newspapers free from censorship for the first time in five decades. It was not the government that shut him down, but economics: His paper and others have struggled to compete with state-owned papers for advertisers and circulation. By Aye Aye Win. UPCOMING: 900 words by 0800GMT, photos.
NEW YORK -- An Indian diplomat whose arrest and strip-search spurred an international flap had the case against her dismissed by a federal judge, but prosecutors suggested they might refile the charges stemming from claims she exploited her housekeeper. For now, at least, Wednesday's ruling closes the case against Devyani Khobragade on the grounds of diplomatic immunity. Sent: By Jennifer Peltz.
BEIJING -- China's premier says this year's economic growth will be kept at an "appropriate level" this year to generate needed new jobs and vowed to crack down on corruption and smog. By Joe McDonald. Sent: 120 words; UPCOMING 700 words by 0600gmt. Photos.
BEIJING -- Premier Li Keqiang says Beijing and Washington should focus on their mutual interests and the long term, sounding a cordial note despite a recent spat over President Obama's meeting with an exiled Tibetan spiritual leader. Sent: 130 words.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra pleads guilty to four food-safety violations following a botulism scare last year. Government officials earlier in the day filed charges accusing the world's largest dairy exporter of processing and exporting products in a way that didn't meet standards and then failing to notify officials quickly enough when it became aware of the lapses. Sent: 360 words.
SEOUL, South Korea -- Asian stock markets were higher Thursday as jitters over China's slowdown eased and investors awaited new economic data to digest. Markets were recovering some of their losses from the previous day's sell-off, which was sparked by worries over China's economic outlook and subsequent drops in commodity prices. By Youkyung Lee. Sent, photos.
NEW ZEALAND-INTEREST RATES
WELLINGTON, New Zealand -- In another sign the world economy is finally picking up steam after five years of recession and anemic growth, New Zealand on Thursday became the first developed nation to embark on a series of interest rate hikes. Sent: 480 words, photo.
US & INTERNATIONAL
WASHINGTON -- Counting down to a high-stakes Crimean referendum, President Barack Obama declares that the U.S. would "completely reject" a vote opening the door for the strategic Ukrainian peninsula to join Russia if the election goes ahead on Sunday. Adding pressure on Russia, the Senate advanced a package of potentially tough economic sanctions against Moscow. By Julie Pace and Bradley Klapper. SENT: 900 words.
NEW YORK -- A gas leak triggered an earthshaking explosion that flattened two apartment buildings, killing at least three people, injuring more than 60 and leaving nine missing. By Wednesday evening, rescue workers finally began the search for victims amid the broken bricks, splintered wood and mangled metal after firefighters spent most of the day dousing the flames. Sent: 900 words. By Jonathan Lemire and Jake Pearson.
PRETORIA, South Africa -- A South African police officer swung a cricket bat at Oscar Pistorius' bullet-marked bathroom door during his murder trial, using two key pieces of evidence to re-enact the night he killed his girlfriend. Police Col. J.G. Vermeulen faced tough questioning from Pistorius' defense lawyer, who tried to discredit the police investigation of the shooting and alleged that Vermeulen, a forensic expert, made glaring missteps in his analysis. By Gerald Imray and Christopher Torchia. Sent, photos.
WASHINGTON -- The festering dispute between the CIA and Senate investigators that exploded in public this week shows just how hard it can be to learn from the past and move on. Thirteen years after the terror attacks of 9/11, the government still is struggling over what public reckoning should be made for harsh interrogation techniques introduced by former President George W. Bush and later banned by President Barack Obama. Some questions and answers about what happens next. By Connie Cass and Nancy Benac. Sent: 900 words.
VATICAN-POPE'S FIRST YEAR
VATICAN CITY -- From his simple sound bites to his breaking of Vatican rules, Pope Francis has made being Catholic cool. As he celebrates a year as pope, A look at some key moments in Francis' first year give insight to what the future may hold for the 1.2-billion strong Catholic Church. By Nicole Winfield. SENT: 990 words, photos.
WASHINGTON -- For years, many Americans followed a simple career path: Land an entry-level job. Accept a modest wage. Gain skills. Leave eventually for a better-paying job. The workers benefited, and so did lower-wage retailers like Wal-Mart: When staffers left for better-paying jobs, they could spend more at its stores. Not so much anymore. Many of the next-tier jobs no longer exist, so lower-wage workers are having to stay put. The resulting bottleneck is helping widen a gap between the richest Americans and everyone else. "Some people took those jobs because they were the only ones available and haven't been able to figure out how to move out of that," William Simon, CEO of Wal-Mart U.S., acknowledged in an interview with The Associated Press. By Josh Boak. SENT: 1,700 words, photos, video.
LOS ANGELES -- Posting a selfie? Leave a little room for Scruffy the dog in case of muttbomb. Dallas Pets Alive started muttbombing as a local dog rescue campaign but in just one month, it's become a global Instagram craze. Pictures of dogs up for adoption fit perfectly into Instagram selfies, and the group added instructions on how to adopt. Then the muttbombed selfies spread to Hollywood and New York, showing up in Ellen DeGeneres' Oscar selfie and a Jimmy Fallon skit. By Sue Manning. SENT: 850 words, photos.
WASHINGTON -- Republicans have a new calling card for the midterm elections, same as the old one. It's "Obamacare" all the way after the party's triumph in a special election for a House seat in Florida. Individual Democrats must decide now how closely to stick to the controversial program as their own races take shape in the fall. An AP Analysis by Special Correspondent Daivd Espo. SENT: 750 words, photos.
--REPUBLICANS-ABORTION -- Looking to aid political candidates who share their views, anti-abortion activists are auditioning potential 2016 presidential contenders Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz. SENT: 750 words, photos.
WASHINGTON -- Sidestepping Congress, President Obama intends to order changes in overtime rules so that employers would be required to pay millions more workers for the extra time they put in on the job. Obama's move serves his economic and political ends during an election year but draws protests from Republicans and the business community. By Jim Kuhnhenn. SENT: 700 words, photos.
KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- It began with a rattle of gunfire when insurgents attacked a former intelligence headquarters. For more than an hour, automatic weapons fire resounded in this southern Afghan city as police and commandos hunted down the three attackers. The battle provided a rare firsthand glimpse of Afghan security forces in action without international support -- showing some weaknesses and glitches, but eventually emerging victorious. By Kathy Gannon. SENT: 450 words, photos. SENT: 750 words, photos.
JERUSALEM -- Israel's parliament votes to begin drafting large numbers of ultra-Orthodox men into the military, moving to end a contentious system that allowed them to evade army service but enraged secular Israelis. But the heated culture war only widens, with both sides criticizing the law. It could also shake Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's longstanding alliance with religious political parties. By Josef Federman. SENT: 900 words, photos.
ALSO GETTING ATTENTION:
-- ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS -- Gaza militants fire dozens of rockets into Israel, no casualties reported. SENT: 490 words, photos.
-- STUDENT SUES PARENTS -- New Jersey honor student who sued parents for financial support returns home, asks for privacy. SENT: 495 words, photos, video.
-- WALL STREET BONUSES -- NY comptroller: Average Wall Street bonus topped $164K in 5th year of post-crisis profits. SENT: 320 words.
-- STOLEN SUV -- A dramatic car chase that crisscrossed Denver started when a man stole an SUV with a 4-year-old boy inside, then ended after the carjacker stole two other vehicles and ran over a state trooper. SENT: 500 words, photos. AP Video pursuing.
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