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Malaysia: No debris at spot shown on China images
Written by CHRIS BRUMMITT, Associated Press JIM GOMEZ, Associated Press   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 04:28

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Planes sent Thursday to check the spot where Chinese satellite images showed possible debris from the missing Malaysian jetliner found nothing, Malaysia's civil aviation chief said, deflating the latest lead in the six-day hunt.

"There is nothing. We went there, there is nothing," Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

Adding to the mystery, The Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. investigators suspect the plane flew on for four hours once it lost contact with air traffic controllers, based on data from the plane's engines that are automatically downloaded and transmitted to the ground as part of routine maintenance programs.

The report, based on two anonymous sources, raises questions as to why the Boeing 777 would have been flying without passive or active contact with the ground, and if anyone would have been in control during that time. U.S. counterterrorism officials are considering whether a pilot or someone else on board intentionally disabled the jetliner's transponders to avoid detection and divert it, the report said.

Former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew dies
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 04:27

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Former Florida Gov. Reubin Askew, who guided the state through a period of school busing to achieve integration in the 1970s, died early Thursday. He was 85.

Ron Sachs, a former aide, told The Associated Press that Askew died surrounded by family members at Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare.

Askew rose from obscurity in the Florida Legislature to become the Democrats' surprise gubernatorial nominee in 1970 and then beat the incumbent Republican, Claude Kirk.

Askew's eight years in office coincided with the end of the Vietnam War, Watergate and dramatic social change across the nation.

Askew was a liberal on racial issues and crusaded for overhauling the state's tax laws, open government, environmental protection, ethics legislation and streamlining the courts and other governmental agencies.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rare redwood faces chopping block in California
Written by JASON DEAREN, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 15:29

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — It's a tree so rare that there are believed to be fewer than 10 of its kind in the world, and it could be chopped down to make way for commuter trains in Northern California.

Preservationists are hoping to stoke public awareness and save the albino chimero coast redwood growing in the small Sonoma County town of Cotati.

Standing 52-feet tall, the tree features a unique mixture of normal green leaves and white, albino sections. It's believed to be the largest of its kind on the planet.

But Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) officials say the decision to remove it is out of their hands.

Federal regulators have determined the tree must come down for safety reasons. The genetically mutated redwood is apparently too close to a proposed set of new tracks.

Two dead after driver hits them at Texas festival
Written by Associated Press   
Thursday, 13 March 2014 04:26

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Police say a man and woman have been killed after a drunken driver fleeing from arrest crashed through barricades set up for the South By Southwest festival and struck the pair and others on a crowded street.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says 23 others were injured, five of them critically, in the incident around 12:30 a.m. Thursday. He says the two people who died were on a mo-ped that the motorist hit along with pedestrians who were leaving a club where a concert had been held.

The chief says the man also struck a cab before jumping out of his car and trying to run. Officers shocked him with a stun gun and took him into custody.

Acevedo says the man faces two counts of capital murder.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Police: Three who attacked Wisconsin couple went to wrong home
Written by TAYLOR W. ANDERSON, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 15:27

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A home invasion in which a man was severely beaten and his pregnant wife was repeatedly sexually assaulted may have been meant for a neighboring house, authorities in Wisconsin said.

Three men face sexual assault and armed robbery charges after police said they broke into a Madison home looking for money, found the couple lying in bed and assaulted the woman, who was six months pregnant, after beating her husband.

A criminal complaint filed Tuesday details a botched robbery plan that may have been intended to target the victims' neighbor. Authorities said a woman told the assailants they'd find at least $1,500 in cash in the home of the man she was seeing, but that the men broke into the wrong home.

Michon A. Thomas, Eric D. Bass and Kristopher J. Hughes all face robbery and sexual assault charges in the in the Feb. 23 home invasion on Madison's east side. Three others accused of helping plan and carry out the attack also have been charged.

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