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Recovering the black boxes from the Malaysia Airlines jet that crashed into the southern Indian Ocean is a Herculean task, even with the wealth of sophisticated equipment being deployed.

Any hope of finding survivors from the missing plane was extinguished on Monday when Malaysia's prime minister announced satellite data showed MH370's journey had "ended in the southern Indian Ocean" off the west coast of Australia.

Seventeen days after the Boeing 777 disappeared, distraught relatives were forced to accept what they had long feared -- that the 239 passengers and crew on board were never coming home.


The plane's two black boxes are key to solving the mystery of why the plane veered so far off course and its final fate, but experts say that the search for them will be long and difficult.

In theory, the black boxes containing flight data and cockpit voice recordings will continue emitting tracking signals for about another two weeks, with an average audible range of two to three kilometres (nearly two miles).

But with no debris in the remote search area confirmed as linked to the plane, it is still a case of looking for a needle in a haystack.

"Picking up a signal from the beacon seems an outside chance," said a member of the team that hunted the black boxes from Air France flight AF447 that crashed in the Atlantic in 2009.

- Vast search zone -

The investigator, who asked to remain anonymous, noted that in the Air France case the signals were not heard at all. One transmitter had failed and the other had fallen off on impact and was never found, he said.

"So I'm fairly pessimistic about this approach," he said, recommending that the immediate priority should be to catalogue every piece of debris that is discovered.




Almost  10 years ago Vladimir Putin came to Ukraine. Then on Ukrainian television, he campaigned for the government candidate - Viktor Yanukovich. Former intelligence bet on double sitting felon. Russian media, significant sums political strategists, even Orthodox priests were thrown out to bring him to power. However, the Ukrainian people took to the streets peacefully protesting against the rigged elections. Then we all thought that the Orange Revolution triumphed and Ukraine had a good vaccination against tyranny.

Several years passed, and Yanukovych , using , strife between Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko , still came in the corridors of power . Step by step, he firmly advancing steadily on the rights and liberties of Ukrainians , stifled free press , tearing apart the opposition faction in parliament. His son, in a short time , became a billionaire , and journalists excitedly wrote about the shadow corruption schemes related to the son of the head of state. Behind their backs Yanukovych , rubbing his hands with satisfaction , stood Putin . Ukraine gradually transformed into Belarus, further and further moving away from the civilized world toward Asian dictatorship.

Almighty  Putin*s plans  confused  by ordinary students who came to Kiev*s main square * Maidan* in November last year . Yanukovych , enticed cash loans from Moscow , just refused to sign the document on the EU-Ukraine Association . Logic dictator understandable, because Europeans demanded to release opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, fair elections and radical reforms . Russia also gave money and instead asked only to lay his knees . Rebellious youth like animals dispersed special squad "Berkut" . Only Yanukovych , like Putin , greatly miscalculated. Ukrainian people refused to cave . Less than a day after the massacre , on Independence gathered hundreds of thousands of people.

Day after day, people's resistance was growing stronger . Police catch activists ridiculed them , scurrying around Kiev authorities hired criminals who kidnap leaders protesters. And the people became more and more in the capital of their supporters came from all regions . In the 20- degree frost protesters poured water from a point blank shot machines , they were beated upc,snipers fired on them. Increased the number of deaths , which exceeded one hundred . However, the Ukrainian people was held , and he proved that no one can break his desire for freedom. Yanukovych in a hurry fled from his palace , leaving adrift huge amount of jewelry , vintage cars and other luxury items . He flew to Russia , and from the traitor refused even members of his party , formerly zealously supporting it .

Putin realized that he may lose Ukraine forever. Strong, rich state, where people are not jailed from - for a poster in his hand, and next side  to Russia, this is a nightmare for the master of the Kremlin. Indeed, in this case Russian can begin to ask questions, be interested in: "And why Ukrainians, without oil and gas, live better than us?". Naturally it is an ordinary revenge people who mistook him twice in a row all the cards.




In the dark of night in Crimea, Anastasiya steps into a pool of yellowish light from a street lamp.

The weary 30-year-old with mousy blonde hair looks furtively side to side and her voice falls to a whisper at the sounds of passersby.

"There is not going to be any democracy here. Not with Putin in charge," said Anastasiya, who lives in a housing block on the scrappy western outskirts of Simferopol -- the main city on the Kremlin-ruled peninsula.

"I want to leave but I can't sell my flat. What am I going to do? I just don't have the money," the mother of two said in an interview with AFP.

Ukraine's government estimates there are 25,000 people in Crimea like Anastasiya who want to flee the region after its Russian takeover.

Some of them are already leaving, moving in with friends and relatives in other parts of the country.

The government has set up special hotlines for people fleeing to find jobs and receive pensions, although the practicalities of uprooting and moving to a new city can be daunting.

Before a March 16 disputed referendum on breaking off from Ukraine and joining Russia, there were a few isolated pro-unity rallies in Crimea.



About a million children, double the previous estimate, fall ill with tuberculosis every year, said a study Monday that also gave the first tally of drug-resistant TB among the young.

"Many cases of tuberculosis and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis disease are not being detected in children," it said.

The team's computer model, based on population data and previous studies, suggests 999,800 people aged under 15 fell sick with TB in 2010.

Around 40 percent of the cases were in Southeast Asia and 28 percent in Africa.

"Our estimate of the total number of new cases of childhood TB is twice that estimated by the WHO (World Health Organisation) in 2011, and three times the number of child TB cases notified globally each year," said Ted Cohen from the Harvard School of Public Health.

The research, published in The Lancet, coincides with World TB Day, which places the spotlight on a disease that claims some 1.3 million lives each year.


The team estimated that nearly 32,000 children in 2010 had multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB), meaning the strain was impervious to frontline drugs isoniazid and rifampin and was thus harder and costlier to treat.

This is the first estimate of MDR-TB among children under 15, who constitute a quarter of the global population.

Children are at a higher risk of disease and death from MDR-TB, but react well to medication. They are harder to diagnose, partly because smaller children cannot cough up sputum samples needed for laboratory tests.




As the conflict between Ukraine and Russia escalates to a "military stage" after Moscow's move to claim the Black Sea region of Crimea, hundreds of Ukrainians have mobilised to fight the battle on another front -- the media.

Journalists, advertising executives and students have signed up as volunteers to join a propaganda war against Russia, which they accuse of deliberately misleading the public using wide-reaching state-controlled news agencies, television channels and newspapers.

"Ukraine has been losing the war that's being waged in the media. Russians have been very consciously, deliberately pursuing the strategy of misinforming the worldwide community," Yaryna Klyuchkovska, one of the coordinators of the recently established Ukraine Crisis Media Centre, told AFP.

"Our weapon is information... We need to mobilise to provide a counterweight," added her colleague Oxana Melnychuk.

The centre set up by PR and advertising executives holds daily news conferences with ministers and activists, and publishes analyses that counter the Russian point of view.

Another group of mostly journalists and students have meanwhile created a fact-checking website called that examines official statements and news reports, and if necessary, sets the record straight.

Both information resources quickly gained a wide following in the social media sphere, acquiring a reputation like that of EuromaidanPR -- the official voice of the protests that broke out in Kiev in November and led to the ouster of pro-Kremlin president Viktor Yanukovych.

Russian troops subseqently took control of Crimea, and on Tuesday Putin signed a treaty absorbing the flashpoint peninsula, while Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk warned that "the conflict is shifting from a political to a military stage".

Yevhen Fedchenko, who is director of Kiev's Mohyla School of Journalism and one of the coordinators of, said the aim of the website is to fill the "total vacuum of information" from the new Ukrainian authorities.




The 65th edition of the Netherlands' massive flower show at Keukenhof, the world's largest bulb garden with over seven million flowers, opened to the public on Thursday.

"The park is now open for two months and we received our first coachload of visitors this morning, from Singapore," Keukenhof spokeswoman Annemarie Gerards-Adriaansens told AFP.

Each year the park has a different theme, usually based on a country, and this year's theme is simply the Netherlands.






US Navy Seals have boarded and taken control of a North Korea-flagged tanker that had loaded crude oil at a port held by rebels in eastern Libya, the Pentagon said Monday.





Dutch food and cosmetics giant Unilever said on Sunday it has bought a majority stake in Chinese water purification company Qinyuan in its biggest investment in the country in a decade.

"We are delighted to be making this strategic investment –- a majority stake in Qinyuan -– our biggest acquisition in China for more than 10 years," Unilever chief executive Paul Polman said in a statement.

Rotterdam-based Unilever, which last year clocked up a net profit of 4.84 billion euros ($6.56 billion), declined to put an amount on the deal or disclose the size of its stake.

Qinyuan last year made almost 140 million euros in sales in China's rapidly-expanding water purification market, which has grown more than 20 percent a year over the last three years, Unilever said.





The world's oldest known Holocaust survivor, the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary, has died in London aged 110, her family announced.

Alice Herz-Sommer, originally from Prague, spent two years of World War II in Czechoslovakia's Terezin concentration camp, where she entertained inmates by playing the piano.

Her grandson, Ariel Sommer, explained: "Alice Sommer passed away peacefully this morning with her family by her bedside. Much has been written about her, but to those of us who knew her best, she was our dear 'Gigi'.

"She loved us, laughed with us, and cherished music with us. She was an inspiration and our world will be significantly poorer without her by our side. We mourn her loss and ask for privacy in this very difficult moment."





Eight college students were killed and dozens more feared trapped after an auditorium collapsed under heavy snow Monday at a resort in the southern South Korean city of Gyeongju, rescue workers said.

As many as 450 students were believed to have been attending a concert in the building when the roof caved in around 9:15 pm (1215 GMT).

Police officials quoted by the Yonhap news agency said eight people had been confirmed killed in the collapse and around 50 more were thought to still be trapped inside the building.

A spokesman for the local fire service had earlier told AFP by telephone that 73 people were injured, 15 of them seriously.

Rescue workers were continuing to search for the dozens more students who were feared trapped inside the collapsed structure, he said.

Yonhap reported that police feared the toll could rise throughout the night, with around 300 rescuers on the scene.

The collapse appeared to have been caused by heavy snow which had piled up on the roof of the auditorium.

"The ceiling came crashing down at the front near the stage," one student told the YTN news channel.

"Then pandemonium broke out and everyone started rushing towards the exits, shouting and screaming," he added.