Updated 

In brief | Nation & world | 030814


Malaysia Airlines flight crashes into ocean

BEIJING — Malaysia Airlines confirmed Saturday it had lost contact with a flight carrying 239 people that was en route to Beijing.

The flight was scheduled to land at Beijing at 6:30 a.m. local time, and air traffic controllers lost contact with it at 2:41 a.m.

A Vietnamese newspaper later reported that the Vietnamese Navy had confirmed that the plane crashed into the ocean. According to the reports, Vietnamese military radar recorded the plane crashing into the sea.

There was no confirmation of the report from Malaysia Airlines, however.

“We deeply regret that we have lost all contacts with flight MH370 which departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41 a.m. earlier this morning bound for Beijing,” the airline said in a statement released at 9:05 a.m. Saturday.

The airline said Flight MH370 was carrying 227 passengers, including four Americans, and 12 crew members on a Boeing B777-200 aircraft.

The passengers included 13 different nationalities. “Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft,” the statement said.

“Our team is currently calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew.”

China’s broadcast network CCTV, citing Chinese aviation officials, reported that 158 Chinese nationals were on board the flight.

Blast of winter weather can’t faze US employers; stepped-up hiring lifts hopes for more growth

WASHINGTON — Brutal winter weather snarled traffic, canceled flights and cut power to homes and factories in February. Yet it didn’t faze U.S. employers, who added 175,000 jobs, far more than the two previous months.

Modest but steady job growth has become a hallmark of a nearly 5-year-old economic rebound that remains sluggish yet strikingly resilient. The economy has been slowed by political gridlock, harsh weather and global crises. But those disruptions have not derailed growth.

Though the unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low of 6.6 percent, it did so for an encouraging reason: More people began seeking work. The unemployment rate ticked up because most did not immediately find jobs.

Friday’s report from the Labor Department suggested that a long-hoped-for acceleration in growth and hiring still has not occurred. But that might not be all bad: Households have pared debt and avoided the excessive spending and borrowing that have undercut explosive economies in the past.

Accuser takes stand at Army general’s sexual assault trial, says he threatened to kill her

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — An Army captain who says she was sexually assaulted by a general sobbed Friday as she testified that they had a three-year affair and that he threatened to kill her and her family — and “do it in a way no one would ever know” — if she ever told anyone.

The testimony came on the opening day of the trial of Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, believed to be the highest-ranking U.S. military officer ever court-martialed on sexual assault charges.

Asked by a prosecutor to identify her abuser, the woman looked quickly in Sinclair’s direction at the defense table and pointed at the man with whom she admits violating military law by having an adulterous relationship.

She was given immunity in exchange for her testimony, which was expected to continue through Friday afternoon. She had yet to be asked about the explosive central allegation — that Sinclair twice ended arguments about their relationship by unbuttoning his pants and forcing her head into his lap to perform oral sex.

The trial is unfolding with the Pentagon under heavy pressure to confront rape and other sexual misconduct in the ranks. On Thursday, the Senate rejected a bill that would have stripped commanders of the authority to decide whether to prosecute rapes and other serious crimes.

By wire sources