World news briefs: 3/8/14

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Passenger jet feared lost

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia Airlines says it has lost contact with a plane carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew on route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The airline says that Flight MH370 lost contact with Subang air traffic control at 2:40 a.m. today.

The flight is operated on a Boeing 777-200 aircraft. It departed Kuala Lumpur at 12: 41 a.m. today and was expected to land in Beijing at 6: 0 a.m. this morning.

Malaysia opposition leader

A Malaysian appeals court sentenced Anwar Ibrahim, the country's opposition leader, on Friday to five years in prison on charges of sodomy, a conviction that critics described as an attempt to block the ascendancy of the opposition at a time when the governing party's popularity is waning.

Mr. Anwar, 66, was due to register for a local election next week, and a victory could have put him in charge of the country's richest state, Selangor. Although Mr. Anwar is appealing the decision, and was released on bail Friday, the conviction bars him from office.

Damaging testimony heard

PRETORIA, South Africa -- In a day of potentially damaging testimony, a former girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius said at his murder trial Friday that he once shot his gun out of a car sunroof and later cheated on her with the woman he killed last year. And a security guard recalled the athlete telling him everything was "fine" after neighbors reported gunshots coming from Mr. Pistorius' house on the night of her death.

The proceedings have focused on past incidents involving alleged gunplay, part of an apparent prosecution effort to portray the double-amputee Olympian as a hothead who sometimes thought he was above authority.

Abbas: No 'Jewish state'

RAMALLAH, West Bank -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said there is "no way" he will recognize Israel as a Jewish state and accept a Palestinian capital in just a portion of Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, rebuffing what Palestinians fear will be key elements of a U.S. peace proposal.

Mr. Abbas' comments signaled that the gaps between him and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remain wide after seven months of mediation efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Saudis vs. 'Brotherhood'

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- Saudi Arabia officially designated the Muslim Brotherhood and several other Islamist groups as terrorist organizations, according to an Interior Ministry statement reported by the state-run Saudi News Agency.

Two days ago, Saudi Arabia and two Arab allies recalled their envoys from Qatar over its support for the Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia views the Islamist organization as a threat because it seeks to bring political Islam to power via the ballot box.


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