Deep-sea pulses unverified but 'encouraging' sign in hunt for jet as more ships rush to probe
PERTH, Australia (AP) — Three separate but fleeting sounds from deep in the Indian Ocean offered new hope Sunday in the hunt for the missing Malaysian airliner, as officials rushed to determine whether they were signals from the plane's black boxes before their beacons fall silent.
The head of the multinational search being conducted off Australia's west coast confirmed that a Chinese ship had picked up electronic pulsing signals twice in a small patch of the search zone, once on Friday and again on Saturday.
On Sunday, an Australian ship carrying sophisticated deep-sea sound equipment picked up a third signal in a different part of the massive search area.
"This is an important and encouraging lead, but one which I urge you to treat carefully," retired Australian Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston, who is coordinating the search, told reporters in Perth.
He stressed that the signals had not been verified as being linked to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which was traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board.
International community praises Afghan vote despite complaints about ballot shortage
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The international community has widely praised Afghanistan for holding national elections that saw a heavy turnout despite complaints about a shortage of ballots and reports of fraud.
Millions of Afghans defied Taliban threats and crowded into mosques and schools being used as polling centers to vote Saturday for a new president and provincial councils. President Hamid Karzai is on his way out, constitutionally barred from a third team after leading the country since after the Taliban were ousted in 2001.
Ballot boxes have been loaded onto trucks and donkeys to be taken to Independent Election Commission facilities where they are being tallied. Officials have said partial results could be released as early as Sunday but caution it is likely to be at least a week before a complete picture emerges.
US deploying drones and missile destroyers to bolster US-Japan defense alliance
TOKYO (AP) — U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered a two-pronged warning to Asia Pacific nations Sunday, announcing that the U.S. will send two additional ballistic missile destroyers to Japan to counter the North Korean threat, and saying China must better respect its neighbors.
In unusually forceful remarks about China, Hagel drew a direct line between Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimea region and the ongoing territorial disputes between China, Japan and others over remote islands in the East China Sea.
"I think we're seeing some clear evidence of a lack of respect and intimidation and coercion in Europe today with what the Russians have done with Ukraine," Hagel told reporters after a meeting with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera. "We must be very careful and we must be very clear, all nations of the world, that in the 21st century this will not stand, you cannot go around the world and redefine boundaries and violate territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations by force, coercion and intimidation whether it's in small islands in the Pacific or large nations in Europe."
Hagel, who will travel to China later this week, called the Asian nation a "great power," and added, "with this power comes new and wider responsibilities as to how you use that power, how you employ that military power."
He said he will talk to the Chinese about having respect for their neighbors, and said, "coercion, intimidation is a very deadly thing that leads only to conflict. All nations, all people deserve respect no matter how large or how small."
Navy warship reaches sailboat carrying sick toddler; rescue transfer to start around dawn
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A U.S. Navy warship reached a crippled sailboat hundreds of miles off the Mexican coast and was preparing Sunday to complete the rescue of a sick 1-year-old girl.
The transfer of the child from the 36-foot boat to the ship was expected to start around dawn, Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Barry Bena said Sunday.
"Sometime this morning as soon as they get some light they are going to take the child off the boat and bring her aboard the naval vessel," Bena told The Associated Press.
A small boat will be used to carry out the operation and it will be safer during daylight, especially since the child's condition has stabilized, the spokesman said.
The girl's family — parents and a 3-year-old sister — were about 900 miles off Mexico on a cruise around the world when they sent a satellite ping for help to the U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday about her illness.
Germans who marry foreigners separated from beloved by strict German language requirements
BERLIN (AP) — Michael Guhle met the love of his life on the beach of a little fishing village in Vietnam. Thi An Nguyen was selling freshly cooked mussels and fruit to the German tourist and they immediately clicked. Soon the Berlin nursing home worker was saving up all of his money and vacation days to visit Nguyen.
Marriage was supposed to bring them together. Instead, it was the beginning of a long ordeal apart. Germany blocked Nguyen from entering the country after she flunked the language test that Germany requires aspiring immigrants to pass — even those married to Germans.
"I thought marrying the person you love and living together was a human right," Guhle said in his modest two-room apartment on the outskirts of Berlin. "Apparently this is not the case in Germany."
Germany adopted German language regulations for prospective immigrants in 2007. Most EU countries — including France, Italy, Spain and Sweden — do not require foreign spouses to pass mandatory language tests before they join their partners in Europe. Austria, Britain and the Netherlands are among countries that require language tests before foreign spouses can enter the country, but experts say Germany's test is the toughest.
The European Commission has criticized the law in Germany, saying it may violate European treaties. And a legal challenge to the European Court of Justice is expected to be heard this month. As things stand, however, binational couples like Guhle and his wife face costly and daunting challenges.
Kentucky freshman not 1-and-done yet: Wildcats beat Wisconsin 74-73 to get to NCAA title game
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — No, this was not an instant replay, though it certainly is turning into a highlight loop that Aaron Harrison and his Kentucky teammates could get used to watching.
Harrison took a pass from his twin brother, Andrew, spotted up from NBA range and watched the ball rattle in for the lead with 5.7 seconds left Saturday night to lift the Wildcats to a 74-73 victory over Wisconsin in the Final Four.
It was a near carbon copy of his game-winner last weekend in the regional final against Michigan. It was every bit as big as the 3 he made the game before that to help Kentucky take the lead for good in the Sweet 16 against Louisville.
"You can't be scared to miss, and you want to be that guy that wants to take the big shots," Aaron Harrison said.
"He has that clutch gene," Wisconsin's Sam Dekker said.
UConn beats No. 1 Florida 63-53 to advance to national championship game
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Shabazz Napier looked up toward the Connecticut fans in the crowd at AT&T Stadium and held up one finger.
The Huskies had just beaten overall No. 1 seed Florida 63-53 on Saturday in the Final Four. But Napier's gesture had another meaning.
"One more to go," the first-team All-American said.
The victory got them into Monday night's title game against Kentucky and it was as good an effort as any team came up with this season against the Gators, who came in having won 30 straight games, a streak that started after a loss to the Huskies four months ago.
"We have been in a lot of dog fights," Napier said. "We are just an experienced group. We believe in each other and continue to believe in each other. ... We are going to win. That is what we do."
Syria state media says mortar shells kill 2 near Damascus Opera House
DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria's state-run media says mortar fire has exploded near the Damascus Opera House, killing two people.
SANA also said that other mortar shells hit nearby areas on Sunday morning.
Syrian rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad often fire mortar shells into the heart of Damascus from strongholds in outlying communities, but the fire has been more intense in recent weeks. The heavier mortar fire is likely to be a response to pro-Assad forces advancing in rebel held areas around the capital and on the Lebanese border.
On Saturday, mortar fire injured 22 people in Damascus.
The Opera House, officially called the Assad House for Culture and Arts, hosted a defiant speech by the embattled leader last year in which he vowed to keep fighting.
Tetris in the sky: Gamers play on Philly building to mark 30th anniversary, celebrate tech
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Sam Robinson said it's been about 15 years since he last played the videogame Tetris on a Game Boy. On Saturday night, he played it on the side of a skyscraper.
Robinson, 30, was among the hundreds of Tetris fans who had a little fun Saturday with a big version of the classic video game on the side of the 29-story Cira Centre in downtown Philadelphia.
"It has been probably 15 years since I played Tetris last on a Game Boy, and it's much different playing on the side of building that's a half-mile away," the city resident said. "Everything's happening so quick."
The hundreds of LED lights embedded in the building's glass facade normally display colorful patterns. On Saturday night, images of supersized shapes "fell" on two sides of the mirrored tower as competitors used joysticks to maneuver them, creating a spectacle against the night sky that organizers hoped inspired onlookers and players to think about the possibilities of technology.
It wasn't the first time Tetris has been played on a building. But the 100,000-square-foot "screen" — which includes the north and south faces of the structure — could be a record.
AP PHOTOS: Fans pay tribute to rocker Kurt Cobain 20 years after his death in Seattle
SEATTLE (AP) — Two decades after Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain killed himself in Seattle, fans flocked to the home where he died to pay homage to the influential rocker.
Fans came from nearby cities like Portland, Ore., or faraway towns in Georgia — some sporting '90s-era "grunge" attire like plaid shirts — to leave handwritten notes, flowers and unopened beers to honor the musician.
Police believe Cobain killed himself on April 5, 1994, and his body was found three days later. An investigation determined that the 27-year-old had taken a massive overdose of heroin and then shot himself with a 20-gauge shotgun.
Cobain's Nirvana helped popularize the Pacific Northwest's heavy, muddy "grunge" rock scene, along with bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Mudhoney.
Nirvana, which sold millions of albums, will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Thursday.