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777 search futile
Pope Francis marked the rst
anniversary of his election as head of the
Roman Catholic Church overnight with
a tweet from his retreat.
"Pray for me," Francis tweeted on his
English account @pontifex. If you are
a Latin lover, the literary kind, it was
"Orate pro me".
e Pope tweets in nine languages,
including Latin and Arabic, and has
more than 12 million followers.
As tributes poured in and rivers of
words were written about him, Pope
Francis did not hear or see any of them.
He and his top aides are spending
the week on a spiritual retreat in the
relatively simple building of a religious
institution in the town of Ariccia, in the
Alban Hills about 24km away from the
Vatican's frescoed halls.
"Today the Pope is not doing anything
special or di erent from other days. He
is praying," Vatican spokesman Rev
Federico Lombardi told reporters a year
to the day after the surprise election of
former Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge
Pope Francis, 77, went down to the
centre on a bus with the o cials in an
atmosphere similar to a school outing.
e Vatican said they would be returning
the same way tonight.
It is the rst time in living memory that
the Pope has held a retreat outside the
Vatican and is the latest example of Pope
Francis instilling more simplicity in the
He has already given up the spacious
papal apartments for a suite in a guest
house and uses a Ford Focus instead
of the papal limousine. His knack for
memorable o -the-cu comments has
spawned lists of his best quotes over the
Francis, the rst Jesuit pope, is carrying
on a tradition of his religious order to
hold spiritual retreats away from people's
usual place of work in order to inspire
detachment and contemplation.
'Pings' indicate missing plane's systems on for some time
Satellites picked up faint electronic
pulses from Malaysia Airlines Flight
370 after it went missing on Saturday,
but the signals gave no information
about where the stray airliner was
heading and little else about its fate,
two sources close to the investigation
But the "pings" indicated
that the aircraft's maintenance
switched on and ready to communicate
with satellites, showing the aircraft,
with 239 people on board, was at
least capable of communicating after
the airliner lost touch with Malaysian
air tra c controllers.
e system transmits such pings
about once an hour, according to
the sources, who said ve or six were
heard. However, the pings alone are
not proof that the plane was in the air
or on the ground, the sources said.
An international search is under
way over a vast area in the Gulf of
ailand, the Andaman Sea and on
both sides of the Malay Peninsula.
e United States, which has sent
ships and planes, said the area may be
expanding into the Indian Ocean.
"It's my understanding that based
on some new information that's
not necessarily conclusive --- but
new information --- an additional
search area may be opened in the
Indian Ocean," White House
spokesman Jay Carney told reporters
US defence o cials later told
Reuters the US Navy guided-missile
destroyer USS Kidd was on its way
to the Strait of Malacca, west of the
Malaysian peninsula, to continue
the search for the missing Boeing
777, answering a request from the
Malaysian government. e Kidd
had been searching the areas south of
the Gulf of ailand, along with the
destroyer USS Pinckney.
A US defence o cial said a Navy
P-3 Orion aircraft had already
searched the Strait of Malacca.
e new information shed little
light on the mystery of what
happened to the plane, whether there
was a technical failure, a hijacking or
another kind of incident on board
after it took o from Kuala Lumpur
on its way to Beijing.
While the troubleshooting systems
were functioning, no data links were
opened, the sources said, because
the companies involved had not
subscribed to that level of service
from the satellite operator, the sources
Boeing Co, which made the missing
777 airliner, and Rolls-Royce, which
supplied its Trent engines, declined to
Earlier Malaysian o cials denied
reports that the aircraft had continued
to send technical data and said there
was no evidence that it ew for hours
after losing contact with air tra c
controllers early on Saturday.
e Wall Street Journal had reported
that US aviation investigators and
national security o cials believed
the Boeing 777 ew for a total of ve
hours, based on data automatically
downloaded and sent to the ground
from its engines as part of a standard
Malaysian authorities have said
the last civilian contact occurred as
the Boeing 777-200ER ew north
into the Gulf of ailand. ey said
military radar sightings indicated the
plane may have turned sharply to the
west and crossed the Malay Peninsula
toward the Andaman Sea.
It is one of the most ba ing
mysteries in the history of modern
aviation --- there has been no trace
of the plane since nor any sign of
wreckage despite a search by the
navies and military aircraft of over
a dozen countries across South-east
"It's extraordinary that with all the
(satellite and telecommunication)
technology that we've got that an
aircraft can disappear like this," Tony
Tyler, the head of the International
Air Transport Association that links
over 90% of the world's airlines, told
reporters in London.
On the sixth day of the search,
planes scanned an area of sea where
Chinese satellite images had shown
what could be debris but found no
sign of the airliner.
Malaysian Transport Minister
Hishammuddin Hussein told a news
conference the images were provided
accidentally, saying the Chinese
government neither authorised nor
endorsed putting them on a website.
" e image is not con rmed to be
connected to the plane," he said.
It was the latest in a series of
contradictory reports, adding to the
confusion and agony of the relatives
of the passengers, about two-thirds of
whom were Chinese.
As frustration mounted over the
failure to nd any trace of the plane,
China heaped pressure on Malaysia to
improve co-ordination in the search.
Premier Li Keqiang, speaking
at a news conference in Beijing,
demanded that the "relevant party"
step up co-ordination while China's
civil aviation chief said he wanted a
"smoother" ow of information from
Malaysia, which has come under
heavy criticism for its handling of the
Indonesia and ailand have said
their militaries detected no sign of
any unusual aircraft in their air space.
Malaysia has asked India for help in
tracing the aircraft and New Delhi's
coastguard planes have joined the
Malaysian police have said they
were investigating whether any
passengers or crew on the plane had
personal or psychological problems
that might shed light on the mystery,
along with the possibility of a
hijacking, sabotage or mechanical
Two of the passengers on board
were discovered by investigators to
have false passports, but they were
apparently seeking to emigrate
illegally to the west.
e Boeing 777 has one of the best
safety records of any commercial
aircraft in ser vice. Its only previous
fatal crash came on July 6 last year
when Asiana Airlines Flight 214
struck a seawall with its undercarriage
on landing in San Francisco, killing
three people. --- Reuters
Ronnie Wood, left, Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones perform during a concert in Shanghai this week.
Chinese ban Honky Tonk Woman at Stones gig
e sexual lyrics of Honky Tonk
Woman were apparently too much
for China's Communist fathers as
the Rolling Stones said the chart-
topping song was "vetoed" for their
second show in the country.
"About now we'd usually play
something like Honky Tonk
Woman . . . but it's been vetoed,"
front man Mick Jagger said at
yesterday's show, according to
a posting on the band's o cial
Twitter feed. He did not give a
e song describes a "bar-room
queen" who "tried to take me
upstairs for a ride" and another
woman who "blew my nose and
then she blew my mind".
e enduring rock band played
in commercial capital Shanghai
once previously, eight years ago,
when several songs fell victim
to the censor, including Brown
Concert-goers con rmed Jagger's
comments at the packed show but
said the reaction from the Shanghai
audience was muted.
"He didn't play it for shock," said
Andrew Chin, a local arts writer
who attended. "People were just
excited to see the Stones."
China censors content it deems to
be politically sensitive or obscene.
Authorities have been especially
sensitive about live concerts since
Bjork chanted "Tibet" during her
song Declare Independence in
2008. China considers Tibet its
Elton John dedicated a Beijing
show to Chinese dissident artist
Ai Weiwei in November 2012,
provoking condemnation by State-
But other classic Stones numbers
passed muster, including Street
Fighting Man and You Can't
Always Get What You Want.
More than ve centuries after
he went down ghting, medieval
monarch Richard III is in the
middle of another battle --- this
time over where in England his
newly discovered remains should be
e Plantagenet Alliance,
which includes Richard's distant
descendants, has asked England's
High Court to rule on plans to
rebury their ancestor's remains
in Leicester, the city where they
were found two years ago under a
municipal car park.
e alliance says the Ministry of
Justice was "unreasonable" to give
permission to Leicester to bury
him in its cathedral and argues the
decision on the nal resting place of
the last Plantagenet king should have
been a matter of public consultation.
"It matters what happens when you
identify the only king since 1066
whose remains were not identi ed,"
the alliance's counsel Gerard Clarke
told the court overnight.
"It should not be left to chance,
whim, or commercial interest,"
he said in the rst of two days of
hearings on the complaint. e court
is due to rule in several weeks.
e discovery of the skeleton of
Richard, whose death e ectively
ended the Wars of the Roses, was
one of the most remarkable English
archaeological nds in recent times.
Leicester University archaeologists
found the remains close to the site of
the 1485 Battle of Bosworth where
he was killed, the last English king to
die in battle.
Leicester city council has
unveiled plans for a £4 million
($7.788 million) visitors' centre
around the nd.
But the Plantagenet Alliance
wants to see him buried in York,
his northern powerbase during his
26-month reign, and started its legal
action last year.
Leicester's plans for "a tourist
attraction should not trump the
process" of proper decision-making,
About 100 people took part in
a march through York last year in
support of the city's claims to the
James Eadie, counsel for the
Ministry of Justice, said the
government was under no statutory
duty to consult on the matter.
" e remains would be just
as available for remembrance if
they were in Leicester, York, or
Westminster Abbey," he added.
e Wars of the Roses were named
after the heraldic badges of the two
rival dynasties: the white rose of the
House of York and the red rose of
ey were a dynastic struggle
between rival Plantagenet factions
that lasted for about 30 years until
Richard's defeat by Henry Tudor,
who took the throne as Henry VII.
Richard III is a controversial gure
in English history, seen by some as
a monster who murdered his own
nephews to take the throne and by
others as unfairly maligned by his
William Shakespeare, writing
in the reign of Tudor Queen
Elizabeth I, depicted him as a power-
crazed hunchback. --- Reuters
Battle rages over Richard III's remains
King Richard III
e late Princess Diana leaked a royal
phone directory to the now defunct
News of the World tabloid, its former
royal editor has told Britain's phone-
Clive Goodman says Diana sent him
the information by post in 1992, the year
she separated from her husband Prince
Charles, the heir to the throne.
"She was going through a very, very
di cult time.
"She told me she wanted me to see
the scale of her husband's sta and
household, compared with others,"
Goodman told London's Old Bailey
overnight, where he is on trial.
"She felt she was being swamped by
people close to his household. She was
looking for an ally to take him on --- to
show there were forces that would rage
Goodman is on trial for two counts
of conspiring to commit misconduct
in a public o ce, namely paying public
o cials for a royal phone directory,
which he denies.
e 56-year-old was jailed in 2007 for
hacking into the phones of members of
the royal household, along with private
investigator Glenn Mulcaire.
Goodman told the court he used
so-called Green Books and internal
telephone directories containing contact
numbers for royal sta and senior
members of the household as a basis for
Asked by his defence lawyer how he
received them, he denied paying for
them and said one green book was given
to him in 1992 by Diana.
" at arrived at my o ce in Wapping
with my name on it. She had a (good)
relationship with several journalists ---
Richard Kay at the Daily Mail, Martin
Bashir of Panorama," Goodman told the
ree years later in 1995 Diana would
open up to Bashir, a journalist with the
BBC, about the state of her marriage
to Charles, in an explosive interview
that ultimately led to their divorce the
Diana, the mother of Princes William
and Harry, was killed in a car crash in
Paris in 1997.
Goodman was sacked from the News
of the World after his conviction and
it later emerged the practice of phone
hacking was widespread at the Rupert
Murdoch shut down the Sunday
paper in July 2011 after reports one
of the hacking victims was a missing
schoolgirl, Milly Dowler, who was later
found murdered. --- AFP
Diana leaked royal
directory to tabloid
Followers of dead guru in freezer await his return
An Indian guru declared dead has
been in a deep freezer in his ashram
for nearly six weeks with followers
con dent he will return to life to
lead them, his spokesman says.
Devotees placed Ashutosh
Maharaj, whom authorities declared
clinically dead on January 29, in the
freezer and have been watching over
his body in the sprawling ashram
(monastery or spiritual retreat) in a
small town in northern Punjab State.
Maharaj, reportedly in his 70s, is
one of India's many gurus or god-
men who headed the Divya Jyoti
Jagrati Sansthan (Divine Light
Awakening Mission) and claims to
have millions of followers around
Vishalanand insisted their leader
was not dead but was in fact in a
state of samadhi, the highest level of
meditation, and was therefore still
Vishalanand said followers were
now waiting for him to end his
meditation. Until then, the ashram
in Nurmahal town would stay open
with followers performing their own
mediations and spiritual sessions.
"Mahara-ji (a Hindi term of
respect) is still sending messages
through followers in their meditative
stage to protect his body until he
returns," he said earlier this week.
e decision to place him in the
freezer was challenged in court by
a man claiming to be his former
driver, who alleged several followers
were not releasing the body as they
were seeking a share of the guru's
properties, local media reports said.
But the court rejected the man's
petition after receiving information
from authorities con rming his
death, reportedly from a heart attack,
Reeta Kohli, additional advocate-
general of Punjab State, said.
" e court rejected his pleas after
the Punjab government said that
the man is clinically dead and that
it is up to his followers to decide
what they want to do with the body,"
Senior district police o cer
Gurinder Singh Dhillon said police
"cannot interfere" now that the court
has made its ruling. --- AFP
Gunmen on motorcycles in north-west
Nigeria's Katsina State have killed at
least 69 people in attacks on four villages,
a political o cial says.
e State's police chief, Hurdi
Mohammed, who gave a lower toll of 30
dead, told AFP news agency overnight
the violence was perpetrated by ethnic
Fulani herdsmen who have been blamed
for scores of deadly raids.
"So far, 69 bodies have been recovered
from the attacks carried out by a large
group of gunmen riding on motorcycles,"
Katsina lawmaker Abbas Abdullahi
Michika said of the violence which rst
broke out late on Tuesday.
" e victims include men, women and
children. Rescue teams are still combing
nearby bushes in search for more bodies."
He speci ed that 47 people were killed
in the village of Mararrabar Maigora
while seven deaths were recorded in both
Kura Mota and Unguwar Rimi.
Another eight people were killed in
Maigora, according to Michika. --- AFP
69 in Nigeria
Americans spent an all-time high of
$US55.7 billion ($65.23 billion) on
their pets in 2013 and will creep close to
$60 billion this year.
Bob Vetere of the American Pet
Products Association told buyers and
exhibitors at the Global Pet Expo in
Orlando, Florida, overnight that food
accounted for $21.6b of the spending.
In 1996, when the not-for-pro t trade
association started tracking pet spending,
pet owners spent $21b on everything.
Adjusted for in ation, that was $31.3b.
Vetere said the "humanisation" of
pets and the many positive e ects pets
have on human health should keep the
industry vibrant for many more years.
For the long term, he says, he expects
to see a pet health craze that starts for
humans and pets much earlier and
younger. --- AP
Americans spend $56b on pets
Italian police overnight arrested
Federica Gagliardi, a woman who acted
as Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's
secretary at two international summits
in Canada in 2010, on suspicion of
smuggling 24kg of cocaine on a ight
Gagliardi, who is in her early 30s, was
taken into custody at Rome's Fiumicino
airport shortly after arriving on a ight
from Caracas after police found the
drugs in her carry-on luggage, a nance
police spokesman said.
O cials provided no further details,
but according to Italy's anti-drug police
estimates the local street value of 24kg
of pure cocaine, after it is cut with other
substances to be sold on, would be about
6.7 million euros ($10.88 million).
e police did not say whether they
found pure cocaine.
e Italian media dubbed Gagliardi
the "white lady", splashing her picture
on the front pages and describing her as
Berlusconi's mystery companion when
she stepped o the plane in Toronto in
June 2010, previously unknown, dressed
in a white linen blouse and trousers.
In response to questions about her role,
Berlusconi's o ce said she was acting
as his secretary on the trip. She said she
had met Berlusconi while campaigning
for a member of his party.
After a few weeks, she dropped out of the
spotlight, but her Linked In page says she
remained a regional government secretary
in Rome until last year. --- Reuters
Former Berlusconi secretary
held on cocaine charges
Sunni Islamist rebels in Syria have
claimed responsibility for kidnapping at
least 94 women and children belonging
to President Bashar al-Assad's minority
Alawite sect, according to a video
e civilians were abducted in August
from villages in rural Latakia, the
president's coastal stronghold. e rebels
said they were holding the hostages
to secure the release of opposition
supporters from government detention.
ousands of people are thought to
be imprisoned by both sides in the
increasingly sectarian civil war, which
enters its fourth year this month.
e video, obtained by Qatari-owned
television station Al Jazeera, said the
rebels were ready to swap the civilians for
2000 prisoners who have been detained
for more than a year.
It stipulated that most of the freed
prisoners be from coastal areas of the
country and that half of them be women
and children, Al Jazeera said.
In one scene, three women wearing
headscarves and simple clothing address
the camera. Another scene shows
dozens of women and children standing
outdoors in a walled-in area.
Reuters was not able to independently
verify the video's authenticity or review it
in its entirety. Al Jazeera did not identify
the rebels, saying only they were groups
from the armed Syrian opposition.
Syria's Sunni Muslim majority has
largely joined the revolt against Assad,
while minority sects have mostly stood
behind him. --- Reuters
Rebels seize 94 women, children
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