1.29.15:  Plane information from Malaysia and Indonesia



UALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority has officially declared the crash of Malaysia Airlines 370 an accident, fulfilling a legal obligation that will allow efforts to proceed with compensation claims.

Malaysia’s civil aviation chief says the search for the jet that disappeared on March 8, 2014, “remains a priority.”

In a pre-recorded message broadcast on Malaysian television he said “it is with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that we officially declare Malaysia Airlines Flight mh370 an accident.”

He says all 239 passengers and crew on board are presumed to have lost their lives.


JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian investigators say the co-pilot of the crashed AirAsia jet was in controls when he struggled to recover the aircraft as stall warnings sounded.

The Airbus A320-200 crashed into the Java Sea Dec. 28, halfway from Indonesia’s city of Surabaya to Singapore. All 162 people on board were killed.

The chief investigator of the National Transportation Safety Commission says the cockpit voice recording indicated that the co-pilot, a French national, was flying the plane while the Indonesian captain was monitoring.

1.28.15:  Jordan ready to swap prisoner for pilot held by Islamic State


AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan says it’s ready to trade a convicted terrorist for a Jordanian pilot captured in December by the Islamic State group.

Islamic State extremists are threatening to kill the pilot and a Japanese journalist if Jordan doesn’t free a woman sentenced to death for her involvement in a deadly 2005 terrorist attack in Jordan.

Jordan’s information minister says it’s ready to release the woman if the Jordanian pilot is released unharmed.

The minister made no mention of the Japanese journalist.

1.23.15:  Sierra Leone eases blocks on travel, business as Ebola wanes


FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone’s president is easing restrictions on movement and commercial activity as an Ebola outbreak subsides in West Africa, while warning that the fight against the deadly disease is not yet over.

While the outbreak has sickened more than 21,000 people, mostly in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea, the number of new infections is falling.

President Ernest Bai Koroma announced in a national broadcast that, starting Friday, the country would lift all district quarantines and extend business hours on Saturdays. Koroma said in the Thursday night speech that while people must remain vigilant, easing the restrictions can jump-start the economic recovery.

The country plans to reopen schools in March, and Koroma also outlined the steps that must be taken before that happens.


1.23.15:  New  king for Saudi Arabia


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s new king is promising to continue the policies of his predecessors.

King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud took control of the kingdom after the death of King Abdullah yesterday.

In a nationally televised speech today, Salman made an oblique reference to the chaos in the Middle East created by the extremist Islamic State group.

He said, “The Arab and the Islamic nations are in dire need of solidarity and cohesion.”


1.22.15:  Day 2 of talks in Cuba


HAVANA (AP) — Delegations from the U.S. and Cuba will hold their second day of meetings in Havana today on normalizing ties.

They’re expected to discuss the lifting of restrictions on American diplomats in Cuba and assurances that Cubans will have unfettered access to a future U.S. Embassy in Havana.

The U.S. has rebuffed demands for broader changes to U.S. migration rules that grant virtually automatic legal residency to any Cuban who touches U.S. soil.

1.21.15:  Havana talks start with promises by Obama, Cuban caution


HAVANA (AP) — The highest-level U.S. delegation to Cuba in decades begins two days of negotiations.

Today the delegation will discuss continuing by both sides to promote what the State Department calls “safe, legal and orderly migration.”

That covers everything from the security of charter flights between Miami and Havana to rooting out fraudulent passports and partnering on potential search-and-rescue missions.

Tomorrow’s talks focus on re-establishing a U.S. Embassy in Havana headed by an ambassador, and a Cuban Embassy in Washington.

1.16.15:  Arrests in Europe sweeps


PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande says his country is “waging war” against terrorism and will not back down from international military operations against Islamic extremists despite recent deadly attacks.

Authorities say more than two dozen suspects have been arrested in Belgium, France and Germany in continuing searches for suspected terrorists.

In a Belgium raid last night, police moved in on a suspected terrorist hideout, killing two suspects and thwarting what authorities say was an imminent attack.


The head of European Union police agency Europol says the large number of radicalized Muslim extremists across Europe, their lack of command structure and growing sophistication make it “extremely difficult” for law enforcement agencies to foil every terror attack.

Europol chief Rob Wainwright told The Associated Press in an interview today that Europe needs to cooperate more closely to prevent attacks like last week’s deadly rampage in Paris.

Wainwright says that “the scale of the problem, the diffuse nature of the network, the scale of the people involved makes this extremely difficult for even very well-functioning counterterrorist agencies such as we have in France to stop every attack.”

Wainwright says at least 2,500 and possibly up to 5,000 suspects have traveled from Europe to conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

1.15.15:  Target to exit Canada


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target is exiting Canada.

Chairman and CEO Brian Cornell says the company was unable to find a realistic scenario in which Target Canada would become profitable before at least 2021.

The retailer said Thursday that it anticipates approximately $5.4 billion in fourth-quarter losses from discontinued operations in Canada.

Target Corp. currently has 133 stores in Canada with about 17,600 employees.

1.15.15:  Pope says he’ll focus on poor, exploited in Philippine trip


MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Pope Francis says he will focus on the poor, the exploited and victims of injustice during his four-day trip to the Philippines.

Francis was greeted by ecstatic crowds when he arrived in Manila on Thursday on the first papal visit to Asia’s largest Catholic nation in 20 years. The pontiff described his priorities for the second leg of his Asian trip during his flight to Manila from Sri Lanka.

“The central nut of the message will be the poor, the poor who want to go forward, the poor who suffered from Typhoon Haiyan and are continuing to suffer the consequences,” he said.

His message will resonate in a country where poverty afflicts nearly a quarter of the 100 million people, and where many Filipinos leave their families in search of jobs abroad.

1.15.15:  Immigrants can now get Mexican birth certificates in US


SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — The Mexican government says it will start issuing birth certificates at its consulates in the United States to help immigrants seeking work permits, driver’s licenses and protection from deportation.

The move will make it easier for Mexicans in the United States to get documents that can be used to apply for passports or consular identification cards that are vital for immigrants living in the country illegally to prove their identity.

Arturo Sanchez, consul for press and commercial affairs in Santa Ana, California, says 50 consulates will start issuing the certificates Thursday.

While many in the Republican-led Congress are trying to quash President Barack Obama’s immigration efforts, Mexico is trying to help millions of its citizens apply for programs that would let them remain here temporarily.


Meanwhile, the Mexican Consulate in Michigan is located in Detroit. For more information:  313-964-4515 or