NYC building explodes, 11 minor injuries reported NEW YORK (AP) - The New York City fire department says an East Harlem apartment building has exploded and collapsed, leading to 11 minor injuries. WABC says residents heard a large explosion in an apartment building near Park Avenue and 116th Street around 9 a.m. Wednesday. The building was five stories and appeared to be reduced to rubble.
Malaysia defends search for missing jet KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Malaysia defended its handling of the hunt for the missing Boeing 777 on Wednesday but acknowledged it is still unsure which direction the plane was headed when it disappeared, highlighting the massive task facing an international search now in its fifth day. Government officials said they asked India to join in the search near the Andaman Sea, suggesting they think the jetliner and the 239 people on board might have reached those waters after crossing into the Strait of Malacca, some 400 kilometers (250 miles) from the flight's last known coordinates.
Bad decade: Malaysia Airlines has catalog of woes HONG KONG (AP) - Within an industry notorious for impoverishing shareholders and irking customers, Malaysia Airlines has stood out for its years of restructurings and losses. The company now has global recognition of a far more unfavorable kind after one of its jets disappeared four days ago with 239 people aboard. There has been no suggestion that the unrelenting financial pressures faced by the airline and its 19,000 employees somehow played a role in the disappearance of flight MH370 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. But the revelation this week that the jet's co-pilot allowed two female passengers to ride in the cockpit for the duration of a flight two years ago has invited scrutiny of the professionalism of top-level staff.
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Senate investigation of CIA dogged by controversy WASHINGTON (AP) - A marathon Senate investigation into allegations of CIA torture during the Bush-era war on terror is veering toward partisan political territory and possibly the federal courts after unusually pointed accusations against the spy agency, including potential criminal wrongdoing. As a result of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's remarks Tuesday, yet another investigation may be in the offing to sort out what the CIA did - or didn't do - to help or hamper Senate investigators.
Fla. House race could be warning for Democrats CLEARWATER BEACH, Fla. (AP) - After months of railing against President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, Republicans scored a key victory in a hard-fought congressional race that had been closely watched as a bellwether of midterm elections in November. Republican David Jolly defeated Democrat Alex Sink in a Florida special election Tuesday that largely turned on the federal health care law, with both sides using the race to audition national strategies in one of the country's few competitive swing-voting districts.
Pistorius trial: cricket bat, toilet door in court PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) - Kneeling in court and swinging a cricket bat at Oscar Pistorius' toilet door, a South African forensic analyst demonstrated Wednesday how the double-amputee athlete may have bashed the door to get to the girlfriend he had just fatally shot. Col. J.G. Vermeulen said he believed Pistorius was on his stumps when he swung his bat at the brown cubicle door.
Obama to host new Ukrainian PM at White House WASHINGTON (AP) - In a diplomatic dig at Russia, President Barack Obama is hosting the new Ukrainian prime minister at the White House, a high-profile gesture aimed at cementing the West's allegiance to Ukraine's fledgling government. The meeting Wednesday between Obama and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk comes as a pro-Russian area of Ukraine readies for a referendum Sunday to determine its future. Voters in the Crimean Peninsula will be given two options: becoming part of Russia, or remaining in Ukraine with broader powers.
After thaw, snow returns to Midwest, Northeast CHICAGO (AP) - A wet snow forced residents of Chicago and the Midwest to once again break out shovels and slog to work along slippery roads and slow transit lines, a reality check for winter-weary residents who had just reveled in a day or so of spring-like temperatures. Along the storm's eastward track, upstate New York was gearing up for a blizzard. Tens of thousands of homes and businesses in northern Illinois lost power and a few hundred flights were canceled at Chicago's airports, including Midway International, where 6 inches of snow fell. The storm was moving east into northern Indiana, and it was forecast to hit the Great Lakes in Ohio, Pennsylvania and upstate New York before dissipating over Canada.
Pope sees banner first year, but expectations high VATICAN CITY (AP) - From his simple sound bites to his breaking of Vatican rules, Pope Francis has made being Catholic cool in his first year. He might not like his superstar status, but he certainly knows how to work a crowd and he has endeared himself to the public for looking out for the poor and radically shifting the church's focus to mercy rather than moralizing.
Sandusky's wife: Victims manipulated over money NEW YORK (AP) - The wife of former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky says she "definitely" believes her husband is innocent despite being convicted of sexually abusing 10 boys and that the victims' financial gain was at play. Dottie Sandusky said in an interview broadcast Wednesday on NBC's "Today" show that "there was nothing that went on because I was here" in the couple's small home in State College, Pa., where some of the victims reported being abused in the basement.