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By Eveline Danubrata and Nguyen Phuong Linh KUALA LUMPUR/PHU QUOC ISLAND, Vietnam (Reuters) - The disappearance of a Malaysian jetliner is an "unprecedented aviation mystery", a senior official said on Monday, with a massive air and sea search now in its third day failing to find any confirmed trace of the plane or the 239 people aboard. Vietnam scrambled helicopters to check reports of a floating "yellow object" that rescue teams suspected could be a life raft from the plane, but it was unclear whether the sighting would prove to be the first big breakthrough or merely the latest in a series of false alarms. The head of Malaysia's Civil Aviation Authority, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, said a hijacking attempt could not be ruled out as investigators explore all theories for the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 en route to Beijing. "As far as we are concerned, we have to find the aircraft, we have to find a piece of the aircraft if possible." As dozens of ships and aircraft from seven countries scour the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam, questions mounted over possible security lapses and whether a bomb or hijacking attempt could have brought down the Boeing 777-200ER airliner.
Jdeidet Yabus (Syria) (AFP) - A group of nuns kidnapped in a Syrian village were freed Monday, part of a rare prisoner swap in a three-year war whose brutality is highlighted in a new Amnesty report. Jihadists seized the 13 nuns and three maids on December 3 from the famed Christian village of Maalula -- where residents still speak the ancient Aramaic of Jesus Christ -- and took them to the nearby town of Yabrud. The women, who arrived after midnight at the regime-held town of Jdeidet Yabus near the border with Lebanon, were exhausted but full of praise for those who negotiated their release. We thank (Syria's) President Bashar al-Assad for being in contact with the emir of Qatar" Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, one of the nuns told reporters.