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Malaysia said Thursday that satellite images of suspected debris from a missing jet were yet another false lead, and debunked a report the plane had flown on for hours after losing contact -- leaving the nearly week-old mystery no closer to being solved. China had sparked talk of a breakthrough in the riddle of the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) jet with satellite images of three large floating objects near where flight 370 with 239 people on board lost contact on Saturday, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. But Vietnamese and Malaysian planes that searched the area in the South China Sea on Thursday found no sign of wreckage of the Boeing 777, which has one of the best safety records of any jet. Adding to confusion, the Wall Street Journal reported that US investigators suspected the plane flew for four hours after its last known contact with air traffic control at 1:30 a.m. Malaysian time, based on data automatically sent from its Rolls-Royce engines.
By Philip Pullella Vatican City (Reuters) - When he was elected a year ago, Pope Francis promised to shake up the bureaucracy of the world's smallest country. He has started at the top - curbing the once-overarching role of the secretary of state. The cardinal who oversees the Vatican's relations with other countries has served as the top ranking official in the Holy See's bureaucracy since the 17th century. During the reign of retired Pope Benedict, critics blamed then Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone for failing to prevent the missteps and scandals that marred the German pontiff's eight years as Roman Catholic leader.
Gaza City (Palestinian Territories) (AFP) - Israel pounded nearly 30 targets in Gaza overnight after militants fired scores of rockets into the south, prompting Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas to demand Thursday that it halt its "escalation." The rocket barrage, which was the heaviest since an eight-day conflict between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers in November 2012, sent thousands of Israelis fleeing for cover across the south on Wednesday afternoon. And experts said Israel was not interested in a major confrontation with Gaza's Hamas rulers.