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Japanese electronics giant Panasonic said Thursday it would give employees sent to China a wage premium to compensate for the country's hazardous air pollution, in a possible first for an international company. The move was part of a wider deal reached in Japan's annual labour talks which saw major firms, including Panasonic and Toyota, agree to boost workers' salaries for the first time in years, amid concerns about an economic slowdown after a sales tax rise next month. A Panasonic spokesman confirmed the pollution-linked pay premium for its expatriate workers, but declined to give further details or say how many such workers it has in China, which has extensive trade and business links with Japan. So-called hardship pay is not unusual for employees of foreign firms sent to work to China, but Panasonic is believed to be the first to announce a premium to compensate for polluted air.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Planes sent Thursday to check the spot where Chinese satellite images showed possible debris from the missing Malaysian jetliner found nothing, Malaysia's civil aviation chief said, deflating the latest tantalizing lead in the six-day hunt.
NEW YORK (AP) — A gas leak triggered an earthshaking explosion that flattened two apartment buildings on Wednesday, killing at least four people, injuring more than 60 and leaving nine missing. A tenant said residents had complained repeatedly in recent weeks about "unbearable" gas smells.