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By Suleiman Al-Khalidi and Linda Sieg AMMAN/TOKYO (Reuters) - Jordan said on Thursday it was still holding an Iraqi would-be suicide bomber as a deadline passed for her release set by Islamic State militants who threatened to kill a Jordanian pilot unless she was handed over by sunset. An audio message purportedly from a Japanese journalist also captured by the insurgents said the pilot would be killed unless Jordan freed Sajida al-Rishawi, who is on death row for her role in a 2005 suicide bomb attack that killed 60 people in Amman. The message postponed a previous deadline set on Tuesday in which the journalist, Kenji Goto, said he would be killed within 24 hours if Rishawi was not freed. The hostage crisis comes as Islamic State, which has already released videos showing the beheadings of five Western hostages, is coming under increased military pressure from U.S.-led air strikes and by Kurdish and Iraqi troops pushing to reverse the Islamist group's territorial gains in Iraq and Syria.
Malaysia on Thursday formally declared the passengers and crew of missing flight MH370 to be presumed dead, a step that it said opens the door for compensation payments but which was angrily rejected by distraught relatives. Malaysian authorities and the airline had until now refrained from drawing firm conclusions about the fate of the plane and its 239 passengers and crew, as many desperate next-of-kin continue to insist it may have landed safely somewhere. "It is therefore, with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident," civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said in a televised announcement. Malaysia Airlines later said it would begin contacting families to proceed with a "fair and reasonable" compensation process.