By Stuart Grudgings and Nguyen Phuong Linh KUALA LUMPUR/HANOI (Reuters) - A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew went missing over the South China Sea on Saturday, presumed crashed, as ships from countries closest to its flight path scoured a large search area for any wreckage. Vietnamese state media, quoting a senior naval official, had reported that the Boeing 777-200ER flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing had crashed off south Vietnam, but Malaysia's transport minister later denied any crash scene had been identified. We are doing everything we can to ensure every possible angle has been addressed," Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein told reporters near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Vietnam's state-run Tuoi Tre news also quoted Admiral Ngo Van Phat as qualifying his earlier remarks about a crash site having been identified, saying he had been referring to a presumed crash site beneath the plane's flight path using information supplied by Malaysia.
Donetsk (Ukraine) (AFP) - Pro-Russian activists rallied in the eastern heartland of Ukraine's ousted leader on Saturday after Moscow threatened to cut off gas to its ex-Soviet neighbour following its tilt toward the West. Rallies in industrial cities that rely on Russia for trade and whose cultural roots lie closer to Moscow than Kiev come as Kremlin-backed troops tighten their grip on the flashpoint peninsula of Crimea. The predominantly Russian-speaking southern and eastern swathes of Ukraine have been in upheaval since three months of deadly protests brought new pro-European leaders to power in Kiev whom they view with disdain and mistrust. The Kremlin says the new rulers have fomented a lawless atmosphere of intimidation against ethnic Russians that President Vladimir Putin says prompted him to threaten to use force in Ukraine -- a shock decision that has sparked the worst East-West standoff since the Cold War.