[ {"id":"17b58e48-b8a4-5250-9b62-8f293f10091d","type":"article","starttime":"1485155114","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-23T01:05:14-06:00","lastupdated":"1485157659","priority":0,"sections":[{"world":"news/world"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Kuwait declares state of emergency over oil leak on shore","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/world/article_17b58e48-b8a4-5250-9b62-8f293f10091d.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/world/kuwait-declares-state-of-emergency-over-oil-leak-on-shore/article_17b58e48-b8a4-5250-9b62-8f293f10091d.html","canonical":"http://news.lee.net/news/world/kuwait-declares-state-of-emergency-over-oil-leak-on-shore/article_60f72fa2-93d7-522c-a851-35b0194db38b.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"prologue":"KUWAIT CITY (AP) \u2014 Kuwait's national oil company has declared a state of emergency over an oil leak in one of its southwestern oil fields.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","general news","oil and gas industry","energy industry","business","environmental concerns","environment","environment and nature","accidents","accidents and disasters"],"internalKeywords":["#lee"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":2,"commentID":"17b58e48-b8a4-5250-9b62-8f293f10091d","body":"

KUWAIT CITY (AP) \u2014 Kuwait's national oil company has declared a state of emergency over an oil leak in one of its southwestern oil fields.

Monday's statement by the Kuwait Oil Co. did not identify the onshore oil field affected by the leak, which began Sunday.

The state-run Kuwait News Agency said the leak hit the al-Maqwa field.

The company said there's no sign of a toxic gas leak. It offered no details about how many barrels of oil had been spilled.

OPEC member Kuwait is a major oil producer. The U.S. Energy Information Administration says Kuwait produces some 2.7 million barrels of crude oil a day and holds the world's sixth-largest oil reserves.

In August, Kuwait announced a spill at its Ahmadi field. A February fire struck another oil well after a spill.

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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) \u2014 Businesses around the world bearing U.S. President Donald Trump's name face an increased risk now that he is in the White House, security experts warn, especially as several are in areas previously targeted by violence.

As Trump remains a brand overseas, criminal gangs or militants could target buildings bearing his name in gold, abduct workers associated with his enterprises for ransom or worse, they say.

\"They may kidnap a Trump worker and not even want to negotiate,\" aiming for publicity instead, said Colin P. Clarke, a political scientist with the RAND Corporation who studies terrorism and international criminal networks.

Predicting an attack keeps police, intelligence agencies and security experts awake at night around the world \u2014 and, by its very nature, it remains speculative.

U.S. brands have been targeted in overseas violence before, but they never belonged to a president. That's the difference. Trump becoming America's 45th president presents a unique challenge given the range of his international business interests.

Asked about security issues, the Trump Organization said in a statement it has \"extensive protocols in place at our Trump-owned and -managed properties\" in the United States and abroad.

\"Our team continues to work very closely with local law enforcement,\" the statement said. \"We are also working in tandem with the local developers at Trump-branded properties worldwide to ensure that all residents, guests and associates remain safe and secure.\" The organization did not elaborate.

While Trump has said he will put his business assets in a trust and hand over management control of his company to his two adult sons and a longtime Trump Organization executive, it's still his name on the projects.

That hasn't worried Kim Ok Kyu, who lives in a Trump-branded apartment tower in Seoul, South Korea. She said security at her building is quite good, with many guards and strict restrictions on outsiders entering the building

\"Terror? I don't think about it. I just hope my home prices go up,\" Kim said.

But other properties are in areas that have seen violence, like Trump Towers Istanbul, the Turkish city hit hard by a string of bomb and gun attacks carried out by the Islamic State group. Flags and banners around the site bear the president's name, while private security guards man X-ray machines and metal detectors at its entrances, a standard practice in the city.

In Bali, where bombs planted by the Islamic extremist group Jemaah Islamiyah targeting bar-goers killed 202 people in 2002, Trump's organization has licensed the president's name to a planned luxury resort. Bali police spokesman Hengky Widjaja said no one had requested extra security for the property and authorities had no plans to increase their presence there.

A Trump-named residential tower is under construction in the Indian city of Mumbai, which was hit by a 2008 terror attack blamed on the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba that killed 166 people. Mumbai police spokesman Ashok Dudhe said he had no knowledge of any additional security around the tower.

Another tower is being built in Manila in the Philippines, a nation where Abu Sayyaf militants conduct frequent kidnappings for ransom and where President Rodrigo Duterte wages a brutal crackdown on drug dealers that has killed thousands. Philippine police say they haven't monitored any specific threat toward Trump properties, though a tower rising in Manila sits in an area under an intensified security watch after Duterte declared a \"state of lawlessness\" following a September bombing.

Even Trump's soon-to-open golf course in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates could be a target, despite the fact the Gulf Arab nation has largely escaped the violence gripping its Mideast neighbors. In the UAE's capital of Abu Dhabi, an American school teacher was stabbed to death in a mall bathroom by an extremist in December 2014. Authorities also have imprisoned others over disrupted terror plots in the country, which hosts some 5,000 members of the U.S. military.

Dubai police have declined to discuss safety on the golf course while the developer says it plans no additional security there. The U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi did not respond to questions about the golf course, which Trump's children are expected to soon visit.

All of the Trump properties should be looked at by outside security consultants, said Christopher A. Hagon, a managing partner of The Incident Management Group and a former London police officer with experience in diplomatic security. However, he acknowledged such commercial properties can't be surrounded by concrete blast walls and controlled like a U.S. Embassy.

\"There is no complete answer to these things unless you've got a military encampment and you can do anything you like,\" Hagon said. \"You've got to make compromises, but hope those compromises won't weaken the overall approach.\"

Away from the properties themselves, employees could be threatened, robbed or held captive, experts warn. Under U.S. law, the Secret Service is authorized to protect the president, the vice president and their immediate families. That would include his sons Eric and Donald Jr., who will run the Trump Organization under the plan announced by the president at a news conference last week.

Already, the Secret Service and the New York police have provided security in and around Trump Tower in Manhattan as the president lives and works there.

When asked about the Trump Organization, Secret Service spokeswoman Cathy Milhoan said the agency does \"not comment on our protective operations.\" However, that Secret Service protection extends anywhere the president and his immediate family travels.

The U.S. intelligence community already has a duty to warn American citizens and others if it uncovers information about impending threats, which would include Trump's businesses.

In 2015, National Intelligence Director James Clapper set formal guidelines for how the intelligence community does that if it learns of impending threats of killing, serious bodily harm or kidnapping.

\"This includes threats where the target is an institution, place of business, structure or location,\" according to Clapper's directive.

Those threats become more serious if Trump's work intersects with his duties in the Oval Office and a militant group decides to \"mock, torment or tease\" him with a kidnapped employee, Clarke said.

He added: \"If an executive from Goldman Sachs or JPMorgan or Exxon Mobil gets kidnapped, it's news, but it's not the president's company.\"

___

Associated Press writers Deb Riechmann in Washington, Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, South Korea, Zeynep Bilginsoy in Istanbul, Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, and Muneeza Naqvi in New Delhi contributed to this report.

___

Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellap . His work can be found at http://apne.ws/2galNpz .

"}, {"id":"44b55703-9e8e-5eb5-910c-fc41fa4c4942","type":"article","starttime":"1485151176","starttime_iso8601":"2017-01-22T23:59:36-06:00","lastupdated":"1485153076","priority":0,"sections":[{"world":"news/world"}],"flags":{"ap":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Panel to issue report supporting Emperor abdication","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/world/article_44b55703-9e8e-5eb5-910c-fc41fa4c4942.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/world/panel-to-issue-report-supporting-emperor-abdication/article_44b55703-9e8e-5eb5-910c-fc41fa4c4942.html","canonical":"http://news.lee.net/news/world/panel-to-issue-report-supporting-emperor-abdication/article_625a5a66-9ac8-5a57-b456-7f5847f9044f.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By MARI YAMAGUCHI\nAssociated Press","prologue":"TOKYO (AP) \u2014 A Japanese government panel studying a possible abdication of Emperor Akihito is set to release Monday an interim report that supports enacting special legislation that is applicable only to him.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["wire","general news","legislation","government and politics","legislature"],"internalKeywords":["#lee"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":null,"revision":5,"commentID":"44b55703-9e8e-5eb5-910c-fc41fa4c4942","body":"

TOKYO (AP) \u2014 A Japanese government panel studying a possible abdication of Emperor Akihito is set to release Monday an interim report that supports enacting special legislation that is applicable only to him.

The six-member panel is looking at how to accommodate Akihito's apparent abdication wish expressed last August when he cited concerns that his age and health conditions may start limiting his ability to fulfill his duties. Akihito turned 83 last month.

The report to be released Monday evening will pave the way for a parliamentary discussion. Media reports were published detailing its proposals.

The panel, after interviewing constitutional and monarchy experts, agreed that allowing an abdication was the most appropriate way to meet Akihito's request, but that setting a permanent system covering all future emperors would be difficult.

If legislation is enacted, Emperor Akihito would be the first to abdicate in 200 years since Emperor Kokaku.

Panel members have said they planned to list both sides of the opinion. Some experts have said the Imperial House Law, the supreme law overseeing Japan's monarchy, needs to be revised.

The panel avoided getting into more controversial issues, such as an option of allowing a female emperor, and how to address concerns of a shortage of successors to the Chrysanthemum throne.

The current law, established in 1947, is largely inherited from a 19th century constitution that banned abdication as a potential risk to political stability. But the experts said there was no such risk in today's political system.

Some experts say that Akihito's abdication wish is a wakeup call to the larger issues of aging and shortage of successors in Japan's 2,000-year-old monarchy that go beyond his own retirement \u2014 issues that reflects overall concerns about the country's rapidly aging society and declining population.

Akihito and his wife Michiko have two sons \u2014 Crown Prince Naruhito and his younger brother Akishino \u2014 but after that, only one of the four grandchildren is eligible to the throne under Japan's male-only succession system.

___

Follow Mari Yamaguchi on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/mariyamaguchi

Find her work at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/mari-yamaguchi

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) \u2014 Venezuelan officials may face U.S. sanctions for profiting from food shortages that have exacerbated hunger in the South American country.

The calls by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle come in response to an Associated Press investigation that found trafficking in hard-to-find food has become big business in Venezuela, with the military at the heart of the graft. Embattled socialist President Nicolas Maduro has given the military increasingly broad control over the food supply as shortages have led to widespread malnutrition this year.

\"When the military is profiting off of food distribution while the Venezuelan people increasingly starve, corruption has reached a new level of depravity that cannot go unnoticed,\" said Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee.

The AP report published last month detailed a chain of dirty dealing by the military, including kickbacks to generals for food contracts and bribes to move food out of the port. Some of the food is purchased in the U.S. and some of the bribes passed through the U.S. banking system.

U.S. prosecutors are investigating senior Venezuelan officials, including members of the military, for laundering riches from food contracts through the U.S. financial system, the AP learned from four people with direct knowledge of the probes. No charges have been brought.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said President Donald Trump should take immediate action to sanction the top officials named in the AP report.

\"This should be one of President Trump's first actions in office,\" Rubio, who is chairman of the Foreign Relations subcommittee that oversees Latin America, said in a statement.

The Associated Press cited documents and testimony from business owners who pointed to food minister Gen. Rodolfo Marco Torres and his predecessor, Gen. Carlos Osorio, as key figures involved in fraudulent food imports. Neither official responded to requests for comment, but in the past, both have dismissed charges of corruption as empty accusations propagated by political opponents.

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, said she is urging the State and Treasury Departments to apply sanctions to Marco Torres and Osorio, as well as anyone else getting rich off Venezuela's food shortages. She is also asking that government agencies ensure U.S. companies are not doing business directly with any Venezuelan business owners fronting for corrupt officials. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, joined her in calling for those involved in food corruption to be held accountable.

In 2014, the Obama administration, at the urging of Rubio and Menendez, froze U.S. assets and denied visas for top Venezuelan officials accused of drug trafficking and of human rights violations during a wave of anti-government protests. Maduro responded by calling the U.S. lawmakers \"terrorists\" bent on destabilizing the oil-rich nation, and banned them from Venezuela.

Venezuelan lawmaker Carlos Berrizbeitia, who sits on the congressional audit committee, said sanctions or no, the opposition will do all it can to stop officials from participating in food trafficking.

\"We welcome help from any country interested in investigating corruption in Venezuela, but we also have to keep up pressure on our own institutions to make sure they function properly,\" he said. \"We need to do everything possible to ensure they don't rob a single dollar more from the food budget while the country is going hungry and people are eating from the trash.\"

The Maduro administration rarely acknowledges accusations of corruption inside the military, and has not responded to the AP report. When he shook up his cabinet this month, replacing more than a dozen ministers, he kept Marco Torres at the helm of the Food Ministry.

Transparency International Chair Jose Ugaz said the lack of government response was in itself telling.

\"It's powerful that there's been no reaction to such a strong report,\" he said.

The AP story about corruption in the food supply under a socialist government sparked discussion even among Venezuelan leftists on the popular Aporrea website.

\"Look at the disaster Carlos Osorio made of the Ministry of Food, and there were no consequences, just removal from office,\" Esmeralda Garcia wrote on Aporrea. \"This has become a third rail that you can't bring up for discussion, because it's an open secret and no one does anything.\"

The issue of corruption also raised tempers in food lines, which have sprouted across Venezuela.

\"It's out in the open now; the officials have no respect for the people,\" said Manuel Blanco as he waited in an hours-long line to buy rice. \"They're running their schemes and we're the ones affected. We're out here trying to live on soup and mashed bananas.\"

\"What makes you mad is they don't leave anything to take to your children,\" added Yanet Montilla, who had lined up next to Blanco at dawn in hopes of buying food for her three daughters. \"But what are we going to do? We all have families and can't risk getting killed in the street.\"

___

Goodman reported from Bogota, Colombia.

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) \u2014 Iran's official news agency says search teams have found four more bodies of victims from last week's deadly building collapse in Tehran.

IRNA's report on Monday quotes Jalal Maleki, spokesman for the fire department, as saying the four bodies do not belong to any of the firefighters still missing and believed buried under the rubble.

So far, only six bodies have been retrieved. One injured firefighter died in hospital a day after Thursday's collapse.

Authorities have yet to offer definitive casualty figures.

Iran's state-run Press TV initially reported that 30 firefighters had been killed, without elaborating. Later, authorities said more than 20 firefighters had been killed.

The building collapsed after it was engulfed in a fire, the worst in Tehran since a 2005 blaze at a historic mosque killed 59.

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BEIJING (AP) \u2014 Japanese stocks tumbled while Chinese markets gained Monday after U.S. President Donald Trump promised \"American first\" policies, adding to concern about possible protectionism.

KEEPING SCORE: The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 percent to 3,133.61 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng advanced 0.1 percent to 22,898.96. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 fell 1 percent to 18,945.06 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 lost 0.8 percent to 5,609.90. India's Sensex advanced 0.3 percent to 27,114.11 and Seoul's Kospi was unchanged at 2,065.94. Jakarta declined while other Southeast Asian benchmarks rose. New Zealand also gained.

TRUMP ON TRADE: Trump has rattled businesspeople in Japan, China and other major U.S. trading partners who worry about his promises to restrict commerce and shift jobs back to the United States. Trump's inauguration speech Friday repeated those themes but gave no additional details. A Chinese state-run newspaper, the Global Times, said \"dramatic changes\" lay ahead for the global economic order.

ANALYST'S TAKE: \"Trump's inauguration speech really offered nothing new for investors to latch on, besides harping on old themes of economic 'carnage' that will be stopped,\" said Mizuho Bank in a report. \"His implication that previous U.S. policies did not put America first sounds misguided, and thus any reversal of policy could well prove to be more negative than not,\" it said. \"The next 100 days would likely keep markets tense on any announcements as his policy platform is likely to see a large discontinuity from previous U.S. policy bias.\"

WALL STREET: Major stock indexes pulled back slightly as Trump delivered his first remarks as president on Friday but recovered to end higher, snapping a five-day losing streak for the Dow Jones industrial average. A crop of encouraging company earnings news helped lift the market. The Dow rose 94.85 points, or 0.5 percent, to 19,827.25. The Standard & Poor's 500 index gained 7.62 points, or 0.3 percent, to 2,271.31. The Nasdaq composite index added 15.25 points, or 0.3 percent, to 5,555.33. Despite Friday's gains, the three major stock indexes ended the week lower.

CHINA UPTICK: China's economic growth ticked up in the final quarter of 2016 but the full-year expansion was the weakest in three decades. The world's second-largest economy grew 6.8 percent over a year earlier, up from 6.7 percent the previous year. For the full year, the economy grew 6.7 percent, down from 6.9 percent in 2015 and the weakest since 1990's 3.9 percent. Growth was supported by government spending and a real estate boom. Economists said the temporary upturn was unlikely to last and a renewed slowdown should emerge in coming quarters.

ASIA'S OUTLOOK: Investors looked ahead to quarterly economic growth data from South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines. Taiwan was forecast to accelerate on the strength of a recovery in export-led manufacturing. Political turmoil in South Korea has added to factors that are expected to depress growth.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude shed 10 cents to $53.12 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, the contract jumped $1.10 to close at $53.22. Brent crude, used to price international oils, retreated 6 cents to $55.43 in London. It soared $1.33 the previous session to close at $55.49.

CURRENCY: The dollar declined to 113.69 yen from Friday's 114.53. The euro gained to $1.0740 from $1.0702.

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) \u2014 Samsung Electronics said Monday that tests of more than 200,000 Galaxy Note 7 smartphones found defects in two sets of batteries from two different manufacturers that made the devices prone to catch fire.

Samsung's mobile division president, Koh Dong-jin, ruled out any problems with other aspects of the Note 7, either in its hardware or its software. He said Samsung would use what it learned from its investigations to improve lithium ion battery safety for the industry, though analysts questioned if the company had really gotten to the heart of the problem.

Samsung discontinued the Note 7 just two months after it was launched on Aug. 2, in one of its worst product fiascos ever.

The company said 700 hundred researchers and engineers tested more than 200,000 devices and more than 30,000 batteries and replicated what happened with the Note 7 phones trying to pin down why some of the phones were overheating.

U.S. companies UL and Exponent also examined the batteries supplied by South Korea-based Samsung SDI and China-based Amperex Technology Ltd., or ATL. The German company TUV Rheinland analyzed the Note 7 supply chain as part of the investigation, Samsung said.

The Galaxy Note 7 featured one of the biggest battery capacities so far for smartphones at 3,500 mAh, or milliampere hour, which gave it the highest energy density of all Samsung's devices. However, Koh said Samsung and the outside inspectors found no evidence that the high energy density alone had made the phones prone to overheating.

Rechargeable lithium batteries are more susceptible to overheating than other types of batteries if they are exposed to high temperatures, are damaged or have manufacturing flaws. A highly technical explanation of Note 7 problems boiled down to the relatively large battery cells not fitting well into their pouches, with not enough insulating material inside.

In batteries by one manufacturer \u2014 likely Samsung SDI \u2014 used in the phones in the initial Note 7 recall, inspectors found damage to their upper corners. That, combined with thin separators and high energy density, caused the phones to overheat. The cell-pouch design of the battery did not include enough room to safely accommodate its electrodes \u2014 another flaw.

It was unclear to what extent the battery maker was responsible for those problems: Samsung said only that it had provided \"targets\" for the batteries.

\"We suggested that the Note 7 has innovations and a compact design and a 3500 mAh (battery) but we did not know how to make the separators within (the battery) or how many millimeters thick they should be,\" Koh told reporters.

That may suggest a breakdown both in communication between Samsung and its suppliers and in quality control and testing.

In other batches of batteries from a second manufacturer, presumably ATL, the researchers found welding defects and a lack of protective tape in some battery cells.

Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights & Strategy, said the odds of two different suppliers having issues with the same phone are extremely low.

Though Samsung faulted the batteries from its suppliers, it said in a statement \"we provided the target for the battery specifications for the innovative Note 7, and we are taking responsibility for our failure to ultimately identify and verify the issues arising out of battery design and manufacturing.\"

Koh said Samsung would treat the event as a \"chance to strengthen the safety of lithium-ion batteries for the entire industry, not only us.\"

Analysts said the root cause of the fires remains unclear. \"Samsung said the weaknesses could make the phone prone to catch fire. That I understand but what did trigger fires in such conditions? Did they discuss if there is another cause? No,\" said Park Chul Wan, a former director of the next generation battery research center at the state-owned Korea Electronics Technology Institute.

Recalls of the Note 7s began in September after reports emerged that some of the phones were overheating and catching fire. At the time, Samsung blamed a flaw in batteries from one of its two suppliers, without saying which manufacturer was to blame.

In October, Samsung dropped the phone for good after new Note 7s with different batteries issued as replacements also were found to be catching fire. It estimates the problems will cost it at least $5.3 billion through early 2017.

The company has recalled 3.06 million Note 7 phones. About 4 percent, or 120,000 units, of the recalled Galaxy Note 7, are still not returned.

___

Follow Youkyung Lee: www.twitter.com/YKLeeAP and https://apnews.com/search/youkyung%20lee

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SYDNEY (AP) \u2014 The ship involved in the recently halted hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 returned to port in western Australia on Monday, where officials from the countries that funded the fruitless search gathered to thank them and to defend their decision to end the hunt despite recommendations from investigators that it continue.

Transport officials from Australia, Malaysia and China met in the Western Australia state capital of Perth to greet the crew of Fugro Equator, who were ordered to return last week after the countries officially suspended the nearly three-year search for the plane in the Indian Ocean.

The $160 million deep-sea sonar search off Australia's west coast failed to find any trace of the plane, which vanished March 8, 2014, on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. But Australian Transport Minister Darren Chester denied that the effort had been a failure, saying crews had managed to eliminate the 120,000-square kilometer (46,000-square mile) search zone as a possible crash site.

Several relatives of the 239 people on board the plane have fiercely criticized the decision to end the search before finding their loved ones, and called on officials to scour a new 25,000-square kilometer (9,700-square mile) area immediately to the north of the old search zone that a group of international investigators recently identified as the likeliest resting place of the wreckage.

The investigators calculated the possible new crash site by reanalyzing satellite data that tracked the plane's movements and looking at a new drift analysis of debris that has washed ashore on coastlines throughout the Indian Ocean. The experts recommended in a report released last month by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau that the new area be searched.

On Monday, the bureau's chief commissioner expressed confidence that the plane probably lies in that new zone.

\"It's highly likely that the area now defined by the experts contains the aircraft but that's not absolutely for certain,\" Greg Hood told reporters.

But the three countries agreed months ago that the hunt would be suspended after crews finished combing the official search zone unless credible new evidence emerged that pinpointed the specific location of the aircraft. The investigators' recommendation, they said, wasn't precise enough to justify an extension of the search.

Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said he was meeting later Monday with a representative of the families to hear their concerns, but said Malaysia had no plans to fund a new search based on the investigators' recent recommendation.

\"We need more credible evidence before we move to the next search area,\" Liow said.

Liow said the investigation into the plane's disappearance would continue, with Malaysia taking the lead in analyzing future debris that washes ashore in the hopes it can provide clues to the location of the underwater wreckage. Australian officials would assist when needed, he said.

Liow also contradicted an earlier statement from his deputy that the Malaysian government was offering a reward to any private company that found the plane's fuselage. Liow said the comment last week by Deputy Transport Minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi reflected his deputy's personal opinion, and was not an official proposal by the government.

"} ]