WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ WBRZ International News International News en-us Copyright 2014, WBRZ. All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Thu, 24 Apr 2014 05:04:18 GMT Synapse CMS 10 WBRZ http://www.wbrz.com/ 144 25 Spacewalking astronauts tackle urgent repair job http://www.wbrz.com/news/spacewalking-astronauts-tackle-urgent-repair-job/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/spacewalking-astronauts-tackle-urgent-repair-job/ International News Wed, 23 Apr 2014 7:15:58 AM Marcia Dunn Spacewalking astronauts tackle urgent repair job

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL - Space station astronauts are taking a spacewalk to replace a dead computer and get their orbiting home back up to full strength.

The two Americans on board, Rick Mastracchio and Steven Swanson, stepped out Wednesday for the urgent repair job.

The computer is a critical backup outside the International Space Station that failed nearly two weeks ago. The prime computer has been working fine, but NASA wanted to install a fresh spare as soon as possible.

Mission Control waited until after the arrival of a capsule full of fresh supplies on Sunday

The spare computer is a compact 50-pound box. Engineers don't know why the original failed. The astronauts will check for any damage.

It's expected to be a short spacewalk, involving just three bolts.


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Ukraine orders 'anti-terror' operation to resume http://www.wbrz.com/news/ukraine-orders-anti-terror-operation-to-resume/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/ukraine-orders-anti-terror-operation-to-resume/ International News Tue, 22 Apr 2014 1:18:52 PM Ukraine orders 'anti-terror' operation to resume

DONETSK, Ukraine - There are renewed concerns over whether last week's international agreement aimed at easing the crisis in Ukraine can succeed.

Today, Ukraine's acting president is ordering security forces to resume operations in the country's east. This, as the bodies of two people allegedly abducted by pro-Russian insurgents were found. The acting president says they showed signs of torture.

And the Defense Ministry says a military aircraft was struck by gunfire over one of the tensest cities in the region.

Last week's agreement calls for all sides to refrain from violence and for demonstrators to vacate public buildings. Pro-Russia insurgents in eastern Ukraine have rejected the agreement, arguing they were not party to it.


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SKorean president: Ferry crew actions 'murderous' http://www.wbrz.com/news/skorean-president-ferry-crew-actions-murderous-/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/skorean-president-ferry-crew-actions-murderous-/ International News Mon, 21 Apr 2014 4:27:01 AM Hunter Robinson SKorean president: Ferry crew actions 'murderous'

SEOUL, South Korea - South Korean President Park Geun-hye says the captain and some crew members of the sunken ferry committed 'unforgivable, murderous acts' in the disaster, which left more than 300 people dead or missing.

She made the comments Monday at a Cabinet briefing. The captain initially told passengers to stay in their rooms and waited more than half an hour to issue an evacuation order as the ferry Sewol sank Wednesday. By then the ship had tilted so much that many of the roughly 240 people missing are believed to be trapped inside.

Park says the captain and crew "told the passengers to stay put but they themselves became the first to escape, after deserting the passengers." She says that "legally and ethically, this is an unimaginable act."


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Prosecutor says 4 ferry crewmembers detained http://www.wbrz.com/news/prosecutor-says-4-ferry-crewmembers-detained/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/prosecutor-says-4-ferry-crewmembers-detained/ International News Sun, 20 Apr 2014 9:03:08 PM Prosecutor says 4 ferry crewmembers detained

MOKPO, South Korea - A South Korean prosecutor says four more crewmembers from a sunken ferry have been detained on allegations of failing to protect passengers.

Senior prosecutor Ahn Sang-don told reporters Monday that two first mates, one second mate and a chief engineer are also accused of abandoning the ship.

Ahn says prosecutors are considering whether to ask a court for a formal arrest warrant that would allow for a longer period of investigation. South Koreans can only be detained for 48 hours without a court-issued formal arrest warrant.

The ferry's captain and two other crewmembers were previously formally arrested on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need.

Sixty-four bodies have been recovered, and about 240 people are still missing.


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Thousands celebrate Easter in Holy Land http://www.wbrz.com/news/thousands-celebrate-easter-in-holy-land/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/thousands-celebrate-easter-in-holy-land/ International News Sun, 20 Apr 2014 9:29:46 AM Thousands celebrate Easter in Holy Land

JERUSALEM - Thousands of pilgrims from around the world are celebrating Easter in the Holy Land, commemorating the day when according to Christian tradition Jesus was resurrected in Jerusalem two millennia ago.

Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal led Mass at the Holy Sepulcher church in Jerusalem on Sunday. The site is where Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.

In the West Bank town of Bethlehem, worshippers prayed and lit candles at the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Jesus.

Easter was also celebrated in Gaza where less than three thousand Christians live among about 1.7 million Muslims.

Christian communities in the Holy Land, as well as elsewhere in the Middle East, have been declining in recent years due to regional turmoil.

IMAGE: ABC News


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Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital http://www.wbrz.com/news/magnitude-7-5-earthquake-shakes-mexican-capital/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/magnitude-7-5-earthquake-shakes-mexican-capital/ International News Fri, 18 Apr 2014 8:28:26 AM Hunter Robinson Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

ACAPULCO, Mexico - A powerful, magnitude-7.5 earthquake has shaken central and southern Mexico.

The U.S. Geological Survey says it was centered northwest of the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where many Mexicans are vacationing for the Easter holiday.

The quake was felt strongly in the resort city, as well as in Mexico's capital.

A woman who answered the phone at the civil protection office in Acapulco says officials are patrolling the city to check for damage and casualties.

There have been no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

The quake was centered 164 miles southwest of Mexico City, but the shaking was felt in the capital for at least 30 seconds. Buildings swayed as people fled high rises and took to the streets.

Mexico City is vulnerable even to distant earthquakes because much of it sits atop the muddy sediments of drained lake beds that quiver as quake waves hit.

The magnitude-8.1 quake in 1985 that killed at least 6,000 people and destroyed many buildings in Mexico City was centered 250 miles away on the Pacific Coast.


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At least 12 dead after Mt. Everest avalanche http://www.wbrz.com/news/at-least-12-dead-after-mt-everest-avalanche/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/at-least-12-dead-after-mt-everest-avalanche/ International News Fri, 18 Apr 2014 4:23:53 AM Hunter Robinson At least 12 dead after Mt. Everest avalanche

KATMANDU, Nepal - Officials say about five climbers are feared missing after an avalanche swept the slopes of Mount Everest and hit a route used to ascent the world's highest peak.

Nepal Tourism Ministry official Madhu Sudan Burlakoti says the avalanche hit the area just below Camp 2 around 6:30 a.m. Friday. Rescuers and fellow climbers at the base camp are heading to the area to help. A helicopter is on the way from Katmandu.

Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association says four or five climbers are believed to have been buried and more injured by the avalanche.

Hundreds of climbers, their guides and support guides have gathered at the base camp, gearing up for their final attempt to scale the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak early next month when weather condition gets favorable.


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Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions http://www.wbrz.com/news/deal-reached-on-calming-ukraine-tensions/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/deal-reached-on-calming-ukraine-tensions/ International News Thu, 17 Apr 2014 2:47:08 PM Deal reached on calming Ukraine tensions

GENEVA (AP) - Ukraine's foreign minister says the agreement reached in Geneva today will be a "test" to see if Russia really wants to see stability in the region.

After seven hours of negotiations, top diplomats from the U.S., Europe, Russia and Ukraine agreed on some immediate steps to ease the crisis in Ukraine.

It doesn't spell out any specific directions for Ukraine's future. But it requires all sides to halt any violence, intimidation or provocative actions. It also calls for all illegally armed groups to be disarmed. And buildings that were seized by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine are supposed to be turned back over to authorities there.

Secretary of State John Kerry says he's warned Russia's foreign minister that if Moscow doesn't follow through on its commitments under the deal, there will soon be new sanctions. But for now, additional economic sanctions that the West had prepared to impose on Russia are on hold. That will ease international pressure on Moscow as well as on nervous European Union nations that depend on Russia for their energy.

Monitors from the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe will help Ukraine authorities and local communities comply with the agreement.


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Snowden questions Putin on surveillance policies http://www.wbrz.com/news/snowden-questions-putin-on-surveillance-policies/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/snowden-questions-putin-on-surveillance-policies/ International News Thu, 17 Apr 2014 9:10:10 AM Snowden questions Putin on surveillance policies

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin is assuring Edward Snowden that Russians have nothing to fear when it comes to mass surveillance by their own government.

Several hours into Putin's televised call-in show today, there was an appearance on video from Snowden, the American who leaked a trove of material on U.S. government surveillance programs from the National Security Agency. He was granted asylum in Russia last year.

Snowden asked, "Does Russia intercept, store or analyze the communications of millions of individuals?"

It's a question that came as little surprise to Putin, since the program was heavily stage-managed.

Putin replied, "Special services here, thank God, are under the strict control of the government, society, and their operations are regulated by law."

His official answer, though, differs sharply from the reality in Russia.

In recent months, Russia's Internet regulatory body has shut down the domain of a leading opposition figure. It's also moved to block groups on Russia's leading social network that were connected to the Ukrainian protest movement that helped force out the country's Kremlin-backed president.


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South Korea says nearly 300 missing in ferry disaster http://www.wbrz.com/news/south-korea-says-nearly-300-missing-in-ferry-disaster/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/south-korea-says-nearly-300-missing-in-ferry-disaster/ International News Wed, 16 Apr 2014 4:10:42 AM Hunter Robinson South Korea says nearly 300 missing in ferry disaster

SEOUL, South Korea - Officials in South Korea say nearly 300 people are still missing several hours after a ferry sank in the cold waters off the country's southern coast.

At least two people are confirmed dead, but there are fears of a much bigger death toll as dozens of boats, helicopters and divers continue to search for survivors.

One passenger says he believes that many people were trapped inside when the ferry sank. The boat sent out a distress call Wednesday morning when it began leaning to one side.

The Ministry of Security and Public Administration says about 95 percent of the ferry is now submerged.

Most of the 459 people on board were high school students on a school trip. On student tells broadcaster YTN that he and other students jumped into the ocean wearing life jackets and then swam to a rescue boat nearby.


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US: 'Overwhelming evidence' Russia driving E. Ukraine unrest http://www.wbrz.com/news/us-overwhelming-evidence-russia-driving-e-ukraine-unrest/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/us-overwhelming-evidence-russia-driving-e-ukraine-unrest/ International News Mon, 14 Apr 2014 1:15:01 PM US: 'Overwhelming evidence'  Russia driving E. Ukraine unrest

WASHINGTON - The White House says there's "overwhelming evidence" that Russia is fomenting unrest in eastern Ukraine.

However, President Barack Obama has not yet concluded that the actions warrant broader sanctions.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says the administration is "actively evaluating" how the U.S. should respond to the situation. He says the U.S. is also discussing that matter with international partners.

Carney suggests Obama could talk to Russia President Vladimir Putin as soon as today. They last spoke more than two weeks ago. Since then, pro-Russian forces have been on a rampage, storming and occupying local government offices, police stations and a small airport in eastern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is accusing CIA Chief John Brennan of being behind Ukraine's decision to send troops into the east to quash the pro-Russian insurgency.

U.S. officials deny those accusations, but the White House has confirmed that Brennan visited the Ukrainian capital of Kiev over the weekend.


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Pope assumes responsibility for priest sex abuse http://www.wbrz.com/news/pope-assumes-responsibility-for-priest-sex-abuse/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/pope-assumes-responsibility-for-priest-sex-abuse/ International News Fri, 11 Apr 2014 10:51:43 AM Pope assumes responsibility for priest sex abuse

VATICAN CITY - Some off-the-cuff remarks today from Pope Francis are the latest sign that he has become sensitized to the gravity of the church's abuse scandal.

The pontiff said today that he took personal responsibility for what he described as the "evil" of priests who raped and molested children. Francis asked forgiveness from victims, and said the church must do more to protect the young.

He said, "We don't want to take a step back in dealing with this problem and the sanctions that must be imposed."

It's the first time a pope has taken personal responsibility for the sex crimes of priests, and has begged forgiveness.

Last month, Francis named four women and an abuse survivor to a sex abuse advisory panel. The Vatican has suggested that the panel will address the issue of sanctioning bishops who cover up for pedophiles.

Francis delivered his comments today to members of a French Catholic network of organizations that protect the rights of children.

The main U.S. victim's group, SNAP, says it's waiting for more. The group's outreach director says, "Until the pope takes decisive action that protects kids, be skeptical and vigilant."


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New possible pings detected in hunt for lost jet http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-possible-pings-detected-in-hunt-for-lost-jet/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/new-possible-pings-detected-in-hunt-for-lost-jet/ International News Thu, 10 Apr 2014 4:50:42 AM KRISTEN GELINEAU New possible pings detected in hunt for lost jet

PERTH, Australia - An Australian official says a search crew hunting for the missing Malaysian jet has located a new possible underwater signal.

The search agency coordinating the search off Australia's west coast says an Australian navy aircraft on Thursday picked up a signal in the same area a ship first heard sounds consistent with an aircraft's black boxes earlier this week.

The aircraft dropped sound-locating buoys by parachute in a pattern near where the signals were last heard.

Angus Houston, who is heading up the search, said in a statement that the plane picked up a "possible signal" that may be from a man-made source.


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Pistorius continues testimony at murder trial http://www.wbrz.com/news/pistorius-continues-testimony-at-murder-trial/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/pistorius-continues-testimony-at-murder-trial/ International News Tue, 8 Apr 2014 4:38:32 AM Hunter Robinson Pistorius continues testimony at  murder trial

PRETORIA, South Africa - Oscar Pistorius was testifying for a second day at his murder trial Tuesday, answering questions from his defense lawyer.

Pistorius is expected to speak about the night he shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and will also be cross-examined by the prosecution.

The double-amputee Olympic runner was the second witness called by the defense Monday, when he made a tearful apology to Steenkamp's family. He said he was now on medication and suffered from panic attacks, and had a long-held fear of crime, which he says contributed to him firing through a toilet door on Valentine's Day last year thinking his girlfriend was a nighttime intruder.

Prosecutors say that Pistorius is lying and killed Steenkamp intentionally after an argument and charged the world-famous athlete with premeditated murder.


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Electrical device helps paralyzed men move legs http://www.wbrz.com/news/electrical-device-helps-paralyzed-men-move-legs/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/electrical-device-helps-paralyzed-men-move-legs/ International News Tue, 8 Apr 2014 4:36:29 AM Maria Cheng Electrical device helps paralyzed men move legs

LONDON - Three years ago, doctors reported that zapping a paralyzed man's spinal cord with electricity allowed him to stand and move his legs. Now they've done the same with three other patients, suggesting their original success was no fluke.

Experts say it's a promising development but warn that the experimental treatment isn't a cure. When the implanted device is activated, the men can wiggle their toes, lift their legs and stand briefly. But they aren't able to walk and still use wheelchairs to get around.

"There is no miracle cure on the way," said Peter Ellaway, an emeritus professor of physiology at Imperial College London, who had no role in the study. "But this could certainly give paralyzed people more independence and it could still be a life-changer for them."

In a new study published Tuesday in the British journal Brain, researchers gave an update on Rob Summers, of Portland, Oregon, the first to try the treatment, and described successful results for all three of the other men who have tried it. All had been paralyzed from below the neck or chest for at least two years from a spinal cord injury.

The study's lead author, Claudia Angeli of the Kentucky Spinal Cord Research Center at the University of Louisville, said she believes the device's zapping of the spinal cord helps it to receive simple commands from the brain, through circuitry that some doctors had assumed was beyond repair after severe paralysis.

Dustin Shillcox, 29, of Green River, Wyoming, was seriously injured in a car crash in 2010. Last year, he had the electrical device surgically implanted in his lower back in Kentucky. Five days later, he wiggled his toes and moved one of his feet for the first time.

"It was very exciting and emotional," said Shillcox. "It brought me a lot of hope."

Shillcox now practices moving his legs for about an hour a day at home in addition to therapy sessions in the lab, sometimes wearing a Superman T-shirt for inspiration. He said it has given him more confidence and he feels more comfortable going out.

"The future is very exciting for people with spinal cord injuries," he said.

The study's other two participants - Kent Stephenson of Mount Pleasant, Texas and Andrew Meas of Louisville, Kentucky - have had similar results.

"I'm able to (make) these voluntary movements and it really changed my life," Stephenson said. He said the electrical device lets him ride on an off-road utility vehicle all day with his friends and get out of the wheelchair.

"I've seen some benefits of (the device) training even when it's turned off," he added. "There have been huge improvements in bowel, bladder and sexual function."

The new study was paid for by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and others.

Experts said refining the use of electrical stimulators for people with paralysis might eventually prove more effective than standard approaches, including medicines and physical therapy.

"In the next five to 10 years, we may have one of the first therapies that can improve the quality of life for people with a spinal cord injury," said Gregoire Courtine, a paralysis expert at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, who was not part of the study.

Ellaway said it was unrealistic to think that paralyzed people would be able to walk after such treatment but it was feasible they might eventually be able to stand unaided or take a few steps.

"The next step will be to see how long this improvement persists or if they will need this implant for the rest of their lives," he said.

The National Institutes of Health is investing in more advanced stimulators that would better target the spinal cord as well as devices that might work on people who are paralyzed in their upper limbs.


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Guilty in webcam murder http://www.wbrz.com/news/guilty-in-webcam-murder/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/guilty-in-webcam-murder/ International News Mon, 7 Apr 2014 5:33:54 PM Michael Marsh Guilty in webcam murder

TORONTO- A Canadian man was found guilty of killing a female student while her boyfriend watched the murder via webcam in China.

Qian Liu was found dead in her apartment a few hours after her boyfriend in China watched as she tried to fend off an attacker who appeared at her door.

The boyfriend told police he saw Liu struggle with the man before her computer was turned off.

Brian Dickson was arrested for the murder and even offered to plead guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter, but prosecutors rejected the deal and the case went to the jury on Monday.


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Malaysia official hopeful about lost jet search http://www.wbrz.com/news/malaysia-official-hopeful-about-lost-jet-search/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/malaysia-official-hopeful-about-lost-jet-search/ International News Mon, 7 Apr 2014 4:55:35 AM Hunter Robinson Malaysia official hopeful about lost jet search

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - Malaysia's defense minister says he is "cautiously hopeful" that there will be positive developments in the next few days, "if not hours," in the search for the missing airliner.

Hishamuddin Hussein made the comments Monday during a press conference in light of news about underwater sounds detected by ships searching the southern Indian Ocean. At least some of the sounds are consistent with pings from aircraft black boxes.

Authorities have warned that it will take time to confirm whether the sounds are signals from the flight data recorders that belonged to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished a month ago.

The batteries in the black boxes run out after about 30 days, and the plane vanished March 8, so searchers are in a race against time to locate the devices.


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Obama: Afghan election marks important milestone http://www.wbrz.com/news/obama-afghan-election-marks-important-milestone/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/obama-afghan-election-marks-important-milestone/ International News Sat, 5 Apr 2014 3:08:25 PM Hunter Robinson Obama: Afghan election marks important milestone

WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Barack Obama says Afghanistan's presidential election marks another important milestone.

He says the Afghan people are taking full responsibility for their country as the United States and its allies gradually withdraw their forces.

Obama is congratulating the millions of Afghans who defied threats from the Taliban and went to the polls.

Turnout in some places Saturday was so high that polling places ran out of ballots.

Partial results are expected Sunday.

Obama says the election to choose a successor to President Hamid Karzai (HAH'-mihd KAHR'-zeye) is critical to securing Afghanistan's democratic future and continued international support.

Secretary of State John Kerry says the vote demonstrates Afghan people's commitment to protecting and advancing their democracy. He says that the United States remains ready to work with the next president.


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McDonald's closes in Crimea http://www.wbrz.com/news/mcdonald-s-closes-in-crimea/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/mcdonald-s-closes-in-crimea/ International News Fri, 4 Apr 2014 12:25:24 PM McDonald's closes in Crimea

NEW YORK- McDonald's has closed its three restaurants in Crimea as it evaluates the "evolving situation" on the Black Sea peninsula.

The world's biggest hamburger chain said Friday that the closures were "strictly a business decision which has nothing to do with politics." It cited the suspension of financial and banking services and said it is evaluating the potential business and regulatory implications of the situation.

Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula in mid-March, saying that the pro-Russian Crimeans had a right to break away from Ukraine.

The West and Ukraine do not recognize the annexation.

The restaurants in Crimea were owned by McDonald's Corp., rather than franchisees.

"We hope to reopen our restaurants soon so we can welcome back our loyal customers," McDonald's said in its statement.


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Australia to deploy flying air traffic controller http://www.wbrz.com/news/australia-to-deploy-flying-air-traffic-controller/ http://www.wbrz.com/news/australia-to-deploy-flying-air-traffic-controller/ International News Tue, 1 Apr 2014 4:49:35 AM Rob Griffith Australia to deploy flying air traffic controller

PERTH, Australia - Australia is deploying a modified Boeing 737 to act as a flying air traffic controller over the Indian Ocean to prevent a mid-air collision among the large number of aircraft searching for the Malaysia Airlines jetliner that went missing over three weeks ago.

According to an Australian government briefing note read out to The Associated Press by an official, the air force is sending an E-7A Wedgetail equipped with advanced radar to start monitoring the search zone Tuesday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Ten planes and nine ships were taking part in Tuesday's search for Flight 370, which vanished March 8 with 239 people bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.


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