Fire crews in New York City have responded to a multiple dwelling explosion and building collapse in Upper Manhattan. WABC-TV says residents reported hearing a large explosion in an apartment building around 9am.
Footage has emerged of relatives furious at the lack of progress in the hunt for the Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 239 people. Speaking at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammudin Hussein said the search had been extended to cover the South China Sea and Strait of Malacca. "Each day that passes I fear that the search and rescue becomes just a search, but we never give up hope." :: Sky News will be showing a 12-minute special report on the story so far of the missing flight MH370 at 2.30pm.
Aviation experts told Sky News pilot suicide is a possible explanation, although Malaysia Airlines chiefs say there is "no reason to believe" crew had anything to do with the Boeing 777-200's disappearance. As the mystery deepened, Australian aviation consultant Neil Hansford accused the Malaysian government of not telling the full story of what happened. He told Sky News: "I'm finding in any interviews I'm doing with Malaysians, there is a fair bit of spin, there's a fair bit of denial of the boarding procedures and the manifest checking with the stolen passport list, and inconsistencies all the time. "I think you're now finding the Malaysian authorities have got a lot to answer for."
Ed Miliband has effectively ruled out an EU in-out referendum, saying there would only be a vote in the event of a significant Brussels power grab. The key initiative from the Labour leader is what he calls a "new lock" which means no in-out referendum unless there is a transfer of powers from the UK to the EU. However, he pointed out there were no current proposals for such a transfer of powers so it is unlikely any Labour government would introduce an EU membership vote. In a speech in central London on Wednesday morning he said: "Now, there are no current proposals from other countries for such a transfer of powers.
A bill of rights should be created to govern the Internet in the wake of revelations about the depth of government surveillance, the inventor of the World Wide Web said on Wednesday.
Chinese maths teachers are to come to England to give masterclasses in the subject as part of a fresh bid to boost standards.
Britain could face around 11.5 gigawatts (GW) of power plant capacity going off line by the end of 2023 due to tighter European Union pollution rules, Reuters calculations based on government data show. EU power plant operators have had to inform their relevant environment regulator about which stations will not install emissions-cutting technology to comply with the so-called EU Industrial Emissions Directive from 2016. Britain's Defra published a list of operators which have requested the opt-out on Wednesday, but has said they can change their minds up until January 1, 2016.
Britain's minimum wage is likely to rise faster than inflation for several years to come, so long as the economy continues to improve, the body which advises Britain's government on the topic said on Wednesday. Earlier in the day the government agreed to the Low Pay Commission's recommendation for a 3 percent increase in Britain's minimum wage this year to 6.50 pounds ($10.80), which will be the first above-inflation increase since 2008. "Provided the economy continues to improve we expect to recommend further progressive real increases in the minimum wage, so that 2014 will mark the start of a new phase of bigger increases," said David Norgrove, who chairs the commission. Finance minister George Osborne said in January that he would like to see the minimum wage rise faster than inflation, after several years in which Britons' living standards have fallen in real terms.
King Digital Entertainment, the British developer behind the wildly-addictive mobile game Candy Crush, said on Wednesday that it could be valued at up to $7.6 billion in its eagerly-awaited upcoming flotation.
Publicist Max Clifford ordered a teenage girl to strip in his office telling her she could be the next Jodie Foster, a court has heard. Jurors listened as the woman described how Clifford had charmed her by telling her: "You could be the UK version of Jodie Foster." She said Clifford had spent several minutes persuading her to take her clothes off, reminding her of how he had seen her in a bikini during a recent Spanish holiday where they had first met. Initially, she had been reluctant to meet him but then she arranged to visit him at his central London office after receiving a call from a man named Terry Miller, who the prosecution say was really Clifford.
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday voiced opposition to boycotts of Israel, in an address to parliament on the first day of an official visit to the Holy Land.
By Jonathan Cable LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's economy will grow faster than any other G7 nation in coming quarters, but the Bank of England will not raise interest rates until next year to avoid choking off the recovery, a Reuters poll showed on Wednesday. The poll of over 50 economists, taken this week, suggested Britain's gross domestic product (GDP) will grow 0.6 percent per quarter through to September 2015. If those forecasts are met, Britain's economy will be back to its pre-crisis size by the end of June and be the fastest growing amongst the group of seven major industrialised nations. "The story on the UK remains very positive, with business surveys pointing to robust activity, confidence indicators bouncing strongly, credit growth strengthening and asset prices rising," said James Knightley at ING.
Billionaire financier George Soros said on Wednesday it would not be practical for an independent Scotland to keep the British pound, and warned a separate currency would be "potentially dangerous" as weak currencies can be attacked. A row over currency is heating up as Scots prepare to vote on September 18 in a referendum on whether to break away from the rest of the United Kingdom. Nationalists wanting to share the pound in a currency union with the UK and retain the services of the Bank of England. But the three main UK parties have united to reject that plan, telling Scotland if it leaves the United Kingdom, it leaves the pound.
Progress towards treatments for cancer and other diseases will slow down if the health watchdog continues to "underestimate" the benefits of new medicines, according to a new report.
By Emma Farge BAMAKO (Reuters) - President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita won power with a pledge to resurrect a "strong and united" Mali from the ashes of a war against Islamists militants yet six months later he has done little to heal the wounds of the conflict. Elected with a reputation as a strongman, Keita has focused on restoring control over Mali's army after a March 2012 coup. The putsch plunged Mali into chaos that allowed Islamists to seize the north, forcing France to intervene in its ex-colony. Restoring stability to north Mali is a crucial step in stamping out al Qaeda cells and traffickers operating in the arid Sahel belt south of the Sahara.
A residential building in New York's East Harlem neighborhood exploded and collapsed on Wednesday, sparking a serious fire and engulfing the area in thick smoke, officials said.
The Group of Seven most developed economies is calling on Russia to stop all efforts to "annex" Ukraine's Crimea region, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Wednesday.
By Alissa de Carbonnel SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine (Reuters) - Within a week of its building being taken over by armed gunmen last month, the regional parliament in Crimea was voting in favour of the Ukrainian region becoming part of Russia. How that was achieved under the leadership of Sergei Aksyonov, 41, a Russian separatist whose political party won 4 percent of the vote at the parliamentary election in 2010, was a master class in vote rigging and intimidation, according to several opposition lawmakers. "It was all a great spectacle, a tragic spectacle," said Leonid Pilunsky, one of a number of regional lawmakers who say a vote behind closed doors to install Aksyonov was fixed and key decisions were taken before anyone could respond. Moscow says Crimea is in the grip of a home-spun uprising, a popular response to the revolt in Kiev which ousted Ukraine's Russian-backed President Viktor Yanukovich.
Portugal's Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho has invited the main opposition Socialists to discuss efforts to shrink the budget gap, aiming to convince investors that next year's election won't derail the policy. After Lisbon's international bailout ends this year, its finances will still be bound by deficit reduction targets set by the 2012 European Union fiscal stability treaty. "The Socialist party ratified this budget treaty, but now it's time to move on to acts from words," Passos Coelho told a conference on Wednesday. Portugal's debt yields have fallen to their lowest level since April 2010 this week, helped by improving sentiment about the euro zone as a whole, as well as Portugal's economic recovery and the prospects of a smooth bailout exit in May. Lisbon has to cut the budget deficit to 4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year from last year's 5 percent plus, then to 2.5 percent in 2015 and gradually to 0.5 percent in 2017.
By Martin Santa and Luke Baker BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union member states have agreed the wording of sanctions on Russia, including travel restrictions and asset freezes against those responsible for violating the sovereignty of Ukraine, according to a draft document reviewed by Reuters. The seven-page document describes in detail the restrictive measures to be taken against Moscow if it does not reverse course in Crimea and start to engage with international mediators on efforts to resolve the crisis. If approved by EU foreign ministers at a meeting on Monday, they would be the first sanctions imposed by the European Union against Russia since the end of the Cold War, marking a severe deterioration in East-West relations. The measures are being coordinated with the United States, Switzerland, Turkey, Japan and Canada, an effort to ensure the sanctions net is as tight and effective as possible.