by Xinhua writer Shang Jun
BEIJING, March 16 (Xinhua) -- The multi-national search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight took an abrupt turn over the weekend, after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak acknowledged that the plane had been deliberately diverted off course.
The new information means the intensive search in the South China Sea for the whole past week was worthless and would never bear fruit. Even worse, the golden time for saving possible survivors, if any, was generously wasted.
Malaysia also revealed that the missing plane with 239 people onboard may have flown on for nearly seven hours after it disappeared from air traffic control radar, which prompted the focus of international search now to shift westward to the Indian Ocean.
It is widely asked why the Malaysian government failed to provide such crucial information as early as possible to avoid futile search by around a dozen countries.
It is equally puzzling why the fact that the plane's communication system continued to "ping" a satellite for hours after it disappeared was only made public days later.
For those who had their beloved ones on the flight, the past week is extremely hard. They were desperate for details and effective information, but came under the torture of conflicting reports and numerous rumors due to the void of official news.
It can hardly be said whether the belated information is a piece of good news or not. But one thing is for sure, with nine days gone, we can not afford to waste any more time.
Timely, thourough and accurate imformation is the guarantee for effective rescue as Malaysian Acting Transportation Minister Hishammuddin Hussein Sunday discloses the search operation has entered a new phase, with search areas expanded significantly and mission more difficult.
As the national state of Malaysian Airlines, Malaysia has the primary and inescapable responsibility to take the lead in the search and rescue efforts.
For the sake of the 239 lives aboard the ill-fate flight and the spirit of humanism, it is also paramount that the countries joining the search that have reached 25 and relevant organizations or companies pool their information and improve coordination to pave way for a swift and efficient redeployment.
In this regard, countries with sophisticated technology and maritime capabilities, should play a bigger and role. It is a race against time and a race that we never want to lose.
Photo>>>Ukraine's Crimea kicks off referendum to determine future status
Backgrounder: Timeline of major events in Crimea
Backgrounder: Referendums held in Crimea
Russia vetoes UN resolution on Crimea referendum
UNITED NATIONS, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Moscow on Saturday vetoed a UN Security Council draft resolution that declared invalid a planned referendum in Ukraine's autonomous republic of Crimea on whether to break away and join Russia.
The draft resolution drawn up by the United States and backed by Western countries also called on international organizations to ignore results of Sunday's voting in Crimea, expected to be approved by the 60 percent ethnic Russian majority in the peninsula. Full story
China makes proposals on political solution to Ukraine crisis
UNITED NATIONS, March 15 (Xinhua) -- China on Saturday made a three-point proposal on seeking a political solution to the ongoing Ukraine crisis, stressing that the key to resolving the crisis is to settle differences through dialogue and negotiations. Full story
G8 likely to boot out Russia over Ukraine crisis: media
BERLIN, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Russia is likely to be booted out of G8 over the Ukrainian crisis as the other seven members are considering to choose London as an alternative meeting place for a G8 summit planned in Sochi, sources from the German government were quoted by media as saying on Saturday. Full story