By Stuart Grudgings and Anuradha Raghu KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew crashed in the South China Sea on Saturday, Vietnamese state media said, quoting a senior naval official. The Boeing 777-200ER flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing had been missing for hours when Vietnam's Tuoi Tre news quoted Admiral Ngo Van Phat as saying he had asked boats from an island off south Vietnam to rush to the crash site. Malaysia Airlines had yet to confirm that the aircraft had crashed. Flight MH370, operating a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, last had contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement read to a news conference in Kuala Lumpur.
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.