The search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board, has narrowed to a 10 sq km (6.2 sq mile) patch of sea floor about 2,000 km (1,200 miles) west of the Australian city of Perth. Search authorities and the Australian and Malaysian governments have said a series of sonar signals, or "pings", traced to the area may have emanated from the plane's "black box" and present the most credible lead as to its whereabouts. However no pings have been detected in almost two weeks and authorities now fear that, with the flight data recorder's battery several weeks past its expected expiry date, the black box may not emit further signals. "Bluefin-21 has searched approximately two-thirds of the focused underwater search area to date.
By Elaine Lies TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sent a ritual offering to the Yasukuni Shrine, seen by critics as a symbol of Japan's past militarism, a move that may increase strains on Tokyo's ties with Asian neighbors China and South Korea. The offering from Abe, who visited the shrine in December but opted not to go in person this time, was sent just before U.S. President Barack Obama's three-day visit to Japan begins on Wednesday. China protested on April 12 after internal affairs minister Yoshitaka Shindo visited the shrine, where 14 Japanese leaders convicted as war criminals by an Allied tribunal after World War Two are honored along with Japan's war dead. Abe made his latest offering to the shrine as a private individual so it was not the government's place to comment, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.