Kuala Lumpur (AFP) - 06:26 GMT - Ships sent - Faridah Shuib, a spokeswoman for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency says Malaysian authorities have dispatched a plane, two helicopters and four vessels to search seas off its east coast in the South China Sea.
China recorded an unexpected trade deficit of $22.98 billion in February, official figures showed Saturday, with authorities blaming the country's holiday season for the weak performance. The figure compared with a surplus of $14.8 billion in the same month last year, and a median forecast of an $11.9 billion surplus in a poll of 13 economists by Dow Jones Newswires. Exports fell 18.1 percent to $114.10 billion, while imports were up 10.1 percent to $137.08 billion during the month, which included most of the Lunar New Year holiday, the General Administration of Customs said. Analysts played down the deficit -- China's first in 11 months -- saying improving foreign demand bodes well for the country's trade this year.
By John Whitesides WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Eight months before the November 4 elections, Republicans have expanded the number of competitive races for U.S. Senate seats and have a growing chance of gaining control of that chamber and stalling Democratic President Barack Obama's second-term agenda. Public dissatisfaction with the president, concerns about his healthcare overhaul and a sluggish economy, and a series of retirements by key Democratic senators in conservative states have made a rugged year for Democrats even more so, analysts and strategists in both parties say. Republicans, who are widely expected to retain control of the U.S. House of Representatives, need a net gain of six seats to take back the 100-member Senate. Although the primary season is just starting and the candidates in many races are not set, polls suggest Republicans have boosted their odds of gaining additional Senate seats by becoming competitive in politically divided states such as Michigan and Colorado, where a year ago they were given little chance of winning.