China demands satellite data on missing plane

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Chinese relatives of passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, flight MH370, shout in protest as they march towards the Malaysia embassy in Beijing, China, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Furious over Malaysia’s handling of the lost jetliner a day after the country said the passengers must be dead, Chinese relatives of the missing marched Tuesday to the Malaysia Embassy, where they threw plastic water bottles, tried to rush the gate and chanted, “Liars!” The blue placard reads: “We won’t leave or ditch you, we will wait right here.”(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Chinese relatives of passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, flight MH370, shout in protest as they march towards the Malaysia embassy in Beijing, China, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Furious over Malaysia’s handling of the lost jetliner a day after the country said the passengers must be dead, Chinese relatives of the missing marched Tuesday to the Malaysia Embassy, where they threw plastic water bottles, tried to rush the gate and chanted, “Liars!” The blue placard reads: “We won’t leave or ditch you, we will wait right here.”(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

A relative of Chinese passengers on board a missing Malaysia Airlines plane breaks down as she protests outside the Malaysia Embassy in Beijing, China, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Furious over Malaysia’s handling of the lost jetliner a day after the country said the passengers must be dead, Chinese relatives of the missing marched Tuesday to the Malaysia Embassy, where they threw plastic water bottles, tried to rush the gate and chanted, “Liars!” (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Chinese relatives of Chinese passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, flight MH370, scuffle with police officers outside the Malaysia embassy in Beijing, China, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Furious over Malaysia’s handling of the lost jetliner a day after the country said the passengers must be dead, Chinese relatives of the missing marched Tuesday to the Malaysia Embassy, where they threw plastic water bottles, tried to rush the gate and chanted, “Liars!” (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Relatives of Chinese passengers onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 cry as they protest outside the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing, China, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Furious over Malaysia’s handling of the lost jetliner a day after the country said the passengers must be dead, Chinese relatives of the missing marched Tuesday to the Malaysia Embassy, where they threw plastic water bottles, tried to rush the gate and chanted, “Liars!” (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Malaysia’s acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein answers a reporter’s questions during a press conference for the missing Malaysia Airline, flight MH370, at Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. China demanded that Malaysia turn over the satellite data used to conclude that a Malaysia Airlines jetliner had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, killing everyone on board, as gale-force winds and heavy rain on Tuesday halted the search for remains of the plane. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — China demanded Tuesday that Malaysia turn over the satellite data used to conclude that a Malaysia Airlines jetliner had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, killing all 239 on board. Officials sharply narrowed the search area as a result of that assessment, but the zone remains as large as Texas and Oklahoma combined.

Australia said improved weather would allow the hunt for the plane to resume Wednesday after gale-force winds and heavy rain forced a daylong delay. Searchers face a daunting task of combing a vast expanse of choppy seas for suspected remnants of the aircraft sighted earlier.

“We’re not searching for a needle in a haystack — we’re still trying to define where the haystack is,” Australia’s deputy defense chief, Air Marshal Mark Binskin, told reporters at a military base in Perth as idled planes stood behind him.

Late Monday, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that a new analysis of satellite data confirmed the plane had crashed in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean.

That announcement unleashed a storm of sorrow and anger among the families of the plane’s passengers and crew — two-thirds of them Chinese. Family members of the passengers have complained bitterly about a lack of reliable information and some say they are not being told the whole truth.

Nearly 100 relatives and their supporters marched Tuesday to the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing, where they threw plastic water bottles, tried to rush the gate and chanted, “Liars!”

Many wore white T-shirts that read “Let’s pray for MH370″ as they held banners and shouted, “Tell the truth! Return our relatives!”

There was a heavy police presence at the embassy. Police briefly scuffled with a group of relatives who tried to approach journalists.

In a clear statement of support for the families, Chinese President Xi Jinping ordered a special envoy, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, to Kuala Lumpur to deal with the case. Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng told Malaysia’s ambassador that China wanted to know exactly what led Najib to announce that the plane had been lost, a statement on the ministry’s website said.

Investigators and the Malaysian government have been able to say little with certainty about Flight 370’s fate since it disappeared on March 8 shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.

Left unanswered are many troubling questions about why it was so far off course. Experts piecing together radar and satellite data believe the plane back-tracked over Malaysia and then traveled in the opposite direction to the Indian Ocean.

Investigators will be looking at various possibilities including mechanical or electrical failure, hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or someone else on board.

“We do not know why. We do not know how. We do not know how the terrible tragedy happened,” Malaysia Airlines’ chief executive, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, told reporters.

The airline’s chairman, Mohammed Nor Mohammed Yusof, said Tuesday it may take time for further answers

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