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No debris recovered in new search for missing jet

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In this image made from TV, released by AMSA (Australia Maritime Safety Authority), a marker flare is deployed into the Indian Ocean from a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) plane searching for debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, off the west coast of Australia, Friday March 28, 2014. Three weeks into the mystery of missing Flight 370, investigators are relying on newly analyzed satellite data to dictate their search field, and some potential flotsam has been photographed for assessment overnight, but the objects cannot be verified or discounted as being from MH370 until they are relocated and recovered by surface vessels. (AP Photo / AMSA, pool)

In this image made from TV, released by AMSA (Australia Maritime Safety Authority), a marker flare is deployed into the Indian Ocean from a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) plane searching for debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, off the west coast of Australia, Friday March 28, 2014. Three weeks into the mystery of missing Flight 370, investigators are relying on newly analyzed satellite data to dictate their search field, and some potential flotsam has been photographed for assessment overnight, but the objects cannot be verified or discounted as being from MH370 until they are relocated and recovered by surface vessels. (AP Photo / AMSA, pool)

Ahmad Nizar Zolfakar, Director of Air Traffic Management Sector, Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation, third from left follows the Malaysian ambassador Iskandar Sarudin, center as they leave after a meeting with relatives of Chinese passengers onboard the Malaysia Airlines plane, MH370 at a hotel in Beijing, China, Friday, March 28, 2014. Relatives left the meeting en masse after claiming the lack of meaningful answers from the Malaysian delegation. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Diagram shows three types of technology used in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.; 3c x 6 inches; 146 mm x 152 mm;

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PERTH, Australia (AP) — No debris spotted in an area off the west coast of Australia has been recovered, a Malaysian minister involved in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 said Saturday, adding he hoped for some news soon.

Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters near Kuala Lumpur after meeting several families of passengers on the plane that there was no new information on the objects, which could just be regular debris floating in the ocean, or could be from the missing plane.

“I’ve got to wait to get the reports on whether they have retrieved those objects …. Those will give us some indication,” said Hishammuddin, who was accompanied by his wife and children as he visited the relatives at a hotel in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Several planes and ships combed the newly targeted area for the objects that were first spotted Friday, including two rectangular items that were blue and gray, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

“The objects cannot be verified or discounted as being from MH370 until they are relocated and recovered by ships,” the authority said in a statement. “It is not known how much flotsam, such as from fishing activities, is ordinarily there. At least one distinctive fishing object has been identified.”

Flight 370 disappeared March 8 while bound from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and investigators have been puzzling over what might have happened aboard the plane, with speculation ranging from equipment failure and a botched hijacking to terrorism or an act by one of the pilots.

The latter was fueled by reports the pilot’s home flight simulator had files deleted from it, but Hishimmuddin said checks, including ones by the FBI, turned up no new information.

“What I know is that there is nothing sinister from the simulators but of course that will have to be confirmed by the chief of police,” he said.

Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said a cold front would bring rain, low clouds and reduced visibility over the southern part of the search area, with moderate winds and swells of up to 2 meters (6 feet). Conditions will improve Sunday, although rain, drizzle and low clouds are still likely.

Newly analyzed satellite data shifted the search zone on Friday, raising hopes searchers may be closer to getting physical evidence that that the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean with 239 people aboard.

That would also help narrow the hunt for the wreckage and the plane’s black boxes, which could contain clues to what caused the plane — flying to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur — to be so far off-course.

The U.S. Navy has already sent equipment that can detect pings from the back boxes, and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters in Sydney that the equipment would be put on an Australian naval ship soon.

“It will be taken to the most prospective search area and if there is good reason to deploy it, it will be deployed,” he said, without giving a timeframe. Other officials have said it could take days for the ship — the Ocean Shield — to reach the search area.

The newly targeted zone is nearly 1,130 kilometers (700 miles) northeast of sites the searchers have crisscrossed for the past week. The redeployment came after analysts determined that the Boeing 777 may have been traveling faster than earlier estimates and would therefore have run out of fuel sooner, officials said.

Search planes were sent out Saturday from Perth, Australia, in a staggered manner, so at least one plane will be over the area for most of the daylight hours. It is also closer than the previous search area, with a flying time of 2 ½ hours each way, allowing for five hours of search time, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

The Australian statement said five P-3 Orions — three from Australia and one each from Japan and New Zealand — plus a Japanese coast guard jet, a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76, and one civilian jet acting as a communications relay took part Saturday.

Abbott said the job of locating the debris was

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