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MH370 Protests As Airline Chief Defends Search
Malaysia Airlines' chief executive has said he will decide later whether to resign, as Chinese relatives of passengers held angry protests in Beijing.
At a news conference at Kuala Lumpur airport, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya was asked whether he would stand down over the airline's handling of the disappearance of MH370.
But he said it was a "personal decision" for later, and insisted the airline was doing its best to handle relatives with care and dignity.
"My heart breaks to think of the unimaginable pain suffered by all the families," Mr Ahmad Jauhari said.
"There are no words which can ease that pain.
"Everyone in the Malaysia Airlines family is praying for the 239 souls on MH370 and for their loved ones on this dark day. We extend our prayers and sincere condolences."
He also defended the airline's decision to send text messages to relatives of passengers informing them the plane had been lost.
The messages were sent shortly before Malaysia's Prime Minister announced on Monday investigators were convinced the jet, with 239 people on board, crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.
"Our sole and only motivation last night was to ensure that in the incredibly short amount of time available to us, the families heard the tragic news before the world did," Mr Ahmad Jauhari said.
"Wherever humanly possible, we did so in person with the families or by telephone, using SMS only as an additional means of ensuring fully that the nearly 1,000 family members heard the news from us and not from the media."
But the news conference came as dozens of angry relatives of Chinese passengers clashed with police at Malaysia's embassy in Beijing.
They were shouting slogans including "the Malaysian government are murderers" and "return our relatives".
Scuffles broke out as uniformed security personnel attempted to block some of the relatives from reaching reporters, who were being kept in a designated area.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) earlier called off the hunt for wreckage from MH370 for the day due to gale force winds, rain and big waves.
"AMSA has undertaken a risk assessment and determined that the current weather conditions would make any air and sea search activities hazardous and pose a risk to crew," it said.
"Therefore, AMSA has suspended all sea and air search operations for today due to these weather conditions."
AMSA said the weather was expected to improve in the evening local time.
The Australian navy ship HMAS Success, which tried to find debris seen by a plane and satellite, headed south of the search area to get out of the rough seas.
Several satellite images of potential debris in that area had been picked up ahead of the announcement, with French, Australian, American and Chinese authorities all capturing images of possible debris.
Hopes had been high wreckage would be found after two new objects - a green circular item and an orange rectangular one - were spotted by an Australian military plane on Monday.
This followed larger "white and square" objects seen by a Chinese plane.
The search is a race against time as the battery life of the locator beacon in the plane's black box may run out in the next two weeks.
The US military has sent a black box locator and a robotic underwater vehicle to find it.
Malaysia's police chief, Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar, earlier reiterated all the passengers had been cleared of suspicion.
But he said the pilots and crew were still being investigated.
He would not comment on whether officials had recovered the files that were deleted a month earlier from the home flight simulator of the chief pilot.