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Missing Malaysia Jet Search Area Narrows
The search area for missing flight MH370 has been narrowed by officials, as Malaysian Airlines defended its treatment of grief-stricken relatives.
The international operation to find the Malaysia Airlines plane will now focus on the southern tip of the southern flight corridor the plane is thought to have followed.
Officials say the search - which involves some 26 countries - has been called off in the northern corridor of the Indian Ocean.
Malaysia's acting transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, gave an update today on the search in a news conference at the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
He said the search operation will concentrate on 469,407 square miles inside the southern part of the southern corridor.
It comes amid criticism from the relatives of those on board the flight and protests at the Malaysian embassy in Beijing.
China has demanded Malaysia turn over the satellite data used to conclude that the plane crashed into the ocean, killing all 239 people on board.
Dozens of angry relatives of Chinese passengers clashed with police in Beijing after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak confirmed that the plane had crashed.
The protesters shouted 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.
Sky's Jonathan Samuels in Beijing said there were distressing scenes as relatives accused authorities of lying to them.
"What's extraordinary about this is that these sorts of demonstrations don't usually happen in China," he said.
"The families may have made a point of sorts, but they still believe the Malaysian authorities are lying to them."
A high-level delegation will return to Beijing today to meet with frustrated relatives.
Malaysia Airlines is under mounting pressure over its handling of the search.
Chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya has said it is "not correct" to say the airline abandoned relatives.
He also defended the airline's decision to send text messages to relatives of passengers informing them the plane had been lost.
"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," he said.
"We know that while there have been an increasing number of apparent leads, definitive identification of any piece of debris is still missing. It is impossible to predict how long this will take.
"But after 17 days, the announcement made last night and shared with the families is the reality which we must now accept."
He said he will decide later on whether he will resign over the handling of the search operation, saying it was a "personal decision" for later.
He has insisted the airline is doing its best to treat relatives with care and dignity.
"My heart breaks to think of the unimaginable pain suffered by all the families. 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."
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."