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US and EU leaders have rejected a proposed referendum in Ukraine's eastern region of Crimea, after Russia called for the Crimean people to decide whether they want to leave Ukraine or become part of the Russian federation. In a statement issued by the White House:
All of the leaders agreed on the need for Russia to pull its military forces back to their bases, allow for the deployment of international observers [...] agree quickly on the formation of a contact group that could lead to direct dialogue between Ukraine and Russia to de-escalate the situation and restore Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The leaders rejected the proposed referendum in Crimea as a violation of Ukraine’s constitution and underscored that all decisions about the future of Ukraine must include the government in Kyiv.
Malaysia Airlines has said it will fly out family members of passengers and crew, who were on board a flight that went missing early this morning.
In a statement on their website, Malaysia Airlines said:
An international search and rescue mission from Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam was mobilized this morning. At this stage, they have failed to find evidence of any wreckage. The sea mission will continue overnight while the air mission will recommence at daylight.
Immediate families of passengers are advised to gather at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Travel arrangements and expenses will be borne by Malaysia Airlines. Once, the whereabouts of the aircraft is determined, Malaysia Airlines will fly members of the family to the location.
US Secretary of State John Kerry warned Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that any steps taken by Russia to annex Ukraine's eastern region of Crimea, would close the door to diplomacy, according to Reuters.
Mr Kerry urged the "utmost restraint" by Russia in Ukraine.
Actor James "Jimmy" Ellis, who played Bert Lynch in Z-Cars, has died, the BBC has reported.
The Belfast-born actor was 82 and died from a stroke in Lincoln Hospital early today.
Ellis became a familiar face through his role in the BBC police drama, which was a household favourite from 1962 to 1978.
He played alongside a young Kenneth Branagh in BBC Northern Ireland's series of "Billy" plays and also starred in programmes such as Doctor Who, In Sickness And In Health, Ballykissangel and Only Fools And Horses.
Opposition politicians have called for a parliamentary inquiry into the handling of a radiation leak at a nuclear test reactor.
Public confidence has been damaged by the incident at the Vulcan Naval Reactor Test Establishment in Dounreay, Caithness, according to shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker and shadow Scottish secretary Margaret Curran.
UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond revealed details of a small internal leak of radiation on Thursday as he announced that the nuclear submarine HMS Vanguard is to have its reactor refuelled at a cost of £120 million.
Mr Coaker and Ms Curran said there were "significant questions" about the handling of the incident, particularly the two-year delay in making it public.
President Obama reaffirmed the US's "unwavering commitment" to NATO defence, during a call with Baltic leaders, the White House said in a statement.
"The President reaffirmed the United States' unwavering commitment to our collective defense commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty and our enduring support for the security and democracy of our Baltic allies," the White House added.
Mr Obama spoke with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Latvian President Andris Berzins, and Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves.
Scotland Yard is to request a private meeting with the parents of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence to share the findings of the criminal investigation into alleged misconduct by undercover officers.
The force is writing to Doreen and Neville Lawrence in order to discuss Operation Herne, the probe into Scotland Yard's Special Demonstration Squad (SDS) - the top secret unit that was up and running for nearly 40 years.
Vietnam dispatched two navy boats from Phu Quoc island and sent two jets and one helicopter from Ho Chi Minh City to search for a missing Malaysian airliner.
In video provided by Vietnamese newspaper Tuoi Tre a search and rescue helicopter can be seen taking off from Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City.
A still photograph provided by the newspaper showed what appears to be an oil slick in an area of sea off Vietnam where the aircraft is thought to have crashed.
The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe representative Dunja Mijatovic has condemned reported closures of TV channels in Crimea, after military observers were forced to turn back earlier today.
Media freedom under siege in Crimea, Ukraine, says OSCE rep Mijatovic (.@osce_rfom)- condemns closure of TV channels, attacks on journalists
Military assessment visitors from OSCE States returning to Kherson to plan next steps after being denied entry to Crimea at Armyans'k today
The OSCE observers have been unable to enter Ukraine's Crimea peninsula for the second day in a row.
Tomorrow should be another fine, bright day again with unbroken blue skies and sunshine.
The glitch will be cloudy, breezy and damp conditions for western Scotland and Northern Ireland, the rain pepping up later. Eastern Scotland will get away with a better day.
Away from the cloud and rain, it will be remarkably mild for the time of year.
Across the south-east it will be warm for early March with highs of 18C or possibly 19C - rivalling temperatures across southern Europe and the Med.
We'll be warmer than parts of Italy and Greece.