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Wife issues appeal...Co-pilot was flying...Americans on a tightrope

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TOKYO (AP) — The wife of a Japanese journalist held by the Islamic State group has made her first public appeal for her husband's life. With a deadline set by the militants past, Kenji Gogo's wife called on the Japanese and Jordanian governments to finalize a prisoner exchange deal to spare her husband and a Jordanian hostage. She also revealed that she has exchanged several emails with the captors, and in the past 20 hours received one which appeared to be their final demand.

MEXICO CITY (AP) — We're learning the possible cause of a deadly fuel tanker explosion outside a children's hospital in Mexico City. The city's mayor says the blast was apparently caused by a leak in a hose carrying gas from the truck to the hospital. At least four people were killed in the explosion and dozens more were hurt. One report says about two dozen of those injured were kids.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Indonesian investigators say the co-pilot of the crashed AirAsia jet was flying the plane before it went down, while the flight's captain monitored and communicated with air traffic control. Flight data and voice recorders show the plane was at cruising 32,000 feet before the pilot asked air traffic control for permission to climb to 38,000 feet and was told to stand by. An Indonesian transportation safety official says satellite images at the time showed storm clouds reaching up to 44,000 feet. He says flight data shows the jet was in a dangerously fast climb and stalled before going down slowly to the last position recorded.

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia's government has declared the disappearance of the still-missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 an accident and cleared the way for compensation claims by victims' families. But some are refusing to accept the official position that the plane was lost. In China, one man who lost his brother asked how the government could come to such a conclusion with "no evidence at all."

WASHINGTON (AP) — Despite claims by the Federal Reserve that the economy is seeing "solid growth," several new reports show most Americans are treading along a dangerous financial tightrope, where one slip could be devastating. New analysis of federal data shows nearly half of U.S. households have to spend all their income, go into debt or dip into savings to meet their annual expenses. The analysis from Pew Charitable Trusts finds that if a typical middle-class household had to weather a period of joblessness without any income, it would use up its entire savings within 3 weeks.

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