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PERTH, Australia (AP) — Authorities are confident that signals detected deep in the Indian Ocean are from the missing Malaysian jet's black boxes, Australia's prime minister said Friday, raising hopes they are close to solving one of aviation's most perplexing mysteries.

Tony Abbott told reporters in Shanghai that crews hunting for Flight 370 have zeroed in on a more targeted area in their search for the source of the sounds, first heard on Saturday.

"We have very much narrowed down the search area and we are very confident that the signals that we are detecting are from the black box on MH370," Abbott said.

"Nevertheless, we're getting into the stage where the signal from what we are very confident is the black box is starting to fade," he added. "We are hoping to get as much information as we can before the signal finally expires."

The plane's black boxes, or flight data and cockpit voice recorders, may hold the answers to why the Boeing 777 lost communications and veered so far off course when it vanished March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing with 239 people on board.

Search crews are racing against time because the batteries powering the devices' locator beacons last only about a month — and more than a month has passed since the plane disappeared. Finding the black boxes after the batteries fail will be extremely difficult because the water in the area is 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) deep.

The Australian ship Ocean Shield is towing a U.S. Navy device that detects black box signals, and two sounds it heard Saturday were determined to be consistent with the signals emitted from aircraft flight recorders. Two more sounds were detected in the same general area on Tuesday.

"We are confident that we know the position of the black box flight recorder to within some kilometers," Abbott said. "But confidence in the approximate position of the black box is not the same as recovering wreckage from almost 4 ½ kilometers beneath the sea or finally determining all that happened on that flight."

Abbott also met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on Friday and briefed him on the search. Two-thirds of the passengers aboard Flight 370 were Chinese, and their relatives have been critical of the Malaysian government's handling of the crisis.

"This will be a very long, slow and painstaking process," Abbott told Xi.

An Australian air force P-3 Orion, which has been dropping sonar buoys into the water near where the Ocean Shield picked up the sounds, detected another possible signal on Thursday, but Angus Houston, who is coordinating the search for the plane, said in a statement that an initial assessment had determined it was not related to an aircraft black box.

The buoys each have a hydrophone listening device that dangles about 300 meters (1,000 feet) below the surface and their data are sent via radio back to a plane, Royal Australian Navy Commodore Peter Leavy said.

The Ocean Shield was still towing its pinger locator to try to find additional signals on Friday, and the Orions were continuing their hunt, Houston said. The underwater search zone is currently a 1,300-square-kilometer (500-square-mile) patch of the ocean floor, about the size of the city of Los Angeles.

"It is vital to glean as much information as possible while the batteries on the underwater locator beacons may still be active," Houston said in a statement.

The searchers are trying to pinpoint the exact location of the source of the signals so they can send down a robotic submersible to look for wreckage. Houston said Friday that a decision to send the sub could be "some days away."

The Bluefin 21 submersible takes six times longer to cover the same area as the pinger locator being towed by the Ocean Shield and would take six weeks to two months to canvass the current underwater search zone.

Complicating matters is the depth of the seabed in the search area. The signals are emanating from 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) below the surface, which is the deepest the Bluefin can dive. The search coordination center said it was considering options in case a deeper-diving sub is needed.

Meanwhile, the center said the surface area to be searched for floating debris had been narrowed to 46,713 square kilometers (18,036 square miles) of ocean extending from 2,300 kilometers (1,400 miles) northwest of Perth. Up to 15 planes and 13 ships were conducting the visual search Friday, west of the underwater search based on expected drift from the suspected crash site.

Investigators believe the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean based on a flight path calculated from its contacts with a satellite and analysis of its speed and fuel capacity.

Separately, a Malaysian government official said Thursday that investigators have concluded the pilot spoke the last words to air traffic control, "Good night, Malaysian three-seven-zero," and that his voice had no signs of duress. A re-examination of the last communication from the cockpit was initiated after authorities last week reversed their initial statement that the co-pilot was speaking different words.

The senior government official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak to the media.

___

Gelineau reported from Sydney. Associated Press writers Nick Perry in Perth, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Gillian Wong in Beijing contributed to this report.

LONDON (AP) -- Two new studies describe the latest achievements in growing body parts in a lab and transplanting them into people, this time with nostrils and vaginas.

Windpipes, bladders, blood vessels and other structures have previously been created in part from a patient's own cells and then implanted. Eventually, scientists hope to tackle more complicated things like lungs and kidneys with this strategy, which is aimed at avoiding rejection of transplanted organs.

The latest experiments were published online Friday in the journal Lancet.

"They both show that by using fairly simple tissue engineering techniques, you can get real tissue forming where it's supposed to," said Dr. Martin Birchall, of The Ear Institute at University College London, who co-authored an accompanying commentary. He said the simple methods could be useful for making other body parts, including joint cartilage, bowels and the esophagus.

One experiment involved four teenage girls in Mexico who were born without vaginas because of a rare disorder. Currently, surgeons use tissue grafts to create vaginas for such patients, but that method carries a risk of complications.

The experimental results were reported by Dr. Anthony Atala of the Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with researchers there and at the Metropolitan Autonomous University in Mexico City. Atala said the procedure might also prove useful for replacing vaginas removed because of cancer, and repairing or replacing the organ after an injury.

For the experiment, researchers took a tissue sample less than half the size of a postage stamp from the patients' genitals. They multiplied cells from this tissue in the lab, seeded them onto a biodegradable scaffold and molded it into the right size and shape for each patient before implantation.

The first surgery was done in 2005, and the Lancet report provides a follow-up of the patients for an average of nearly seven years. The women report normal levels of sexual functioning, without any long-term complications. It is not known whether the women could get pregnant; only two have wombs, Atala said.

One of the women, in a video provided by the Mexican university, said she felt fortunate "because I have a normal life." The university didn't identify the woman.

In the other experiment, Swiss scientists built new outer nostrils for five patients who had skin cancer on their noses. When surgeons removed the tumor, they also took a tiny bit of nose cartilage. They grew the cells for four weeks in the lab to make a small flap. That was then implanted onto their nose and covered with skin from their foreheads. Normally, cartilage is taken from the patient's ear or ribs to recreate the nostril.

Ivan Martin of University Hospital Basel, the study's senior author, said none of the patients reported any side effects by one year after surgery, and all were satisfied with their new nostrils.

"Now that we have demonstrated this is safe and feasible, we can use (this technique) for more complicated clinical needs," he said, adding that the same approach is being tested in people to supply knee cartilage. He said scientists were slowly gaining more expertise in making body parts, but predicted it could take another couple of decades before the process becomes mainstream.

"It's not a trivial thing to engineer a functional tissue," he said.

---

Malcolm Ritter reported from New York.

----

Online:

WWW.LANCET.COM

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Bissinger's Recalls Dark Chocolate Bunny Ears

Friday, 11 April 2014 07:32 Published in Local News
St. Louis, MO  -- Karl Bissinger LLC announced a recall of its Bissinger’s Dark Chocolate Bunny Ears on Thursday because one lot was mislabeled and contains undeclared milk. 
People who have a severe sensitivity to milk run the risk of a serious or life threatening reaction if they consume this product. 
 
This product is labeled as: Bissinger’s Dark Chocolate Bunny Ears are packaged in a clear film with an ingredient card. Lot Code: 4981 Best By FEB 2015 UPC: 846107009795 
 
The product was distributed to retailers and wholesalers nationwide from January 28, 2014 through April 4, 2014. Those who have received this are asked to destroy product and report affected quantities to Bissinger’s for a full refund. 
 
No adverse reactions have been reported to date for a milk allergen in association with 
this product. 
 
The recall was initiated after a customer discovered milk chocolate products in the dark 
chocolate product packaging. The dark chocolate labels do not list milk as an ingredient. 
 
Bissinger’s regrets any inconvenience this may cause and customers may call 800-325-
8881, Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm CDT to discuss questions or concerns. 
 

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