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Malaysian officials, saying missing jet was diverted, open criminal inquiry

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The search for Flight 370 turned into a criminal investigation Saturday, after Malaysia declared that the plane had been deliberately diverted and then flown for as long as seven hours toward an unknown point far from its scheduled route of Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia said Saturday afternoon that he would seek the help of governments across a large expanse of Asia in the search for the Boeing 777, which has been missing for a week and had 239 people on board. The Malaysian authorities released a map showing that the last satellite signal received from the plane had been sent from a point somewhere along one of two arcs spanning large distances across Asia.

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