Ukraine’s acting president calls for action against pro-Russian separatists

Ukraine’s acting president has called for the resumption of military operations against pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country, claiming two of his party’s supporters had been “tortured to death”, in a further blow to an unravelling international peace plan.

Oleksandr Turchynov said “counter-terrorist” operations in the region, suspended as part of the peace agreement in Geneva last Thursday, should restart after the bodies of two men, one a pro-Kiev politician, had been found near the rebel-held town of Slavyansk. Full story

Photograph: Itar-Tas/Barcroft Media

Tony Blair to say battle against Islamic extremism is paramount

The former prime minister will warn the west it needs to take sides in the Middle East and move the battle against Islamist extremism to the top of the political agenda.

In a speech to Bloomberg in London on Wednesday, he will say:

The important point for western opinion is that this is a struggle with two sides. So when we look at the Middle East and beyond it to Pakistan or Iran and elsewhere, it isn’t just a vast unfathomable mess with no end in sight and no one worthy of our support. It is in fact a struggle in which our own strategic interests are intimately involved; where there are indeed people we should support and who, ironically, are probably in the majority if only that majority were mobilised, organised and helped.

Full story | Live reaction to Tony Blair’s speech

Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP

South Korean ferry sinking: 104 dead, 198 still missing

The death toll in the South Korean ferry disaster rose to more than 100 on Tuesday as the country’s president launched a scathing attack on the ship’s crew, while the parents of hundreds of missing children conceded that the rescue operation had become a quest to simply recover and identify the dead as quickly as possible. Full story 

Photograph: Yonhap/EPA

2014 Boston Marathon – in pictures

A runner with a temporary Boston Marathon tattoo gets ready to run. Photograph: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

“The crisis in Yarmouk is unfolding as new UN documents appear to support a widespread opposition claim that the regime of President Assad is using starvation tactics as a weapon of war.”

Ukraine crisis: Geneva deal hangs by a thread as five people die in Slavyansk

The tentative Geneva deal to resolve the Ukraine crisis is hanging by a thread after as many as five people were killed in a gun battle near the volatile eastern town of Slavyansk early on Sunday.

An Easter truce declared by the authorities in Kiev was rudely shattered after two groups opened fire on each other overnight. Full story

Photograph: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP/Getty Images

South Korea ferry disaster: third mate ‘steering in tricky waters for first time’

The South Korean ferry that sank off the country’s coast on Wednesday was being steered by an inexperienced officer who was navigating the area, which is notorious for its fast currents, for the first time.

The revelation lends weight to the theory that a series of errors by senior crew members caused the Sewol to list and capsize. Full story

MH370 flight recorders search to be completed within seven days

The underwater search for the flight recorders from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could be completed in five to seven days, Australian officials said on Saturday.

The huge international search-and-rescue effort for any physical evidence of the plane’s wreckage, now in its seventh week, had so far proved fruitless. Full story 

Ferry captain says evacuation was delayed for lack of rescue ships

The arrested captain of the South Korean ferry that capsized with 476 people on board said on Saturday he had delayed evacuating the ship because of the sea conditions and the absence of rescue ships.

Lee Joon-seok and two of his crew were taken into police custody in the early hours of the morning, charged with negligence and failing to secure the safety of passengers in violation of maritime law.

A prosecutor said the third mate who was steering the ferry at the time of the accident was navigating those waters for the first time. Full story

Pictured: Journalists question Lee Joon-seok as he walks out of the court in Mokpo. Photograph: Yonhap/Reuters