Premium car brands eye China’s secondhand market

By Edward Taylor and Jan Schwartz

BEIJING (Reuters) - Strong demand for new automobiles in China has laid the foundations for the next leg of business for carmakers BMW (BMW.DE), Audi and Mercedes-Benz: the second-hand premium car market.

China's auto market is the world's biggest and is set to grow between 8 percent and 10 percent this year, fuelled by increasingly affluent buyers, who use them for the daily commute, with some opting for luxury brands as a status symbol.

"We are ramping up the second-hand sales business. We have 290 dealers who offer certified pre-owned Audis," Rupert Stadler, chief executive of Volkswagen's (VOW3.DE) premium brand, Audi, said during the Auto China show in Beijing.

"Cars that would normally have been sold on within families are increasingly coming back to dealers, offering an opportunity for additional revenue from the after-sales business," Stadler said.

The amount of business clinched by some Chinese dealers points to substantial future growth, auto executives said.

"A top dealer in the United States sells 2,500 cars, in Germany between 600 and 800 cars," Stadler said. "In China, we have some dealers that sell between 1,500 and 3,000 cars."

Audi, which expects China to contribute 40 percent of its sales by 2020, plans to train 40,000 to 50,000 new sales staff a year by 2017 to meet growing demand for brand-new and used cars, he said.

Rival German carmaker BMW AG (BMW.DE) plans to train 25,000 people this year to work on dealerships in China, partly due to the rising potential of used cars.

"Used cars are still a relatively small part of the business," said BMW board member Ian Robertson. "In Europe, for every new car sold, a dealer will also sell an old one. Here, the ratio of new and used cars is that you only sell one used car for every 10 new cars."

Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler AG (DAI.DE) is also eyeing the second-hand car business in China, with plans to open 100 new dealerships this year and set up showrooms in 40 new cities.

"The secondhand car market is growing, and we are investing, together with our dealers," said Hubertus Troska, Daimler board member responsible for greater China.

In 2013, China's auto sales grew 13.9 percent to 21.98 million vehicles, with the luxury passenger segment outperforming the overall market, registering 20 percent growth.

Mercedes-Benz's sales in China, excluding Hong Kong, rose 11 percent to 228,000 in 2013 and it has plans to sell more than 300,000 cars a year by 2015.

(Editing by Lee Chyen Yee and Clarence Fernandez)

Sea bed scans for missing jet could end in days

SYDNEY/PERTH, Australia - The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 entered its 44th day on Sunday as Australian search officials said a crucial series of sonar scans of the Indian Ocean floor could be completed within a week.

The air, surface and underwater search is now focused on footage taken by a U.S. Navy deep sea drone, which has narrowed its target range to a tight 10-km (6.2-mile) circle of sea floor.

Photos: Missing Malaysia Airlines jet

Related: If filed, plane lawsuits might not get heard in US

The Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) has spent the past week scouring the remote and largely unmapped stretch of ocean floor some 2,000 km (1,200 miles) northwest of the Australian city of Perth for signs of the plane, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board.

The remote controlled submarine is now in its eighth deep sea mission with no sign of wreckage so far. The drone has searched about half its targeted area, the authorities said on Sunday.

The Malaysian government has said the search is at a "very critical juncture" and asked for prayers for its success. Malaysian Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has also said the government may consider using more AUVs in the search.

Underwater search for Malaysian plane could end within a week

Duration: 1:37 Views: 16k Reuters

After almost two months without a sign of wreckage, the current underwater search is centered on an area where one of four acoustic signals believed to be from the plane's black box recorders was detected on April 8.

Weeks of daily sorties have failed to turn up any trace of the plane, even after narrowing the search to an arc in the southern Indian Ocean, making this the most expensive such operation in aviation history.

Hopes for further black box signals are fast diminishing, since the black box batteries are now two weeks past their 30-day expected life span, search officials have said.

Search for plane heads to ocean floor with underwater drone

Duration: 0:56 Views: 7k Reuters

But while the Bluefin-21's target range has narrowed, the air and surface search continues unabated, with daily sorties a week after Australian search coordinator retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said the air and surface component of the search would end within three days.

On Sunday, up to 11 military aircraft and 12 ships will help with the search, covering a total of roughly 48,507 square km (18,729 sq miles) across two areas, the Perth-based Joint Agency Coordination Centre said in a statement.

(Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Pope Francis, huge crowd joyously celebrate Easter

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis is celebrating Christianity's most joyous day, Easter Sunday, under sunny skies in St. Peter's Square.

Even before Mass began, a crowd of more than 100,000 was overflowing from the cobblestoned square. Many more Romans, tourists and pilgrims were still streaming in for the pontiff's tradition Easter greeting at noon.

A rainstorm had lashed Rome on Saturday night, with thunder competing with the sound of hymns when Francis led a vigil service in St. Peter's Basilica. Dawn brought clear skies and warm temperatures.

This year, the Roman Catholic church's celebration of Easter coincides with that of the Orthodox church. Some of the hymns at the Vatican Mass were in Russian.

S. Korea ferry tragedy death toll tops 50

MOKPO, South Korea — The confirmed death toll from South Korea's ferry disaster rose past 50 on Sunday as divers finally found a way inside the sunken vessel, quickly discovering more than a dozen bodies in what almost certainly is just the beginning of a massive and grim recovery effort.

About 250 people are still missing from the ship, the vast majority of them high school students who had been on a holiday trip. Anguished families, waiting on a nearby island and fearful they might be left without even their loved ones' bodies, have vented their fury, blocking the prime minister's car during a visit and attempting a long protest march to the presidential Blue House.

Related: Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

Gallery: South Korea ferry sinking

The ferry Sewol sank Wednesday off South Korea's southern coast, but it took days for divers to get in because of strong currents and bad visibility due to foul weather. Beginning late Saturday, when divers broke a window, and continuing into Sunday, multiple teams of divers have found various routes into the ferry, discovering bodies in different spots, coast guard official Koh Myung-seok said at a briefing. Thirteen bodies have been found in the ship, while six other bodies were found floating outside Sunday, bringing the official death toll to 52, the coast guard said.

Divers, who once pumped air into the ship in the slim hope that survivors were inside, have yet to find anyone alive there.

A 21-year-old South Korean sailor, surnamed Cho, also died from injuries he sustained Wednesday while working on a warship going to help rescue passengers in the ferry, said Cmdr. Yim Myung-soo of the South Korean navy.

The penetration by divers into the ferry follows the arrest of the captain Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into custody, including a rookie third mate who a prosecutor said was steering in challenging waters unfamiliar to her when the accident occurred.

The Sewol sank during a trip from port of Incheon to the southern holiday island of Jeju with 476 people on board, including 323 students from Danwon High School in Ansan. The 16- and 17-year-old students make up only 75 of the 174 survivors, and about 225 of the missing. At least 23 of those confirmed dead are students, according to coast guard spokesman Kim Jae-in.

On Jindo island near the submerged ferry, about 200 police in neon jackets blocked about 100 relatives of missing passengers who'd been walking on a main road in an effort, they said, to travel to the presidential Blue House in Seoul to voice their complaints to the president. The relatives have been staying at gymnasium on the island, waiting for word of their loved ones.

"The government is the killer," they shouted as they pushed against a police barricade.

South Korean rescue team members try to search missing passengers of the sunken ferry Sewol near buoys which were installed to mark the area in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, South Korea, April 19, 2014.AP Photo: Yonhap

South Korean rescue team members try to search missing passengers of the sunken ferry Sewol near buoys which were installed to mark the area in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, South Korea, April 19, 2014.

"We want an answer from the person in charge about why orders are not going through and nothing is being done," said Lee Woon-geun, father of missing passenger Lee Jung-in, 17. "They are clearly lying and kicking the responsibility to others."

Earlier Sunday morning, relatives of the missing blocked the car of Prime Minister Chung Hong-won and demanded a meeting with President Park Geun-hye, as Chung made a visit to Jindo. Chung later returned to the gymnasium, but met only with a number of representatives of the family members in a side office.

Relatives are desperate to retrieve bodies before they decompose beyond recognition, Lee said.

"After four or five days the body starts to decay. When it's decayed, if you try to hold a hand it might fall off," he said. "I miss my son. I'm really afraid I might not get to find his body."

The cause of the sinking remains under investigation, but prosecutors say the ship made a sharp turn just before it began to list. The captain, Lee Joon-seok, initially told passengers to stay in their rooms and took at least half an hour to issue an evacuation order. By that time, the ship was listing at too steep an angle for many people to escape the tight hallways and stairs inside.

Lee faces five charges, including negligence of duty and violation of maritime law, and the two arrested crew members each face three related charges.

Senior prosecutor Yang Jung-jin said Lee violated the law because he was not on the bridge helping his crew when the ferry passed through the tough-to-navigate area where it sank. He also said Lee abandoned people in need of help and rescue; video shows Lee among the first people to reach the shore by rescue boat.

Yang said the two crew members arrested failed to reduce speed near the islands and failed to carry out necessary measures to save lives. Prosecutors will have 10 days to decide whether to indict the captain and crew, but can request a 10-day extension from the court.

Three vessels with cranes arrived at the accident site to prepare to salvage the ferry, but they will not hoist the ship before getting approval from family members of those still believed inside because the lifting could endanger any survivors, said a coast guard officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, citing department rules.

___

Klug reported from Seoul. Associated Press writers Youkyung Lee and Jung-yoon Choi in Seoul and Gillian Wong in Jindo, South Korea, contributed to this report.

South Africa’s ‘spaza’ shops suffer as big retail rolls in

By David Dolan

SOWETO, South Africa (Reuters) - In this corner of South Africa's black township of Soweto, the biggest building used to be the Catholic church. Now it's been overshadowed by a shopping center and business has only gotten worse for Grace, a 68-year-old shopowner.

Like many proprietors of "spaza" shops - the informal stores that dot township corners - Grace barely manages to keep afloat as more of her neighbors head to the mall.

"Once people get paid, they buy their groceries at the malls," she said, sitting among dusty shelves of tea-bags, small packets of biscuits, loose cigarettes and butter.

"They used to buy their groceries from us. Now they only come for daily items," she said, declining to give her last name.

Grace has been running the shop with her husband since 1993, the year before South Africa's first all-race elections. They used to earn around 1,500 rand ($140) a day, but are down to a third of that now.

During apartheid, blacks were crammed together in squalid townships miles away from cities. Some residents began to sell staples such as maize meal and cooking oil out of their own homes. The informal stores became known as tuck shops or "spazas," a slang word that connotes "just getting by".

Along with shebeens, or corner taverns, spazas are one of the most visible parts of township life, and a major component of South Africa's vast informal economy.

While recent data on the informal economy is hard to come by, a 2002 study by the University of South Africa's Bureau of Market Research (BMR) estimated that spaza shops brought in around $705 million a year, employing up to 290,000 people.

Those numbers will have come under pressure over the last decade as real estate developers and big grocers such as Shoprite and Pick N Pay push into black areas, targeting rising consumer spending.

GETTING THE CAKE

South Africa's emerging black middle class grew at annual 6.5 percent between 2001 and 2007, according to the BMR, which estimated the growing socio-economic group at 9.3 million in 2007, out of a total population of around 50 million.

"The emerging consumer market has been very, very good for construction of retail outlets in non-traditional locations," said Mike Upton, chief executive of South African building company Group Five.

"It's kind of like first mover gets the cake."

Grocers have been big beneficiaries of this broadening wealth.

Shares of Shoprite, Africa's top retailer, have more than trebled over the last five years, lifted by a push into sub-Saharan Africa and previously underserved South African markets. The Cape Town-based company's no-frills Usave discount outlets pose a major threat to spaza shops.

The warehouse-like stores appear tailor-made for low-income customers: most of the laundry soap is for hand washing, not machines. Some dispense with large parking areas as customers come on foot.

The only milk available is full cream - no skim, organic or soy - while bags of frozen "walkie talkies" - chicken heads and feet - are plentiful and cost just 10 rand.

In Soweto, a flashpoint of the anti-apartheid struggle, where stone-throwing black youths battled heavily armed soldiers and police with their snarling dogs, the 65,000-sq-meter Maponya Mall is one of several shopping centers that have sprung up in recent years.

Just down the road from Regina Mundi church where former President Nelson Mandela is depicted in stained glass, the mall boasts a Pick N Pay hyper-market, more than a dozen restaurants and a Virgin Active gym.

Although still poor, Soweto is unmistakably on the rise, evidenced by the growing number of tidy brick bungalows and shiny Toyotas, and even the odd BMW.

While recent data is not available, Rose Nkosi, the head of the South African Spaza and Tuckshop Association, reckons that the sprawling black township alone may have lost around 30 percent of its spaza shops since 2005.

That's bad news for the elderly or those who live far from a shopping center, Nkosi said.

"Spazas are community shops," she said, pointing out they sell in small amounts, such as half loaves of bread, to meet the needs of the poorest customers.

ECONOMIES OF SCALE

The big retailers are able to use economies of scale to undercut spazas, which usually buy in small volumes and from wholesalers, driving up costs.

Nkosi has teamed up Songi Pama, an entrepreneur and consultant, to bring spaza shop owners together to buy direct from suppliers such as South Africa's Tiger Brands and the local units of Unilever and Nestle.

The survival of spazas is critical to the fabric of the townships because so many of the owners are women, Pama said.

"The little that they get out of these outlets they use to feed their children and take their children to school."

Too few owners are real businesspeople, said Noel Ndhlovu, who publishes industry newsletter Spaza News. Most are just looking to make enough get by, he said.

"Unfortunately, the bulk of spaza shops, about 60 or 70 percent, are survivalists. And because they are survivalists, they don't have skills - no business skills, no financial literacy, nothing."

In one workshop he ran, Ndhlovu said it took him several sessions to get some of the owners to understand how to work out their gross and net profit.

Not far from Grace, middle-aged Vincent Jonyane leans out the window of his tin-roof shop and laughs. Business is good, he says. While elderly rivals are stuck in the past, he is thinking of expanding his wooden shack.

"I'm still young, I know where to buy things cheap," Jonyane said, pointing to stacks of eggs in cardboard cartons on a shelf.

Even the malls don't worry him.

"You can't buy one egg at the mall. I sell one egg."

(Additional reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Sonya Hepinstall)

Divers search for those still missing

  • The death toll is now 50, the South Korean coast guard says
  • 252 people are still missing; 174 have been rescued
  • Capt. Lee Joon Seok defends his order to delay the evacuation of his sinking ferry

Are you there and safe? Show us what's happening.

Jindo, South Korea (CNN) -- Body after body from a capsized South Korean ferry came ashore Sunday morning, a solemn process pierced by the deafening screams and cries from the passengers' families.

The wrenching scene came after four police boats arrived in rapid succession. The first carried four bodies. The second boat had three more. The third and fourth also carried three bodies each.

Each body was taken onto a stretcher on the dock in Jindo, draped in cloth. After an inspection, they were carried along a path guarded by police -- who were also shedding tears -- and past grieving family members.

Some relatives refused to accept the outcome.

Why did the captain abandon ship?
S. Korea ferry captain defends actions
Bodies recovered from South Korea ferry
Outrage grows after ferry sinks
Relatives of missing passengers aboard the sunken ferry struggle with policemen as they try to march toward the presidential house to protest the government's rescue operation at a port in Jindo, South Korea, on Sunday, April 20. The ferry sank Wednesday, April 16, as It was headed to the resort island of Jeju from the port of Incheon.Relatives of missing passengers aboard the sunken ferry struggle with policemen as they try to march toward the presidential house to protest the government's rescue operation at a port in Jindo, South Korea, on Sunday, April 20. The ferry sank Wednesday, April 16, as It was headed to the resort island of Jeju from the port of Incheon.
Police officers stand guard Saturday, April 19, at the port in Jindo, South Korea, to prevent relatives of the ferry's missing passengers from jumping in the water. Some relatives have said they will swim to the shipwreck site and find their missing family members by themselves.Police officers stand guard Saturday, April 19, at the port in Jindo, South Korea, to prevent relatives of the ferry's missing passengers from jumping in the water. Some relatives have said they will swim to the shipwreck site and find their missing family members by themselves.
Family members of missing passengers hug as they await news of their missing relatives at Jindo Gymnasium in the southwestern province of South Jeolla, South Korea, on April 19. Family members of missing passengers hug as they await news of their missing relatives at Jindo Gymnasium in the southwestern province of South Jeolla, South Korea, on April 19.
Relatives of missing passengers wait on the shore in Jindo on April 19.Relatives of missing passengers wait on the shore in Jindo on April 19.
South Korean Navy Ship Salvage Unit members prepare to salvage the sunken ferry and search for missing people on April 19.South Korean Navy Ship Salvage Unit members prepare to salvage the sunken ferry and search for missing people on April 19.
Oil from the sunken ferry appears near the wreckage site on April 19.Oil from the sunken ferry appears near the wreckage site on April 19.
Lee Joon Suk, the captain of the sunken ferry Sewol, is escorted to the court that issued his arrest warrant Friday, April 18, in Mokpo, South Korea. It is not yet known what caused Wednesday's deadly accident.Lee Joon Suk, the captain of the sunken ferry Sewol, is escorted to the court that issued his arrest warrant Friday, April 18, in Mokpo, South Korea. It is not yet known what caused Wednesday's deadly accident.
Offshore cranes wait near buoys that mark the location of the sunken ferry near Jindo, South Korea, on April 18.Offshore cranes wait near buoys that mark the location of the sunken ferry near Jindo, South Korea, on April 18.
A U.S. helicopter takes off from the flight deck of the USS Bonhomme Richard during search-and-rescue operations on April 18.A U.S. helicopter takes off from the flight deck of the USS Bonhomme Richard during search-and-rescue operations on April 18.
A woman cries as she waits for news on missing passengers April 18 in Jindo.A woman cries as she waits for news on missing passengers April 18 in Jindo.
Relatives of missing people aboard the Sewol look out over the waters of the Yellow Sea on April 18.Relatives of missing people aboard the Sewol look out over the waters of the Yellow Sea on April 18.
A searchlight illuminates the capsized ferry on Thursday, April 17.A searchlight illuminates the capsized ferry on Thursday, April 17.
The ship's captain, Lee Joon Suk, arrives at the Mokpo Police Station in Mokpo on April 17. His head and face covered, he broke down in tears when reporters asked whether he had anything to say.The ship's captain, Lee Joon Suk, arrives at the Mokpo Police Station in Mokpo on April 17. His head and face covered, he broke down in tears when reporters asked whether he had anything to say.
A woman cries during a candlelight vigil at Danwon High School in Ansan, South Korea, on April 17. Most of the people on board the ferry were high school students on their way to the resort island of Jeju.A woman cries during a candlelight vigil at Danwon High School in Ansan, South Korea, on April 17. Most of the people on board the ferry were high school students on their way to the resort island of Jeju.
Rescue personnel dive April 17 during search operations.Rescue personnel dive April 17 during search operations.
Family members of passengers aboard the sunken ferry gather at a gymnasium in Jindo on April 17.Family members of passengers aboard the sunken ferry gather at a gymnasium in Jindo on April 17.
The body of a victim is moved at a hospital in Mokpo on April 17.The body of a victim is moved at a hospital in Mokpo on April 17.
Relatives of a passenger cry at a port in Jindo on April 17 as they wait for news on the rescue operation.Relatives of a passenger cry at a port in Jindo on April 17 as they wait for news on the rescue operation.
South Korean coast guard members and rescue teams search for passengers at the site of the sunken ferry on April 17.South Korean coast guard members and rescue teams search for passengers at the site of the sunken ferry on April 17.
A relative of a passenger cries as she waits for news on Wednesday, April 16.A relative of a passenger cries as she waits for news on Wednesday, April 16.
South Korean coast guard members search for survivors from the Sewol as it sinks on April 16.South Korean coast guard members search for survivors from the Sewol as it sinks on April 16.
Rescue teams and fishing boats try to rescue passengers on April 16.Rescue teams and fishing boats try to rescue passengers on April 16.
The body of a ferry passenger is moved into a hospital in Jindo on April 16.The body of a ferry passenger is moved into a hospital in Jindo on April 16.
Relatives check a list of survivors April 16 in Jindo.Relatives check a list of survivors April 16 in Jindo.
Relatives of missing ferry passengers wait for news at a gym in Jindo.Relatives of missing ferry passengers wait for news at a gym in Jindo.
Rescue crews attempt to save passengers from the ferry on April 16.Rescue crews attempt to save passengers from the ferry on April 16.
A South Korean coast guard helicopter lifts passengers off the vessel on April 16.A South Korean coast guard helicopter lifts passengers off the vessel on April 16.
Police and rescue teams carry a passenger at the port in Jindo on April 16. Police and rescue teams carry a passenger at the port in Jindo on April 16.
A relative waits for a missing loved one at the port in Jindo.A relative waits for a missing loved one at the port in Jindo.
Parents at Danwon High School search for names of their children among the list of survivors. Ansan is a suburb of Seoul, the South Korean capital.Parents at Danwon High School search for names of their children among the list of survivors. Ansan is a suburb of Seoul, the South Korean capital.
Helicopters hover over the ferry as rescue operations continue April 16.Helicopters hover over the ferry as rescue operations continue April 16.
A man in Seoul watches a news broadcast about the sinking vessel.A man in Seoul watches a news broadcast about the sinking vessel.
Officials escort rescued passengers April 16 in Jindo.Officials escort rescued passengers April 16 in Jindo.
A passenger is helped onto a rescue boat on April 16.A passenger is helped onto a rescue boat on April 16.
A passenger is rescued from the sinking ship on April 16.A passenger is rescued from the sinking ship on April 16.
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Photos: South Korean ship sinksPhotos: South Korean ship sinks

"Wake up! Wake up, please!" one man screamed.

With 252 people still missing after the ferry sank Wednesday, the heartbreaking scene will likely play out over and over again.

At least 50 people have died since the boat overturned four days ago, the South Korean coast guard said Sunday.

Although 174 people were rescued shortly after the vessel sank Wednesday, no survivors have been found since.

Nonetheless, 563 divers will continue plunging into the frigid Yellow Sea on Sunday. And 34 aircraft and 204 ships will aid in the search Sunday, the country's Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said.

As they wait, relatives of the missing were asked to submit DNA samples.

Ship's captain defends evacuation

The captain of the ship defended his order to delay the evacuation of the ferry.

"It is a fairly fast current area, and the water temperature was cold," said Capt. Lee Joon Seok said, according to CNN affiliate YTN.

"I thought that abandoning the ship without discretion would make you drift off a fairly far distance and cause a lot of trouble. At the same time, the rescue ship did not come, and there weer no fishing boats or supporting ships around to help at that time."

The captain has been charged with abandoning his boat, negligence, causing bodily injury, not seeking rescue from other ships and violating "seamen's law," state media reported.

Prosecutor Lee Bong-chang gave more details about the accusations against the captain.

"Mr. Lee is charged with causing the Sewol ship to sink by failing to slow down while sailing the narrow route and making (a) turn excessively," the prosecutor told the semiofficial Yonhap news agency.

"Lee is also charged with failing to do the right thing to guide the passengers to escape and thereby leading to their death or injury."

If convicted, the captain faces from five years to life in prison.

The captain wasn't at the helm of the Sewol when it started to sink, the prosecutor said. A third mate was at the helm.

Sp where was the captain?

The captain was not in the steering room when the accident took place, according to police and his own account.

He said he plotted the ship's course, and then went to his cabin briefly "to tend to something." It was then, the captain said, that the accident happened.

A crew member, described as the third mate and identified only as Park, appeared in handcuffs with Lee.

The third mate, who was at the helm of the ship when Lee left, said she did not make a sharp turn, but "the steering turned much more than usual."

Park is facing charges including negligence and causing injuries leading to deaths, said Yang Joong Jin, a maritime police spokesman.

Air pockets may in survival
South Korean ferry rescue operation South Korean ferry rescue operation
South Korean ferry rescue operationSouth Korean ferry rescue operation
Scenario shows what sinking feels like

A technician with the surname Cho is also facing the same charges, he said.

The captain was one those rescued soon after the Sewol began to sink, violating an "internationally recognized rule that a captain must stay on the vessel," maritime law attorney Jack Hickey said.

"Pretty much every law, rule, regulation and standard throughout the world says that yes, the captain must stay with the ship until all personnel are safely off of the ship, certainly passengers."

CNN's Kyung Lah and Judy Kwon reported from Jindo, and CNN's Greg Botelho wrote from Atlanta. CNN's Holly Yan, Chelsea J. Carter, Stella Kim and Jung-eun Kim contributed to this report.

Russian state TV says 5 killed in east Ukraine clash

MOSCOW/KIEV - Russian state television reported on Sunday that five people were killed when gunmen attacked a checkpoint manned by pro-Russian separatists near the eastern Ukrainian city of Slaviansk.

Reuters was not immediately able to verify the report. Ukraine's Interior Ministry in Kiev could not immediately be reached for comment and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov had no word of the reported incident on his Facebook page, where he usually posts updates on any clashes.

Russia's state-run Rossiya 24 news station, citing its correspondent in Slaviansk, said three of the dead were with the pro-Russian separatists who control Slaviansk, and the other two were from the group which attacked their checkpoint.

The self-declared mayor of Slaviansk, who supports the pro-Russian separatists in the city, said there had been a clash overnight and there were casualties, a Reuters Television team in Slaviansk said.

(Reporting by Christian Lowe in Moscow and Tom Grove in Kiev; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

Divers begin pulling bodies from ferry

MOKPO, South Korea — The confirmed death toll from South Korea's ferry disaster rose past 50 on Sunday as divers finally found a way inside the sunken vessel, quickly discovering more than a dozen bodies in what almost certainly is just the beginning of a massive and grim recovery effort.

About 250 people are still missing from the ship, the vast majority of them high school students who had been on a holiday trip. Anguished families, waiting on a nearby island and fearful they might be left without even their loved ones' bodies, have vented their fury, blocking the prime minister's car during a visit and attempting a long protest march to the presidential Blue House.

Related: Heartbreaking texts from students on sinking S. Korea ferry

Gallery: South Korea ferry sinking

The ferry Sewol sank Wednesday off South Korea's southern coast, but it took days for divers to get in because of strong currents and bad visibility due to foul weather. Beginning late Saturday, when divers broke a window, and continuing into Sunday, multiple teams of divers have found various routes into the ferry, discovering bodies in different spots, coast guard official Koh Myung-seok said at a briefing. Thirteen bodies have been found in the ship, while six other bodies were found floating outside Sunday, bringing the official death toll to 52, the coast guard said.

Divers, who once pumped air into the ship in the slim hope that survivors were inside, have yet to find anyone alive there.

A 21-year-old South Korean sailor, surnamed Cho, also died from injuries he sustained Wednesday while working on a warship going to help rescue passengers in the ferry, said Cmdr. Yim Myung-soo of the South Korean navy.

The penetration by divers into the ferry follows the arrest of the captain Saturday on suspicion of negligence and abandoning people in need. Two crew members also were taken into custody, including a rookie third mate who a prosecutor said was steering in challenging waters unfamiliar to her when the accident occurred.

The Sewol sank during a trip from port of Incheon to the southern holiday island of Jeju with 476 people on board, including 323 students from Danwon High School in Ansan. The 16- and 17-year-old students make up only 75 of the 174 survivors, and about 225 of the missing. At least 23 of those confirmed dead are students, according to coast guard spokesman Kim Jae-in.

On Jindo island near the submerged ferry, about 200 police in neon jackets blocked about 100 relatives of missing passengers who'd been walking on a main road in an effort, they said, to travel to the presidential Blue House in Seoul to voice their complaints to the president. The relatives have been staying at gymnasium on the island, waiting for word of their loved ones.

"The government is the killer," they shouted as they pushed against a police barricade.

South Korean rescue team members try to search missing passengers of the sunken ferry Sewol near buoys which were installed to mark the area in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, South Korea, April 19, 2014.AP Photo: Yonhap

South Korean rescue team members try to search missing passengers of the sunken ferry Sewol near buoys which were installed to mark the area in the water off the southern coast near Jindo, South Korea, April 19, 2014.

"We want an answer from the person in charge about why orders are not going through and nothing is being done," said Lee Woon-geun, father of missing passenger Lee Jung-in, 17. "They are clearly lying and kicking the responsibility to others."

Earlier Sunday morning, relatives of the missing blocked the car of Prime Minister Chung Hong-won and demanded a meeting with President Park Geun-hye, as Chung made a visit to Jindo. Chung later returned to the gymnasium, but met only with a number of representatives of the family members in a side office.

Relatives are desperate to retrieve bodies before they decompose beyond recognition, Lee said.

"After four or five days the body starts to decay. When it's decayed, if you try to hold a hand it might fall off," he said. "I miss my son. I'm really afraid I might not get to find his body."

The cause of the sinking remains under investigation, but prosecutors say the ship made a sharp turn just before it began to list. The captain, Lee Joon-seok, initially told passengers to stay in their rooms and took at least half an hour to issue an evacuation order. By that time, the ship was listing at too steep an angle for many people to escape the tight hallways and stairs inside.

Lee faces five charges, including negligence of duty and violation of maritime law, and the two arrested crew members each face three related charges.

Senior prosecutor Yang Jung-jin said Lee violated the law because he was not on the bridge helping his crew when the ferry passed through the tough-to-navigate area where it sank. He also said Lee abandoned people in need of help and rescue; video shows Lee among the first people to reach the shore by rescue boat.

Yang said the two crew members arrested failed to reduce speed near the islands and failed to carry out necessary measures to save lives. Prosecutors will have 10 days to decide whether to indict the captain and crew, but can request a 10-day extension from the court.

Three vessels with cranes arrived at the accident site to prepare to salvage the ferry, but they will not hoist the ship before getting approval from family members of those still believed inside because the lifting could endanger any survivors, said a coast guard officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, citing department rules.

___

Klug reported from Seoul. Associated Press writers Youkyung Lee and Jung-yoon Choi in Seoul and Gillian Wong in Jindo, South Korea, contributed to this report.

Carriage horse foes picket Liam Neeson’s NYC home

NEW YORK (AP) — Animal welfare activists picketing Liam Neeson's home on Saturday said they don't agree with him that the city's carriage horses should keep working.

Neeson didn't appear as about 50 demonstrators filled the sidewalk in front of his apartment building on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Police watched, and doormen photographed protesters hoisting signs with such slogans as "Liam Neeson: Stop Supporting Cruelty!" and "Worked to Death!" with an image of a dead horse in a park.

Holding the second sign was Peter Wood, an animal protection investigator for various organizations that say it's cruel for the horses to be subjected to traffic, pollution and possible accidents.

"It's 2014, not 1914. It's time for a change," said Wood, who lives in Manhattan.

"Horses don't belong in traffic, surrounded by buses. They don't belong in the city; it's outdated, it's cruel," he said, adding, "Life attached to a carriage with a poop bag attached to your rear end — that's no life."

Actor Liam NeesonAP Photo: Jordan Strauss, Invision

Actor Liam Neeson

Neeson, whose movies include "Schindler's List," ''Taken" and "Non-Stop," is a vocal supporter of the city's carriage horses, which are kept in stables he toured recently with lawmakers. He says the horses are not being mistreated.

"It has been my experience, always, that horses, much like humans, are at their happiest and healthiest when working," Neeson wrote in an April 14 editorial in The New York Times.

He called the horse carriage trade a "humane industry that is well regulated by New York City's Departments of Health and Mental Hygiene and Consumer Affairs."

Neeson said the city's horse-drawn carriages have made an estimated 6 million trips in traffic in the past 30 years, most ending up in Central Park. Four horses have been killed in collisions with motor vehicles, with no human fatalities.

"In contrast to the terrible toll of traffic accidents generally on New Yorkers," Neeson wrote, "the carriage industry has a remarkable safety record."

His publicist declined to comment on Saturday's protest.

The City Council must vote on the issue, but legislation has yet to emerge.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, has pledged to ban the carriages and replace them with electric vintage-style cars, commissioned by a group called NYCLASS.

On Saturday, NYCLASS' members joined protesters from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They noted that the horse-drawn carriage trade was ended in at least three other cities: London in 1947, Paris in 1965 and Toronto in 1998.

The electric vehicle was unveiled several days ago at the New York International Auto Show. But Neeson said it can't replace the horse-drawn carriages, which he calls a "signature element of New York's culture and history."

Hopkins wins split decision over Shumenov (The Associated Press)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Bernard Hopkins made some more boxing history, and did it in rather easy fashion.

Then, the 49-year-old boxer showed his age, referencing a TV character that might have gone over the heads of many young fans.

''I was so in my living room watching Archie Bunker,'' Hopkins said, playfully comparing himself to the main character from the 1970's series ''All in the Family.''

''I was so relaxed, so relaxed.''

Already the oldest boxer in history to hold a world championship, Hopkins became the oldest to win a unification bout Saturday night as he captured a split 12-round decision over Beibut Shumenov of Kazakhstan.

Afterward, the Philadelphia native sounded far from finished - or satisfied.

''The pound-for-pound best fighter in the world right now is Floyd 'Money' Mayweather,'' Hopkins said. ''I'll tell you, behind Andre Ward, who I believe is second and should be, I'm not that far from the top three. My age and the way I'm doing it.

''I'm just telling you, I'm not done yet.''

Hopkins was in complete control Saturday and it was reflected in the statistics. Of the 608 punches thrown by Shumenov, only 20 percent landed. Of the 383 punches Hopkins threw, he landed 49 percent.

''I didn't do that when I was 30,'' Hopkins joked. ''He was really surprised the way I could stand there and let him miss.''

When the split decision was announced the pro-Hopkins crowd of 6,823 jeered its disapproval. Two judges scored the fight 116-111 for Hopkins. The other judge gave the nod to Shumenov 114-113.

''I shut him out,'' Hopkins said.

If there was any doubt about the outcome, it was removed in the 11th round when Hopkins rocked Shumenov with a chopping overhand right for the only knockdown of the fight, igniting chants of ''B-Hop! B-Hop!'' from the D.C. Armory crowd.

It was a reminder for Hopkins of 20 years ago, when he fought for the first time in Washington, losing a decision to Roy Jones Jr. at RFK Stadium, right across the street from the venue where Saturday's fight took place.

''It motivates me every time I come to D.C. The dressing rooms, it took me back,'' said Hopkins, who improved to 55-6-2.

After a slow start, in which he fought defensively, Hopkins controlled the action, growing confident, aggressive and playful as the fight progressed.

The fourth round saw Shumenov moving forward, but Hopkins landed the two best shots, both right-handed counterpunches, to secure the edge. In the fifth, Hopkins was doing more than counterpunching. A straight overhand right landed squarely to the cheek of Shumenov.

By the sixth round, it was clear that Hopkins' confidence was growing as he became the aggressor, initiating the action and landing a big combination.

In the seventh round, Hopkins was feeling so good that he alternated leading with his right and left hands, befuddling Shumenov, who fell to 14-2.

''I'm kind of angry that I lost the fight,'' Shumenov said. ''I am a true warrior.''

Hopkins-Shumenov was one of three world title fights on Saturday. In the first, Peter Quillin of Brooklyn, N.Y., retained his WBO middleweight belt and improved to 31-0 with a unanimous 12-round decision over Lukas Konecky of the Czech Republic.

In the IBF welterweight title match, Shawn Porter of Cleveland also remained undefeated with a fourth-round knockout of Brooklyn's Paulie Malignaggi, who took time off from his job as an analyst for Showtime, which carried the night's action.