By Eileen Ng and Chris Brummitt, Associated Press
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Vietnamese authorities searching waters for the missing Boeing 777 jetliner spotted an object Sunday that they suspected was one of the plane’s doors, as international intelligence agencies joined the investigation into two passengers who boarded the aircraft with stolen passports.
More than a day and half after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing, no confirmed debris from the plane had been found, and the final minutes before it disappeared remained a mystery. The plane, which was carrying 239 people, lost contact with ground controllers somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam after leaving Kuala Lumpur early Saturday morning for Beijing.
The state-run Thanh Nien newspaper cited Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of Vietnam’s army, as saying searchers in a low-flying plane had spotted an object suspected of being a door from the missing jet. It was found in waters about 90 kilometers (56 miles) south of Tho Chu island, in the same area where oil slicks were spotted Saturday.
‘‘From this object, hopefully (we) will find the missing plane,’’ Tuan said. Thanh Nien said two ships from the maritime police were heading to the site.
The missing plane apparently fell from the sky at cruising altitude in fine weather, and the pilots were either unable or had no time to send a distress signal — unusual circumstances under which a modern jetliner operated by a professional airline would crash.
Malaysia’s air force chief, Rodzali Daud, said radar indicated that the plane may have turned back, but did not give further details on which direction it went or how far it veered off course.
‘‘We are trying to make sense of this,’’ Daud said at a news conference. ‘‘The military radar indicated that the aircraft may have made a turn back, and in some parts this was corroborated by civilian radar.’’
Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said pilots are supposed to inform the airline and traffic control authorities if the plane does a U-turn. ‘‘From what we have, there was no such distress signal or distress call per se, so we are equally puzzled,’’ he said.
Authorities were checking on the identities of the two passengers who boarded the plane with stolen passports. On Saturday, the foreign ministries in Italy and Austria said the names of two citizens listed on the flight’s manifest matched the names on two passports reported stolen in Thailand.
‘I can confirm that we have the visuals of these two people on CCTV,’’ Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference late Sunday, adding that the footage was being examined. ‘‘We have intelligence agencies, both local and international, on board.’’
Hishammuddin declined to give further details, saying it may jeopardize the investigation.
‘‘Our focus now is to find the aircraft,’’ he said, adding that finding the plane would make it easier for authorities to investigate any possible foul play.
Interpol confirmed that at least two stolen passports used by passengers on the plane were registered in its databases. It said no one had checked the databases, but added that most airlines and countries do not usually check for stolen passports.
Hishammuddin said only two passengers had used stolen passports, and that earlier reports that the identities of two others were under investigation were not true.
White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said the U.S. was looking into the stolen passports, but that investigators had reached no conclusions.
In addition to the plane’s sudden disappearance, which experts say is consistent with a possible onboard explosion, the stolen passports have strengthened concerns about terrorism as a possible cause. Al-Qaida militants have used similar tactics to try and disguise their identities.
Still, other possible causes would seem just as likely at this stage, including a catastrophic failure of the plane’s engines, extreme turbulence, or pilot error or even suicide. Establishing what happened with any certainty will need data from flight recorders and a detailed examination of any debris, something that will take months if not years.
European authorities on Saturday confirmed the names and nationalities of the two stolen passports: One was an Italian-issued document bearing the name Luigi Maraldi, the other Austrian under the name Christian Kozel. Police in Thailand said Maraldi’s passport was stolen on the island of Phuket last July.
A telephone operator on a China-based KLM hotline on Sunday confirmed that ‘‘Maraldi’’ and ‘‘Kozel’’ were both booked to leave Beijing on a KLM flight to Amsterdam on March 8. Maraldi was then to fly to Copenhagen, Denmark, on KLM on March 8, and Kozel to Frankfurt, Germany, on March 8.
She said since the pair booked the tickets through China Southern Airlines, she had no information on where they bought them.
Having onward reservations to Europe from Beijing would have meant the pair, as holders of EU passports, would not have needed visas for China.
Meanwhile, the multinational search for the missing plane was continuing. A total of 34 aircraft and 40 ships have been deployed to the area by Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, China and the United States, in addition to Vietnam’s fleet.
Vietnamese air force jets spotted two large oil slicks Saturday, but it was unclear whether they were linked to the missing plane.
Two-thirds of the jet’s passengers were Chinese. The rest were from elsewhere in Asia, North America and Europe.
After more than 30 hours without contact with the aircraft, Malaysia Airlines told family members they should ‘‘prepare themselves for the worst,’’ Hugh Dunleavy, the commercial director for the airline, told reporters.
Finding traces of an aircraft that disappears over sea can take days or longer, even with a sustained search effort. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, wreckage can be scattered over many square kilometers (miles). If the plane enters the water before breaking up, there can be relatively little debris.
A team of American experts was en route to Asia to be ready to assist in the investigation into the crash. The team includes accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as technical experts from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, the safety board said in a statement.
Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record, as does the 777, which had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed last July in San Francisco, killing three passengers, all Chinese teenagers.
Brummitt reported from Hanoi, Vietnam.
Associated Press writers Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia; Didi Tang, Gillian Wong and Louise Watt in Beijing; Joan Lowy in Washington; and Scott Mayerowitz in New York contributed this report.
Most children Izzy Katter's age might hurry home from a trip to the art museum, bored of archaic paintings and content to drag their fingers endlessly over touch screens.
11-year-old Izzy had a more creative outlet in mind. After a visit to Boston's Museum of Fine Arts, she and her mother Jean Szymczak spent their own "staycation" recreating their favorite pieces. On a strict $5 budget, they faithfully imitated Matisse and Monet.
In one photo, Izzy re-imagined Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss," co-starring her pet cat, further debunking scientific evidence that cats are jerks.
Art world laymen beware; You won't find obvious choices like "Mona Lisa" or "The Scream" here. Aside from "The Son of Man" – otherwise known as "the guy with the apple in front of his face" – Izzy seems to have a finer taste in art. Or finer taste than I have, at least.
More makeshift masterpieces from Jean and Izzy:
Obama to deliver statement on Ukraine from the White House at 1:05 pm EST
Another Russia Today television anchor has come out in opposition the Russian state-funded channel.
Liz Wahl, an American anchor for Russia Today, announced her resignation from the channel at the end of her evening broadcast.
As a reporter on this network I face many ethical and moral challenges especially me personally coming from a family whose grandparents came here as refugees during the Hungarian revolution, ironically to escape the Soviet forces," she said.
Wahl mentioned that her father is an American veteran and her partner is a physician working on an American military base who, "sees every day the first-hand accounts of the ultimate prices that people pay for this country."
"And that is why personally I cannot be part of a network that whitewashes the actions of Putin," she said.
Earlier this week, another RT anchor Abby Martin ended her show Breaking the Set with a 90-second editorial about the ongoing political crisis calling Russia's presence in the region a "military occupation." Unlike Wahl, Martin did not resign and a response from the broadcaster indicated that she would not be reprimanded for her statements.
In an interview Wednesday night with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Wahl said that her decision to resign was well calculated.
She told CNN she had "hesitated to speak on this for a while for fear of repercussion," mainly from RT's management. She exercised a form of self-censorship.
"RT is not about the truth; it's about promoting a Putinist agenda," Wahl told CNN. "And I can tell you firsthand, it's about bashing America."
The inventor of the cronut -- croissant meets donut -- has made the next best thing.FULL ENTRY
Former major league baseball superstar Ken Griffey Jr. was known for his enthusiasm for the game on the field and his charismatic personality off the field. But both of those qualities were not quite apparent with his interview Wednesday on ESPN's SportsCenter.FULL ENTRY
Live video: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to the press in Paris amid diplomatic talks on Ukraine.
Tugging at a viewer's heartstrings is an easy (and sometimes cheap) way to get hits on a video. But kudos to Youtuber MagicofRahat for doing it in a way that both gives viewers fuzzies inside and genuinely helps a person.
The premise is pretty simple: Rahat befriends a convenience store clerk and sets it up so that they'll both pretend a losing lottery ticket is actually a winner. Rahat then gives the losing ticket to a nearby homeless man, goes to the store with him, and keeps the cameras rolling as all kind of feelings ensue.
It's important to note that there are three payoffs here. The first is literally a financial payoff: the homeless man is told he's won $1,000 and is handed 10 crisp $100 bills.
The second is emotional: with a big grin on his face, the homeless man closes his hands around the money and you can see the mix of joy and relief on his face.
The third and most important payoff is what's truly heartwarming. Turning from the register, the homeless man starts to divide the money and hand a portion of it to Rahat.
If the air that immediately surrounds your eyes suddenly got a little dusty, you are not alone. It's hard to imagine anyone splitting their winnings, let alone someone in his situation. The fact that he's so eager to do it proves there's no one more deserving of the good fortune.
Let's be transparent right off the bat: this is an advertisement. Created by an organization called Save the Children, this video hopes to show you the impact war has on the lives of children around the world.
The video is trying to utilize the recent trend of "Second-a-Day" videos that show snippets of daily life. Only in this video, those seconds become increasingly dark.
The cause is certainly a noble one, but by the time the little girl is blowing out her birthday candles for the second time, it's hard to say whether this is a video about war or a preview for a zombie apocalypse thriller.
It almost goes without saying, but only watch this video if you're a person who is comfortable watching an 8-year-old's happiness vanish over the course of 90 seconds. Yeesh.
Running is hard. There are so many obstacles: having to go outside, stretching, and (worst of all) taking time away from eating your weight in Nutella.
So if you don't run, it's understandable. But maybe you shouldn't watch the video above since it's going to make you feel pretty terrible about yourself.
It will have that effect because Kayla Montgomery, the subject of the video, is amazing. She's amazing because she chooses to run, is relatively successful at it, and does it all despite being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
According to the New York Times feature on Montgomery, the disease blocks communication between her brain and the nerve endings in her legs, meaning that as she runs her races, her legs become increasingly numb. At the end, her coach has to stand at the ready to catch her when she inevitably collapses.
Somehow, that has not served as a deterrent for the North Carolina high school senior. She won a state title in the 3,200 meter race with a time that puts her in the top 25 runners in the country. And next week, she'll be in New York to contend for a national title in the 5,000 meter event at the national indoor track championships.
So as you read this, feel free to continue sitting on your couch licking Nutella off your fingers, but know that out there in the world you can find people who are overcoming obstacles that are way harder than stretching.
Russia Today anchor Abby Martin broke the traditional sentiments of the state-funded station Monday when she spoke "from [her] heart" and denounced the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine.FULL ENTRY
Consider Tiffany Corlis, the Australian resident who shot the following video, hired by National Geographic.
The Onion, known for its particularly biting brand of news satire, added a local twist to one of its latest parodies.
The article satirizes the commonly-referenced education gap between China and the US. It reports that American high school students have miraculously pulled ahead of their Chinese peers in math and science. Hold your applause. Their rivals in China happen to be third graders.
It's unclear which stereotype the Onion is poking fun at – that Chinese people are geniuses or that Americans are stupid. It quotes Chinese Minister of Education Yuan Guiren as saying, "If there’s an American 17-year-old who can do something academically that a Chinese 8-year-old can’t, that’s a very big problem," so it's probably both.
Very funny, guys. But take a look at the dateline. The "news" takes place in Chestnut Hill, an affluent Boston suburb that has produced a disproportionate number of sports team owners and managers, including Robert Kraft, Terry Francona, Theo Epstein, and John W. Henry. It's also home to Boston College.
Obviously, the study isn't legitimate. But could Americans really be closing in on China when it comes to smarts? Well, maybe not. Otherwise, this Boston College student probably would have thought twice before blowing an $80,000 settlement with a Facebook status.
But why the jab at Chestnut Hill? Was the writer a disgruntled BC reject? A former resident with a penchant for self-deprecation? Discuss in the comments below.
Russia has reportedly moved full speed ahead into Ukraine after instability in the region left the country a vulnerable target. Chances are many of us are not well versed in the region and might have missed how Ukraine reached this volatile stage. Yes, it's complicated, but it somehow makes sense -- trust us.
Here are 5 facts to help you understand what’s happening in the region:FULL ENTRY
Nothing official has been announced regarding New England Sports Network's decision on a 2014 sideline reporter for Red Sox games, but two recent NESN hires were both working the sidelines during Sunday's first spring training game telecast of the year.
Elle Duncan (above, left) and Sarah Davis (above, right) each contributed to the NESN telecast, an afternoon game against the Baltimore Orioles at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers, Fla.
Using multiple NESN on-air personalities is nothing new at the network. A NESN official told Boston.com today in an email that the network's "search for a Red Sox reporter is still ongoing.
"Just like last year, we will be using several NESN Sports Today reporters during Spring Training."
The Red Sox sideline reporter job was previously held by Jenny Dell who was taken off of Red Sox sideline duties by the network in the weeks following New Year's Eve revelations that she and Red Sox third-baseman Will Middlebrooks were in a relationship. Dell tweeted photos of her and Middlebrooks together on New Year's Eve:
And Middlebrooks tweeted this:
Before joining NESN, Duncan previously worked in various on-air roles in Atlanta, including stints as a sideline reporter for the NBA's Atlanta Hawks.
Davis formerly worked at Rogers Sportnet in Toronto as a reporter, anchor and host.
And while nobody at NESN is calling this a battle, many viewers have taken to Twitter to voice their opinions on their preferred reporter.
The biggest spring training battle for the #RedSox seems to be between Elle Duncan & Sarah Davis to replace Jenny Dell.— Garry Wimberly (@changeup45) March 2, 2014
No way they can replace @JennyDellNESN with Elle Duncan.Stop the fight.— sheebo16 (@sheebo16) March 2, 2014
And there's this: Mike Carp of the Red Sox admiring Duncan as she walked past the dugout.
Did you see Sunday's game? What did you think of Duncan and Davis? Do you prefer one to the other? Tell us in the comments section of this blog.
This suspect might get points for creativity, but it probably won't help in court.
Salisbury Police tweeted this after discovering a short-rib recipe from a newspaper stuck to a windshield where a state inspection sticker should have been:
A suspect tried to pass this off as a valid inspection sticker on his car tonight. Needless to say he was arrested. pic.twitter.com/7XT63W7RHU— Salisbury Police (@SalisburyPolice) March 1, 2014
Late night television host Jimmy Fallon joined thousands of people today for Chicago's annual cold weather ritual of voluntarily jumping into the icy waters of Lake Michigan -- all in the name of charity.
Fallon took to his Instagram and Twitter accounts shortly before taking the plunge.
I'm here Chicago! It is COLD. You are not making this easy. #PolarPlunge— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) March 2, 2014
According to a local newscast, the water was actually 15-20 degrees warmer than the air outside, although you'd never be able to tell that from looking at this photo of a fully-clothed, drenched Fallon.
The annual event raises money for Chicago's Special Olympics.
The city's mayor and native Chicagoan, Rahm Emanuel, participated and either was not fazed by the frigid waters or put up a bold front for his constituents.
Fallon, however, may have had second thoughts after feeling just how cold the water was.
Is that agony or glee on Fallon's face? You be the judge.
And it's hard to tell if Fallon was happy to see this fan or happier to be out of the water.
Regardless, it's clear by this photo, he was relieved when the event ended.
Throngs of fans cheered the TV host on, though Fallon looked, er, numb to it all.
That is, until he raised his arm in victory, though, again, his face didn't show any signs of winning a thing.
Afterward, Fallon Instagrammed this photo with hashtags to answer all of the above.
If given the chance, would you jump into freezing water, either for charity or at your leisure?
Let us know in the survey below.
It might be the costliest status update in Facebook history.
According to a Miami Herald report, an $80,000 settlement in an age-discrimination case was thrown out after Dana Snay, identified by Yahoo! as a Boston College student, bragged about the settlement on Facebook.
Yahoo! reports that Snay's father, Patrick Snay, sued Gulliver Preparatory School in Miami after his contract was not renewed. One provision of the settlement, however, was that Patrick Snay was forbidden from discussing the case.
According to the Herald report, Snay told his daughter about the settlement and she then bragged to her Facebook followers: “Gulliver is now officially paying for my vacation to Europe this summer. SUCK IT.”
When the school found out about the Facebook post, its lawyers appealed the settlement -- and it was tossed out, according to the report.
The Los Angeles Times reported Feb. 28 that a TV news employee had to be rescued from waist-high mud in Azusa, California -- where recent heavy rains have led to flooding and mudslides.
The Times reported that fire officials believe the rescued reporter was NBC Nightly News reporter Miguel Almaguer, who, sure enough, did a live shot from Azusa while standing in waist-deep mud, which you can see here:
It appears that video footage of a sexual encounter between Marilyn Monroe and brothers John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy not only exists, but will be put up for auction on Tuesday, according to numerous online reports.
According to radaronline.com, the never-seen-before footage was acquired by former bodyguard William Castleberry, who was a collector of Hollywood memorabilia.
Castleberry said he never released the video out of respect for Joe DiMaggio, who married Monroe in 1954.
Castleberry, who did not reveal how he got his hands on the video, had it seized by authorities in California after a lawsuit accused him of selling a fake statue.
Because Castleberry couldn't pay the $200,000 he owed in the judgment against him, officials are reportedly set to go ahead with the auction -- unless Castleberry can come up with $200,000.
Social media reacted with surprise, sarcasm, and, of course, curiosity.
So a reported sex tape of Marilyn Monroe, JFK and RFK is going on auction. Sounds totally legit.— Byron (@byroncpt) March 1, 2014
A Marilyn Monroe sextape with JFK ? I knew it lmao— baby black widow (@vickysmallzz) March 1, 2014
An alleged sextape about to hit the streets with Marilyn Monroe gettin ran thru by JFK and his brother Robert. The world we live in.— The Luster Silk (@JuanHustle) March 1, 2014
I want to see that Marilyn Monroe , JFK, & RFK sextape they're selling in the auction :/— JVR (@JVRMRLL) March 1, 2014