Thailand’s military says its radar might have tracked missing Malaysian plane 10 days ago
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Ten days after a Malaysian jetliner disappeared, Thailand’s military said Tuesday it saw radar blips that might have been from the missing plane but didn’t report it "because we did not pay attention to it."
Search crews from 26 countries, including Thailand, are looking for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished early March 8 with 239 people aboard en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Frustration is growing among relatives of those on the plane at the lack of progress in the search.
Aircraft and ships are scouring two giant arcs of territory amounting to the size of Australia -- half of it in the remote waters of the southern Indian Ocean.
Cmdr. William Marks, a spokesman for the U.S. 7th Fleet, said finding the plane was like trying to locate a few people somewhere between New York and California.
Early in the search, Malaysian officials said they suspected the plane backtracked toward the Strait of Malacca, just west of Malaysia. But it took a week for them to confirm Malaysian military radar data suggesting that route.
West unleashes angry torrent against Russia; looks for ways to stop Putin from expanding reach
WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Vice President Joe Biden and European leaders unleashed a torrent of angry words Tuesday against Russia’s "dark path" as Western allies scheduled an emergency meeting in the Netherlands next week to figure out how to punish Vladimir Putin for taking Crimea -- and stop him from expanding his reach even farther.
Those who bet on "aggression and fear are bound to fail," Biden said during a visit to Warsaw aimed at reassuring Russian neighbors who are nervous that they could be next after Putin signed a treaty adding Crimea to the map of Russia.
British Prime Minister David Cameron, reflecting Western worries that Putin’s encroachment could spread farther in Ukraine and beyond, said the Russian moves were "in flagrant breach of international law and send a chilling message across the continent of Europe."
"President Putin should be in no doubt that Russia will face more serious consequences," Cameron declared.
Holding out hope for a diplomatic way out of the crisis, Cameron added, "The choice remains for President Putin: Take the path of de-escalation or face increasing isolation and tighter sanctions."
Putin signs treaty for Crimea
to join Russia, angrily rejects Western criticism
MOSCOW (AP) -- With a sweep of his pen, President Vladimir Putin added Crimea to the map of Russia on Tuesday, describing the move as correcting a past injustice and responding to what he called Western encroachment upon Russia’s vital interests.
While his actions were met with cheers in Crimea and Russia, Ukraine’s new government called Putin a threat to the whole world and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden warned that the U.S. and Europe will impose further sanctions against Moscow.
"The world has seen through Russia’s actions and has rejected the flawed logic," Biden said as he met with anxious European leaders in Poland.
In an emotional 40-minute speech televised live from the Kremlin’s white-and-gold St. George hall, the Russian leader said he was merely restoring order to history by incorporating Crimea.
"In people’s hearts and minds, Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia," he declared.
What if missing Malaysia plane is never found? Experts and families face unsettling questions
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -- The plane must be somewhere. But the same can be said for Amelia Earhart’s.
Ten days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared with 239 people aboard, an exhaustive international search has produced no sign of the Boeing 777, raising an unsettling question: What if the airplane is never found?
Such an outcome, while considered unlikely by many experts, would certainly torment the families of those missing. It would also flummox the airline industry, which will struggle to learn lessons from the incident if it doesn’t know what happened.
While rare nowadays, history is not short of such mysteries -- from the most famous of all, American aviator Earhart, to planes and ships disappearing in the so-called Bermuda Triangle.
"When something like this happens that confounds us, we’re offended by it, and we’re scared by it," said Ric Gillespie, a former U.S. aviation accident investigator who wrote a book about Earhart’s still-unsolved 1937 disappearance over the Pacific Ocean. "We had the illusion of control and it’s just been shown to us that oh, folks, you know what? A really big airliner can just vanish. And nobody wants to hear that."
Some top cancer centers have concerns about patients’ access under health law
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Some of America’s best cancer hospitals are off-limits to many of the people now signing up for coverage under the nation’s new health care program.
Doctors and administrators say they’re concerned. So are some state insurance regulators.
An Associated Press survey found examples coast to coast. Seattle Cancer Care Alliance is excluded by five out of eight insurers in Washington’s insurance exchange. MD Anderson Cancer Center says it’s in less than half of the plans in the Houston area. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is included by two of nine insurers in New York City and has out-of-network agreements with two more.
In all, only four of 19 nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers that responded to AP’s survey said patients have access through all the insurance companies in their states’ exchanges.
Not too long ago insurance companies would have been vying to offer access to renowned cancer centers, said Dan Mendelson, CEO of the market research firm Avalere Health. Now the focus is on costs.
NTSB: Witnesses heard unusual noises from news chopper before crash in Seattle that killed 2
SEATTLE (AP) -- A federal official says witnesses reported hearing unusual noises from a KOMO-TV news helicopter before it crashed Tuesday, killing two people on board and injuring a third on the ground.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s Dennis Hogenson says investigators are examining all possibilities as they look for what caused the crash. He says witnesses also reported seeing the aircraft rotate before it hit the ground.
Hogenson says investigators are working to document the scene and clear the wreckage. A preliminary report is expected in five days, followed by a fuller report with a probable cause in up to a year.
Officials will be looking at mechanical, environmental, pilot and other issues as they investigate the crash.
Fla.’s Jeb Bush considers a run
for the White House; could face challenges, including surname
MIAMI (AP) -- Jeb Bush gets the question at just about every public appearance these days: Will you run for president?
The former Florida governor gives a well-worn answer: "I can honestly tell you that I don’t know what I’m going to do." It’s an answer that won’t satisfy the GOP faithful for much longer.
The scion of the Bush political dynasty will likely be asked the question many times in the coming weeks as he raises his profile with appearances in Tennessee, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas -- where he’ll bump into another possible 2016 presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Bush’s "yes" or "no" is one of the most significant factors looming over the 2016 Republican presidential contest. A White House bid by the brother and son of presidents would shake up a wide-open GOP field, attract a legion of big-money donors and set up a showdown with the influential tea party movement. Bush has said he’ll consult with his family this summer and make a decision by the end of the year.
With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie facing multiple investigations in a political retribution probe, many Republicans see Bush as a potent alternative: a two-term GOP governor who thrived in the nation’s largest swing-voting state and could make the party more inclusive.
Oklahoma court resets scheduled executions so prison officials can seek supply of lethal drugs
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- An Oklahoma court on Tuesday rescheduled a pair of executions set for this week and next so state prison officials will have more time to find a supply of drugs for the lethal injections.
The decision came in a lawsuit in which two inmates had sought more information about the drugs that would be used to execute them later this month. The inmates had sought a stay of their executions, but the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals said that request was moot because the state Department of Corrections doesn’t have enough drugs on hand to carry out their death sentences.
"The attorney general’s attestations give this court no confidence that the state will be able to procure the necessary drugs before the scheduled executions are carried out," the court wrote.
Oklahoma and other states that have the death penalty have been scrambling for substitute drugs or new sources for drugs for lethal injections after major drugmakers -- many based in Europe with longtime opposition to the death penalty -- stopped selling to prisons and corrections departments.
While the judges didn’t rule on the merit of the inmates’ stay request, they pushed their executions back a month -- Clayton Lockett to April 22 and Charles Warner to April 29.
GOP primary voters aim to win back Illinois governor’s office, upend state’s political order
CHICAGO (AP) -- With a hunger to reclaim the governor’s office, Republican voters set out Tuesday to shake up Illinois’ Democratic-dominated political order, energized by candidates’ talk of taking on unions, unseating "career politicians" and righting the state’s troubled finances.
The talk at polling stations from the Chicago suburbs in the north to the St. Louis suburbs in the southwest was of reversing the state’s indebtedness and keeping businesses and jobs from leaving Illinois. Describing their desire for change, people used phrases like "break the system."
To many, the governor’s race was shaping up as a potentially transformative battle over union influence, with some voters saying they want to break an alliance between organized labor and longtime Democratic politicians in control of the governor’s mansion and the Legislature.
Organized labor was battling back out of concern that the leading Republican candidate, multimillionaire venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, could seek to weaken unions in the same way GOP governors have in other states across the Midwest.
"It’s hard to make true progress when there’s a union ... when you have a union rep always in the middle of things," said Veronique Escalante, 40, a consultant from the western Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn who voted for Rauner.
Sectarian tensions flare up in Lebanon as Sunnis block roads to protest Hezbollah blockade
BEIRUT (AP) -- Sunni Muslim demonstrators used burning tires to close key roads across Lebanon Tuesday to protest a blockade of their brethren by Shiite gunmen, officials said, as the country struggles to keep a lid on simmering sectarian tensions enflamed by the civil war in neighboring Syria.
In one of the most ominous signs, an AP reporter saw protesters marching among cars stopped at a Beirut roadblock and warning drivers with Shiite emblems on their vehicles that Sunnis would not be cowed by the powerful Shiite militant Hezbollah group. There was no violence, and all of the cars eventually moved on unscathed.
Lebanon, which is still haunted by its own 15-year civil war that ended in 1990, has been deeply polarized by the current conflict in Syria. Lebanese Sunnis largely support the predominantly Sunni opposition in Syria, while Shiites have backed President Bashar Assad’s government.
That dynamic has sent sectarian hatreds soaring in Lebanon, particularly since the country’s most powerful political and military force, Hezbollah, dispatched its fighters last year to Syria to bolster Assad’s forces. Many Sunnis also resent Hezbollah’s unmatched political and military position in Lebanon.
Against that backdrop, hundreds of angry young Sunni protesters forced roads to close Tuesday across the country to protest a dayslong Hezbollah blockade on the predominantly Sunni town of Arsal near the Syrian border.