Thursday, March 13, 2014

High times for news junkies

Crazy times! Your fix of today’s top stories.

Missing plane still missing

Five days ago, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, with 239 people on board, dropped off air traffic control screens less than an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. China, Vietnam and a number of other countries have been intently searching for wreckage in the oceans around Malaysia. There have been several false alarms, but nothing related to the flight has been found. Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that based on data automatically sent from the plane’s engines, the plane continued flying for four hours after dropping off of radar screens, leading to speculation that the plane was hijacked and landed somewhere for use at another time.

Ukraine and the Russian invasion of Crimea

Tension between Russia and western nations remains high as the impasse around negotiations continues. German Chancellor Angela Merkel today threatened Putin with “massive” political and economic consequences if the Russians continued to refuse to negotiate and retreat from Crimea. For their part, Russians refuse to acknowledge the validity of the current government in Kiev. Crimea is scheduled to hold a referendum on Sunday on whether Crimea should become part of Russia, but the ballots do not allow a straight up “no” vote and western leaders will not recognize the results as legitimate.

CIA spying on congress

Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee Sen. Diane Feinstein has accused the CIA of spying on the committee’s investigation into the CIA detention and interrogation program. After years of investigation, the committee produced a report that was highly critical of the CIA and its interrogation (torture) methods. The report has yet to be made public. Feinstein’s accusations bring up serious implications about both the real lack of oversight of U.S. surveillance agencies and the consequences of one branch of government (the executive) purposefully undermining the operations of another branch of government (the legislative). The irony of Feinstein not raising an eyebrow about mass surveillance until she is the victim has not been lost on many media outlets (see yesterday’s The Daily Show).

Stay tuned!

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