The disappearance of a Malaysian airliner about an hour into a flight to Beijing is an “unprecedented mystery”, the civil aviation chief said on Monday, as a massive air and sea search now in its third day failed to find any trace of the plane or 239 people on board.
Dozens of ships and aircraft from 10 countries scoured the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam as questions mounted over possible security lapses and whether a bomb or hijacking attempt could have brought down the Boeing 777-200ER which took off from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.
The area of the search would be widened from Tuesday, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the head of Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority, told reporters.
A senior police official told Reuters that people armed with explosives and carrying false identity papers had tried to fly out of Kuala Lumpur in the past, and that current investigations were focused on two passengers who were on the missing plane with stolen passports.
"We have stopped men with false or stolen passports and carrying explosives, who have tried to get past KLIA (airport) security and get on to a plane," he said. "There have been two or three incidents, but I will not divulge the details."
Interpol confirmed on Sunday at least two passengers used stolen passports and said it was checking whether others aboard had used false identity documents.
Azharuddin said a hijacking attempt could not be ruled out as investigators explore all theories for the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
"Unfortunately we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft," he told a news conference. "As far as we are concerned, we have to find the aircraft. We have to find a piece of the aircraft if possible."
Azharuddin also said the two men with stolen passports did not look like Asians, but he did not elaborate. Airport CCTV footage showed they completed all security procedures, he said.
"We are looking at the possibility of a stolen passport syndicate," he said.
About two-thirds of the 227 passengers and 12 crew now presumed to have died aboard the plane were Chinese. The airline said other nationalities included 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French and three Americans.
“I want people to be afraid of the fact that this could happen to them.”—PETER LANZA, in an interview with the New Yorker, about his son, Adam, who killed 20 children, six teachers and administrators, and his own mother during a gun rampage in December 2012.
A 12-mile-long oil slick spotted between Malaysia and Vietnam on Saturday afternoon is thought to be the first sign that a missing Malaysia Airlines flight with 239 people aboard went down in the waters between southernmost Vietnam and northern Malaysia, according to Vietnam’s director of civil aviation.
“An AN26 aircraft of the Vietnam Navy has discovered an oil slick about 20 kilometers in the search area, which is suspected of being a crashed Boeing aircraft,” Lai Xuan Thanh, the director of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam said. “We have announced that information to Singapore and Malaysia and we continue the search.”
Mr. Thanh said the oil on the surface of the water was somewhat closer to Vietnam than Malaysia, at the mouth of the shallow Gulf of Thailand. The last coordinates automatically transmitted by the aircraft were from on the Malaysian side near the midpoint between the two countries, when the plane appeared to be in stable flight at 35,000 feet.
The discovery came as Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Singapore and the Philippines staged an intensive search for the missing aircraft, a redeye flight that vanished after taking off from Kuala Lumpur early Saturday morning, bound for Beijing, where it was to arrive at 6:30 a.m.
The New York Times, “Oil Slick Hints Malaysian Plane May Have Crashed at Sea”
A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew lost contact with air traffic controllers early on Saturday en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the airline said in a statement.
"Malaysia Airlines is currently working with the authorities who have activated their search-and-rescue teams to locate the aircraft," it said.
Flight MH 370, operating a Boeing B777-200 aircraft departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.21 a.m. (1621 GMT Friday) and had been expected to land in the Chinese capital at 6.30 a.m. (2230 GMT) the same day.
The airline said the flight had lost contact with Malaysian air traffic controllers at 2.40 a.m., just over two hours into the flight.
China’s CCTV said 160 Chinese nationals were onboard the flight, according to microblogging website Weibo.
Chinese state TV also reported there had not been any reports received yet about any aircraft crashed in Chinese waters.
State news agency Xinhua reported radar contact with the flight was lost while it was in Vietnamese airspace.
If the plane is found to have crashed, the loss would mark the second fatal accident involving a Boeing 777 in less than a year, after an unblemished safety record since the jet entered service in 1995.
Last summer, an Asiana Airlines Boeing 777 crash landed in San Francisco, killing three passengers.
In July 2008, the government of Georgia was under considerable pressure: Russia was organizing provocations in two regions of our country and amassing troops at our border. Almost every Western politician to whom my government raised concerns in those days said that Russia would not attack and urged us to keep calm and not react to Russian moves. My friend Otto von Habsburg, one of Europe’s most experienced politicians, was less reassuring. He bluntly predicted that Russia would attack with all the military might at its disposal, no matter what Georgia did to avoid such an outcome. History repeats itself, he told me.
A few weeks later, tens of thousands of Russian soldiers crossed our border, and planes started bombing us round the clock. While Vladimir Putin failed to achieve his ultimate goal, to take over Georgia’s capital, his troops still occupy a fifth of my country’s territory.
There are striking similarities between the early stages of Russian aggression against Georgia and what is happening in Ukraine. Watching recent events and the global response, I keep thinking about history repeating itself — and other instances of aggression in Europe.
In the 1930s, Nazi Germany occupied part of neighboring Czechoslovakia under the pretext of protecting ethnic Germans. Today, Russia is claiming to protect ethnic Russians — or people with hastily distributed Russian passports — in Crimea or Georgian territories. In September 1938, when Germany annexed the Sudetenland, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain called the situation “a quarrel in a far-away country, between people of whom we know nothing.” Similarly, some today question whether the West should bother about Ukraine, saying Russia has more at stake than the West. Many in the West are talking about the need to reach some kind of compromise with Russia, an option that smacks of Munich 80 years ago. They claim to be motivated by such common strategic interests as nonproliferation and the fight against terrorism; by the same token, under the guise of needing to contain the Soviet Union and stop the spread of communism, Chamberlain reached a deal with Hitler. Now, of course, we know that all attempts to appease the Nazis led the big European powers to feed one country after another to Hitler and, ultimately, led to World War II.
Such global catastrophes are what happens when the established international order collapses and rules no longer apply. Ukraine is just the most vivid recent demonstration. Imagine if Ukraine hadn’t given up its considerable nuclear arsenal in the 1990s. To persuade the Ukrainians to do so, the United States and Britain, together with Russia, signed agreements guaranteeing Ukraine’s territorial integrity in exchange for Ukraine giving its weapons to Russia. And yet, here we are.
But then, the European Union and Russia signed an agreement providing for the withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgia in 2008. Russia never complied — something our European guarantors seldom mention.
Putin’s motivations are similar to those of prewar Germany: He wants to rectify what he sees as unjust treatment and humiliation by Western powers after the Cold War. He is trying to reconquer lost lands and grab natural resources. Little has been said about the offshore oil resources in Abkhazia that the Russian state monopoly Rosneft confiscated in 2009. U.S. companies have invested considerably in shale gas fields off Crimea. But Ukraine’s emergence as self-sufficient in energy, and even a major gas exporter to Europe, would be Putin’s ultimate nightmare.
It is not against the law to secretly take photographs up a woman’s skirt in Massachusetts, the state’s Supreme Judicial Court ruled Wednesday. The court dismissed charges against Michael Robertson, who was arrested by Boston transit police for taking photos and videos up multiple women’s skirts or dresses on the subway.
The judges sympathized with the notion that a woman should be able to have a reasonable expectation not to have secret photos taken up her skirt when she goes out in public, but ruled that current state law does not address that. Massachusetts’ “Peeping Tom” laws, as written, only protect women from being photographed in dressing rooms or bathrooms when they are undressed. Since upskirt photos are taken of fully clothed women in public, they don’t count, according to the court.
“A female passenger on a MBTA trolley who is wearing a skirt, dress, or the like covering these parts of her body is not a person who is `partially nude,’ no matter what is or is not underneath the skirt by way of underwear or other clothing,” the court wrote.
Robertson’s lawyers defended his actions by arguing the photos were a matter of free speech.
1) Hey, judges. How are you? I know y’all have to “interpret the law” and shit like that, but can you for a moment gets your heads out from under your robes and get some fucking common sense and decency into them? 2) Are any of y’all named “Jesus H. Christ”? 3) You’ve just turned Massachusetts into Florida.
When scientists made the stunning announcement last year that a baby born with H.I.V. had apparently been cured through aggressive drug treatment just 30 hours after birth, there was immediate skepticism that the child had been infected in the first place.
But on Wednesday, the existence of a second such baby was revealed at an AIDS conference here, leaving little doubt that the treatment works. A leading researcher said there might be five more such cases in Canada and three in South Africa.
And a clinical trial in which up to 60 babies who are born infected will be put on drugs within 48 hours is set to begin soon, another researcher added.
If that trial works — and it will take several years of following the babies to determine whether it has — the protocol for treating all 250,000 babies born infected each year worldwide will no doubt be rewritten.
“This could lead to major changes, for two reasons,” said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, executive director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “Both for the welfare of the child, and because it is a huge proof of concept that you can cure someone if you can treat them early enough.”
The announcement was the third piece of hopeful news in two days about the virus that causes AIDS.
On Tuesday, scientists reported that injections of long-lasting AIDS drugs fended off infection in monkeys, and on Wednesday, researchers announced a “gene editing” advance that might enable immune cells to repel the virus.
The first infant to make an apparent recovery from H.I.V. infection, now famous as the “Mississippi baby,” was described last March at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, the same annual meeting where the new case was reported on Wednesday.
The Mississippi child, now more than 3 years old, is still virus-free, said Dr. Deborah Persaud, a virologist who has run ultrasensitive tests on both children in her lab at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore.
The second baby, a girl born at Miller Children’s Hospital in Long Beach, Calif., is now 9 months old and apparently free of the virus that causes AIDS.
Her mother, who has advanced AIDS and is mentally ill, arrived in labor; she had been prescribed drugs to protect her baby but had not taken them.
Four hours after the birth, a pediatrician, Dr. Audra Deveikis, drew blood for an H.I.V. test and immediately started the baby on three drugs — AZT, 3TC and nevirapine — at the high doses usually used for treatment of the virus.
The normal preventive regimen for newborns would be lower doses of two drugs; doctors usually do not use the more aggressive treatment until they are sure the baby is infected, and then sometimes not in the first weeks.
“Of course I had worries,” Dr. Deveikis said in an interview here. “But the mother’s disease was not under control, and I had to weigh the risk of transmission against the toxicity of the meds.”
“I’d heard of the Mississippi baby, I’d watched the video,” she added. “I knew that if you want to prevent infection, early treatment is critical.”