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Sun, 26 Mar 2023
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Search for missing Malaysian jet expands into Indian Ocean

© Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters
A member of the military looked out of a helicopter during a search-and-rescue mission off the Tho Chu Islands of Vietnam on Monday.
The mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 deepened on Monday when a sweeping search failed to find any sign of the jetliner near its last known location, leaving experts to puzzle over how a Boeing 777 with 239 people aboard could have vanished without a trace.

The search was set back by a number of false leads that seemed to underline how little investigators have been able to pin down about the progress of the flight.

With so little concrete to go on so far, aviation experts explored a number of plausible scenarios to explain the loss of the plane, and investigators said they could not yet conclusively rule out almost any potential cause, including terrorism, hijacking, crew malfeasance, pilot error or mechanical failure.

An object bobbing in the Gulf of Thailand that from a distance looked like a life raft turned out to be the lid of a large box, Vietnamese authorities said. An oil slick in Malaysian waters was found not to contain any jet fuel. And what was initially thought to be an aircraft tail floating in the sea was actually "logs tied together," according to a Malaysian official.

The total lack of results so far raised questions about whether the ships, planes and helicopters from nine nations that are scouring the waters near the aircraft's last reported location, some of them using highly sophisticated equipment, were looking in the right place.


Malaysian mystery: How can a flight disappear off radar?

© Daniel Chan/AP
Malaysia's civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman briefs reporters on the search and recovery efforts.
As the search continues for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, more questions have been asked about how it is possible for a modern aircraft to simply vanish without trace. Some relatives of missing victims are accusing the authorities of withholding information.

Theories about what happened remain speculative, but the widening search areas suggest that the authorities are genuinely in the dark about the fate of the plane.

Bizarro Earth

The Netherlands: Migrants more likely to be jobless and living in poverty

© anp
The unemployment rate among Dutch people with an ethnic minority background is more than triple that of the white Dutch, according to a new report by the government's socio-cultural think tank SCP.

Hardest hit are youngsters of Moroccan origin who left school without any qualifications - more than half of them are without a job.

People with a minority background are more likely to be out of work than the native Dutch even if they have the same qualifications, the SCP report shows. This is probably due to preconceptions on the part of employers, the SCP says.

Cell Phone

Mystery deepens: Mobile phones of passengers from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 ring but not answered

The mystery surrounding the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has deepened with the Chinese media reporting that several of the passengers' mobile phones were connecting when called by relatives, but the calls were not picked up.

The sister of one of the Chinese passengers among the 239 people on board the vanished flight rang his phone live on TV, the Mirror reports.

"This morning, around 11:40 [am], I called my older brother's number twice, and I got the ringing tone," said Bian Liangwei, sister of one of the passengers. At 2pm, Bian called again and heard it ringing once more.

"If I could get through, the police could locate the position, and there's a chance he could still be alive." She has passed on the number to Malaysia Airlines and the Chinese police.

Arrow Down

"It's made out of people!" Making meat from celebrity tissue samples

Human Meat!_1
© Red Ice Creations
"It's people! Soylent green is made out of people", to quote from the classic 1973 science fiction film and Charlton Heston's memorable line. (1970s era spoiler alert!): In Soylent Green, due to global collapse, a desperate and dying humanity is unknowingly being fed human remains as a food source. But due to biological and scientific advances we can apparently eat humans now, willingly, and with a side of mustard. Why wait for catastrophe?

Once more life imitates art, and a startup called BiteLabs is looking for support to create meat products from celebrity body parts, aiming to take cells from willing celebs and using them to grow protein into test-tube meat.

LATimes.com spoke with a representative of the organization: "At the moment, our primary goal is to provoke discussion and debate around topics of bioethics and celebrity culture."

Provocative indeed, but not necessarily a new idea. In recent years the idea of food made out of evidently tasty humans has been put forward, only to repulse the public and get pulled from shelves. Human breast milk ice cream had its moment in the sun, Princess Diana's hair was involved in the production of occult jam, and two Dutch TV presenters ate slices of each others' flesh for a television program.

Even 'human cheese' has been made with belly-button bacteria. Certainly an acquired taste.

Eye 1

U.S. spying on its own: 60-year-old University lecturer illegally detained at Indianapolis airport after her emails to a friend were intercepted and read by Feds

Christine Von Der Haar has heard President Barack Obama and national security officials insist the U.S. government isn't spying on ordinary citizens.

The Indiana University faculty member doesn't believe them. Not after what happened to her at the Indianapolis airport.

Von Der Haar says in a federal lawsuit that she was illegally detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in 2012 at Indianapolis International Airport. The lawsuit says the detention occurred after government agents intercepted and read emails she had exchanged with a friend from Greece before he came to visit her in Indiana.

While her lawsuit says the detention violated the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, Von Der Haar said that issue cannot be separated from what she believes was illegal and unjustifiable spying.


Institutionally rotten: The Metropolitan police's problem isn't bad apples, it's the whole barrel. Abolish it

Met Police
© Andrzej Krauze
'It's all over for the Met.'
After Stephen Lawrence, Ian Tomlinson and countless other scandals, it's clear the Metropolitan police is institutionally rotten. London deserves better

If hacking someone's voicemail is a gross invasion of privacy, what words are left to describe agents of the state with fake identities having sex with women they're spying on? One activist who had a child with the undercover police officer Bob Lambert has offered four words: "raped by the state". She is among a group of women activists currently fighting attempts by the Met to sabotage their quest for truth and justice. If phone hacking provoked anger, the use of police spies should chill.

But police spies stealing the identities of dead children and duplicitously sharing the homes, beds and lives of women is only the latest in a string of damning scandals about the Metropolitan police: Stephen Lawrence, and the Macpherson report's subsequent conclusion that the Met is institutionally racist; a stop-and-search policy that discriminates against black people; deaths in police custody; the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes; the unlawful killing of Ian Tomlinson; the treatment of protesters as social problems to be contained; the stitching up of a Tory heavyweight.

Each scandal is examined in isolation, treated as the action of rogue officers. But together they suggest an institutionally rotten system. Londoners need a force devoted to protecting their security, which treats all sections of the community equally, and which enjoys the consent and trust of everyone. Currently they do not have one, and so it must be built on new foundations.


York County deputy shoots, kills dog on leash during welfare check

Scarlett, a 9-year-old Labrador retriever, was killed
© Unknown
Scarlett, a 9-year-old Labrador retriever, was killed Tuesday when officers say she became aggressive and charged a York County Sheriff’s deputy.
Rock Hill - Alice Renee McGlone says her cats Rhett Butler and Tara will have to go on without Scarlett - - her 9-year-old Labrador retriever - - after a York County Sheriff's Office deputy shot and killed the dog when, he says, it charged him aggressively on Tuesday.

McGlone's friend Ron Montana buried Scarlett on Wednesday afternoon in her backyard, under a tree, on Clara Street in Rock Hill. Montana and McGlone say they're outraged that the deputy used lethal force.

But, sheriff's officials say the deputy had no choice but to protect himself from the dog.

"He hated to have done what he did but we teach our officers that they need to protect themselves in all situations," said Capt. Allen Brandon. "It's regrettable what happened."

Scarlett was a friendly dog and warmed to strangers easily, McGlone said. After adopting the dog from a shelter at six weeks old, she and Scarlett were "inseparable."


Officials 'puzzled' by Malaysia mystery as search widens

© STR/AFP/Getty Images
A relative of a passenger on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 waits for news in Beijing on Monday.
Teams from nine countries working non-stop, officials say, as hunt goes on for plane missing with 239 people on board

Search crews involving nine countries are working "every hour, every minute, every second" across a huge swathe of the South China Sea but have yet to find any evidence of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, the country's civil aviation chief said on Monday.

Almost 60 hours after flight MH370 vanished from radar screens in the early hours of Saturday officials remain "puzzled" by its sudden disappearance and are considering all possible angles, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said.

"Unfortunately, we have not found anything that appears to be an object from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft," he said.

Bad Guys

'Knocked out with metal bars for lack of anesthesia' - report details collapse of Syria's healthcare

© Reuters / Goran Tomasevic
The toll from the war in Syria has crushed the healthcare system, with a new report from Save the Children revealing that infants are dying in incubators from power cuts, limbs are being cut off due to lack of equipment, and polio cases are on the rise.

A 13-page report released on Monday describes the devastating transformation of Syria's health system since the start of the war three years ago. The nation's healthcare went from "a middle-income country, with child survival statistics to match" to 60 percent of Syria's hospitals being damaged or destroyed and almost half the country's doctors fleeing the country.

Comment: Most western media outlets carrying these stories of the collapse of the healthcare system in Syria tend to blame the Assad government for deliberately targeting doctors and hospitals. Yet this report describes pre-war Syria as "a middle-income country, with child survival statistics to match". Are we to believe that Assad suddenly turned into a heartless dictator overnight, or is it more likely that the insane, Western-sponsored Islamic fundamentalists are to blame?