Missing Malaysia plane could have speared into the sea, leaving few clues to follow
SYDNEY (AP) — Did the missing Malaysian jet plunge into the ocean at a steep angle, leaving virtually no debris on the surface? Did it come in flat, clip a wave and cartwheel into pieces? Or did it break up in midair, sending chunks tumbling down over a wide swath of water?
Exactly how the plane hit the water makes a big difference to the teams undertaking the painstaking search for the wreckage. Investigators have frustratingly little hard data to work out how Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 came down in the Indian Ocean on March 8 with 239 people on board.
Here are some possible scenarios:
A STEEP DIVE:
If the plane ran out of fuel at its normal cruising altitude and the pilots were incapacitated, the autopilot would stop working and the aircraft could dip into an increasingly steep and rapid dive, aviation experts said. Under this scenario, the plane could hit the water nose-first and close to perpendicular with the surface, piercing the ocean like an arrow.
Pentagon chief Hagel, China defense leader air differences over disputed island
BEIJING (AP) — The defense chiefs of China and the U.S. are facing off over Beijing's escalating territorial disputes in the region, with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wagging his finger and telling China it doesn't have the right to unilaterally establish an air defense zone over disputed islands with no consultation.
And he said on Tuesday America will protect Japan in a dispute with China, as laid out in U.S. treaty obligations.
Chinese Defense Minister Chang Wanquan said his country will not take the initiative to stir up troubles with Japan, but Beijing is ready to use its military if needed to safeguard its territory. And he warned that the U.S. must "stay vigilant" against Japan's actions and "not be permissive and supportive" of Tokyo.
The U.S. has criticized Beijing's recent declaration of an air defense zone over a large swath of the East China Sea, including disputed islands controlled by Japan.
In their remarks, the two men aired their countries' well-known positions about the territorial disputes, although doing it for the first time in China, shoulder to shoulder after nearly two hours of meetings here.
10 Things to Know for Today
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:
1. SEARCH FOR PLANE HINGES ON HOW IT HIT THE WATER
Possible scenarios depend on angle and speed with which MH 370 could have speared into the sea.
2. UKRAINE NO STRANGER TO BIG POWER POLITICS
Pistorius describes troubled relationship with slain girlfriend at his murder trial
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Testifying in his murder trial on Tuesday, Oscar Pistorius said he and girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp sometimes had troubles in their relationship but that they sorted them out, were in love and were planning a life together.
Prosecutors say Pistorius was often jealous and overbearing in his relationship with Steenkamp and killed her intentionally after a loud argument in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine's Day last year. Pistorius claims he shot the 29-year-old model by mistake through a toilet door at his house, thinking she was a dangerous intruder.
Pistorius referred to a phone message Steenkamp sent him in late January 2013 when she said she was sometimes "scared" of the double-amputee Olympic athlete. The prosecution presented the message earlier in the trial as an indicator of Pistorius' threatening behavior.
Pistorius, 27, said Tuesday that the couple had a disagreement at a social function that day and he was "maybe just being sensitive, insecure or jealous." Pistorius said he apologized to Steenkamp and sent her a message saying: "I want to talk to you. I want to sort this out. ... I'm sorry for the things that I say without thinking."
"My lady, I think it was a bad day in our relationship," Pistorius said, addressing the judge who will ultimately deliver a verdict in the trial that began last month.
Ukraine feels nervous as big powers Russia and United States debate its fate
KIEV, Ukraine (AP) — As top diplomats from Russia and the United States have met in Europe's capitals to decide Ukraine's fate in recent weeks, there's been a conspicuous absence: a representative from Ukraine.
Russia has refused to deal with Ukraine's new government since protests in February ousted the pro-Russian president. And while the West supports the fledgling leadership, it has left an impression that it's in charge of talks with the Kremlin.
Time and again through history, Ukraine has been caught in big power politics. Historians draw parallels between how Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin divided Europe at Yalta after World War II — trapping eastern European countries in the Soviet orbit. Now some Ukrainians fear history is repeating itself as they are shut out of negotiations — and sit on the sidelines waiting for a verdict.
Ordinary Ukrainians are mostly grateful for Western efforts to mediate the crisis and more than anything are terrified by the prospect of war.
But officials have sought to stress that Ukraine's voice must be heard.
Death toll 33 in Washington mudslide; 3 victims unidentified; search for 12 people missing
EVERETT, Wash. (AP) — The death toll from the landslide that hit the Washington town of Oso rose to 33 on Monday, according to the Snohomish County medical examiner's office, which said all but three have been identified.
The latest name added to the list is Billy L. Spillers, 30, of Arlington. Like the others, he died of multiple blunt force injuries in the March 22 slide that crushed the residential area along the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River about 55 miles northeast of Seattle.
His name had been on the list of missing.
The number of missing on Monday was 12, said Shari Ireton, spokeswoman for the Snohomish County sheriff's office.
However, that figure does not necessarily correlate with the number of dead, said Kelly Stowe, a spokeswoman for the medical examiner's office. The missing list remains fluid as names are added and removed.
At least 30 arrests, minor property damage follow UConn national championship victory
STORRS, Conn. (AP) — Jubilant fans celebrating UConn's Monday night national basketball championship win smashed a window in an engineering building, broke street lights and overturned furniture inside the school's student union.
Campus police had made 30 arrests by 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, while state police had made others and more were expected, said University of Connecticut spokesman Tom Breen.
"A lot of it was alcohol-related," Breen said. "There was breech of peace, destruction of property, and we had a fireworks charge."
Most of the property damage was minor, he said.
No serious injuries had been reported.
5 things to know about unbeaten UConn, Notre Dame women going for title in unprecedented game
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Connecticut and Notre Dame may have spent too much time together in the Big East — and it apparently got annoying.
They played each other 12 times over the previous three seasons. But with Notre Dame moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference, they didn't play this year — setting up Tuesday night's title game between the undefeated squads. It's the first time in the NCAA tournament that unbeaten teams have played — either the men or women.
Still, absence has not made their hearts grow fonder — especially not the coaches.
"We don't have a relationship," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "I think that (the civility) got lost. When we were in the same conference, I think there was a modicum of it, but I think after beating them and not feeling any respect from that, we lost something."
Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma believes it's only natural for the teams be testy having played so many times lately. Only the Irish bolting for a new conference ended the repeated showdowns.
Army investigators: 8-minute rampage at Texas Army post related to argument over leave request
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) — Army investigators on Monday released a more detailed timeline of last week's fatal shootings at Fort Hood, describing an eight-minute rampage in which the suspect fired 35 shots over an area spanning the equivalent of two city blocks.
Three people were killed and 16 others wounded in the shooting spree before the suspect, Spc. Ivan Lopez, killed himself, authorities said.
During a news conference Monday, Army spokesman Chris Grey said the shootings at the Texas post followed an argument related to Lopez's request for taking leave, but he didn't indicate whether it was granted or describe circumstances behind the request.
A spokesman for Lopez's family said last week that Lopez was upset he was granted only a 24-hour leave to attend his mother's funeral in November. That leave was then extended to two days.
The shooting spree Wednesday ended when Lopez killed himself with his .45-caliber pistol after confronting a female military police officer, who Grey said fired once at Lopez but didn't strike him.
After winning greater rights in constitution, Egyptian women waiting to see them realized
CAIRO (AP) — Women activists say they won a major step forward with Egypt's new constitution, which enshrined greater rights for women. But months after its passage, they're worrying whether those rights will be implemented or will turn out to be merely ink on paper.
The causes for concern are many. Men hold an overwhelming near-lock on decision-making in politics, and activists say they are doing little to bring about equality. Violence against women in public space has grown over the past three years of turmoil since the 2011 ouster of autocrat Hosni Mubarak. And some activists say the increasingly repressive political climate is stifling chances for democratic reforms that would bring women's rights.
An incident in March underlined how far activists say they still need to go to change public attitudes. After a female student at Cairo University came under mass sexual assault by male students, the university's president, Gaber Nassar, criticized her for the way she was dressed. A well-known TV presenter, Tamir Amin, went on a tirade on his show, saying the student was "dressed like a belly dancer." She was wearing black pants, a long-sleeved pink shirt and a head-scarf.
Amid an uproar on social media, both Nassar and Amin apologized for their comments. But Amin still went on to say women should wear "appropriate" clothing when they go out.
The following week, a law criminalizing sexual harassment was referred to the presidency for review, though the text has yet to be released.