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Flight 370 Updates

Report: Flt. 370’s Last Position Was Over The Malacca Strait

Via AP:

The Malaysian military has radar data showing the missing Boeing 777 jetliner changed course and made it to the Malacca Strait, hundreds of kilometers (miles) from the last position recorded by civilian authorities, according to a senior military official.

The development injects more mystery into the investigation of the disappearance of Saturday’s flight, and raises questions about why the aircraft was not transmitting signals detectable by civilian radar.

Local newspaper Berita Harian quoted Malaysian air force chief Gen. Rodzali Daud as saying radar at a military base had detected the airliner at 2:40 a.m. near Pulau Perak at the northern approach to the strait, a busy waterway that separates the western coast of Malaysia and Indonesia’s Sumatra island. . .

So they've been searching in the wrong place. - Greg Pollowitz
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Flt 370: More Details on the Iranians with the Stolen Passports

Via Wall Street Journal:

Two passengers who boarded missing Malaysia Airlines3786.KU 0.00% flight MH370 with stolen passports were Iranians, one of whom was trying to reunited with his mother in German, authorities said on Tuesday.

Malaysia’s national police chief, Inspector-General Khalid Abu Bakar, identified one of the passengers as 19-year-old Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad. Inspector-General Khalid said Mr. Mehrdad’s mother contacted Malaysian authorities after he failed to arrive on a connecting flight to Frankfurt after the Malaysia Airlines flight disappeared less than an hour after take-off en route to Beijing.

Interpol Secretary-General Ronald Noble told reporters at the agency’s headquarters in Lyon, France, that the second man was also an Iranian, Delavar Seyedmohammedreza.

Mr. Mehrdad, who was traveling on a passport reported stolen in Thailand last year from 30-year-old Austrian Christian Kozel, didn’t appear to be connected with any terrorist groups, Inspector-General Khalid said, adding that he had been in contact with Iranian authorities. “We believe he was trying to migrate to Germany,” he said. “His mother was expecting him to arrive. She contacted us here, so that is how we know he is the one.”

Interpol suggested that the second man, Mr. Seyedmohammedreza, was also only trying to get to Europe by using a stolen Italian passport. Electronic itineraries viewed by The Wall Street Journal point to Copenhagen as his destination.

Law enforcement officials’ comments shed some light on one of the most perplexing aspects of flight MH370’s disappearance: that some passengers had checked in and boarded using stolen documents. . .

Again, more information please. . . - Greg Pollowitz

Flt. 370 Report: Iranians Had the Stolen Passports, But Not Terror Related

Via Bloomberg:

The probe into the disappearance of Flight 370 took another twist as Malaysian authorities and Interpol said the two people who boarded the plane with stolen passports were Iranian and probably not linked to terror groups.

Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, got on board using an Austrian passport and aimed to migrate to Germany, Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said in Kuala Lumpur today. Normal procedures were followed by authorities in granting a visa when he entered Malaysia, Khalid said.

“We have been checking his background, we have also checked him, with other police organizations, on his profile, and we believe that he is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group,” Khalid said. The other person boarded using a stolen Italian passport, he said. . .

Um, yeah. We're going to need to look at this a little more. . . - Greg Pollowitz

CNN Summarizes How Little We Know About Flight 370

Via CNN:

Three days ago, a Malaysian passenger jet with more than 200 people on board vanished in the skies over Southeast Asia.

On Monday, investigators appeared to be no closer to explaining how a large plane could seemingly disappear into thin air.

A large-scale search involving boats and planes from a range of countries continues at sea. Relatives of the people on board keep up their painful wait for news. Officials have warned them to prepare for the worst.

And theories abound about what may have taken place.

Until clearer information comes to light, here’s a summary of what we know and what we don’t know about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. . .

 

The stolen passports weren't checked with Interpol and they were used to buy one-way tickets at the same time on Thursday. Seems like a red flag to me. . . - Greg Pollowitz
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Still No Concrete Information on Missing Malaysia Airlines Fight

Via :

Frustration mounted on Monday over what has become one of the most perplexing aviation disasters in history, as the search for a vanished Malaysia Airlines passenger jet dramatically expanded in its third day.  

Hopes for a breakthrough were dashed when Malaysian authorities said oil found on the ocean surface had been tested and found not to have come from the jetliner. Various pieces of flotsam picked up in the vicinity of the plane’s last known location were also found to be unconnected. 

“This unprecedented missing aircraft mystery — as you can put it — it is mystifying,” Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director general of Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation, said at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur.

“To confirm what happened that day on this ill-fated aircraft, we need hard evidence,” he said. “We need concrete evidence. We need parts of the aircraft for us to analyze, for us to do forensic studies.” He added, “We are every hour, every minute, every second, looking at every inch of the sea.”. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

Interpol: Nobody Checked Stolen Passport Database

Via Globe & Mail:

Interpol knew about stolen passports that two passengers used to board an ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight bound for China, but no country checked the police agency’s vast database on stolen documents beforehand, it said Sunday. Interpol said it hopes authorities will “learn from the tragedy.”

It’s not known whether stolen passports had anything to do with Saturday’s disappearance of the Boeing 777 bound from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing with 239 people on board. But such oversights aren’t new. Last year, passengers boarded planes over a billion times without their passports being checked against Interpol’s database of 40 million stolen or lost travel documents, said the international organization based in Lyon, France. . .

So we participate in expensive security theater and they don't check for stolen passports? - Greg Pollowitz

Report: Mid-Air Disintegration

Via Reuters:

Officials investigating the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner with 239 people on board are narrowing the focus of their inquiries on the possibility that it disintegrated mid-flight, a senior source said on Sunday.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished after climbing to a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing in the early hours of Saturday. Search teams have not been able to make any confirmed discovery of wreckage in seas beneath the plane’s flight path almost 48 hours after it took off.

“The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet,” said the source, who is involved in the preliminary investigations in Malaysia.

If the plane had plunged intact from such a height, breaking up only on impact with the water, search teams would have expected to find a fairly concentrated pattern of debris, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the investigation. . . 

- Greg Pollowitz

Terrorism? Stolen Passports Used on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Via Telegraph (London):

Air safety experts are investigating whether an airliner that mysteriously vanished in the Far East could have been the target of a terrorist attack.

Twenty-four hours after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared over the South China Sea, the only clue to the fate of its 239 passengers and crew was the revelation that at least two people on board were using stolen passports.

The disclosure raised fears that terrorists could have used the passport to board the craft, which vanished with no prior signals of trouble to air traffic controllers.

The plane was heading from the Malaysia to China, where last week 33 people were killed and 143 injured in a terrorist attack in the south-western city of Kunming. The attack, in which a gang of men ran amok in a Chinese railway station, was blamed on pro-separatist ethnic Uigurs, who come from the mainly Muslim areas of the Xinjiang region that borders Pakistan and Afghanistan. Some Chinese media have branded it the country’s own “9-11”. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

Did Sarkozy Use Cash from Gaddafi to Win in 2007?

Via Telegraph (London):

Nicolas Sarkozy, the former French president, had his phone tapped for the last year by a senior judge investigating allegations that he used donations from Muammar Gaddafi for his 2007 election campaign, it has been claimed.

Judges started eavesdropping Mr Sarkozy’s calls in April 2013 as part of a formal investigation into claims he accepted up to €50 million in cash from the late Libyan dictator.

In the latest corruption allegations threatening to wreck his comeback hopes, judges have now opened an investigation into Mr Sarkozy for perverting the course of justice after tapped phone calls suggest he may have sought to influence a top judge.

Mr Sarkozy’s lawyer denies the claims and says the phone taps were illegal.

In the bugged phone conversations, Mr Sarkozy and his lawyer can reportedly be overheard discussing finding a sinecure for the senior judge in exchange for information on secret legal proceedings concerning the ex-president. . .

And yet again, France reminds us why we changed the name to "Freedom Fries." - Greg Pollowitz

Duh: Huy Fong Sriracha Sauces Wins WaPost Taste Test

Via Washington Post:

The Sriracha shortage scare of 2013 turned out not to be the Srirachapocalypse that fans of the Huy Fong (a.k.a. “rooster”) chili sauce had feared. Despite the averted crisis, we decided to hedge our bets and sample a few other varieties of Asian hot sauces from stores in the Washington area, including Steven Kim’s KimKim sauce — which, let’s put it out there, is not pretending to be a Sriracha usurper.

Fortified with water and saltines, Food section staff members rated sauces for flavor and level of heat, using a rating scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best).

Here’s how they ranked, in order of preference.

Huy Fong Sriracha Chili Sauce (17 ounces, $4.69). Average score: 3.8.Comments: “tangy, hints of garlic”; “pleasant!”; “very strong aroma, off-putting”; “fruity”; “bland, comparatively.”

 

Sriracha sauce is like the Highlander: There Can Be Only One. . . - Greg Pollowitz

George P. Bush Wins GOP Nomination for Texas Land Commissioner

Via Fox News:

George P. Bush took the first step toward continuing his family’s political dynasty Tuesday, shaking off an under-funded primary challenger and securing the Republican nomination for the little-known but powerful post of Texas land commissioner. 

The 37-year-old Fort Worth attorney is the grandson of former President George H.W. Bush, nephew of former President and Texas Gov. George W. Bush, and son of ex-Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is frequently mentioned as a possible GOP White House hopeful in 2016.

He’s also a Spanish speaker whose mother Columba was born in Mexico and who Republican leaders statewide long have toasted as key to wooing voters among Texas’ booming Hispanic population.

“We don’t have to change our conservative principles to win, we just need to change our tactics,” said Bush, who spoke English and Spanish to the crowd at his victory party at a Fort Worth Mexican restaurant. His mother was among the attendees. . .

Say it like Yoda right before he dies: "There is. . .another. . .Buuuuuushhhh. . ." - Greg Pollowitz

Science: High-Protein Diet as Dangerous as Cigarettes

Via Telegraph (London):

Eating too much protein could be as dangerous as smoking for middle-aged people, a scientific study has found.

Research which tracked thousands of adults for nearly 20 years found that people who eat a diet rich in animal protein are four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low protein diet.

The risk is nearly as high as the danger of developing cancer by smoking 20 cigarettes each day.

Previous studies have shown a link between cancer and red meat, but it is the first time research has measured the risk of death caused by regularly eating too much protein.

Nutritional advice has traditionally focused on cutting down on fat, sugar and salt. The World Health Organisation will announce a consultation today suggesting that guidelines on sugar consumption should be lowered, but there have few warnings about excess protein. 

The US study found that people with a high protein diet were 74 per cent more likely to die of any cause within the study period than their low-protein counterparts. They were also several times more likely to die of diabetes. But this trend appeared to reverse for those aged over 65, researchers found. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

Sci-Fi Now Sci-Fact: Thawed-Out 30,000-Year-Old Virus ‘Comes Back to Life’

Via BBC:

An ancient virus has “come back to life” after lying dormant for at least 30,000 years, scientists say.

It was found frozen in a deep layer of the Siberian permafrost, but after it thawed it became infectious once again.

The French scientists say the contagion poses no danger to humans or animals, but other viruses could be unleashed as the ground becomes exposed.

The study is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Professor Jean-Michel Claverie, from the National Centre of Scientific Research (CNRS) at the University of Aix-Marseille in France, said: “This is the first time we’ve seen a virus that’s still infectious after this length of time.”. . .

 

Is there any doubt that one of these ancient viruses will unleash a zombie apocalypse? - Greg Pollowitz

Protests in Venezuela Continue Despite Carnival Holiday

Via Businessweek:

Venezuela’s opposition supporters maintained the momentum of three weeks of protests today with marches through Caracas, as the government turned to China and Russia for financial help.

Oil Minister and Economy Vice President Rafael Ramirez signed finance deals with the two countries, President Nicolas Maduro said on his Twitter account.

Ramirez “comes from China with very good news about economic and financial support,” Maduro said, without giving any details.

Lilian Tintori, the wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, headed a women’s march today to honor Venezuelans killed during three weeks of demonstrations and demand the release of detained protesters, including her husband. Students protesting about rising crime, shortages of basic goods and the world’s fastest inflation also joined the march. . .

- Greg Pollowitz

Meet Ukrainian ‘Barbie’

Via Local 10 Ft. Lauderdale:

The Ukrainian woman known as the “real-life Barbie” says she’s done with food and water, and wants to live off light and air alone.

“In recent weeks I have not been hungry at all,” Valeria Lukyanova told the International Business Times. “I’m hoping it’s the final stage before I can subsist on air and light alone.”

The New Age practice is known as Breatharianism. Its followers neither eat nor drink, believing they can exist solely on “cosmic micro-food.”

Lukyanova, who has stirred controversy with her doll-like features and ultra-thin waist, has said she uses her appearance to promote her “spiritual ideas.”. . .

I thought "light" and "air" were the tenets of Obama's foreign policy? - Greg Pollowitz

Poll: 33% Say They’ve Been ‘Hurt’ by Obamacare

Via Rasmussen Reports:

One-in-three U.S. voters now says his or her health insurance coverage has changed as a result of Obamacare, and the same number say the new national health care law had a negative personal impact on them. 

Forty percent (40%) of Likely U.S. Voters have at least a somewhat favorable opinion of the health care law, while 56% regard it unfavorably, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. This includes 16% who view the law Very Favorably and 41% who have a Very Unfavorable opinion of it. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Favorable opinions of the law are down from 45% two weeks ago and are the lowest measured since late December. Unfavorables hit an all-time high of 58% in mid-November. Favorables fell to a record low of 36% in that same survey.

Thirty-three percent (33%) now say their insurance coverage has changed because of the new law, up a point from January  and the highest finding since last July.

Seventy-four percent (74%) of those who have health insurance rate their coverage as good or excellent. . .

Gird your loins, Dems. November is coming. -

LOL: Howard Fineman and The Powerful Message of the Oscars

Via Twitter:

GP: Here’s Howard Fineman on the importance of the Oscars on the world scene. . .

. . .and. . .

Even better: His wife warned him that he sounded foolish, but he tweeted it anyway. . .

 

I actually get what Fineman is saying, but he's wrong. The rest of the world already loves our culture, and still hates us. Here's an excerpt from an old P.J. O'Rourke op-ed titled, "America, Recuse Thyself!" that says it better than I ever could:

And the best thing about Americans recusing ourselves from global entanglements is that we will be loved again. Imagine a world where American manners and mores set the standard almost everywhere, where American fashions, American ideas and American lifestyles are universally sought out and copied. A world where people avidly listen to American music, eagerly watch American TV and movies, and try to imitate Americans in every way. Imagine a world where the U.S.A. is so admired that people by the millions want nothing more than to come to America and recuse themselves from global entanglements.

- Greg Pollowitz

Oops: Oregon Accidentally Enrolls 4000 Illegal Immigrants in Obamacare

Via Oregon Live:

Nearly 4,000 applicants for a state programthat provides undocumented immigrants with pregnancy services were instead enrolled in full Oregon Health Plan coverage, contrary tofederal law, thanks to problems with the Cover Oregon health insurance exchange.
 
State officials say they discovered the problem several weeks ago and are correcting it.
 
The pregnancy program goof, however, is just one of many little-known problems that Oregon Health Plan members, providers, care groups and state officials have wrestled with as Oregon’s system for enrolling people undergoes chaotic change. . .

As Oregon's exchange doesn't work, this is really 4000 human errors. That's not good. - Greg Pollowitz

Tweet of the Day: Albert Brooks vs. Obama

Via Twitter:
It's funny because 1. it's true and 2. it's from Obama's base. - Greg Pollowitz

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