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This just in
March 31, 2014

Last summer's Asiana Airlines crash was partly caused by inadequate warning systems and slow air speed, said the National Transportation Safety Board in a new report.

The Boeing 777, which crashed at San Francisco International Airport, was doomed by warning systems that failed to alert the pilots that the plane had stopped maintaining the set air speed needed to safely land. A notification telling them that the jet was flying too slowly and too low appeared too late to help pilots avoid the disaster that killed three passengers.

Even though the 777 jetliner has one of the safest records in history, Asiana Airlines said Boeing should add more cockpit warnings to alert pilots when they're flying too slowly. In a previous report, the NTSB blamed the crew for being confused about how to fly the plane. Jordan Valinsky

love in 2015
1:35 p.m. ET
Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Throwing themselves into the running for the title of "Most Hipster Couple of All Time" are actress Michelle Williams and author Jonathan Safran Foer, who are, apparently, dating now. Williams — who had a child with former beau Heath Ledger, and then dated David Foster Wallace-lookalike Jason Segel — appears to be "finally at peace and genuinely happy" with Foer, according to a source that spilled the beans to Us Weekly.

Foer, who is known for his novels Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated, has two children with his ex-wife, the bestselling author Nicole Krauss, to whom he was married for 10 years. Foer once told The Guardian that the best kiss of his life was "the first date with my wife, beneath a costume shop awning, in the rain." It will remain to be seen if he and Williams can top that level of twee. Jeva Lange

truth in advertising
1:15 p.m. ET
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The billboards in New York City's Times Square might be iconic, but they also might not be legal. Dan Lewis of Now I Know pointed out this week that, under the constraints of the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 and its most recent update in May 2012, Times Square's bright lights and mile-high billboards aren't kosher.

The law aims to keep advertisements from inundating roads and becoming too large or distracting. The point, as the law's name so aptly puts it, is to keep America beautiful. Under the law, billboard sizes are limited to 1,200 square feet, which, The Smithsonian notes, is "smaller than many of the signs that cluster about the sidewalks in Times Square."

Now, while Times Square might be crowded, it certainly isn't a highway. So how exactly does a Highway Beautification Act apply? Well, the U.S. government passed a law in May 2012 that included "urban principal arterial routes" under the law.

The billboards bring in millions for the city of New York annually. Times Square's biggest billboard — a megascreen that's eight stories tall and spans an entire city block — costs advertisers more than $2.5 million to use for four weeks, which, according to The New York Times, makes it one of the most "expensive pieces of outdoor ad real estate on the market." That's why city officials are fighting to keep the ads — and the ads' revenue — in place. Becca Stanek

the worst
1:05 p.m. ET
Andy Loveridge/AP

Walter J. Palmer, the dentist who killed Zimbabwe's famous lion, Cecil, apologized for the "inconvenience" that his newfound infamy has caused to patients of his clinic in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Palmer wrote in a letter obtained by Minneapolis' Fox 9 that he hadn't 'intended' to kill the lion, despite having paid $55,000 to men who helped him to lure it out of a wildlife park to be shot.

"The media interest in this matter — along with a substantial number of comments and calls from people who are angered by this situation and by the practice of hunting in general — has disrupted our business and our ability to see our patients. For that disruption, I apologize profoundly for this inconvenience and promise you that we will do our best to resume normal operations as soon as possible," Palmer said. Jeva Lange

paper-thin questions
12:05 p.m. ET

Being a movie star isn't all flashy premieres and high-profile interviews, as model-turned-actress Cara Delevingne is learning. The Brit, who stars opposite Nat Wolff in the big screen adaptation of John Green's YA novel Paper Towns, sat through what was surely one of the most cringe-inducing interviews ever this week with morning show Good Day Sacramento.

While it's fair to say that Delevingne gave back as much sass as she was given, the anchors' questions to the actress were downright embarrassing. In fact, the whole thing seemed designed to irritate anyone who has endured an exhausting press tour. It got us thinking: There's definitely a formula at work here.

How to have a disastrously awkward interview with Cara Delevingne, in 7 easy steps:

1. Call her "Carla" on first introduction.

2. Ask her if she read the book the movie was based on. "No, I never read the book or the script," Delevingne deadpanned. At least she's acting like a teenager — she does play one in the movie, after all!

3. Ask her the most unoriginal question you can think of. "What do you like about [your character] Margo? Do you have anything in common with her?" one of the anchors asked. Delevigne has surely been asked this question hundreds of times, so she was having none of it. "I actually hate her," she said, before pivoting to actually answer the question seriously.

4. Call her out for not being super excited about your interview. One of the male anchors noted that Delevingne seemed more excited in previous interviews she had done for Paper Towns. "You seemed a lot more excited about it [in those interviews] than you do right now. Are you just exhausted?" he asked. Delevingne assured him she is still pumped for the movie.

5. Call her attitude out again. "You do seem a bit irritated. Perhaps it's just us," the anchors continued. "I think it's just you," Delevingne replied. A beautiful double entendre.

6. Condescendingly cut the interview off. "We'll let you go then, take a little nap, maybe get a Red Bull, how about that?" Kids these days. Always tired.

7. Talk about her immediately after the interview. Proving that the anchor desk has much in common with a high-school cafeteria table, Good Day Sacramento anchors wasted no time in trashing Delevingne's attitude on the air immediately after her interview ended. "She was in a mood, jeez!" one of the anchors actually exclaimed. Can't say we blame her!

Watch the full interview below. Samantha Rollins

This just in
11:59 a.m. ET
Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Rep. Chaka Fattah (Penn.) and four of his associates were charged with 29 counts of corruption on Wednesday morning for a racketeering conspiracy related to the Democrat's failed 2007 bid to become mayor of Philadelphia. Per the U.S. Attorney's Office, Fattah and his associates were involved in "several schemes that were intended to further the political and financial interests" of each of them.

The government's charges include bribery, the illegal use of campaign contributions, and theft of charitable funds, NPR reports. According to the indictment, Fattah borrowed $1 million from a supporter, but only paid back $400,000 — and put the rest of the tab on the back of a nonprofit he and his associates controlled. Fattah also allegedly falsified records in efforts to conceal the payment. Becca Stanek

What's in a name? That which we call a Birkin.
11:57 a.m. ET
IMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

The Birkin bag, a celebrity staple made by high-fashion brand Hermès, may have to find a new name to carry its clout.

Jane Birkin, the British singer and inspiration behind the handbag, told AFP in a statement that after learning of the "cruel" methods used to make the crocodile version of the status symbol, she wants her name back.

"I have asked Hermes to debaptise the Birkin Croco until better practices in line with international norms can be put in place," Birkin said.

Animal rights group PETA recently alleged that it takes up to three crocodiles to make just one Birkin Croco and that the animals are often conscious as they are "crudely hacked" for their skin. Birkin Crocos can cost upwards of $20,000, and are routinely sold out. Sarah Eberspacher

trump mania
11:30 a.m. ET

The one criticism you can make of The Daily Beast's big story this week about Donald Trump — in which the site reported that Trump's ex-wife, Ivana, once accused The Donald of "rape" in a legal deposition — is that it takes Trump's candidacy too seriously, putting him in a category of candidates who actually have to be vetted. But there's no denying the fact that he's leading the GOP primary polls, which means his past life is fair game.

So it has been downright bizarre to see the story dismissed in some very high-profile quarters of the media, with outlets as diverse as Fox News and MSNBC expressing deep skepticism about whether the substance of the story is even relevant. Megyn Kelly at Fox News, for example, grilled reporter Tim Mak on just that question, noting that the story, which she said read like a "hit piece," is decades old. She also asserted that "divorce proceedings are notoriously ugly."

Not to be outdone, the hosts of MSNBC's Morning Joe, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, all but kicked Mak off their set on Wednesday morning. "Okay, you guys let me know when you uncover something new," Brzezinski huffed. A panelist said the report was "arcane." In the most surreal bit, Scarborough went off on a tangent about how reports like this keep "successful" people with "colorful lives" from running for office. "They know that a nasty thing that an ex-wife said in a moment of anger 20, 25 years ago will be dug up, brought out, put into articles, and it reads horribly," he said.

Of course it reads horribly — the allegation is horrible. And of course it's relevant that a leading presidential candidate was accused of rape, no matter how long ago the accusation was made, no matter who made the accusation, and no matter if the accusation was withdrawn. But it seems we've entered a new phase of the Donald Trump circus, in which even mainstream media outlets have been drawn into his funhouse mirror reality. Ryu Spaeth

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