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The Search Continues
March 21, 2014
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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Friday that search parties are "throwing everything" at the hunt for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 as the investigation nears the two-week mark. Search and rescue teams are scouring a remote section of the Indian Ocean 1,400 miles southwest of Perth where satellites have reportedly spotted potential debris from the vanished Boeing 777.

"If there is anything down there, we will find it," said Abbott. "We owe it to the families of those people [on board] to do no less." The logistics of the hunt are difficult, however: Five military planes are scouring a particularly remote stretch of water that's four hours away from refueling stations in Perth, limiting flight times substantially. Abbott described the area as "about the most inaccessible spot that you can imagine on the face of the Earth."

The debris is the investigators' only "credible" lead. So far, search teams have come back empty handed. Jordan Valinsky

dang
2:04 a.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Walk into any college bookstore and you'll likely get sticker shock, considering college textbook prices have gone up an astonishing 1,041 percent since 1977.

NBC News looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and found that from January 1977 to June 2015, textbook prices have risen more than three times the rate of inflation. Experts say textbooks are being sold the same way pharmaceuticals are — like sales reps visit doctors, publishers are making trips to campus to woo professors. "They've been able to keep raising prices because students are 'captive consumers,'" Nicole Allen, spokeswoman for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, said. "They have to buy whatever books they're assigned."

Publishers and college bookstore managers who spoke with NBC News say this isn't true, and argue that the study didn't look at used or rented books and didn't take into account "the law of small numbers," meaning an increase of $100 to $200 appears as a 100 percent increase, while a tuition increase from $10,000 to $11,000 is only 10 percent. Mark Perry, a professor of economics at the University of Michigan (where one specialized chemistry textbook is on sale for $400), has been studying the rising costs of textbooks for several years, and said that one thing is certain: "College textbook prices are increasing way more than parents' ability to pay for them." Catherine Garcia

Late Night Antics
1:39 a.m. ET

Thanks to Gawker leaking Donald Trump's phone number, anyone — including President Obama — can give him a ring. On The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon decided to put on a bad wig and show us what it would be like if Obama actually did call The Donald to offer him debate advice. Not surprisingly, the clip involves a lot of bragging, interrupting, Chris Christie jokes, and auto tune. Watch the video below. Catherine Garcia

A little piece of history
12:56 a.m. ET

Not even astronauts can escape having to fill out expense reports and customs declarations.

In celebration of the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, Buzz Aldrin has spent the past week sharing photos from the historic event, including snapshots of his travel voucher and customs form. The pictures show that Aldrin claimed $33.31 for the trip to the moon and back, and declared on his customs sheet that he brought back samples of moon rock and moon dust. Both Neil Armstrong and Aldrin said on the form that they were not "suffering from illness other than airsickness or the effects of accidents," but noted it was "to be determined" if they had "any other conditions on board which may lead to the spread of disease."

One thing's certain — when you're returning from the moon, the line at customs isn't long at all. Catherine Garcia

voters first presidential forum
August 3, 2015
Darren McCollester/Getty Images

On Monday, 14 Republicans participated in the Voters First Presidential Forum, and shared their plans for reforming immigration, combating terrorism, and uniting the country.

The event was held at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, moderated by Jack Heath of "New Hampshire Today," and attended by Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Chris Christie (R-New Jersey), Carly Fiorina, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-Louisiana), Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio), George Pataki, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin). Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) were in Washington, D.C., and appeared via satellite. Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee elected not to attend, and Jim Gilmore announced his candidacy too late to participate.

The forum lasted roughly two hours, and was not a debate. Each person was allowed to speak twice:

  • Sen. Rand Paul said if elected, he would either visit China or Russia first, and said that he doesn't think "we should go to war as a game of risk...it shouldn't be the first resort, it should always be the last resort."
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham said as president his foreign policy would be a "clenched fist and an open hand," and he would "push back against China" and Vladimir Putin.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio stated that he does not support legalization of marijuana or "any other additional intoxicants," but said he would not be opposed to the FDA doing trials on medicinal marijuana.
  • George Pataki said his first three priorities would be getting rid of ObamaCare and Common Core and reducing the size of the federal workforce by at least 15 percent.
  • Jeb Bush called ISIS militants "barbarians," and said he wasn't sure if "boots on the ground" were necessary to fight them, but thinks special forces should be embedded and training anti-ISIS soldiers. He also said he would grow the economy at 4 percent "instead of this anemic 2 percent...the fact that Paul Krugman disagrees with me warms my heart."
  • Dr. Ben Carson spoke out against ObamaCare, saying it "flies in the face of what we are as a nation, a nation that is for and by the people. ... ObamaCare comes along with the government saying, 'We don't care what you the people think, we're shoving this down your throat and if you don't like it, too bad.'"
  • Gov. Scott Walker called himself "pro-worker and pro-taxpayer" and said he was against Obama's plan to cut carbon emissions.
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal said he would be the one to unite the country, adding, "We're all Americans. We're not hyphenated Americans, we're not African-Americans or Asian-Americans...we're all Americans."
  • Carly Fiorina said it's time to challenge the status quo, and she has a "proven track record" of doing so in her executive roles.
  • Gov. Chris Christie touted the fact that New Jersey was the first state in the country to place non-violent drug offenders in mandatory inpatient drug treatment rather than prison. "The war on drugs has been a failure," he said. "Well intentioned, but a failure."
  • Rick Perry said the border with Mexico needs to be secured, and compared illegal immigration to a "serious wound, you want to staunch the flow."
  • Rick Santorum told the audience he would focus on restoring manufacturing jobs, and enact a flat tax for corporations and individuals.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz said the nuclear weapons deal with Iran is "the single greatest national security threat facing America," and would lead to billions of dollars being sent to "jihadists."
  • Gov. John Kasich said he would eliminate sanctuary cities and determine how many people are in the U.S. without documents. "We need to find out who they are, if they're law-abiding, God-fearing folks," he said. "They're going to have to pay a penalty toward legalization, and wait." Catherine Garcia
it's all ending
August 3, 2015

No Doubt singer and The Voice coach Gwen Stefani has filed for divorce from husband Gavin Rossdale, lead singer of the band Bush, after nearly 13 years of marriage.

TMZ reports that Stefani cited irreconcilable differences in her divorce petition, and is asking for joint custody of the couple's three young children. She also checked a box on the form denying Rossdale spousal support. Rossdale filed his response at the same time, and is also asking for joint custody.

In a statement, the pair said, "While the two of us have come to the mutual decision that we will no longer be partners in marriage, we remain partners in parenthood and are committed to jointly raising our three sons in a happy and healthy environment." This news made it official: Love is dead. Catherine Garcia

This just in
August 3, 2015

A severe storm in New Hampshire Monday night caused a circus tent to collapse, killing two and leaving about 15 people injured.

New Hampshire State Police said that initially 250 people were trapped at the Lancaster Fairgrounds, and Gov. Maggie Hassan activated the state's emergency operations center, USA Today reports. Severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued across New England by the National Weather Service. Catherine Garcia

voters first presidential forum
August 3, 2015
Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

At the Voters First Presidential Forum in New Hampshire on Monday, Gov. Chris Christie (R-New Jersey) said that the country needs to "embrace" people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs, and provide rehabilitation instead of jail.

Christie was asked by moderator Jack Heath why more isn't being done for people with drug and alcohol addictions. The governor said that his state was "the first in the country to say for non-violent drug offenders no more prison. They're going to mandatory in-patient drug treatment, because this is a disease. The war on drugs has been a failure — well intentioned, but a failure."

Christie said that "everyone makes mistakes," and society needs to "reach out" and "embrace those people and say, 'If you're not a violent offender, if you're not dealing drugs to our children, we need to get you treatment rather than prison.'" He added that addiction can hit anyone, and "we need the country and president to stand up and say, 'This is a disease and we need to fix it.'" Catherine Garcia

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