Ever since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in the early morning of March 8, there have been two basic theories to explain how the massive Boeing 777 with 239 people on board vanished: It crashed, or it was hijacked. Malaysia is now treating the lost flight as a criminal hijacking, and on late Monday U.S. officials bolstered that case, saying that the plane's initial turn off-course was programmed into the Flight Management System computer and was not the result of somebody manually steering the plane away from its Beijing destination.
Because the flight computer can only be programmed in the cockpit by somebody familiar with Boeing jets, it now seems unlikely that a passenger could have taken control of the jetliner. The new information, if true, doesn't do anything to illuminate why the pilots or a trained hijacker would have carefully veered the passenger jet off its planned course. If a hijacker or rogue pilot had wanted to crash the plane, there would be no point in turning off the communication and tracking devices and programming the flight computer — he would simply steer it into the ocean.
Chris Goodfellow, a veteran commercial pilot, plausibly hypothesizes that the captain piloted the plane off-course because of a fire in the cockpit or another major event onboard, and was headed to the closest large landing strip, at Palau Langkawi.
Instead of a nefarious hijacker, the pilot was likely "a hero struggling with an impossible situation trying to get that plane to Langkawi," Goodfellow says. But the pilots were incapacitated before they got it there, and the plane "just continued on the heading probably on George (autopilot) until either fuel exhaustion or fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed," he adds. "Smart pilot. Just didn't have the time." That's not the most optimistic theory, since it assumes that everyone is dead, but it has the air of nobility and simplicity. And it makes as much sense as the other explanations out there. Peter Weber
Not only is baby Princess Charlotte fourth in line for the British throne, but she also continues to be unfairly cute. Kensington Palace tweeted out two new photos of the 6-month-old Sunday that were captured by her mother Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. Brace yourself for the adorableness of the baby and her stuffed animal below:
The Duke and Duchess hope everyone enjoys these new photos of Princess Charlotte as much as they do. pic.twitter.com/ylZ7VvOuIY
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) November 29, 2015
"The Duke and Duchess continue to receive warm messages about Princess Charlotte from all around the world and they hope that everyone enjoys these lovely photos as much as they do," USA Today reports the palace said in a statement. Julie Kliegman
Republican presidential hopefuls including Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, and Carly Fiorina have condemned Friday's fatal shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado, while denying a link between the attack and pro-life rhetoric.
Authorities have identified Robert Lewis Dear, 57, as the suspected gunman. He reportedly expressed his pro-life sentiments to law enforcement officials when they took him into custody Friday. Trump dismissed the gunman as a "maniac," on NBC's Meet the Press, and defended the edited video footage that pro-life advocates have used to question how Planned Parenthood handles fetal tissue donations.
Huckabee also sought to separate the pro-life movement from Dear's alleged actions.
"Regardless of why he did it, what he did is domestic terrorism," Huckabee said on CNN's State of the Union. "And what he is did is absolutely abominable, especially to those of us in the pro-life movement, because there's nothing about any of us that would condone or in any way look the other way at something like this."
On Fox News Sunday, Fiorina criticized liberals for their response to the shooting, which has included a defense of Planned Parenthood's women's health services.
"This is so typical of the left, to immediately begin demonizing a messenger because they don't agree with the message," she said. Julie Kliegman
French police officers used tear gas to disperse a crowd of hundreds of demonstrators at the Place de la République on Sunday. They also detained about 100 people who had projectiles or other suspicious objects, The Associated Press reports.
The demonstrators were protesting to call on world leaders for a global commitment to curbing climate change, one day before the start of a landmark summit in Paris.
The Paris police chief said the demonstrators violated the ban on protests being enforced under France's ongoing state of emergency, which authorities put in place after the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks.
Watch AP video footage of police officers breaking up the protest below. Julie Kliegman
Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty released 326 enhanced images Saturday showing a frame-by-frame analysis of the November 2014 fatal shooting by Cleveland police officers of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old black boy carrying a toy gun.
The images, enhanced by the Washington-based Forensic Video Solutions, seemingly back up reports released by the prosecutor suggesting Timothy Loehmann, the officer who shot Rice, may have believed Rice was armed with a real gun, The Plain Dealer reports.
The Rice family's attorneys are challenging that notion, USA Today reports, and asking the prosecutor to let their own use-of-force experts testify before the grand jury, which is hearing evidence to decide if Loehmann and the other officer involved in the shooting should be criminally indicted.
"The frames contain editorial comments that attempt to make excuses for the officers," Rice family attorney Subodh Chandra wrote in a statement. "Tamir, for example, may be lifting his arm in shocked reaction to being shot. The effort to characterize the evidence is hardly fair play and is one of many reasons the Rice family and clergy throughout Cleveland lack confidence in the prosecutor's fairness in this matter."
The retired neurosurgeon called the refugees he met in the Azraq camp "very hard working, determined people, which should only enhance the overall economic health of the neighboring Arab countries that accept and integrate them into the general population." Carson said the American people, as opposed to the government, should collect billions of dollars to improve the conditions of refugee camps in the Middle East.
Many Republican presidential candidates, governors, and legislators have called on the White House to modify its plan to accept up to 10,000 Syrian refugees over the next year, citing security concerns in the wake of the Nov. 13 Paris terrorist attacks carried out by the Islamic State. In response, President Obama and other White House officials have said that the current U.S. process for vetting refugees is already thorough. Julie Kliegman
Planned Parenthood Rocky Mountains President Vicki Cowart vowed Saturday to reopen the Colorado Springs, Colorado, clinic soon, The Guardian reports. None of the clinic's 15 employees in the building at the time were wounded in Friday's attack, when a gunman fatally shot three people and injured nine others.
"We will adapt," Cowart said. "We will square our shoulders and we will go on."
The clinic went under lockdown as the gunman reportedly entered the building, but wasn't able to make it past a locked door leading to the main part of the facility. During the five-hour standoff between the gunman — allegedly 57-year-old Robert Dear — and police officers, about 300 people sheltered in place at nearby shopping center, The Associated Press reports. Dear has been held without Bond since Friday, and is due to appear in court Monday.
"We share the concerns of many Americans that the continued attacks against abortion providers and patients, as well as law enforcement officers, is creating a poisonous environment that breeds acts of violence," Cowart said. "But we will never back away from providing critical health care to millions of people who rely on and trust us every day." Julie Kliegman
Researchers are now 90 percent sure there's a hidden chamber behind the tomb of King Tutankhamun, Egyptian Antiquities Minister Mamdouh el-Damaty said at a news conference Saturday.
British Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves published a paper earlier in 2015 with his findings from examining detailed scans of King Tut's tomb, suggesting there are two secret doorways that have gone untouched since the 14th century B.C. One might lead to a storeroom, and the other to the tomb of Queen Nefertiti, whose burial site has long been a mystery for researchers.
Though Reeves' theory isn't a sure thing, researchers are more confident they'll at least find something behind Tut's tomb, Reuters reports, so long as they can avoid damaging the structure.
"The key is to excavate slowly and carefully and record well. The fact is this isn't a race," Reeves said at the news conference. "All archaeology is disruption." Julie Kliegman