Two senior Malaysian authorities are now saying the missing jetliner radically changed from its intended route and was flying at a low altitude when it disappeared from radar screens early Saturday. The revelation explains why searchers were dispatched to the Strait of Malacca, a bordering body of water that the plane doesn't usually fly over on a Beijing-bound route.
According to the South China Morning Post, radar data from the doomed Boeing 777 was last detected over the busy shipping channel at 2:40 am Saturday — nearly 350 miles off track. "It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Strait of Malacca," a military official said.
The search for the missing plane is now entering its fifth day, igniting criticism against the airline and the country for its failure to find any clues to the jet's whereabouts. The news of the plane's erratic flight course also sparked new speculation about hijacking attempts, though Interpol downplayed a terrorism link in connection with two passengers on-board using stolen passports.
Islamic State appears to have taken credit for the attack on a cartoon-drawing contest in the Dallas suburb of Garland on Sunday, calling gunmen Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi "soldiers of the caliphate." Simpson had been interacting with ISIS figures on Twitter, the FBI says, but intelligence analysts are skeptical that ISIS ordered the attack. It's likely the attack was less directed by ISIS than "inspired by them," says Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, citing intelligence officials.
That's not necessarily something to be happy about. "ISIS and its caliphate is becoming a brand, looser even than a network like Al Qaeda," Omer Taspinar, an expert on political Islam at the Brookings Institution, tells The New York Times. "It's a kind of spiritual belonging. Claiming credit does not necessarily indicate any kind of organizational link." That suggests more lone-wolf ambushes like the Garland one and fewer big operations like the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Unlike Al Qaeda, says terrorism scholar J. M. Berger, ISIS "can retroactively ratify attacks that they like and ignore those that don't serve its purpose." In that sense, the Garland attack is an odd one to try and own: Despite firing assault rifles, wearing bulletproof vests, and having the element of surprise, Simpson and Soofi were apparently shot dead by a traffic cop with a pistol, after incurring only one minor injury. Peter Weber
"There are so many hopefuls in the Republican race, we've got to start narrowing the field," Jon Stewart said on Tuesday's Daily Show. He had a helpful suggestion, too. "Let's do it with a game I call 'Let's Get Rid of Ted Cruz.'" The game show isn't just out of personal or policy animus, Stewart insisted. It's that "Ted Cruz cannot live up to the extremely high standards set for a candidate by... Ted Cruz.” Over the next 5 minutes, Stewart laid out his case, using Cruz's words against him, Daily Show–style. Surely, um, Republican primary voters will be persuaded. —Peter Weber
The star of Sunday's Met Gala — a fundraiser for New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art's costume wing — was probably Rihanna, with her elaborate yellow dress designed by China's Guo Pei. After providing some unabashedly snarky color commentary on the Met Gala fashion choices of various celebrities, Jimmy Kimmel got down to business on Tuesday night's show: poking fun at Rihanna's gown. (Maybe he's still sore about being woken up at midnight?)
Kimmel said that although designers spend so much time making these dresses — Rihanna's took two years — they never capitalize on that by selling them to the public. Until now. "One thing about the Chinese, they know how to get products made and onto the shelf here in America," he said, setting up a faux late-nite infomercial for the "Rihanket," and also a much smaller product inspired by Kim Kardashian's dress. You won't believe all the amazing things you can do with your Rihanket! Watch below. —Peter Weber
The voters of Staten Island and part of Brooklyn have elected District Attorney Daniel Donovan Jr. (R) to fill the U.S. House seat vacated by Michael Grimm (R), who resigned after pleading guilty to federal tax-fraud changes. Donovan is best known nationally for not convincing a grand jury to indict the officers caught on video choking Eric Garner, who subsequently died.
Donovan easily beat Councilman Vincent Gentile (D), 60 percent to 39 percent, according to unofficial results, in the rare Republican-leaning district of New York City. The victorious DA still touted his win as a "message to President Obama, to Nancy Pelosi and, yes, even to Bill de Blasio, that their policies are wrong for our nation." National Democrats, after sinking millions into an unsuccessful 2014 attempt to unseat Grimm (R) — then under federal indictment but before he pleaded guilty — declined to support Gentile in this special election. Peter Weber
The extravagant yellow ensemble Rihanna wore to the Met Gala on Monday that ended up spawning multiple memes was two years in the making.
The singer told Vogue's André Leon Talley that "it was a miracle" how the Guo Pei-designed dress was put together. "I saw this beautiful beast on the internet," she said. "I was researching Chinese couture.... It's so well-made. It's handmade by one Chinese woman. It took two years to make this." Get a closer look at the elaborate get-up in the video below. —Catherine Garcia
A would-be robber in Manchester, New Hampshire, picked the wrong man to mess with over the weekend when he tried to take the wallet of a 95-year-old World War II vet, who ended up whacking the criminal repeatedly with his cane, forcing him to flee.
— Paul Burton (@PaulWBZ) May 4, 2015
Arthur Kamberis was walking home after he picked up his wife's prescription from the pharmacy when a man confronted him and attempted to get his wallet out of his pocket. Kamberis said he offered him some change, but the man was adamant about getting the wallet, something Kamberis refused to hand over. "I had my credit card, my license, my grandchildren's pictures in there and all sorts of stuff it would have been wicked for me to replace," he told WMUR.
That's when Kamberis began to clobber the man with his cane. "I was very nervous," he said. "I hit him three or four times on the arm, and then, you know, what the cop told me, 'You should have hit him on the head.'" A bystander came up to help and the wannabe robber ran off, but police say they were able to get a picture of him from a surveillance camera, and they are actively searching for him. The incident took place just a block away from a police station, and Kamberis said he thinks if he had his cellphone with him that day to call 911, "we could have nailed that guy." Catherine Garcia
The joke is pretty obvious from the beginning: Seth Meyers is doing a terrible bit called "Seth the Snoop," where he digs through packages purportedly left in a 30 Rockefeller mail graveyard, and Jack Black gets all outlaw-country on him with a song ridiculing the skit. It's still funny, and if we're trying to be high-minded, a nice meta-commentary on some of the more tired conventions of late-night comedy. Maybe let's stick with "funny." You can watch below. —Peter Weber