Huh?
March 10, 2014
Flickr CC by: Aereo Icarus

Was it sucked into the ocean depths by the Cthulhu? Or pulled out of the air by Godzilla? Or downed by terrorists supported by a mysterious Iranian businessman?

In the wake of the total disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 bound for Beijing, China — and the emergence of the fact that some passengers on board were using stolen passports — enquiring minds are looking for answers.

Fast Company's Chris Gayomali reports:

Naturally, conspiracy theories are already flying left and right on social media. One theory suggests the plane's sudden disappearance is a "false flag" operation intentionally planted by CNN. Another claims that some relatives of the passengers onboard have even reported hearing their phones ring — but no one is answering.

Other tin foilers have gone so far as to suggest that the plane simply vanished. "If we never find the debris," writes one skeptic, "it means some entirely new, mysterious and powerful force is at work on our planet which can pluck airplanes out of the sky without leaving behind even a shred of evidence." [Fast Company]

James Rush of the Daily Mail draws attention to a mysterious Iranian businessman:

An Iranian businessman known only as Mr. Ali is understood to have booked the tickets for the two passengers using the stolen passports of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, it has emerged.

Authorities had today still found no trace of the missing plane despite searches by ships from six navies and dozens of military aircraft.

A Thai travel agent who arranged the tickets for the two passengers has now said she had booked them on the flight via Beijing because they were the cheapest tickets, it has been reported. [Mail Online]

Meanwhile, the hunt for the disappeared flight continues. Currently, at least 45 ships and 22 aircraft from nine countries, including the U.S., China, and more, are participating in a large-scale multi-national rescue effort.

But Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, head of Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation, said on Monday: "Unfortunately, ladies and gentleman, we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft itself." John Aziz

This just in
11:11 p.m. ET

Papua New Guinea was rocked by a 7.4-magnitude earthquake Tuesday, which hit 80 miles south of the town of Kokopo at a depth of 40 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

After the quake, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said tsunami waves up to 3 feet were possible within 186 miles of the epicenter, The Associated Press reports. The country's National Disaster Center said it had not heard any reports of damage from residents, and acting director Martin Mose said the center was sending a message to villages near the coast to "take extra precautions in case a tsunami is generated." Papua New Guinea is on the Ring of Fire, where earthquakes often strike, and this quake was centered in the same area as two weaker ones that took place last week. Catherine Garcia

caught on camera
10:24 p.m. ET
iStock

Last summer, everyone was doing the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS research — including one California police officer now charged with disability fraud.

Prosecutors say that a video posted online in July showed Pasadena police officer Jaime Robison, on disability for a lower back injury, lifting up a five-gallon bucket filled with ice water and pouring it over the head of another officer. Robison has been charged with four counts of insurance fraud, and prosecutors say that because she allegedly inflated her injuries, she cost the department up to $117,000, the Los Angeles Times reports. Prosecutors also think she exaggerated an injury in 2012 so she could collect over a year's worth of disability pay.

Robison pleaded not guilty on Friday. If she is convicted of all four charges, she could face up to six years and four months in county jail. Catherine Garcia

fancy fashion
9:42 p.m. ET

Everyone who attends the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Benefit Gala goes with one goal: To turn heads. With this year’s theme being “China: Through the Looking Glass,” celebrities, socialites, and those who could spend thousands to get in showed up to the gala on Monday night wearing rich golds, fiery reds, and bold patterns. Here are just some of the more extravagant looks. —Catherine Garcia

Crime and punishment
8:49 p.m. ET
Handout/Getty Images

As his relatives spoke on his behalf during the penalty phase of his trial Monday, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev began to weep, one of the few times he has shown emotion while in court.

Tsarnaev was found guilty last month of all 30 charges against him in connection with the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Now, during the penalty phase, his relatives shared stories and anecdotes about the young man that many haven't seen since his family left Russia in 2002, The New York Times reports. Cousin Nabisat Suleimanova said through a translator people "wanted to hug him and not let him go," while aunt Shakhruzat Suleimanova said he and his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout after the bombing, were "so good, they wouldn't hurt a fly."

The defense wants Tsarnaev to receive life in prison without parole, while the prosecution is arguing for the death penalty, saying he has shown no remorse for his actions. In addition to his family taking the stand, last week, former teachers spoke in his favor, saying he was "kind," "smart," and "loved by all." "I still love him," Becki Norris wrote on Facebook, despite the fact he did "unfathomably horrible things." Catherine Garcia

This just in
7:56 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Obama plans on naming Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford as the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staffs, officials briefed on the matter said Monday.

Dunford served as commander of all allied forces in Afghanistan, and if his nomination is approved by the Senate, he will replace Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, who is expected to retire this summer. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff serves as the most senior officer in the military and adviser to the president. Officials say Obama will also name Air Force Gen. Paul Selva, who is now leading the U.S. Transportation Command, as vice chairman. The White House is expected to make a formal announcement Tuesday. Catherine Garcia

that's not a banana
7:03 p.m. ET

Aldi supermarket employees in Germany found more than just fruit in shipments from Colombia: Workers in 14 different stores discovered a total of 850 pounds of cocaine in several boxes of bananas.

Police spokesman Stefan Redlich said the illicit cargo was found in boxes in Berlin and the neighboring state of Brandenburg, and is the largest amount found in the capital in a single operation. The cocaine is worth an estimated €15 million, or $16.7 million. In some boxes, more than 10 kilograms were found, wrapped in black plastic.

Redlich told the radio station RBB he thinks the smugglers made a "logistical error" somewhere along the way. "The route across the Atlantic is known by police," he said. "The wrong container was probably used when the merchandise was put on board ship. Or possibly, there wasn't time for the smugglers to unload it when it arrived in Hamburg." Investigators are still searching through boxes for more drugs, Deutsche Welle reports, and it's a bit of a déjà vu moment: In January 2014, workers at Aldi branches in Berlin found 140 kilos of cocaine in banana boxes. Catherine Garcia

#Benghazi
4:32 p.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton will testify this month before a congressional panel investigating the Benghazi embassy attack, a lawyer for the former secretary of state said Monday. Despite saying there was "no basis, logic, or precedent" for the committee's demand that Clinton testify, Clinton's lawyer said she was "fully prepared to stay for the duration" of the hearing.

Clinton has already testified about the attack before Senate and House committees, and a handful of previous federal investigations found no evidence to support allegations of serious wrongdoing on her part. However, Republicans conducting yet another investigation called for Clinton to testify once more following revelations about her use of a private email account during her tenure in the Obama administration. Jon Terbush

See More Speed Reads