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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

2:36 p.m. ET

After famously dubbing President Trump a "bum" over the weekend, LeBron James doubled down on his comments at the Cleveland Cavaliers' media event on Monday. "The thing that kind of frustrated me and pissed me off a little bit is that [Trump] used the sports platform to try to divide us," James said in response to Trump's comments about NFL protests as well as his decision to disinvite the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry from the White House. "It is so amazing what sports can do for everyone, no matter what shape or size or race or ethnicity or religion or whatever … It just brings people together like none other."

James added: "We're not going to let — I'm not going to let ... one individual, no matter the power, no matter the impact that he should have or she should have, ever use sport as a platform to divide us."

James also stressed that everyone should try every day to make a difference for others. "We know this is the greatest country in the world," James said. "It's the land of the free. But we still have problems just like everybody else, and when we have those problems we have to figure out how to come together and be as great as we can be as a people. Because the people run this country. Not one individual. And damn sure not him." Jeva Lange

1:50 p.m. ET

The Supreme Court has removed President Trump's travel ban case from its schedule after the administration announced a new approach over the weekend. Sunday's presidential proclamation places indefinite travel restrictions on visitors from eight nations: Chad, Libya, Syria, Yemen, North Korea, Venezuela, Iran, and Somalia. Sudan was dropped from Trump's original travel bans, the latter of which expired Sunday, while Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela were added.

Oral arguments for the original ban had been scheduled to begin Oct. 10. The New York Times observed last week that the changes could "[complicate] the review by the justices and potentially [make] parts of the case moot even before" arguments began. Jeva Lange

1:30 p.m. ET

Cardi B overtook Taylor Swift on Monday to become the first female rapper since 1998 to top the Billboard Hot 100 without "the assistance of any other credited artists," Billboard reports. Cardi B's "Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)" beat out Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do" and earned a distinction that has been otherwise unmatched by a solo female rapper since Lauryn Hill's "Doo-Wop (That Thing)" 19 years ago. Cardi B is also the first female soloist to top the chart in an unaccompanied debut since Meghan Trainor's "All About That Bass" crested in 2014.

Billboard adds that "Cardi B is only the fifth female rapper ever to lead the Hot 100 at all. After Hill, Lil' Kim ruled for five weeks in 2001 with Christina Aguilera, Mya, and P!nk on 'Lady Marmalade'; Shawnna reigned as featured on Ludacris' 'Stand Up,' which topped the Dec. 6, 2003, chart; and Iggy Azalea's introductory Hot 100 hit, 'Fancy,' featuring Charli XCX, led for seven weeks in 2014."

Cardi B's accomplishment is "a specific victory for women in hip-hop, but it also obliquely carries a win for hip-hop overall," BuzzFeed News writes. "This past July, according to Nielsen Music, hip-hop/R&B dethroned rock as the most popular genre when it comes to overall music consumption in the United States. Hip-hop's recent coronation comes as a result of the increasing popularity of streaming and, unsurprisingly, so does 'Bodak Yellow''s success."

Listen to the track below. Jeva Lange

12:36 p.m. ET

Former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner was sentenced to 21 months in prison Monday after pleading guilty to a sexting scandal involving a 15-year-old girl. The emotional moments afterward were captured on paper by the courtroom sketch artist:

Weiner had reportedly sought probation on the grounds that he needs therapy, calling himself "a very sick man for a very long time." After the sentencing he "remained behind, crying and talking with lawyers," the New York Daily News writes. "He appeared crushed." Jeva Lange

12:18 p.m. ET
AP Photo/Steven Senne

Chelsea Manning tweeted Monday that she has been "permanently banned" from Canada due to violations of the Espionage Act stemming from her leak of thousands of classified and unclassified documents to WikiLeaks in 2010. "[Canadian immigration] denied entry [because] of convictions similar to 'treason' offense," Manning wrote.

The letter indicates that Manning was rejected "on grounds of serious criminality" that "if committed in Canada ... would equate to an indictable offense, namely Treason." Manning had her sentence commuted by President Obama in 2016 and she was released earlier this year.

Manning said she would challenge Canada's denial of entry at a future date:

Earlier this month, Harvard's Kennedy School announced that it had rescinded its invitation to Manning to be a visiting fellow at the Institute of Politics after CIA Director Mike Pompeo canceled his appearance at the school, citing Manning as being a "traitor to the United States of America." Jeva Lange

11:59 a.m. ET

While serving as editor of Breitbart in 2016, Stephen Bannon reportedly plotted to infiltrate Facebook to learn if there was a liberal bias in its hiring process, BuzzFeed News reports. Bannon expressed interest in an emailed proposal sent to him from Chris Gacek, a former congressional staffer, who included links to openings at the tech company that could serve as possible inroads for the investigation:

"There is one for a DC-based 'Public Policy Manager' at Facebook's What's APP [sic] division," Gacek, the Senior Fellow for Regulatory Affairs at the group, wrote on August 1, 2016. "LinkedIn sent me a notice about some job openings."

"This seems perfect for Breitbart to flood the zone with candidates of all stripe who will report back to you / Milo with INTEL about the job application process over at FB," he continued.

"Milo" is former Breitbart News Tech Editor Milo Yiannopoulos, to whom Bannon forwarded Gacek's email the same day.

"Can u get on this," Bannon instructed his staffer. [BuzzFeed News]

There is no evidence that Breitbart's efforts advanced much past the email conversation (the job discussed by Bannon and Gacek ultimately went to Christine Turner, a National Security Council staffer under President Obama, BuzzFeed News reports), but the report of an attempted infiltration arises amid separate concerns of the use of the social media website as a pro-Trump political manipulation tool. Read the full report at BuzzFeed News. Jeva Lange

11:20 a.m. ET

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Monday that President Trump's recent threats and provocations are "clearly a declaration of war." Speaking from the United Nations in New York City, Ri added that North Korea has the right to shoot down American bombers even if they are not in North Korea's airspace.

Last week, Trump vowed to "totally destroy" North Korea if it continues to menace the U.S. and its allies. He has also threatened the country on Twitter:

On Saturday, a group of U.S. bombers and fighter escorts flew well north of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, staying over international waters but making a clear show of force toward Pyongyang. The Pentagon characterized the flight as a demonstration "that the president has many military options to defeat any threat." Jeva Lange

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