March 3, 2014
AP Photo/Michael Sohn

After Russia's military occupation of the Ukrainian region of Crimea over the weekend, a lot of analysts are trying to gaze into Russian President Vladimir Putin's psyche. (A senior Obama administration official unkindly told The Hill that "we in this administration have made it a practice not to look into Vladimir Putin's soul.") But at least one world leader seems to think Putin isn't firmly anchored in reality. Here's Peter Baker at The New York Times:

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany told Mr. Obama by telephone on Sunday that after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure he was in touch with reality, people briefed on the call said. "In another world," she said. [New York Times]

The world of modern diplomacy is premised on the belief that, saber-rattling and propaganda aside, world leaders are basically rational actors whose behaviors are subject to incentives and credible threats. A lot of what happens next in Ukraine may be riding on whether or not Merkel is correct. Or maybe some nuance was just lost in translation.

This just in
9:59 a.m. ET
Sascha Steinbach/Getty Images

Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings co-pilot believed to have deliberately crashed an airliner last week in the French Alps, received treatment years ago for "suicidal tendencies," prosecutors said Monday. "In the following period, and until recently, further doctor's visits took place, resulting in sick notes without any suicidal tendencies or aggression against others being recorded," Ralf Herrenbrueck, a spokesperson for the prosecutors, said in a statement. However, investigators said they had yet to determine a motive for why the 27-year-old Lubitz crashed the plane with himself and 149 others on board.

your health
9:36 a.m. ET

Most people would agree that raw vegetables are a healthy snack, but adding an egg could make them even healthier.

A new study from Perdue University suggests that eating cooked eggs could increase your carotenoid absorption from vegetables by as much as nine times as if they were eaten without the egg. Increased carotenoid absorption can lead to longer life, fewer illnesses, and a reduced risk of cancer and heart disease, Time reports.

The researchers served 16 male subjects a salad without eggs, a salad with one and a half scrambled eggs, and a salad with three scrambled eggs. The participants who ate the most eggs saw between three and nine times greater carotenoid absorption. The salads included raw tomatoes, carrots, spinach, romaine, and Chinese wolfberry, which yielded the carotenoids beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.

While the study only included men and had a small sample size, the findings could have important implications for increasing the nutritional value of vegetables. The researchers are presenting the findings at the American Society for Nutrition's annual meeting this week.

$19.99 problems
9:24 a.m. ET
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images

Jay Z is no longer just a business, man, but also a businessman. The rapper turned mogul on Monday will relaunch the music streaming service Tidal, which he acquired earlier this year for $56 million.

A rival to other streaming services like Spotify and Rdio, Tidal aims to carve out a niche as a purveyor of high-quality audio at a higher cost — $19.99 per month compared to $9.99 per month for Spotify. A press release for Monday's rollout event said Jay Z, real name Shawn Carter, and other prominent musicians would announce a "commitment to a new direction for the music industry from both a creative and business perspective."

8:50 a.m. ET

Archaeologists have been exploring the ancient Mayan city of El Pilar in Belize for years, but only recently did they discover an unusual addition to the city: a citadel with a structure unlike that of other Mayan sites.

The researchers used light detection and ranging (LiDAR) laser technology to locate the citadel in El Pilar, which had about 20,000 residents. The city's construction began around 800 B.C.E.

The citadel is unlike previous discoveries at El Pilar, though. Anabel Ford, the lead archaeologist on the discovery, told Popular Archaeology that the citadel "does not meet with any traditional expectations."

The site doesn't include a "clear open plaza" or a "cardinal structure orientation," Ford noted, which would have been typical of Mayan centers. Ford also found it odd that the citadel features "no evident relationship" to other structures at the El Pilar site. The citadel does feature four temple-like buildings and terraces that are arranged in a way suggesting they are "defensive fortifications," Ancient Origins notes.

The archaeologists plan to continue excavating the citadel site and performing carbon dating of nearby organic materials. The researchers don't yet know whether the citadel dates to the pre-classical period, before 250 B.C.E., or if it was built long after the other buildings at El Pilar. Dating the citadel could also help the archaeologists understand what it was used for and why it was isolated from the rest of the city.

8:49 a.m. ET

Warplanes bombed Yemen and its capital, Sanaa, Sunday night and Monday, extending the Saudi-led coalition's airstrikes on the Houthi rebels and their allies for a fifth day. "It was a night from hell," a Yemeni diplomat told Reuters, explaining the bombing in and around Sanaa, which sent residents fleeing to outlying villages.

The bombing hasn't stopped the Houthis and allied loyalists of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh from advancing on Aden, the southern port designated de facto capital by Saudi-backed President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. In the BBC News video below, Al Hayat reporter Baria Alamuddin explains the geopolitics and local politics of Saudi Arabia's military incursion into its neighboring country. —Peter Weber

The Next Jon Stewart
8:24 a.m. ET

On Monday, Comedy Central named Jon Stewart's replacement as host of The Daily Show — and it probably wasn't someone on your short list. Trevor Noah, a 31-year-old South African comedian, made his debut on the show only in December, and his segments usually involve making Stewart look ignorant or foolish when it comes to world news in general and Africa in particular.

When he got the call, "you don't believe it for the first few hours," Noah told The New York Times from Dubai, where he is on tour. "You need a stiff drink, and then unfortunately you're in a place where you can't really get alcohol." For his part, Stewart said he is "thrilled for the show and for Trevor," and that he may "rejoin as a correspondent just to be a part of it!!!"

As for how The Daily Show landed on Noah, Comedy Central's Michele Ganeless said: "We talked to women. We talked to men. We found in Trevor the best person for the job.... You don't hope to find the next Jon Stewart — there is no next Jon Stewart. So, our goal was to find someone who brings something really exciting and new and different." They certainly accomplished the "new and different" part. Now, let the second-guessing begin.

Watch the first of Noah's three appearances below. —Peter Weber

This doesn't look good
7:43 a.m. ET
Matt Cardy/Stringer/Getty Images

A new study to be published in next month's issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that DNA from antibiotic-resistant bacteria in Texan cattle have become airborne. The DNA could then spread to humans and make the treatment of infections more difficult.

The study authors, who are environmental toxicology researchers at Texas Tech University, believe the bacteria may be capable of staying airborne for long periods of time and traveling significant distances, Time reports.

The researchers studied airborne particulate matter from 10 cattle feedlots in Texas over a six-month period. They found that the air downwind of the yards contained significant amounts of microbial communities with antibiotic-resistant genes. The scientists believe the genes become airborne after cow excretions become dust and are transported through the air.

"This is the first test to open our eyes to the fact that we could be breathing these things," study author Phil Smith told The Texas Tribune. Humans can already come into contact with antibiotic-resistant DNA through water or meat, but the findings suggest that feedlots may be bringing another DNA transfer risk into the picture.

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