Malaysia Airlines officials on Tuesday defended their decision to notify relatives of missing passengers of Flight 370's presumed fate via text message, as China demanded that Malaysia turn over satellite data it used to conclude the jet was lost with no survivors.

Malaysian Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told a press conference that the company's "sole motivation" for informing passengers' family members of their findings through text message was to ensure "the families heard the tragic news before the world did."

"My heart breaks to think of the unimaginable pain suffered by all the families," Yahya told reporters at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. "There are no words which can ease that pain."

Nearly 100 Chinese relatives of the missing marched Tuesday to the Malaysia Embassy, wearing white T-shirts that read "Let's pray for MH370" as they held banners and chanted, "Liars!"

"Tell the truth! Return our relatives!" they shouted. There was a heavy police presence at the embassy when the group arrived, and journalists were being kept away.

Family members of the missing passengers have complained bitterly about a lack of reliable information. Many have said they suspect they are not being told the whole truth -- a not-uncommon mindset among ordinary Chinese accustomed to dealing with their own opaque and single-party communist state.

Monday's announcement that a thorough analysis of satellite data no longer left any reasonable doubt that the plane went down in the Indian Ocean sparked mournful, angry and chaotic scenes at the Beijing hotel where many relatives had gathered.

Malaysia Airlines officials said Tuesday that families have received $5,000 in compensation and that the company was preparing to offer additional payments as the search continues.

The response comes as authorities turn to locating the wreckage and the ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)

read full article...

March. 24 (UPI) -- According to a post on French website DansTonChat, a math teacher threatened his students with Games of Thrones spoilers if they did not start behaving.

The teacher thought of the punishment after he asked how many of his 70 students watched the popular HBO show and nearly 75 percent raised their hands.

“Well, I’ve read all the books,” he told the class, according to a rough translation. “If there is too much noise, I will write the names of the dead on the board. They are enough to fill the whole year, and I can even describe how they die.”

There was some giggling, so the unnamed teacher proceeded to list the names of the characters who died in season three of the show.

The fourth season of the show will debut on April 6.

The student who posted about the situation wrote that there was a “religious silence” after the teacher wrote the names on the board and referred to the teacher as a “genius.”

UPI

read full article...

GENEVA – Much of the extreme weather that wreaked havoc in Asia, Europe and the Pacific region last year can be blamed on human-induced climate change, the U.N. weather agency says.

The World Meteorological Organization's annual assessment Monday said 2013 was the sixth-warmest year on record. Thirteen of the 14 warmest years have occurred in the 21st century.

A rise in sea levels is leading to increasing damage from storm surges and coastal flooding, as demonstrated by Typhoon Haiyan, the agency's Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said. The typhoon in November killed at least 6,100 people and caused $13 billion in damage to the Philippines and Vietnam.

Australia, meanwhile, had its hottest year on record.

"Many of the extreme events of 2013 were consistent with what we would expect as a result of human-induced climate change," Jarraud said.

He also cited other costly weather disasters such as $22 billion damage from central European flooding in June, $10 billion in damage from Typhoon Fitow in China and Japan, and a $10 billion drought in much of China.

Only a few places -- including the central U.S. --were cooler than normal last year, but 2013 had no El Nino, the warming of the central Pacific that happens once every few years and changes rain and temperature patterns around the world.

Jarraud spoke as top climate scientists and representatives from about 100 governments with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change met in Japan to complete their latest report on global warming's impact on hunger, disease, drought, flooding, refugees and war.

Speaking in Geneva, Jarraud drew special attention to studies and climate modeling examining Australia's recent heat waves, saying the high temperatures there would have been virtually impossible without the emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)

read full article...

A 9-year-old Colorado girl was kept out of school on Monday after shaving her head to support a friend battling cancer.

KDVR.com reports that officials at Caprock Academy in Grand Junction told the student, Kamryn, she couldn't come back to class without a wig or until her natural hair grew back because her shaved head violates the school's dress code.

With her parents' approval, Kamryn shaved her head in support of her friend, 11-year-old Delaney, who is battling neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer, and recently started chemotherapy.

"It felt like the right thing to do," Kamryn told 9News.com.

Delaney's mom, Wendy Campbell, told the station she was surprised Caprock Academy refused to let Kamryn in because of the dress code.

"I didn't realize that hair was such an important aspect of a child at school," Campbell said. "For a little girl to be really brave and want to shave her head in support of her friend, I thought that was a huge statement and it builds character in a child,"

In a statement to 9News.com, Catherine Norton Breman, president and Chair of the academy's board of directors, said the dress code "was created to promote safety, uniformity, and a non-distracting environment for the school's students. Under this policy, shaved heads are not permitted."

Delaney said she was happy to have her friend's support.

"It makes me sad because she was really happy to go back to school and show people what she did, but now that she didn't get to, she's kind of sad," Delaney told 9News.com.

Kamryn's mother told the station the school's board of directors will meet Tuesday night to discuss this situation and the policy. Kamryn has also been invited back to school Tuesday.

(article cut to save bandwidth)

read full article...

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan – A man who recently traveled to West Africa is seriously ill and being kept in isolation in a Canadian hospital with symptoms of a hemorrhagic fever resembling the Ebola virus, Saskatchewan health officials said.

The man fell ill after returning from the West African nation of Liberia, Dr. Denise Werker, Saskatchewan Province's deputy chief medical health officer, said Monday. She said tests have been sent to the Public Health Agency of Canada's National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Results are expected Tuesday, but Werker said they may be inconclusive.

"All we know at this point is that we have a person who is critically ill who traveled from a country where these diseases occur," Werker said. "There is no risk to the general public at all about this."

In West Africa, health workers are trying to contain an outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus which is believed to have killed at least 59 people in a remote forest region in the south of Guinea. In neighboring Liberia, health officials are investigating five deaths after a group of people crossed the border from Guinea in search of medical treatment.

Werker said health workers caring for the man at a hospital in the city of Saskatoon were taking precautions by wearing masks, gowns, gloves and boots. She said hemorrhagic fevers are not easily spread.

Hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola can be transmitted through direct contact with the blood or secretions of an infected person, or objects that have been contaminated with infected secretions. The Ebola virus leads to severe hemorrhagic fever and internal bleeding and has no vaccine or specific treatment.

Werker said the man showed no signs of illness while he was traveling. The incubation period for hemorrhagic fever is up to ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)

read full article...

fficials in a rural part of Washington state were losing hope of finding survivors of a massive mudslide that killed at least eight people, injured eight others, and caused as many as 18 others to vanish Saturday.

Snohomish County sheriff's Lt. Rob Palmer said four more bodies were discovered late Sunday to bring the total number of fatalities to eight. Earlier in the day, authorities said one body had been found on the debris field. Three people were already confirmed dead on Saturday.

Authorities had said that at least 18 people were missing, but that number was given before the discovery of the additional bodies and investigators had described that number as "fluid." Searchers had planned to continue looking through the night into Monday morning.

The 1-square-mile mudslide that struck Saturday morning also critically injured several people and destroyed about 30 homes.

Crews were able to get to the muddy, tree-strewn area after geologists flew over in a helicopter and determined it was safe enough for emergency responders and technical rescue personnel to search for possible survivors, Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said Sunday evening.

"We didn't see or hear any signs of life out there today," he said, adding that they did not search the entire debris field, only drier areas safe to traverse. "It's very disappointing to all emergency responders on scene."

Despite that, Hots said crews were still in a "search and rescue mode. It has not gone to a recovery mode at this time."

He said the search would continue until nightfall, at which time conditions become too dangerous.

Before crews could get onto the debris field late Sunday morning, they looked for signs of life by helicopter. Authorities initially said it was too dangerous ..... (article cut to save bandwidth)

read full article...

March. 21 (UPI) -- A Canadian judge found a man guilty of shooting his neighbor’s dog without a lawful excuse because he believes one of the reasons the puppy was killed was because it interrupted a game of Candy Crush Saga.

Saskatoon Judge Marty Irwin didn’t buy Eugene Krawchuk's testimony that he shot Michael Price’s St. Bernard puppy, Bentley, just because it was attacking his livestock.

In addition to the Candy Crush interruption, Irwin also reasoned that Krawchuk shot Bentley because the dog was trespassing and there were tensions between the Krawchuks and Prices.

"I believe he had the sole intent of shooting the dog," Irwin said of Krawchuk. "I do not believe that he carefully went into the pasture and assessed the situation and then decided he had no other alternative."

In 2013, Candy Crush Saga was the most downloaded free app on Apple’s Canadian iTunes store.

“I don’t think they know how much they’ve destroyed our family,” Price told CTV News. “There’s been a lot of tears.”

Krawchuk was also found guilty of possessing a firearm without a license and was sentenced to 12 months probation.

“I’m just fed up with bullies,” Price said. “That’s all they are, they’re bullies.


UPI

read full article...

A 39-year-old Argentinean woman died after attempting to enhance the size of her breasts by injecting them with Vaseline, Medical Daily reported.

Sonia Perez Llanzon was admitted to the Lucio Molas hospital in Santa Rosa, Argentina after experiencing trouble breathing. Though Llanzon initially denied what she had done, she eventually confessed to doctors that she had injected herself with Vaseline several weeks earlier in the hopes of making her breasts larger. Doctors found several lesions on both breasts as a result of the home injections.

The Vaseline had entered Llanzon’s blood stream, causing blood clots that travelled to her lungs. Llanzon experienced a pulmonary embolism – a blockage of an artery in her lung – which resulted in her death.

"In all my medical career, I've never seen a case like this. The human body has antibodies to remove bacteria and viruses, but it hasn't got any mechanisms against this type of product," Julio Pla Cardenas, chief of surgery at Lucio Molas told La Capital.

Pla Cardenas said he has noticed an increasing number of people using Vaseline injections as a form of body augmentation, including men who have injected the product in the hopes of enhancing dolphin size.

Fox News

read full article...

Buncombe County school officials say a 9-year-old boy can use his "My Little Pony" backpack when he returns to class.

The boy's family said he was prevented from carrying the backpack to Candler Elementary School because administrators said it "triggered" bullying.

Noreen Bruce had pulled her son out of the school last week.

"We are pleased the school system is working closely with us," Bruce said after Thursday's meeting.

"We had a real heart-to-heart talk," she said after the meeting with superintendent Tony Baldwin and director of student services David Thompson

Bruce said she will work with Thompson to help organize a parent advisory council on bullying.

Buncombe County Schools administrators released a statement Thursday saying they would work with Bruce to make a safe transition plan for her son to bring his book bag to school.

The statement says school officials regret that the issue of being told to leave the book bag at home was perceived as blaming the boy.

"Every situation with young children is a teachable moment and we will use this example in our efforts to address a wider issue of bullying. We ask for everyone's patience and understanding as we continue to work collaboratively with the family toward a resolution," the statement said.

Fox News

read full article...

MOSCOW – President Vladimir Putin signed bills at the Kremlin Friday officially completing the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

Putin hailed the incorporation of Crimea into Russia as a "remarkable event" before he signed the bills into law. Ukraine and the West have rejected the earlier vote by Russian parliament held two weeks after Russian troops had taken over Crimea.

The U.S. and the European Union have responded by slapping sanctions on Russia. President Obama ordered a second round of sanctions Thursday targeting members of Putin's inner circle and a major bank supporting them.

International agencies downgraded Russia's outlook, and Russian stock plummeted Friday.

Putin said in televised remarks at Friday's session of the presidential Security Council that he sees no immediate need for further Russian retaliation and said sardonically that he would open an account in the targeted bank.

Putin's statement appeared to signal to the West that Russia wants to maintain cooperation in other areas despite the tensions over Ukraine. He said that Russia will keep funding a program to service Afghan helicopters and train their crews that has been conducted jointly with NATO.

Meanwhile in Brussels, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and EU leaders signed an association agreement that was part of the pact that former President Viktor Yanukovych backed out of last November in favor of a $15 billion bailout from Russia.

That decision sparked the protests that ultimately led to his downfall and flight last month, setting off one of Europe's worst political crises since the Cold War.

Fox News

read full article...