The Slatest

Slatest PM: China Thinks It May Have Found the Missing Jetliner

missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

This picture taken from aboard a flying Soviet-made AN-26 used as a search aircraft by Vietnamese Air Force to look for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, shows a crew member looking out the window during search operations over the southern seas off Vietnam on March 9, 2014.

File photo by Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP/Getty Images

***Sign up here to receive the Slatest PM—along with the best posts from Slate’s other blogs—in your inbox every weekday afternoon.***

China Thinks It May Have Found the Missing Plane: CNN: “A Chinese satellite looking into the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 ‘observed a suspected crash area at sea,’ a Chinese government agency said—a potentially pivotal lead into what has been a frustrating search for the Boeing 777. China’s State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense announced the discovery, including images of what it said were ‘three suspected floating objects and their sizes.’ The objects aren’t small at 13 by 18 meters, 14 by 19 meters and 24 by 22 meters—the latter of which is roughly the length of a bus. The images were captured on March 9—which was the day after the plane went missing —but weren’t released until Wednesday. The Chinese agency gave coordinates of 105.63 east longitude, 6.7 north latitude, which would put it in waters northeast of where it took off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and south of Vietnam.”

Editor’s Note: Those coordinates are in the area where the plane originally lost contact with civilian air traffic control off the east coast of Malaysia, and no where near the Strait of Malacca, off the country’s west coast, where the search was expanded to after Malaysia’s military had suggested the plane could have gone hundreds of miles off course.

Unprecedented Search: Los Angeles Times: “At the latest count, there were 42 ships and 39 aircraft scouring the waters and jungles of Southeast Asia, searching for the plane. Twelve countries are now involved with Japan, India and Brunei the latest to pitch in. ‘This is unprecedented what we are going through,’ Malaysia’s acting transportation minister, Hishamuddin Hussein, said at a stormy televised news conference late Wednesday in Kuala Lumpur. … As of Wednesday evening, the fifth day of the search had passed without any signs of the plane, which was carrying 239 passengers and crew members. That surpassed the 36 hours it took in 2009 to locate the first debris from an Air France flight from Rio De Janeiro to Paris that crashed into the Atlantic, a far deeper body of water than the Gulf of Thailand where the Malaysian flight was last detected.”

Future Tense: The Flight 370 Mystery Is Unlike Anything We’ve Ever Seen Before

It’s Wednesday, March 12th, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees, and the whole team at @Slatest.

East Harlem Blast: Associated Press: “A gas leak triggered a thunderous explosion that flattened two East Harlem apartment buildings Wednesday, killing at least two people, injuring more than 20 and leaving more than a dozen others missing. One tenant said residents had complained repeatedly in recent weeks about “unbearable” gas smells. The fiery blast erupted about 9:30 a.m., around 15 minutes after a neighboring resident reported smelling gas, authorities said. Con Edison said it immediately sent utility workers to check out the report, but they didn’t arrive until it was too late. The explosion shattered windows a block away, hurled debris onto elevated commuter railroad tracks close by, cast a plume of smoke over the skyline, and sent people running into the streets. The two five-story buildings on Park Avenue at 116th Street, not far from the northeastern corner of Central Park, were reduced to a burning heap of broken bricks, wood and metal.”

Future Tense: Gas Infrastructure Is Falling Apart in Cities Around the Country

Kerry on Russia: Wall Street Journal: “Secretary of State John Kerry told U.S. lawmakers Wednesday that Russia ‘may well’ annex the Ukrainian region of Crimea, and warned that the U.S. response through punitive sanctions ‘can get ugly fast.’ The admonition came as President Barack Obama planned to meet Ukraine’s new prime minister Wednesday in a show of U.S. support and as Mr. Kerry mapped another diplomatic trip for talks with Russian officials before a referendum Sunday that could decide whether the Ukrainian region of Crimea will break away and join Russia. Mr. Kerry, meeting with House lawmakers, noted the U.S. was readying a raft of punitive sanctions, including ‘visa sanctions, banking sanctions, targeted business sanctions’ and other individual measures.”

Slatest: Bill O’Reilly Doesn’t Think Abe Lincoln Would Have Done Two Ferns. Is He Right?

Brewer Won’t Go For Third Term: Arizona Central: “Gov. Jan Brewer announced Wednesday she will not seek another term in office, an effort that would have required a long-shot court challenge to the state’s term limits. … The long-awaited decision clears the way for Republican gubernatorial candidates to run for the seat during the 2014 midterm election, without her complicating the field. With Brewer on her way out, the 2014 race will be wide open for the first time since 2002, when Democrat Janet Napolitano went head to head with Republican Matt Salmon and independent Richard Mahoney. Many of the GOP candidates have anticipated she would not try to challenge the state Constitution to run for another term but did not publicly count her out until she made an announcement. Brewer, who completed the final year of Napolitano’s term and then successfully ran for a four-year term in 2010, has talked publicly for about two years about seeking another term. Such a decision would have required a legal challenge to the state Constitution.”

XX Factor: There Are 400,000 Unprocessed Rape Kits in the U.S. How Can This Be?

Challenging China’s Firewall: Washington Post: “China’s Great Firewall, as the world’s most sophisticated Internet censorship system is known, is facing a new challenge as Google begins to automatically encrypt searches there as part of its global expansion of privacy technology. The development is the latest — and perhaps most unexpected — consequence of Edward Snowden’s release last year of National Security Agency documents detailing the extent of government surveillance of the Internet. Google and other technology companies responded with major new investments in encryption worldwide, complicating relations between the companies and governments long accustomed to having the ability to quietly monitor the Web. …. China — and other nations, such as Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, that censor the Internet on a national level — will still have the option of blocking Google search services altogether. But routine, granular filtering of content will become more difficult, experts say. It also will become more difficult for authorities to monitor search queries for signs that an individual Internet user may be a government opponent, experts say.”

Future Tense: It’s Time to Let Snowden Go

That’s all for today. See you back here tomorrow. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.