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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Vietnamese authorities searching waters for a missing Boeing 777 jetliner spot an object they suspect is one of the plane's doors, as international intelligence agencies join the investigation into two passengers who boarded the aircraft with stolen passports. More than a day and half after the Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared with 239 people on board, no confirmed debris from the plane had been found, and the final minutes before it went missing remain a mystery. By Eileen Ng and Chris Brummitt. Sent: 1,000 words, with photos, video.
— MALAYSIA-PLANE-MANIFEST — Behind unremarkable manifest for missing Malaysia Airlines flight is rich human tapestry. SENT: 880 words, photos.
KIEV, Ukraine — Russian President Vladimir Putin defends recent events in disputed Crimea as in keeping with international law, as Ukraine's prime minister vows not to relinquish "a single centimeter" of his country's territory. Over the weekend, Russian military forces beef up their presence on the peninsula, and pro-Russia forces keep pushing for a vote in favor of reunification with Moscow in the referendum scheduled for a week from now. By John-Thor Dahlburg and Lynn Berry. UPCOMING: 825 words by 3 p.m., photos.
SAN FRANCISCO —Law and order may soon be coming to the Wild West of Weed. A California lawmaker has introduced legislation to regulate the state's free-wheeling medical marijuana industry — the farmers that grow the drug, the hundreds of storefront shops that sell it and especially the doctors who write recommendations allowing people to use it. This was the first state to authorize marijuana use for health purposes. But to this day no one knows how many dispensaries and patients California has or what conditions pot is being used to treat because the loosely worded law its voters approved in 1996 did not give government agencies a role in tracking the information. By Lisa Leff. UPCOMING: 850 words, photos.
ARMY GENERAL-SEX CHARGES
UNDATED — The Army captain who has accused Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair of sexually assaulting her during their three-year relationship was an ambitious soldier with plans to make the military her career, much like the boss she loved and admired. Stirred by the 9/11 attacks to leave college and join the military, she signed up with the Army, learned the coveted language of Arabic and showed a laser focus in trying to carve out a reputation as a soldier who could be counted on in the toughest of situations. Her stunning allegations that Sinclair, a rising star revered by both his superiors as well as those he commanded on the battlefield, has put both of them — and the three-year affair they both admit to — under the microscope at a time when Congress and the Pentagon grapple with how to best deal with cases of sexual impropriety within the military ranks. By Jeffrey Collins. SENT: 1,400 words, photos.
BOSTON — The ladies of Wellesley College will still be allowed to plant kisses on passing runners and crowds will still flock to the finish line at the 118th Boston Marathon. But a year after deadly twin explosions turned the race's festive final dash into a scene of devastation, police and organizers of the world's oldest annual marathon find themselves balancing security with openness. By Denise Lavoie. SENT: 830 words, photos.
TAHIRPUR, India — The stigma of leprosy endures in India, even though the country has made great strides against the disease, which is neither highly contagious nor fatal. Now the number of new annual cases has risen slightly after years of steady decline, and medical experts say the enormous fear surrounding leprosy is hindering efforts to finally eliminate it. People continue to hide their diagnoses from families and loved ones out of fear they will be ostracized. Employers regularly turn away people who have had the disease, even if they've been treated and cured. Many struggle to get driver's licenses and other routine documents. Even the disease-free children of leprosy patients are shunned. By Nirmala George. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
DATA BREACH NOTIFICATION
WASHINGTON — The data breach at Target Corp. that exposed millions of credit card numbers has focused attention on a patchwork of state consumer notification laws and renewed a push for a single national standard. Consumers in one state might hear quickly from a retailer after personal information has been compromised, but that may not be the case elsewhere. Requirements for businesses depend on where companies are located. Attorney General Eric Holder supports a nationwide notification standard, but divisions persist and it's questionable whether all parties can reach a consensus this year. The effort has taken on renewed urgency as part of a larger security debate following cyberattacks on Target and Neiman Marcus. By Eric Tucker. SENT: 850 words, photos.
MORE ON MALAYSIAN PLANE
PARIS — Interpol knew about two stolen passports that passengers used to board an ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight bound for China, but no country checked the police agency's vast database beforehand. It's not known if the stolen documents had anything to do with the plane's disappearance, but such oversights are nothing new. Interpol says passengers boarded planes more than a billion times last year without the passports being checked against its database of 40 million stolen or lost travel documents. By Jamey Keaten. UPCOMING: 700 words by 3 p.m
— MALAYSIA PLANE-TEXAS VICTIM — The family members of a North Texas man who was aboard the missing Malaysian Airlines flight say they saw him about a week ago and are relying on their faith to get them through a difficult time. UPCOMING: 450 words.
— MALAYSIA PLANE-TEXAS FIRM — An Austin, Texas, technology company that had 20 employees on board a missing Malaysia Airlines plane says the workers were en route to a business meeting in China. UPCOMING: 400 words, photos.
WASHINGTON AND POLITICS
AURORA, Colo. — If the apparent slow death of immigration legislation has any political repercussions this year, they probably will be felt in the subdivisions, shopping centers and ethnic eateries wrapped around Denver's southern end. Rep. Mike Coffman represents this fast-changing congressional district. He's among a few vulnerable Republican members in line to be targeted by immigrant rights advocates if the House doesn't pass an immigration bill before the November election that would offer legal status to millions of people who entered the U.S. illegally or overstayed their visas. Democratic campaign officials are focusing on about two dozen GOP-held seats where immigration could be a factor, but they rank only nine in the top tier of possible pickups as they try take back the House. By Nicholas Riccardi. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
FLORIDA SPECIAL ELECTION
CLEARWATER, Fla. — Tuesday's special U.S. House election in this stretch of coastal beach towns and retirement communities was supposed to be a referendum on President Barack Obama's health care law. Instead, in the waning days of the spirited campaign to replace the late U.S. Rep. Bill Young, another issue has roared to the forefront. Democrat Alex Sink and her allies have spent millions on ads trying to portray Republican David Jolly as an extremist who wants to privatize Social Security and gut Medicare. By Michael J. Mishak. SENT: 800 words, photos.
JAIL SEX SCANDAL
NEW YORK — Jail guard Nancy Gonzalez gained notoriety by conceiving a baby behind bars with a cop killer. But her story of sexual misconduct at a federal lockup in Brooklyn doesn't end there. Gonzalez claims she had sex with at least eight co-workers, including two supervisors, while on duty at the Metropolitan Detention Center in less than two years. She also admitted having sex with a second inmate. The lawyers say Gonzalez told federal authorities about the sexual liaisons early last year. But while they aggressively prosecuted her, it remains unclear if anyone else has been disciplined. By Tom Hays. SENT: 950 words, photos.
SAN FRANCISCO — California's greenhouse gas reduction law already has shaken up the state's industrial sector, costing it more than $1.5 billion in pollution permit fees. It's now poised to hit the pocketbooks of everyday Californians. Starting next year, the law will force fuel distributors into the same cap-and-trade marketplace as utilities and major manufacturers. The oil industry says it will lead to price increases of at least 12 cents a gallon, while state regulators say there should be no noticeable jump in prices. By Jason Dearen and Don Thompson. SENT: 1,100 words, photos.
PRETORIA, South Africa — Oscar Pistorius' murder trial provided an emotionally-charged, gripping first week of testimony with witnesses saying the double-amputee has shown anger and recklessness with guns in the past, and displayed suspicious behavior on the night he shot to death his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. The athlete, once a hero in South Africa, pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, saying the Valentine's Day 2013 shooting was an accident. By Gerald Imray. SENT: 800 words, photos.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A leader of one of Gaza's secretive jihadist groups says the al-Qaida-inspired movement now has several thousand armed fighters in the seaside strip, posing a formidable threat to both Israel and the area's Hamas rulers. In a rare interview with The Associated Press, Abu Bakir al-Ansiri describes a movement that is larger and better organized than is generally believed, with dozens of fighters now in Syria, and claims his group killed an Italian activist three years ago. He says Gaza's Salafis have agreed with Hamas to observe a truce with Israel for the time being, but that they are ready to fight at any time. By Mohammed Daraghmeh. UPCOMING: 900 words, photos by 4 p.m.
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan's influential Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim, a leading commander in the alliance that fought the Taliban who was later accused with other warlords of targeting civilian areas during the country's civil war, dies at the age of 57. President Hamed Karzai's office said Fahim — who held the rank of field marshal and had survived several assassination attempts, most recently in 2009 in northern Afghanistan — died of natural causes in Kabul. By Kathy Gannon and Rahim Faiez. SENT: 750 words, photos.
— IRAQ — A suicide car bomber sets off his explosive-laden vehicle at a security checkpoint in southern Iraq, the deadliest of a series of attacks killing 42 people. SENT: 350 words, photos.
— SYRIA — A Canadian freelance photographer is killed in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, covering the world's most dangerous conflict for journalists. SENT: 600 words, photos.
LONDON — Ukraine has been attacked by well-funded and committed cyberspies who are trying to steal confidential information, according to a report from U.K.-based defense contractor BAE Systems. While BAE doesn't identify the source of the attacks, a German company says the espionage software has "Russian roots." By Danica Kirka. UPCOMING: 600 words by 3 p.m.
BULL MARKET-FIVE YEARS
NEW YORK — Happy 5th birthday, bull market. The current bull run is not the longest, or the strongest, but it's survived a near default by the U.S. government, a war in Syria, and a renewed chill between the U.S. and Russia. Despite all the obstacles thrown in its way, the stock market has kept rebounding and rising. The Standard & Poor's 500 index has surged 178 percent since bottoming out March 9, 2009, and the bull market is now the fourth-longest since 1945. By Markets Writer Steve Rothwell. SENT: 1,300 words. photos.
ALSO GETTING ATTENTION
— OBIT-WILLIAM CLAY FORD — Ford Motor Co. leader, Detroit Lions owner William Clay Ford dies at age 88. SENT: 110 words.
— BOX OFFICE — '300 Rise of Empire' rules box office with $45.1M debut, 'Mr. Peabody' second with $32.5M. SENT: 140 words, photos.
— JONATHAN DEMME'S ART — 'Silence of the Lambs' director Jonathan Demme is selling extensive art collection in Pennsylvania. SENT: 560 words, photos.
— BIN LADEN SPOKESMAN — Shoe-bomb witness set to testify from London at New York terrorism trial of Osama bin Laden's son-in-law. SENT: 400 words, photos.
— HOT WIENERS — Forget the ketchup and don't call them dogs: Hot wieners are a signature dish in Rhode Island. SENT: 650 words, photos.
— IDITAROD — Mushers are battling through exhaustion and bitter temperatures as the winds coming off the Bering Sea coast whip them. By Rachel D'Oro. SENT: 600 words, photos.
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