Flight 370 declared accident
The Malaysian government declared that the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 last March was an accident according to the terms of an international air agreement and that the 239 passengers and crew members aboard the plane were presumed dead. While officials had said last spring that the plane appeared to have been lost with all aboard, the new step cleared the way for death certificates to be issued. It also makes it quicker and easier for Malaysia Airlines and its insurers to pay compensation to the next of kin.
Co-pilot at controls in crash
Investigators said that the co-pilot of AirAsia Flight 8501 was at the controls when the plane made its final radio transmission to ground control before plunging minutes later into the Java Sea, killing all 162 people aboard. The investigators, who have just completed a preliminary report on the crash based on the plane's so-called black boxes, said the captain was "monitoring the flight" on Dec. 28. However, they said, "there is no conclusion" that the accident was a result of the captain not being at the controls.
Envoy to U.S. is promoted
Just days after the conclusion of a visit from President Obama that was widely seen as a success, India has abruptly removed its highest-ranking diplomat and replaced her with its ambassador to the United States, who served as a crucial interlocutor between New Delhi and Washington before the summit. The appointment of the ambassador, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, as foreign secretary, comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi steers India toward a closer U.S. partnership.
Scouts settle lawsuit
The Boy Scouts of America announced that it had settled a lawsuit brought by the family of a Santa Barbara County, Calif., man who was molested by a volunteer Scout leader in 2007. A judge ruled earlier this month that the plaintiffs could use the Scouts' secret "perversion files," which outline years of molestation claims and incidents, as evidence in the trial, a ruling that opened the door to possible public release of the files. The terms were confidential at the Boy Scouts' request, said Tim Hale, the plaintiff's attorney.
Dartmouth bans hard liquor
After a spate of student misbehavior that has tarnished the reputation of Dartmouth College, its president announced a ban on hard liquor at parties, and threatened to do away with fraternities or other groups that fail "to elevate and not denigrate the Dartmouth experience." In a speech on the Dartmouth campus in Hanover, N.H., to students, staff and alumni, Philip J. Hanlon, the president, said the college would create new spaces for social activity.
Congress takes up Cuba travel
A bipartisan group of senators on introduced legislation to permanently lift all restrictions on U.S. travel to Cuba, the first step in what will be a battle over how far the U.S. should go in expanding trade and tourism with the Communist island nation. The bill, the first Cuba-related measure to be introduced since President Obama announced in December that he was normalizing relations with the country, would not end the 54-year-old trade embargo. Backers say ending the embargo is unlikely in a GOP-controlled Congress
Man executed in 1996 killing
A Texas man convicted of killing a 38-year-old woman nearly two decades ago while he was on parole for a triple slaying was executed. Robert Ladd, 57, received a lethal injection after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments he was mentally impaired and ineligible for the death penalty. Ladd was executed for the 1996 slaying of Vicki Ann Garner, of Tyler, who was strangled and beaten with a hammer.