The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Barbara Demick, Los Angeles Times

BEIJING — Hundreds of relatives of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 passengers marched on the Malaysian embassy in Beijing Tuesday, rejecting the government’s conclusion that the flight crashed into the Indian Ocean with no survivors.

The rare public protest in China appeared to have the support of the Chinese government, which provided the buses to transport family members, according to one relative.

At the same time, Beijing took pains to keep the protest under control, girding the embassy with military police, city cops and undercover security who scuffled with relatives trying to break through the security cordon to speak to the press. Many wore white t-shirts reading, in English, “Pray for MH370.”

“We want our families. We want the truth,” read hand-lettered signs.

A 30-year-old engineer who pushed through the security to speak to the press said that families were not willing to give up hope until debris of the plane is found.

“We are realistic. We know that with each passing day, the chance of our family coming back alive are slimmer, but we still need to know more,” said Wang Zhen, whose parents were both on the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Malaysia announced late Monday night that “beyond a reasonable doubt” there were no survivors from the March 8 flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and that it has crashed off the coast of Australia.

But Australian officials appeared to publicly dispute the Malaysian conclusion as well.

“This is a mystery,” defense minister David Johnston told reporters Tuesday at Pearce Airbase. “Until we recover and positively identify a piece of debris — all is speculation.”

Tens of thousands of Chinese called for a boycott of Malaysian products. A poll on the popular Sina Weibo site found that 77 percent of Chinese who responded would reconsider plans to travel to Malaysia as a result of the crash.

The wait for definitive answers could take longer than expected because of gale-force winds off the Australian coast, which forced search teams to suspend flights over the area. There had been hopes that objects spotted by airplanes on Monday could be retrieved and analyzed, perhaps putting an end to the 18-day old mystery.

Australian Air Marshal Mark Binskin gave a grim assessment of the difficulties of locating the wreckage in the vast, deep southern Indian Ocean, saying it would more difficult than finding a “needle in a haystack.”

“We’re still trying to define where the haystack is,” he told reporters.

The Malaysian government’s conclusion that the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean is based on a technical analysis of satellite data by the British-firm Inmarsat showing that the plane was last heard from over the Indian Ocean, a remote area with no possible landing sites.

Beijing on Tuesday asked that the Malaysian government release the satellite data.

“We demand the Malaysian side to make clear the specific basis on which they come to this judgment,” Deputy Chinese Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng was quoted by state media saying after an emergency meeting with Malaysian ambassador Iskandar Bin Sarudin.

The Chinese government kept up a barrage of attacks against Malaysia, with an editorial in the official New China News Agency, saying its declaration that the plane was lost was “clumsily conceived and sadly, even more poorly executed.”

Some Chinese families complained that they first heard the announcement through text messages Monday night that were only in English.

At Beijing’s Lido Hotel, where families have been waiting for answers, a middle-aged man smoking outside with other men, said they hoped for the Chinese government to put pressure on Malaysia.

“It’s good that we protested. Our government can only get more involved now. It is better,” said the man, who refused to give his name.

AFP photo

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Jessica Cisneros

It’s a race that has some Democratic voters scratching their heads: a young, progressive primary challenger versus a pro-life, conservative Democrat who received an A-rating from the NRA. The primary race between one of the most conservative Democrats in the House, Representative Henry Cuellar, and Jessica Cisneros has become a lightning rod within the Democratic Party.

Cuellar declared victory, but as of Wednesday morning, major media outlets have said the race is too close to call. He is just a couple hundred votes ahead of his Cisneros in Texas' 28th Congressional District primary. When neither candidate won a majority in the March 1 primary, the two highest vote-getters faced each other in Tuesday's run-off election.

Keep reading... Show less

School shooting in Uvalde, Texas

Youtube Screenshot

Fox News responded to the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, by interviewing experts who pushed controversial, counterproductive models to reduce gun violence in schools. One of these experts advocated for introducing more weapons into schools through arming teachers and staff, a policy firmly rejected by teachers unions and researchers. Another called for increased active shooter response trainings-- a service his company provides -- which have also been found to be ineffective at preventing casualties.

As news out of Uvalde was still developing, Fox News’ Jesse Watters invited Laura Carno -- the executive director of FASTER Colorado, which advocates for arming school staff -- on his show, where she compared arming teachers and other school personnel to arming pilots. “We all feel really comfortable with the armed pilot program, where some pilots are armed on some flights,” Carno said. “We don't know which ones, and we feel pretty good about that. It's a very similar kind of thing to armed school staff programs.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}