Week in review – Ukraine, Malaysia Airlines 370, March Madness

By Steve Eggleston

The situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate. Earlier in the week, after a sham of a referendum that purported to split the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, Russia annexed the peninsula. Now, with Russian troops not only consolidating their position in Crimea with prejudice but also remaining along the entirety of the border between Russia and Ukraine, ethnic Russians are agitating for the rest of eastern Ukraine to split off from Ukraine and join Russia. The Donbass region, which certainly appears to be the next Russian target, has the heart of Ukraine’s industry and mining.

On the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 front, the focus has shifted to an area about 1500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia, after analysis of images from both American and Chinese satellites suggested a rather expansive debris field. NBC News reports a civilian plane participating in the search spotted some sort of debris, but poor visibility conditions and the great distance from land otherwise hampered the search in that area, and nobody else has found anything, much less debris definitively from the aircraft.

Meanwhile, the airline’s CEO admitted that some of the cargo on board was lithium-ion batteries, which has caused a not-insignificant number of fires aboard aircraft and the craash of 2 cargo planes. The Daily Mail notes that the last positively-known altitude of the airplane, 23,000 feet, is a prescribed altitude designed to limit the spread of a fire on an aircraft.

Finally, if it’s late March, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is going on. While it took only 25 “second-round” games and 3 major upsets to wipe out every single bracket in Warren Buffett’s $1 billion challenge, Yahoo Sports, which is managing the contest for Buffett and Quicken Loans, had one bracket not entered into that challenge that survived the round of 64. Unfortunately, that bracket was busted in game 37, when 11th-seed Dayton knocked off 3rd-seed Syracuse.