BruNews: Sunday, March 9

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A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew is presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast on Saturday. There were no reports of bad weather and no answers as to why the plane, traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, vanished from radar screens an hour after it took off. Adding to the confusion, an Italian and an Australian on the manifest match the names of two passports stolen in Thailand. Vietnamese officials spotted what they suspect to be one of the doors of the missing Boeing 777 early this evening.

Russian President Vladimir Putin defended pro-Russian groups in Crimea, having increased Russian military presence in the area. Ukrainian interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said he would not give up “a single centimeter” of Ukrainian territory. He will be visiting the United States this week to discuss the crisis in Crimea.

A new study released by Ohio State University researchers suggest that many of the long-term benefits of breastfeeding may be an effect not of breast milk itself but of the good health and wealth of women who choose to breastfeed.

Designer Nickolay Lamm created a “Normal Barbie” using the average proportions of a 19-year-old woman. To find out more about Lamm’s project, check out his crowd-funding video, entitled “Average is Beautiful”  here.

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) won the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) presidential straw poll, garnering 31% of the vote. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx.) finished second with 11% of the vote.

China will now force businesses to pay compensation for the environmental damage they cause, Zhang Dejiang, China’s top legislator, announced today.

Marshal Mohammad, one of Afghanistan’s two vice-presidents, died today of natural causes at the age of 57. Mohammad was part of the group that ousted the Taliban in 2001.

A suspected suicide bomber killed at least 32 people at a security checkpoint in the Iraqi city of Hilla today.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair’s trial began on Friday. Sinclair, one of the highest-ranking soldiers to face court-martial in decades, has been accused of sexually assaulting a 34-year-old female captain.

As many as 125 Mexican families will attempt to cross the California-Mexico border tomorrow, demanding that U.S. officials let them back into the country to reunite with U.S. relatives.

Middle and high school students who use electronic cigarettes are more likely to smoke real cigarettes and less likely to quite than students who don’t use electronic cigarettes, a new study published in the journal JAMA Pediatrics last week.

South Carolina legislators proposed budget cuts to two public universities, the College of Charleston and the University of South Carolina Upstate, for assigning academic material dealing with themes of homosexuality. The SC House of Representatives will vote on the budget this week.

Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said earlier today that there was “no guarantee” that Iran and world powers would be able to reach an agreement regarding Iran’s nuclear program. The United Nations Security Council reached an interim agreement with Iran in November.

The Arab League in Cairo rejected Israel’s demand today that Palestine recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state to “show they are serious about peace.”

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