Tuesday, March 18, 2014

ATMS purposely left wide open and exposed by two thirds of the banks in the world ( as of April 8 , 2014 ) ..... So , the Banks are leaving their ATMS open to hacking globally ( how did that work for bitcoin , leaving a security open for hackers ? ) This is happening just as Ukraine wobbles toward a possible war of some type involving Russia ( Nato dragged in perhaps ) ....... And as we suddenly decide today to freeze diplomatic relations with Syria for no particular reason and quite curious timing ( did I mention there's a missing jet plan - a 770 Boeing jumbo jet ? )


ATMs Open to Hacking

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Computer programs are obsolete before they even get put on the market and it’s been that way for years now. There’s also the added bonus of actually making sure that the buyers keep buying and always want the latest. Obsolescence has been part of our lives ever since we went digital, hasn’t it? Perhaps even before then. But, back then, things lasted longer than they do today. Or is that just the old folk that reminisce about the past and how good it actually was? Well maybe we will all be harking back to a better time in the next few weeks when Microsoft pulls the plug on the updates to banks’ ATMs around the world.
Most bank machines (95% of ATMs I the world) use Microsoft XP (OS) in their cash machines, wherever you are in the world. On April 8th 2014, Microsoft will no longer be providing those updates, leaving your and my ATM at the bank far more vulnerable than it was in the past. The software was originally installed in 2001.
But, that was when the banks had a lot of money to waste. Since the financial crisis, those updates have been thrown to the wayside. The banks are poor, so we are told. Although, it can’t be true when only in February it was announced that the USA’s six biggest banks ((JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley) had all made more profit in 2013 than compared to prior to the financial crisis. Net income for the six rose by 21% and reached $74.1 billion. That was all thanks to the rise in the stock market, due to false hopes from the Federal Reserve and virtual booming of the economy. In 2006, when the housing bubble was raking in more money than ever before (right at the peak before it burst), those six earned $84.6 billion and that’s the last time those six earned more profits than for 2013. JPMorgan Chase, for example, is expected to make $23 billion in profit alone this year. Wells Fargo is expected to see an increase in profit for the fifth year in a row, hitting $21 billion in 2014.
But, ok, let’s surmise that the banks don’t have enough money to pay for the update in the software. Or they have had enough of being just another cash cow to Microsoft and they don’t want tugging on their udders and getting milked for a new software program.
There’s only one problem with that and that’s the fact that the software is like a firewall to your computer and will stop cyber-attacks (or at least, slow them down).
Apparently, the banks in the world have agreed to update to a different operating system at some undefined time in the future. Apparently, the banks may not be aware that in the meantime, while the old operating system is no longer being updated and when the brand spanking new (and thus very expensive) software program comes into operation, there will be an open door for cyber-attacks on ATMs.
Two thirds of banks in the world will not be upgrading to a newer operating system by the deadline of April 8th. Why would the two thirds worry? Simply because that means that customers’ bank details and accounts will be accessible.
You can bet your bottom dollar that you will be taking from that ATM down the block that it will be costing the account holder more and more. If banks upgrade or request support from Microsoft, it has been suggested that it will cost millions (passed on to the account holder).
20% of ATMs in the world are in the USA. There are some 2.2 million worldwide with most running on the Microsoft XP OS. Plus, as anyone knows, change the software and the hardware will stop running and that means banks will also be replacing them in coming months and years. More money that the banking sector will have to find in its apparent poverty-stricken state and that it will be more than likely to pass on to the account holder again.
ATM? Another Trick by Microsoft (…along with the banks).
Originally posted: ATMs Open to Hacking











Another Escalation: US Freezes Diplomatic Relations With Syria, Orders Non-US Personnel To Leave Country

Tyler Durden's picture






Putin 2 - Obama 0, which means it is time to go back to the one place where it all started last year, and where Putin had his most resounding victory over the US foreign policy apparatus (at least until the Ukraine, where we trampled not only over Obama's red line... again... but where nobody quite explained the "costs" to the ex-KGB leader): Syria.  Sure enough, with the US unable to respond in Crimea, has decided to take its fight back to where Europe's natgas reliance on Gazprom product was first truly exposed.

BREAKING: US freezes diplomatic, consular relations with Syria; Orders non-US personnel to leave country.

The US can order non-US personnel around? More from Reuters:
  • U.S.
    IMMEDIATELY SUSPENDS OPERATIONS OF SYRIAN EMBASSY IN WASHINGTON, AS
    WELL AS HONORARY CONSULATES IN MICHIGAN AND TEXAS - STATE DEPARTMENT
  • U.S.
    SPECIAL ENVOY FOR SYRIA SAYS 'UNACCEPTABLE' FOR INDIVIDUALS APPOINTED
    BY ASSAD REGIME TO CONDUCT DIPLOMATIC, CONSULAR OPERATIONS IN U.S.
Regardless, if the bloodless Russian annexation of Crimea wasn't enough to push the S&P to new all time highs, this surely will.


Humiliation ? And more to come ......




The Next One: Moldova's Transnistria Region Said To Seek Russian Accession

Tyler Durden's picture





 
Many had feared (or expected), fallout from Crimea's referendum and subsequent accession to Russia may embolden ethnic minorities in many bordering nations to seek self-determination. It appears that is taking place in Moldova where Vedomosti reports that Mikhail Burla, head of the Transnistria region's legislature, has asked Russia's Duma for draft laws on accession to Russia to be altered to allow the region to join. The timing of this move is surreal as headlines appeared this morning that Europe is looking to speed up its "association" with Moldova. In a 2006 referendum, over 97% of Transnistrians voted to join Russia...

Who is next?

Moscow-based newspaper cites letter from Mikhail Burla, head of Transnistria’s legislature, to the head of Russia’s State Duma.

Letter asks for Russian draft law on accession to Russia to be altered to allow for Transnistria to join, says current draft bill would only allow for Crimea to join Russia

2006 referendum in Transnistria saw 97.2% vote to join Russia, Burla cited as saying in letter
What is the problem in the U.S.? They talk about the weakness of Russia, but still afraid of competition on our part. They do not want a competitor. China - a rival, but not a competitor. And the U.S. is not interested in what system in Russia - monarchical, feudal, communist. Only interested in how to relax, but better - to split. Yeltsin they liked - when it broke up the country. Putin does not like it - he wants to save Russia.

...

"It's been 60 years - not even changed a generation, if Crimea voted for reunification with Russia, the situation arises where any normal person would say, but what distinguishes the situation in Transnistria?- Says Leonid Reshetnikov. - The question becomes relevant than ever. Have to wait for the Americans attempt to deal with Transnistria. They have no other way to make a muck of Russia. They are afraid that gathered to fight with someone. Who will fight?

...

Russia, in my opinion, after the Crimea should recognize Transnistria Tiraspol and propose to hold another referendum on reunification with Russia. Differently protect Transnistria we can not.

...

We must not make concessions when we openly say that Russian world should be destroyed. I urge the show will. We must not become the new Bulgaria, the new Serbia. These and other countries have become dependent on the United States. Travel to Bulgaria, look - no minister in Sofia not be appointed without the consent of the U.S. ambassador.

...

Now we prepare for the dissemination of Russian legislation in Transnistria. It would be difficult without a strong methodological support. For this great help RISS - special thanks. Two years ago, our president assured the Russian expert community that we will conduct a Eurasian course. It took not much time to see all that we have taken the first steps in this direction. "
And then this...
  • *EU MAY SPEED UP SIGNING OF MOLDOVA ASSOCIATION AGREEMENT: CANDU
  • *EU ACCORD NEEDED ON UKRAINE, TRANSNISTRIA TENSIONS: MOLDOVA
Signing accord may be expedited because of situation in Transnistria, Crimea, Andrian Candu, Moldova parliament’s vice president, says in Bucharest.
  • Accord was expected to be signed by end-Aug.: Candu
  • Romanian Foreign Minister Titus Corlatean asked EU’s foreign affairs council yday to speed up signing of Moldova’s association agreement
  • Transnistria is Moldova’s secessionist region that borders Ukraine and has Russian military presence
And the Moldovan President believes it would be an "erroneous step":
Transdniestria's accession to Russia would be "an erroneous step," Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti said at a press conference in Chisinau on Tuesday.

"I've been informed that the speaker of the Tiraspol parliament has addressed Moscow on the matter. Such actions are counterproductive, and they would not favor either the Republic of Moldova or the Russian Federation. If Russia resorted to such a step, this would be an erroneous decision and would not improve Russia's authority on the international arena," Timofti said.

Timofti admitted that "there is a lot in common" between the situation in Ukraine and the events in Crimea and Transdniestria.
So to summarise - The EU is seeking a "close" association with Moldova and is attempting to speed up this process and a region of mostly-Russian-ethnicity (with 97% wishing to accede) is demanding that Russia draft a law allowing them to join Russia...

Ring any bells?



And victory laps .....


Putin: Crimea similar to Kosovo, West is rewriting its own rule book

Published time: March 18, 2014 11:08
Edited time: March 18, 2014 21:29

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, including State Duma deputies, members of the Federation Council, regional governors and civil society representatives, at the Kremlin in Moscow March 18, 2014. (Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, including State Duma deputies, members of the Federation Council, regional governors and civil society representatives, at the Kremlin in Moscow March 18, 2014. (Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)
Crimea’s secession from Ukraine was just like Kosovo’s secession from Serbia, and any arguments otherwise are just attempts to bend the West-advocated rules that were applied to the Kosovo case, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
The statements came as Putin was addressing the Russian parliament to convince lawmakers to ratify a treaty, which would make Crimea part of the Russian Federation.
In the speech he challenged Washington’s position, which says that Kosovo was a unique case and could not justify any other move towards independence in the world.
“Our western partners created the Kosovo precedent with their own hands. In a situation absolutely the same as the one in Crimea they recognized Kosovo’s secession from Serbia legitimate while arguing that no permission from a country’s central authority for a unilateral declaration of independence is necessary,” Putin reminded, adding that the UN International Court of Justice agreed to those arguments.
“That’s what they wrote, that what they trumpeted all over the world, coerced everyone into it – and now they are complaining. Why is that?” he asked.
View image on Twitter
PUTIN: similar to , West is rewriting its own rule book. WATCH LIVE http://rt.com/on-air/ 




Putin dismissed the argument that Kosovo was unique due to the large number of victims during the Balkan wars and the dissolution of Yugoslavia.
“It’s beyond double standards,” Putin said. “It’s a kind of baffling, primitive and blatant cynicism. One can’t just twist things to fit his interests, to call something white on one day and black on the next one.”
The president dismissed the allegations that Russia is violating international law with its actions in Ukraine.
“Well’ it’s good that they at least recalled that there is international law. Thank you very much. Better late than never,” Putin said adding that in fact nothing of this kind happened.
Watch President Putin's speech in full

‘In Ukraine the West crossed the red line’

In fact, it was Russia that defended international law and its institutions, while western countries have been diminishing them. The situation in Crimea is just a reflection of this broader process, which has been happening for decades now.
“In the practical application of policies, our western partners – the United States first and foremost – prefer to be guided not by international law, but by the right of strength. They believe in their exceptionalism, that they are allowed to decide on the fate of the world, that they are always right,” Putin charged.
This disregard to rule of law was evident in Yugoslavia in 1999, when NATO bombed the country without a UN Security Council mandate, the Russian president said. There was Afghanistan, Iraq and the perversion of the UNSC resolution on Libya, when instead of imposing a no-fly zone NATO bombed the country into submission.
There were also orchestrated “colored revolutions” in Europe and the Arab World, which cynically used the feelings of people tired with corruption and poverty. The latest Ukrainian events are just the latest of such actions, and Russia’s willingness to seek dialogue and compromise was stonewalled again, Putin said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, including State Duma deputies, members of the Federation Council, regional governors and civil society representatives, at the Kremlin in Moscow March 18, 2014. (Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)
Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the Federal Assembly, including State Duma deputies, members of the Federation Council, regional governors and civil society representatives, at the Kremlin in Moscow March 18, 2014. (Reuters / Maxim Shemetov)

“They were cheating us once more, took decisions behind our back, presented us with a fait accompli,” he said, adding that the patter is identical to that which accompanied NATO’s expansion to the east, the deployment of an anti-ballistic missile system, visa restrictions and numerous other issues.
“They are constantly trying to corner us in retaliation for our having an independent position, for defending it, for calling things by their names and not being hypocritical,” Putin accused.“Everything has its limits, and in Ukraine our western partners crossed the red line. They acted brutally, irresponsibly and unprofessionally.”
Putin said the West must stop being hysterical, restrain from the Cold War rhetoric and admit the obvious: “Russia is an independent and active participant of international relations. Just like any nation it has national interests that must be taken into consideration and respected.”
As for the Ukrainian red line, the coup-imposed authorities in Kiev voiced their desire to join NATO, and such a move would pose an imminent threat to Russia, Putin said.
“We stand against having a military organization meddling in our backyard, next to our homeland or in the territories that are historically ours. I just cannot imagine visiting NATO sailors in Sevastopol,” he stressed. “Most of them are fine lads, by the way. But rather let them visit us in Sevastopol than the other way around.”
At the end of his speech, Putin announced the submission to parliament of a draft federal law which would incorporate Crimea and the City of Sevastopol into Russian territory, as well as a request to ratify an international treaty with the government of Crimea to make this happen. He said he was sure of the legislature’s support for both documents.





http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-18/did-missing-flight-mh370-land-maldives-or-diego-garcia-full-updated-summary

( Can't say where this fits in but it does ... somehow. By the way , when does Malaysia pln to explain what was being carried in cargo ? Show the complete cargo manifest !  ) 


Did Missing Flight MH370 Land In The Maldives Or Diego Garcia: The Full Updated Summary

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Well over a week after the disappearance of flight MH370 - which now is thelongest official disappearance of a modern jet in aviation history - with no official trace of the missing plane yet revealed, the investigation, which as we reported over the weekend has focused on the pilots and specifically on Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, earlier today revealed that on his home-made flight simulator had been loaded five Indian Ocean practice runways, among which those of Male in the Maldives, that of the US owned base at Sergio Garcia, as well as other runways in India and Sri Lanka - all notable runways as all are possible landing spots based on the flight's potential trajectories. The Malay Mail Online reported, "The simulation programmes are based on runways at the Male International Airport in Maldives, an airport owned by the United States (Diego Garcia), and three other runways in India and Sri Lanka, all have runway lengths of 1,000 metres."
“We are not discounting the possibility that the plane landed on a runway that might not be heavily monitored, in addition to the theories that the plane landed on sea, in the hills, or in an open space,” the source was quoted as saying.
At this point the facts in the case are about as sketchy as any "data" on US Treasury holdings, but here is what was said on the record:
"Although Malay Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein denied yesterday that the plane had landed at US military base Diego Garcia, the source told the daily that this possibility will still be investigated based on the data found in Zaharie’s flight simulator software. The police had seized the flight simulator from the 53-year-old pilot’s house in Shah Alam on Saturday and reassembled it at the police headquarters where experts are conducting checks."
Previous reports indicated that the plane flew towards Checkpoint Gival, south of the Thai island of Phuket, and was last plotted heading northwest towards another checkpoint, Igrex, used for route P628 that would take it over the Andaman Islands and which carriers use to fly towards Europe.
Still, the Maldives news is of particular note since earlier today, Haaveru Online, quoted locals who said they had seen a "low flying jet" whose description is approximate to what flight MH370 looked like. From the source:
Whilst the disappearance of the Boeing 777 jet, carrying 239 passengers has left the whole world in bewilderment, several residents of Kuda Huvadhoo told Haveeru on Tuesdaythat they saw a "low flying jumbo jet" at around 6:15am on March 8.

They said that it was a white aircraft, with red stripes across it – which is what the Malaysia Airlines flights typically look like.

Eyewitnesses from the Kuda Huvadhoo concurred that the aeroplane was travelling North to South-East, towards the Southern tip of the Maldives – Addu. They also noted the incredibly loud noise that the flight made when it flew over the island.

"I've never seen a jet flying so low over our island before. We've seen seaplanes, but I'm sure that this was not one of those. I could even make out the doors on the plane clearly," said an eyewitness.

"It's not just me either, several other residents have reported seeing the exact same thing. Some people got out of their houses to see what was causing the tremendous noise too."
...
A local aviation expert told Haveeru that it is "likely" for MH370 to have flown over the Maldives. The possibility of any aircraft flying over the island at the reported time is extremely low, the expert added.


So did the pilot hijack the plane, reprogram the flight path, turn off the transponder, and fly low above the surface and below radar all the way to the Maldives, or alternatively, US airbase, Diego Garcia, where Captain Shah promptly offloaded 20+ tons of still unknown cargo? Some experts opine on just this, by way of the Telegraph:
If the Maldive lead turns out to be a strong one, then the next question is: could the plane conceivably have flown to Somalia? Or somewhere in the southern Arabian peninsula or Iran? Somalia seems a much more likely destination for a hijacker with its known al-Qaeda connections.
And this:

Timing is issue with claimed Maldives sighting, because 06:15 local (01:15UTC) is 8h after loss of contact.

Kaminski Morrow adds:
- The plane, a Boeing 777-200, was capable of travelling as far as the Maldives

- Male is the main airport but the sighting appears to have come from an atoll a long way south

- Commercial aircraft-tracking software, while not always reliable, doesn’t seem to show any other nearby traffic with which a sighting might have been confused

It is all hugely, hugely tentative - and I wouldn't want to vouch for the newspaper which is the source of this information.

But theoretically it could be possible.

The vital detail is the fuel; Malaysia Airlines has not said how much fuel was on board, other than to say "enough for the trip to Beijing".

Therefore we can't tell if that was enough to loop around and make it back to the Maldives.
So far there have been few firm theories about MH370 having landed on the US airbase in the middle of the Indian Ocean, some 800 miles south of Male in the Maldives.
Theories about what happened to missing Malaysia Flight MH370 now span a 2 million-plus square mile area of open ocean and southeast Asian land, including one mysterious island in the Indian Ocean known as Diego Garcia.

While aviation experts and armchair theorists continue to come up with plausible locations, the jet could have landed or crashed. Many theories have included Diego Garcia as a notable landing strip.

The island atoll is a British territory in the central Indian Ocean and is home to a United States Navy support facility — not exactly a U.S. base, but a home for 1700 military personnel, 1,500 civilian contractors, and various Naval equipment.

The island — named after 16th century Spanish explorer Diego Garcia de Moguer — gained some notoriety in the past 10 years after reports claimed that the U.S. used Diego Garcia to transport and detain alleged terrorists.
Expect the US military to have zero official comments on the matter, and even less if indeed MH370 landed there, or merely used the base as a transit stop on its route further west, potentially to Africa.
* * *
There are other theories of course, some of which involve none other than such aviation experts as US politicians.
Michael McCaul, a Republican congressman from Texas, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said that the plane may have actually landed and could be used by terrorist groups.

John Cornyn, a senator from Texas, helpfully tweeted a link to possible runways where the plane could have landed.

Peter King, a Republican congressman representing New York, suggests the Chinese have doctored some of their satellite images to hide the sophistication of their systems.

But Mr King said he was not aware of terrorist "chatter". He said on This Week:

QuoteNo, there's been no terrorist connections whatsoever. There's been no terrorist chatter. There's nothing out there indicating it's terrorists. Doesn't mean it's not, but so far nothing has been picked up by the intelligence community from Day One.

I still have questions about the two Iranians who were on the plane, but again, that could be a side issue. The fact is nothing has come up indicating a terrorist nexus.
Going back to what is known, here is a full and updated timeline of all events that took place, by way of BBC:
The search operation is now concentrating on huge areas to the north and south of Malaysia, after locational 'pings' detected by a satellite appeared to indicate the plane was somewhere on an arc stretching either north up to to Central Asia, or south, to the Indian Ocean and Australia.

Evidence revealed on Saturday 15 March by the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak suggested the jet was deliberately diverted by someone on board about an hour after takeoff.
When was the last contact made?
Graphic: How planes can be tracked

Flight MH370 departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 00:41 on Saturday (16:41 GMT Friday), and was due to arrive in Beijing at 06:30 (22:30 GMT).

Malaysia Airlines says the plane lost contact less than an hour after takeoff.

No distress signal or message was sent.

The ACARS - a service that allows computers aboard the plane to "talk" to computers on the ground - was silenced some time after 01:07 as the plane crossed Malaysia's east coast.

At about 01:19 the co-pilot was heard to say: "All right, good night".

The plane's transponder, which communicates with ground radar, was shut down soon after this final communication, as the aircraft crossed from Malaysian air traffic control into Vietnamese airspace over the South China Sea.

At 01:37 the next ACARS transmission was due, but never sent.
Graphic: Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER
line break
What happened next?
The plane's planned route would have taken it north-eastwards, over Cambodia and Vietnam, and the initial search focused on the South China Sea, south of Vietnam's Ca Mau peninsula.

But evidence from a military radar, revealed later, suggested the plane had suddenly changed from its northerly course to head west. So the search, involving dozens of ships and planes, then switched to the sea west of Malaysia.

MH370's last communication with a satellite, disclosed a week after the plane's disappearance, suggested the jet was in one of two flight corridors, one stretching north between Thailand and Kazakhstan, the other south between Indonesia and the southern Indian Ocean.

The timing of the last confirmed communication with a satellite was 08:11 (00:11 GMT), meaning that the Boeing continued flying for nearly seven hours after contact with air traffic control was lost.

Investigators are making further calculations to establish how far the plane might have flown after the last point of contact.line break

Who was on board?
Arni Marlina, 36, a family member of a passenger onboard Flight MH370, shows a family picture on her mobile phone, at a hotel in Putrajaya, Malaysia, 9 March Muhammad Razahan Zamani (bottom right), 24, and his wife Norli Akmar Hamid, 33, were on their honeymoon on the missing flight. The phone is being held by his stepsister, Arni Marlina
The 12 crew members were all Malaysian, led by pilots Captain Zaharie Ahmed Shah, 53 and 27-year-old co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid.

Police have searched their homes and a flight simulator has been taken from the captain's home and reassembled for examination at police headquarters.

It is now believed that co-pilot Hamid spoke the last words heard from the plane, "All right, good night" - but it it not clear whether this was before or after the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) had been deliberately switched off.

There were 227 passengers, including 153 Chinese and 38 Malaysians, according to the manifest. Seven were children.

Other passengers came from Iran, the US, Canada, Indonesia, Australia, India, France, New Zealand, Ukraine, Russia, Taiwan and the Netherlands.

Among the Chinese nationals were a delegation of 19 prominent artists who had attended an exhibition in Kuala Lumpur.

With so many of their nationals aboard, the Chinese Government has been very involved in the search, expressing barely-concealed frustration with the lack of progress.

Malaysia Airlines said there were four passengers who checked in for the flight but did not show up at the airport.

line break
Could it have been a terrorist attack?
Malaysian PM Najib Razak, 15 March 2014The plane was deliberately diverted, the Malaysian PM told a news conference
The aircraft's change of direction was consistent with "deliberate action on the plane", the Malaysian authorities said.

But it remains unclear whether the course change was carried out by the air crew or flight-trained hijackers onboard.

So far no known or credible terror group has emerged to claim responsibility.

Initial investigations concentrated on two passengers found to be travelling on stolen passports.

The two Iranian men - 19-year-old Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad and Delavar Seyed Mohammadreza, 29 - were later found to headed for Europe via Beijing, and had no apparent links to terrorist groups.
Other theories for a crash
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER taking off from Narita Airport near Tokyo, Japan, April 2013A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER taking off from Narita Airport near Tokyo, Japan, last year
Some initial theories suggested that the aircraft could have suffered a disastrous mid-air decompression, but Malaysian authorities say they are now almost entirely focused on the actions of the crew.

Captain Zaharie Ahmed Shah, who had more than 18,000 flying hours behind him, had been employed by the airline since 1981.

Weather conditions for this flight were good.

Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record and the jet, a Boeing 777-200ER, is said to be one of the safest because of its modern technology.
* * *
Finally, for those who still have lingering questions, here also from the BBC, is a compendium of 10 theories attempting to explain the fate of the missing airliner.
1. Landed in the Andaman Islands
The plane was apparently at one stage heading in the direction of India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands, the most easterly part of Indian territory, which lies between Indonesia and the coast of Thailand and Burma. It has been reported that military radar there might not even have been operating, as the threat level is generally perceived to be low.
The editor of the islands' Andaman Chronicle newspaper dismisses the notion that the aircraft could be there. There are four airstrips but planes landing would be spotted, he told CNN. He also believed monitoring by the Indian military would prevent an airliner being able to land there unnoticed. But this is an isolated spot. There are more than 570 islands, only 36 of which are inhabited. If the plane had been stolen, this might be the best place to land it secretly, says Steve Buzdygan, a former BA 777 pilot. It would be difficult, but not impossible, to land on the beach, he says. At least 5,000ft (1500m) or so would make a long enough strip to land on.
It would be theoretically possible but extremely difficult. With such a heavy aeroplane, using the landing gear might lead to the wheels digging into the sand and sections of undercarriage being ripped off. "If I was landing on a beach I would keep the wheels up," says Buzdygan. But in this type of crash landing, the danger would also be damage to the wings, which are full of fuel, causing an explosion. Even if landed safely, it is unlikely the plane would be able to take off again.
2. Flew to Kazakhstan
The Central Asian republic is at the far end of the northern search corridor, so the plane could hypothetically have landed there. Light aircraft pilot Sylvia Wrigley, author of Why Planes Crash, says landing in a desert might be possible and certainly more likely than landing on a beach somewhere. "To pull this off, you are looking at landing in an incredibly isolated area," says Wrigley. The failure so far to release a cargo manifest has created wild rumours about a valuable load that could be a motive for hijacking. There has also been speculation that some of those on board were billionaires.
But the plane would have been detected, the Kazakh Civil Aviation Committee saidin a detailed statement sent to Reuters. And there's an even more obvious problem. The plane would have had to cross the airspace of countries like India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, which are all usually in a high state of military preparedness. But it's just possible that there are weak links in the radar systems of some of the countries en route to Central Asia, Wrigley speculates. "A lot of air traffic control gear is old. They might be used to getting false positives from flocks of birds and, therefore, it would be easy to discount it."
3. It flew south
The final satellite "ping" suggests the plane was still operational for at least five or six hours after leaving Malaysian radar range. For Norman Shanks, former head of group security at airports group BAA, and professor of aviation security at Coventry University, the search should therefore start from the extremes of the corridors and work up, rather than the other way around. He thinks the southern corridor is more likely for a plane that has so far avoided detection by radar.
The southern arc leads to the huge open spaces of the Indian Ocean, and then to Australia's empty northern hinterland. Without knowing the motive, it is hard to speculate where the plane's final destination was intended to be. But the plane may just have carried on until it ran out of fuel and then glided and crashed into the sea somewhere north of Australia.
4. Taklamakan Desert, north-west China
There has been speculation on forums that the plane could have been commandeered by China's Uighur Muslim separatists. Out of the plane's 239 passengers, 153 were Chinese citizens. One possible destination in this theory would be China's Taklamakan Desert. The region - described by Encyclopaedia Britannica as a "great desert of Central Asia and one of the largest sandy deserts in the world" - has no shortage of space far from prying eyes. The BBC's Jonah Fisher tweeted on 15 March: "Being briefed by Malaysia officials they believe most likely location for MH370 is on land somewhere near Chinese/Kyrgyz border."
But again, this theory rests on an extraordinary run through the radar systems of several countries.
5. It was flown towards Langkawi island because of a fire or other malfunction
The loss of transponders and communications could be explained by a fire, aviation blogger Chris Goodfellow has suggested. The left turn that the plane made, deviating from the route to Beijing, could have been a bid to reach safety, he argues. "This pilot did all the right things. He was confronted by some major event onboard that made him make that immediate turn back to the closest safe airport." He aimed to avoid crashing into a city or high ridges,Goodfellow argues. "Actually he was taking a direct route to Palau Langkawi, a 13,000ft (4,000m) strip with an approach over water at night with no obstacles. He did not turn back to Kuala Lumpur because he knew he had 8,000ft ridges to cross. He knew the terrain was friendlier towards Langkawi and also a shorter distance." In this theory it would be assumed that the airliner did not make it to Langkawi and crashed into the sea.
But Goodfellow's theory has been disputed. If the course was changed during a major emergency, one might expect it to be done using manual control. But the left turn was the result of someone in the cockpit typing "seven or eight keystrokes into a computer on a knee-high pedestal between the captain and the first officer, according to officials", the New York Times reported. The paper says this "has reinforced the belief of investigators - first voiced by Malaysian officials - that the plane was deliberately diverted and that foul play was involved."
6. The plane is in Pakistan
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has tweeted: "World seems transfixed by 777 disappearance. Maybe no crash but stolen, effectively hidden, perhaps in northern Pakistan, like Bin Laden." But Pakistan has strenuously denied that this would be possible. The country's assistant to the prime minister on aviation, Shujaat Azeem, has been reported as saying: "Pakistan's civil aviation radars never spotted this jet, so how it could be hidden somewhere in Pakistan?" Like the Kazakhstan theory, this all seems far-fetched, not least because the junction between Indian and Pakistani air space is one of the most watched sectors in the world by military radar. And despite the remoteness and lawlessness of northern Pakistan, the region is watched closely by satellites and drones. It seems scarcely believable to think an airliner could get there unspotted.
7. The plane hid in the shadow of another airliner
Aviation blogger Keith Ledgerwood believes the missing plane hid in the radar shadow of Singapore Airlines flight 68. The Singaporean airliner was in the same vicinity as the Malaysian plane, he argues. "It became apparent as I inspected SIA68's flight path history that MH370 had manoeuvred itself directly behind SIA68 at approximately 18:00UTC and over the next 15 minutes had been following SIA68." He believes that the Singaporean airliner would have disguised the missing plane from radar controllers on the ground. "It is my belief that MH370 likely flew in the shadow of SIA68 through India and Afghanistan airspace. As MH370 was flying 'dark' without a transponder, SIA68 would have had no knowledge that MH370 was anywhere around, and as it entered Indian airspace, it would have shown up as one single blip on the radar with only the transponder information of SIA68 lighting up ATC and military radar screens." The Singapore Airlines plane flew on to Spain. The Malaysian jet could have branched off. "There are several locations along the flight path of SIA68 where it could have easily broken contact and flown and landed in Xinjiang, Kyrgyzstan, or Turkmenistan," Ledgerwood argues.
Prof Hugh Griffiths, radar expert at University College London, says it sounds feasible. But there is a difference between military and civilian radar. Civilian radar works by means of a transponder carried by the aircraft - a system known as secondary radar. The military use primary radar and this "ought to be higher resolution". So how close would the two planes need to be? He estimates about 1000m (3300ft). It is possible military radar would be able to pick up that there were two objects, he says. "It might be able to tell the difference, to know that there are two targets." If this happens, though, there's then the question of how this is interpreted on the ground. Is it a strange echo that would be discounted? When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, although the US radar operator detected the incoming aircraft, they were dismissed as US bombers arriving from the mainland.
8. There was a struggle
One of the hardest things to account for so far with an innocent explanation is the way the plane was flown erratically. It went far above its "ceiling", flying at 45,000ft (13,716m) before later flying very low. Big fluctuations in altitude suggest there might have been a struggle, says Buzdygan. Post-9/11, cockpit doors have been strengthened against the possibility of hijack but there are still scenarios where access could be gained. Pilots talk to each other "over a beer" about how they'd deal with hijackers, he says. Buzdygan would have had no qualms about flying aggressively to try to resist a hijack. "I'd try to disorientate and confuse the hijackers by throwing them around," he says.
9. The passengers were deliberately killed by decompression
Another theory circulating is that the plane was taken up to 45,000ft to kill the passengers quickly, former RAF navigator Sean Maffett says. The supposed motive for this might have been primarily to stop the passengers using mobile phones, once the plane descended to a much lower altitude. At 45,000ft, the Boeing 777 is way above its normal operating height. And it is possible to depressurise the cabin, notes Maffett. Oxygen masks would automatically deploy. They would run out after 12-15 minutes. The passengers - as with carbon monoxide poisoning - would slip into unconsciousness and die, he argues. But whoever was in control of the plane would also perish in this scenario, unless they had access to some other form of oxygen supply.
10. The plane will take off again to be used in a terrorist attack
One of the more outlandish theories is that the plane has been stolen by terrorists to commit a 9/11 style atrocity. It has been landed safely, hidden or camouflaged, will be refuelled and fitted with a new transponder before taking off to attack a city. It would be very hard to land a plane, hide it and then take off again, Maffett suggested. But it can't be ruled out. "We are now at stage where very, very difficult things have to be considered as all sensible options seem to have dropped off," he says. It is not clear even whether a plane could be refitted with a new transponder and given a totally new identity in this way, he says. Others would say that while it is just about feasible the plane could be landed in secret, it is unlikely it would be in a fit state to take off again.
The even more far-fetched
Many of the above theories might seem far-fetched but there are even more outlandish-sounding ones out there.
If the plane had flown up the northern corridor, experts maintain it would probably have triggered primary radar. Key countries whose airspace it might have crossed are Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, or Thailand. After 9/11, an unidentified airliner entering sovereign airspace is likely to lead to fighters being scrambled, says Maffett. "If the plane is in the northern arc it could easily have been shot down." It's a theory circulating on some forums. The notion is that no-one would want to admit shooting down an airliner full of passengers, Maffett says, and thus might currently be concealing the event.
But there are a host of holes in the theory. Firstly, the plane would still have had to avoid numerous radar systems before finally triggering one. And the nation responsible would be trying to keep secret the fate of the world's currently most-searched for object. Covering up the incident for so long would arguably make the shooting down look far worse.
A completely different thread of conspiracy theory assumes a sympathetic regime. The scepticism about flying undetected through radar changes somewhat if the hijackers are in cahoots with a country's government. There are several authoritarian regimes within the aircraft's range, but the conspiracy theory doesn't even require a government's co-operation - the hijackers could just be in cahoots with radar operators. Again, this seems to be a conspiracy of incredible complexity to be kept secret for this length of time. And what would the motive be for those colluding?
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Motive? We don't know. But then again, neither we nor anyone else appears to have seen the full cargo manifest yet, which as we said early last week may hold all the answers, and frankly we find it surprising that in a case of such magnitude this most critical unknown has been largely left untouched by everyone.