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NEWSFLASH: Need-to-Know Stories 4/25 - 5/1

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This week, the Malaysian government released a preliminary report on the MH370 disappearance, a report that failed to offer any more insight or suggestions about the plane's disappearance on March 8. The U.S. Department of Education also released a list of colleges under Title IX investigations for mishandling sexual assault cases on campus. Finally, a failed execution in Oklahoma reportedly left a prisoner writhing in pain before his death, prompting a state investigation.

Welcome back to NEWSFLASH, giving you the week's biggest stories!

Malaysia Releases Preliminary Report On MH370 Search

The Malaysian government released a preliminary report on MH370’s disappearance, revealing miscommunications that stalled the search process.

The five-page report noted that air traffic controllers failed to notice that the plane vanished until 17 minutes after its disappearance. The document also revealed that it took Malaysia’s government four hours after the plane went missing to call for an official search and rescue operation. 

Other details were released in addition to the preliminary report, including audio recordings of conversations between air traffic controllers and the cockpit.

MH370 disappeared on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane reportedly rerouted back toward Malaysia but then disappeared shortly thereafter. Weeks of searching have failed to produce any leads, leaving the MH370 case a mystery.

55 Colleges Under Title IX Investigation

The U.S. Department of Education released Thursday a list that names 55 colleges and universities under investigation for Title IX complaints.

The list includes public and private universities, including Ivy League schools Harvard University, Dartmouth College and Princeton University. Other such prestigious schools as the University of Chicago, College of William & Mary and Carnegie Mellon University are also a part of the list.

According to the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, the colleges are under investigation for violating the gender equity law Title IX as a result of allegedly mismanaging harassment and sexual assault cases on campus. The Title IX complaints were filed by individuals on campus.

The list’s release has been applauded as a step to effectively address sexual assault crimes on campus.

“We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue,” says Catherine E. Lhamon, assistant secretary for civil rights, in a statement. “I also want to make it clear that a college or university’s appearance on this list and being the subject of a Title IX investigation in no way indicates at this stage that the college or university is violating or has violated the law.”

Student victims and activists have long criticized school administrations and the Education Department for neglecting to properly investigate sexual assault incidents on campuses and for not disclosing more information during prior reviews.

Botched Oklahoma Prison Execution Raises Questions

The attempted execution of prisoner Clayton Lockett has fired up the ethics debate surrounding the death penalty in the United States.

According to some witnesses, Lockett writhed in pain after the vein through which he was administered the necessary drugs collapsed. About 45 minutes after he was given a reportedly new and unused drug combination for the execution, Lockett died from what is presumed to be a heart attack.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has ordered an investigation into the botched execution after the state’s Department of Corrections issued a timeline of the events that transpired.

The timeline does not indicate that Lockett was writhing in pain and looked to be conscious about 16 minutes following the first injection, as witnesses stated. About 20 minutes into the execution, the curtain was lowered and witnesses were no longer able to see the proceedings. 

At a briefing Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney expressed the White House's disapproval of the execution.

"We have a fundamental standard in this country that even when the death penalty is justified, it must be carried out humanely,"Carney says. "And I think everyone would recognize that this case fell short of that standard."

Lockett and another prisoner, Charles Warner, had challenged Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections for refusing to reveal the drug combination it would administer in their executions. 

Warner had been scheduled to be executed the same night as Lockett, but following the incident, his execution has been delayed.


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