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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The Wall Street Journal is reporting that U.S. investigators suspect a missing Malaysian jetliner flew on for four hours once it lost contact with air traffic controllers.
The suspicion is based on data from the plane's engines that are automatically downloaded and transmitted to the ground as part of routine maintenance programs.
The report raises questions as to why the Boeing 777 was flying like that, and if anyone was in control during that time.
The plane's last known confirmed position was roughly halfway between Malaysia and Vietnam.
Malaysian authorities have since said they tracked what could have been the plane changing course and heading west.
Investigators have not ruled out any possible cause to explain the disappearance of the plane and the 239 people on board.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder is endorsing a proposal that would result in shorter prison sentences for certain nonviolent drug traffickers, saying the change would rein in bloated federal prison costs and create a fairer criminal justice system.
Holder was to appear Thursday before the U.S. Sentencing Commission, where he was scheduled to announce his support for a commission proposal to lower the guideline penalties for certain drug crimes.
"This over-reliance on incarceration is not just financially unsustainable, it comes with human and moral costs that are impossible to calculate," Holder said in excerpts of his testimony, obtained by The Associated Press in advance.
The harshest penalties, he said, should be reserved for "dangerous and violent drug traffickers."
His speech was part of a broader push for new federal sentencing policies, including his directive to prosecutors in August to stop charging many nonviolent drug defendants with offenses that carry mandatory minimum sentences.
The commission in January proposed modifying the guideline penalties so that many drug trafficking crimes would be tied to shorter sentencing ranges. The effect, the Justice Department says, would be to reduce by 11 months the average sentence of a drug trafficking offender and would trim the federal prison population by roughly 6,550 inmates over the next five years.
The commission was not expected to vote on the proposed change until at least April, but Holder planned to instruct prosecutors in the meantime not to oppose sentencing recommendations in line with the newly proposed ranges.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Police say two people have died after a car drove through temporary barricades set up for the South By Southwest festival and struck a crowd of pedestrians.
Lt. Brian Moon says the two victims were confirmed dead at the scene in downtown Austin, along a block where several clubs are located. Moon says 21 others were transported to various hospitals, most with minor injuries. He says five to seven had more serious injuries.
The fatal crash happened around 12:30 a.m. Thursday.
Police say the driver has been taken into custody.