Top News: On Monday, a day after 97 percent of Russian-occupied Crimea reportedly voted to secede from Ukraine, Vladimir Putin signed an order "to approve the draft treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Crimea on adopting the Republic of Crimea into the Russian Federation." The referendum and Russia's push for annexation has drawn international condemnation, particularly from the United States and European Union.
The United States responded to Russia's actions in Ukraine by imposing sanctions on some of Putin's closest aides and the leaders of Crimea's breakaway government. The European Union announced a separate list of sanctions, which included some military officials.
Russia recognizes Crimea, US announces sanctions, Russia promises to reciprocate. At least one of the sanctioned officials, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, laughed off the measures, saying that it would not affect Russian politicians do not have financial assets abroad.
Malaysia: The investigation into what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 continues to stagnate today. Malaysian authorities confessed they were less certain than they previously stated about when the plane's transponders were turned off, but investigators remain confident that the plane's disappearance was a deliberate act. Australia has committed additional planes to the search off the country's western shore, while the United States has withdrawn its destroyer, USS Kidd, from the search in the Strait of Malacca; U.S. planes will continue to help in the effort. After reports that the plane's pilot was an anti-government activist, Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said the claims were an attempt by the government to distract from their own incompetence.
-By J. Dana Stuster