News on the go: March 9, 2014

Elaina Sauber

Vietnamese authorities searching waters for a missing Boeing 777 jetliner spotted an object believed to be one of the plane’s doors, as international intelligence agencies joined the investigation of two passengers who boarded the aircraft with stolen passports. More than a day and half after the Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared with 239 people on board, no confirmed debris from the plane had been found, and the final minutes before it went missing are still a mystery. (Read full story here.)

Russian President Vladimir Putin defended recent events in disputed Crimea as keeping within international law, while Ukraine’s prime minister vowed not to relinquish “a single centimeter” of his country’s territory. Over the weekend, Russian military forces strengthened their presence on the peninsula, as pro-Russia forces continue pushing for a vote in favor of reunification with Moscow in the referendum scheduled for next week. (Read full story here.)

The stigma of leprosy continues in India, despite making great strides against the disease, which is neither highly contagious nor fatal.  The number of new annual cases has risen slightly after years of steady decline, and medical experts say the collective fear surrounding leprosy is hindering efforts to finally eliminate it, as people living with the disease continue to hide it from families and loved ones out of fear they will be ostracized. Employers commonly turn away people who have had the disease, even if they’ve been treated and cured. Many also struggle to get driver’s licenses and other routine documents, and even the disease-free children of leprosy patients are disenfranchised.

A California lawmaker has introduced legislation to regulate the state’s liberal medical marijuana industry — including the farmers who grow the drug, the hundreds of shops that sell it and the doctors who write recommendations allowing people to use it. California was the first state to authorize marijuana use for health purposes, however, no one knows how many dispensaries and patients California has because the ambiguously worded law its voters approved in 1996 did not give government agencies a role in tracking the information.

Information is from the Associated Press.

Contact Elaina Sauber at [email protected].