Investigators got new information that may help them narrow the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on Thursday as new details shed light on the doomed flight's final moments early March 8 as it flew from Kuala Lumpur toward Beijing.
A search plane has detected a possible signal - the fifth so far - from the locator beacons from the missing jet's so-called black boxes, the Australian agency coordinating the search announced.
The acoustic data from the possible signal, detected by an RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft on Thursday afternoon, were being analyzed at RAAF Base Edinburgh near Adelaide, according to a source with the Australian Defense Force. The source said the signal was detected by sonar buoys that had been deployed by the aircraft earlier.
The data show "potential of being from a man-made source," said retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the agency's chief coordinator.
A senior Malaysian government official and another source involved in the investigation divulged Thursday a number of details about the flight:
• Malaysian air force search aircraft were scrambled about 8 a.m. March 8, soon after Malaysia Airlines reported that its plane was missing, Malaysian sources told CNN. The aircraft took off before authorities corroborated data indicating that the plane turned back westward, a senior Malaysian government official told CNN.
• But the air force did not inform the Department of Civil Aviation or search and rescue operations until three days later, March 11, a source involved in the investigation told CNN.
• Flight 370's pilot, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, was the last person on the jet to speak to air-traffic controllers, telling them "Good night, Malaysian three-seven-zero," Malaysian sources told CNN. The sources said there was nothing unusual about his voice, which betrayed no indication that he was under stress. One of the sources, an official involved in the investigation, told CNN that police played the recording to five other Malaysia Airlines pilots who knew the pilot and co-pilot. "There were no third-party voices," the source said.
• Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared from military radar for about 120 nautical miles after it crossed back over the Malaysian Peninsula, sources say. Based on available data, this means the plane must have dipped in altitude to between 4,000 and 5,000 feet, a senior Malaysian government official and a source involved in the investigation tell CNN.
The dip could have been programmed into the computers controlling the plane as an emergency maneuver, said aviation expert David Soucie.
"The real issue here is it looks like - more and more - somebody in the cockpit was directing this plane and directing it away from land," said CNN aviation analyst and former National Transportation Safety Board Managing Director Peter Goelz. "And it looks as though they were doing it to avoid any kind of detection."
Follow updates at CNN.com.
Oscar Pistorius denied he picked on girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, his murder trial heard Thursday, as the chief prosecutor sought to portray the track star as an arrogant hothead who is reckless with guns.
In a second day of blunt and aggressive questioning, prosecutor Gerrie Nel accused the double amputee of blaming other people for his mistakes, as he sought to prove the Olympic and Paralympic athlete murdered Steenkamp on Valentine's Day last year.
Nel began by picking apart message exchanges between the couple, accusing the runner of screaming at his girlfriend and acting selfishly toward her.
"I didn't treat her badly," Pistorius replied.
Asked if Steenkamp had lied when she said he picked on her incessantly, Pistorius replied: "She never lied."
He later added: "Reeva was never scared of me."
Nel highlighted an incident in which Steenkamp complained in a message that Pistorius asked her to stop chewing gum. He also read a message in which she defended herself against Pistorius' accusations that she flirted at a party.
"You were strong enough in that relationship to say stop your voices, stop your accents, stop chewing gum," Nel said. But Pistorius replied he gently told her to stop chewing gum before they got on camera at an event.
Nel said Pistorius never responded to Steenkamp's message in which she said, "I'm the girl who fell in love with you."
"We did a search ... the phrase 'I love you' appears twice on her phone, to her mother," the prosecutor said.
"Because it was all about Mr. Pistorius," Nel said. The athlete said he never got the opportunity to tell Steenkamp he loved her.
'You will blame anybody but yourself'
In his second day of cross-examination, Pistorius faced persistent questions about what happened on the night he shot Steenkamp. Nel said Pistorius' version of events on the night of the killing "is a lie" and accused him of "adapting" events to suit his account.
The runner recounted waking up during the night and getting out of bed to close the doors to a balcony, shut the curtains and move fans into the room. Steenkamp is then thought to have gotten out of bed, but the athlete said he was unable to see her because he had his back turned and the room was dark.
Pistorius insisted again that the shooting was an accident and he did not intentionally fire four shots.
Nel, with a reputation as one of South Africa's toughest attorneys, has sought to portray Pistorius as negligent with firearms.
"You will blame anybody but yourself," he said to the 27-year-old, cross-examining him about a separate incident in which Pistorius is accused of firing a pistol in a restaurant in January 2013.
Pistorius said the gun was given to him by a friend under a restaurant table and went off by itself as he tried "to make it safe." He had wanted to see the gun but conceded he hadn't checked the magazine first. Police Capt. Christian Mangena gave evidence earlier in the trial, saying the weapon could fire only if the trigger was pulled.
The athlete said he could not explain how the gun went off, and he questioned the decision of his own defense lawyer, Barry Roux, not to cross-examine Mangena on his evidence.
"Now you blame counsel Mr. Roux," Nel said.
Pistorius, the most composed he has been in days, said he repeatedly took the blame for the incident, but the prosecutor tried to poke holes in his declaration.
"This is incredible. You never touched the trigger, the gun went off. You took the blame, you took responsibility, but no one remembers," Nel said.
Pistorius also said two witnesses, an ex-girlfriend and a friend, were lying about an incident in which the runner is alleged to have fired his gun out the sunroof of a car. And he said he wasn't guilty of a fourth charge against him: illegal possession of ammunition found in a safe in his home after Steenkamp's death.
"You just don't want to accept responsibility for anything," Nel told Pistorius, whose answers to the accusations were short denials.
'You shot and killed her. Say it'
A day before, a defiant Nel bluntly barked at the Olympic star on the stand: "You shot and killed her. Say it - 'I shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp,' "
No one disputes that Pistorius killed Steenkamp. But the prosecution is trying to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he did so knowingly and intentionally.
The runner has admitted to the killing, but he said he mistook Steenkamp for an intruder in the bathroom when he fired through the door and killed her.
Before Nel went after Pistorius, Roux had tossed his client a question to drive that argument home. He asked Pistorius if he intentionally killed Steenkamp.
"I did not intend to kill Reeva or anybody else for that matter," he replied.
In a dramatic opening to his cross-examination Wednesday, Nel shocked the Pretoria court when he confronted Pistorius with a graphic photograph of Steenkamp showing the side and back of her skull, her hair matted with blood.
Pistorius broke down and sobbed as Nel pushed him repeatedly to take responsibility for her killing.
Obama to honor LBJ’s civil rights legacy: President Barack Obama on Thursday will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. A lot of people have compared Obama with Lyndon B. Johnson recently. The LBJ people want to rescue his legacy from Vietnam. In a piece in the National Journal, George Condon argues Obama staffers don’t want their guy’s star put up next to the coarse-mouthed Texan. But you can’t argue that Johnson didn’t get a lot done in his first few years in office. Civil rights legislation, the Great Society programs and Medicare and Medicaid – these are legacy items with a more lasting imprint on American culture and society than most presidents can claim.
David Jackson puts it well in USA Today: “There was a time – a long time – when Democratic presidential candidates would not even utter the name Lyndon Baines Johnson. This week, the three Democrats elected president since Johnson traveled to Texas to honor the memory of LBJ – a president once reviled for the Vietnam War, now revered for a domestic record that includes landmark civil rights laws.”
Jackson’s piece points out that when Bill Clinton visited the LBJ library during a 1992 campaign stop, he didn’t once utter the late president’s name.
Today, Texas is on the front lines in the debate over whether some civil rights legislation signed into law by Johnson remains necessary.
Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama are facing off against Texas Gov. Rick Perry and the Supreme Court over key portions of the Voting Rights Act (which turns 50 next year).
Obama, speaking at a fund-raiser Wednesday in Houston, drew attention to the federal battle with Texas, which wants to reclaim full autonomy over redistricting. The Voting Rights Act forces states with a history of discrimination to clear new districts with the Justice Department.
The president called these “active efforts to deter people from voting.”
“The idea that you’d purposely try to prevent people from voting? Un-American,” he said, according to Politico. “How is it that we’re putting up with that? We don’t have to.”