March 17th, 2014
03:23 AM ET

Five Things to Know for Your New Day –Monday, March 17

Answers elude investigators in their search for a missing Malaysian jetliner, Crimea votes to join Russia, and it's time to fill out your brackets for March Madness.

It's Monday, and here are the "5 Things to Know for Your New Day."

1. MISSING PLANE

Mystery deepens: If you were a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner, where would you be? Ten days after Flight 370 disappeared with 239 people on board, authorities are still scratching their heads. Twenty-four nations are involved in a search that spans thousands of miles, extends over 11 countries and stretches as far north as Kazakhstan and south into the Indian Ocean. Investigators believe it was a deliberate effort, but beyond that, plenty of mystery remains. Did one or both pilots intentionally take the plane? Maybe. Was it hijacked? Possibly. Were terrorists involved? Who knows? There are a lot of loose ends.

2. UKRAINE CRISIS

Crimea referendum: To no one's surprise, Ukraine's autonomous Crimea region voted yesterday to join Russia. The vote was more than 96% in favor and took place under the watchful eye of pro-Russian troops who remain firmly in control of the Black Sea peninsula. The United States and other Western nations condemned the referendum and threatened sanctions. But Russia is holding its ground, saying the vote conforms to international law. This is far from settled.

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3. GENERAL'S COURT-MARTIAL

Sex assault charges dropped: Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair will plead guilty to adultery and mistreating his accuser, but will see sexual assault and sodomy charges against him dropped as part of a plea deal in his court-martial taking place at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. The general was accused of sexual assault by a female captain. Sinclair had a three-year affair with her. The 27-year Army veteran's legal team had long said Sinclair would not plead guilty to anything that would land him on a sex offender registry. Sentencing will begin this week.

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4. MARCH MADNESS

Let the insanity begin: For college basketball fans, this time of year qualifies as a dose of heaven. Sixty-eight teams are ready to duke it out for round ball glory. The top seeds are Virginia, Florida, Wichita State and Arizona. Have you started on your brackets yet? There's a mega-bracket display in the CNN Center atrium in Atlanta, right outside this blogger's window.

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Of course, there's a little extra incentive this time around. Warren Buffett and the folks at Quicken Loans are ready to dole out $1 billion to the basketball fan who submits the perfect NCAA bracket for this year's tournament.

And if you're going to be propped in front of the TV all weekend, why not have some maintenance work done while you're at it? Vasectomies are apparently the surgery du jour during March Madness. Clinics across the country report a spike in appointments this time of year. Think about it. What could be better than TV, nonstop basketball and a bag of frozen peas in your lap?

5. ST. PATRICK'S PARADE PULLOUT

Guinness drops sponsorship: Call it a stout decision by beer giant Guinness to pull its support from New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade. It's a protest over organizers refusing to allow gay and lesbian groups to openly march. Rival Heineken had already pulled out of the same event for the same reason, and Sam Adams announced that it would no longer sponsor the Boston parade for the same reason.

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Revelers at last year's St. Patrick's Day parade in New York.

Those are your five biggies for the day. Here are a couple of others that are brewing and have the Internet buzzing.

- St. Paddy Katty: Nothing to see here. Just your everyday kitten wearing a green hat, while Irish music plays.

- Newman's not dead yet: Rumors circulated over the weekend that "Seinfeld" actor Wayne Knight died in a car crash. He didn't. It was a social media hoax. Now back to Candy Crush Saga.

- Yeah, I meant to do that: You don't have to be a soccer fan to appreciate this goal-of-the-year candidate.

- First doggy sniff: Remember last week's viral video about total strangers kissing on screen for the first time? It was a fake, but millions of folks clicked anyway. Here's the doggy parody.

- Loyalty after death: Three dogs in Texas continue to guard their owners' burned-out home after their deaths over the weekend.
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There you go. All you need to know to get an early start to your morning.
Be sure to tune in to "New Day," from 6 to 9 a.m. ET, join us at NewDayCNN.com and go and have a GREAT NEW DAY!

soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Francis Nazareth

    This Five Things to Know is a great idea to catch up with the happenings & updates. With respect to the Malaysia Airlines, can some one tell the international investigating authorities (not the Malaysian Government as they are hiding something) to check the 5 passengers that did not board or who booked the tickets and did not go. Initially, we were told that their luggage was off loaded and then the Minister said there were no checked luggage. Besides the passenger list - they need to investigate the 5 that did not board or cancelled their booking as they may know something.

    March 17, 2014 at 9:08 am | Reply
  2. Hollywood

    I think that the referendum vote was a sick joke.

    March 17, 2014 at 6:56 am | Reply
  3. Margaret Morgan

    Dogs are truly man's best friend.Three beautiful dogs guarding their deceased owners' home. How touching,beautiful and sad.

    March 17, 2014 at 6:32 am | Reply

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