Good morning, happy Thursday and first day of spring. Here are six of the top stories we are following this morning at NBC News:
1. Missing jet search shifts to section of Indian Ocean
Search planes were sent out today to a remote area about 1,400 miles off the coast of Perth, Australia, where satellites picked up a murky image of what appears to be debris. The weather, however, limited the visibility, and initial search crews couldn’t immediately locate any plane wreckage. Read more in NEWS.
2. Madeleine McCann case in the spotlight again
London police shared a new lead in the case Wednesday of the missing British toddler, whose disappearance in 2007 captured the world’s attention. Officials say they’ve identified other linked crimes from 2004 to 2010 in the same area in Portugal where Madeleine went missing while she was on vacation with her family. Read more in NEWS.
3. Army general asks judge to consider wife, kids in sentencing
Brigadier General Jeffrey Sinclair, who could be sentenced today for mistreating a female subordinate, pleaded with a military judge to think about his wife and two sons before he rules. The female captain accused Sinclair, 51, of sexually assaulting her and threatening to kill her and her family as the two carried on a three-year affair. Read more in NEWS.
4. Texas girl will finally get gastric bypass surgery
The parents of 12-year-old Alexis Shapiro were able to get their insurers to agree to pay for the surgery that doctors say will help her lose weight. The young girl weighs about 203 pounds after the effects of brain surgery altered her metabolism. Read more in HEALTH.
5. Inmate ‘baked to death’ inside New York City jail
A new report claims a mentally ill former Marine was found dead in a Rikers Island jail cell last month after it overheated to at least 100 degrees. Officials told The Associated Press he failed to open a small vent in his cell. Read more in NEWS.
6. March Madness reaches frenzy with top teams on hunt
With big names, including Florida, Ohio State and Dayton, tipping off today, the NCAA tournament truly begins. But don’t count out a few promising, dark horse teams. Read more at NBC SPORTS.
Advertisers also know how crazy hoops fans are during the tournament, and are willing to buy even more air time than during pro sports games:
… What’s trending today?
He’ll solve the puzzle!
A “Wheel of Fortune” contestant named Emil was able to amaze Pat Sajack and Vanna White with the right answer on his first try in the final round. The category was “thing” and all he had were two letters on the board.
For his triumphant first try, he took home $45,000.