Good morning, and happy Wednesday. Here are six of the top stories we are following this morning at NBC News:
1. Confusion continues to swirl around missing Malaysian jet
As the Malaysian military widens its search to the country’s western coast and beyond, India is now being asked to join in the mission to find the missing airliner. Meanwhile, federal records show that air safety regulators had warned of cracking and corrosion problems on Boeing 777s in the weeks before the Malaysian Airlines flight first disappeared early Saturday. Read more in NEWS.
2. Cold reception: New poll shows Americans view Russia as foe
Most Americans consider Russia an adversary — the highest since 1995 when the issue was first tracked, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. The poll also revealed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is broadly unpopular, reflecting Russia’s role in the international crisis in the Ukraine. Read more in NEWS.
Meanwhile, Obama will welcome the new acting Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to the White House today. Read more in NEWS.
3. CIA director’s future in doubt after spying accusation
Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said the public’s trust for CIA head John Brennan has been compromised after allegations on Tuesday that his agency has spied on Senate staffers. “I don’t know how Director Brennan can continue to lead the agency,” Udall said on MSNBC. But Brennan told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell that no such spying has occurred. Read more in POLITICS.
4. Fractured family a victim of Syria’s civil war
The children of the Al Kilzi family in Damascus live in squalor amid the Syrian conflict — and are among the littlest victims in a war that has derailed education for the young and deprived them of a dignified life. NBC News is featuring a live documentary that will continue to unfold today, following the lives of Syrian children on NBCNews.com, TODAY and Nightly News. Read more in NEWS.
5. Pistorius trial: Bathroom door on display during testimony
The bullet-marked door took center stage today as part of the trial against South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering his girlfriend last year in their home. Pistorius, who claims he mistook Reeva Steenkamp for an intruder, shot her while she was in the toilet cubicle, authorities said. Read more in NEWS.
6. Winter strikes back after balmy temps
While parts of the country experienced some unfamiliar weather on Tuesday — temperatures as high as the 80s — it was a short-lived reprieve. Parts of central Illinois to Maine are under a winter storm warning, and snow was already falling in the Midwest. New England could get as much as two feet of snow by late Thursday. Read more in NEWS.
… What’s trending today?
Barack Obama gave the Gap some presidential publicity on Tuesday when he went shopping for the first lady and his daughters at one of the chain’s stores in New York City.
While a sales associate suggested the president pick out a V-neck shirt, Obama wasn’t so sure.
“I’m worried the V-neck is going to slip,” he said, later adding, “I think the ladies will be impressed by my style sense.”
Obama visited the Gap as part of his push to see the federal minimum wage increase from $7.25 to $10.10.