Thursday, February 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Missing jet points to gaps in technology, security

Wireless technology enables people to locate a missing dog or change the home thermostat from thousands of miles away. Yet a commercial jumbo jet with 239 passengers and crew can disappear after an hour into flight and remain missing for days despite a global search effort involving more than 80 aircraft and ships from at least 10 nations. What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 raises many questions, chief among them the poor use of technology in modern aviation and security gaps that remain long after the 9/11 attacks.

The Boeing 777 vanished early Saturday after taking off from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing. Its last recorded position put it north of Malaysia over the Gulf of Thailand, and the search was expanded far beyond the plane's last location and path. The Malaysian military said the plane flew another hour after vanishing from air traffic control screens, heading west at a lower altitude before being picked up by Malaysian military radar. The uncertainty over the plane's location only divided and slowed the rescue effort. China's official news agency reported late Wednesday that satellite images from Sunday showed possible plane debris just to the south and east of the plane's last known location.

Authorities are a long way from determining whether mechanical failure, pilot error, terrorism or some other cause is to blame. But what is jarring in this age is the difficulty in finding the plane. Satellites and other technology could have helped close a critical gap, from giving the plane's position and feeding real-time flight data to providing automatic reports of mechanical malfunction or dangerous flying. Much of that information, which is critical to understanding what happened in-flight, is currently contained in cockpit recorders. But they have limited batteries and can be difficult to find.

The plane's disappearance also exposes an alarming gap in airline security. Authorities said two people boarded the flight using stolen passports. While Interpol played down any hint of terrorism, the news underscores how most countries have refused to use Interpol's database of lost and stolen passports to screen for terrorists, traffickers and criminal fugitives. According to the international law enforcement agency, only three nations — the United States, Britain and the United Arab Emirates — routinely screen passengers against the database. And last year, Interpol reported, passengers around the world were able to board planes more than 1 billion times without having their passports checked against the registry.

It will take time to unravel the mystery of the Malaysia Airlines flight. But civil aviation needs new technology and tougher security to improve flying safety and the international response to catastrophic events. Interpol's announcement that it would allow two airlines to query the passport database as part of a test project was a good step. But governments and carriers need to make a larger commitment if they hope to boost passenger safety and better manage their resources in any future disaster.

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Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.íí A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he wonít raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trumpís claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nationís 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18
Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

Editorial: Buckhorn should not appeal verdict in firefighterís case

The city of Tampa should have taken Tanja Vidovic seriously from the start when the Tampa firefighter complained about her treatment in the workplace. Now that a jury and judge have spoken, itís time for City Hall to cut its losses, learn from its mi...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

Editorial: CareerSource troubles mount as public trust drops

The dark cloud enveloping Tampa Bayís job placement centers keeps growing. There are accusations of forged documents, evidence of nepotism and concerns about grossly inflated performance numbers that could be tied to receiving more public money and b...
Published: 02/15/18
Updated: 02/16/18
Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Editorials: Prayers and platitudes after shootings arenít enough

Even before the victims of another mass shooting at another public school were identified, Gov. Rick Scott, Attorney General Pam Bondi, state legislators and members of Congress rushed to South Florida or to social media to offer their thoughts and p...
Published: 02/15/18
Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

Editorial: DCF review should get to the bottom of Hillsborough foster care issues

The Florida Department of Children and Families is right to call for a timely and "comprehensive" review of Hillsborough Countyís foster care system. Though the probe is a reaction to a recent case involving a child who was left unattended, the revie...
Published: 02/14/18

A Washington Post editorial: Modernize 911 calling before it becomes an emergency

This Friday marks the 50th anniversary of the first 911 emergency call placed in the United States. Since then, uncounted lives have been saved and people helped. It has been a great accomplishment of government.But even as an estimated 240 million 9...
Published: 02/13/18
Updated: 02/14/18