Slatest PM: Just How Much the Search For MH370 Is Costing

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 7 2014 4:40 PM

Slatest PM: Tallying the Costs of the Search For Flight 370

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Angus Houston, head of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre leading the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, points to a graphic of the search area during a media conference in Perth on April 7, 2014

Photo by Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images

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The Cost: CBS News/Associated Press: "The U.S. bill alone has run into the millions of dollars, and some countries such as China have devoted more ships and planes to the effort than the Americans have. Australia is spending more than half a million dollars a day on just one of the ships it has in the Indian Ocean. But governments and military experts say it's difficult to come up with a full estimate for an ongoing search, especially since many of the costs are a normal part of maintaining effective search-and-rescue capabilities. The U.S. Department of Defense allocated $4 million to help search for the missing Malaysian jetliner. Between March 8 and March 24, it had spent $3.2 million, said spokesman Col. Steve Warren. As of late last week it had spent another $148,000. The Pentagon has allocated another $3.6 million to cover the cost of a towed pinger locator, used to detect underwater signals from aircraft black boxes, and an underwater autonomous vehicle, which can look for wreckage deep below the ocean surface."

International Support: More from CBS/AP: "Malaysia has repeatedly declined to answer questions about the cost of the search. Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has said the cost is immaterial, and the focus is to find the plane and provide closure for the families of the 239 people aboard. Australia's defense department said its direct cost of using its ship the HMAS Success in the search is about $550,000 per day, and another vessel, the HMAS Toowoomba, costs about $380,000 per day. But it said there are [also] ... indirect costs such as general administration, building costs and depreciation of aircraft assets, so it is difficult to provide an exact total. Several Chinese ships and planes have been involved in the search, but China's foreign ministry did not respond to questions about the expense of the effort."

It's Monday, April 7th, welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @k_tunney and the whole team at @Slatest.

Obama's Deportation Record: New York Times: "A New York Times analysis of internal government records shows that since President Obama took office, two-thirds of the nearly two million deportation cases involve people who had committed minor infractions, including traffic violations, or had no criminal record at all. Twenty percent — or about 394,000 — of the cases involved people convicted of serious crimes, including drug-related offenses, the records show. The demographics of those being removed today are not all that different from those removed over the years. Most are Mexican men under the age of 35. But many of their circumstances have changed... The records show the largest increases were in deportations involving illegal immigrants whose most serious offense was listed as a traffic violation, including driving under the influence. Those cases more than quadrupled from 43,000 during the last five years of President George W. Bush’s administration to 193,000 during the five years Mr. Obama has been in office."

Pistorius Takes the Stand: ESPN: "Having to stifle sobs, Oscar Pistorius took the witness stand Monday in his murder trial and apologized to the family of the girlfriend he shot dead, describing himself as being traumatized and awakening from nightmares to the ' smell of blood.' Pistorius' voice quavered so much and was so low that Judge Thokozile Masipa asked him to speak up to the packed courtroom as he described his remorse for having killed Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14, 2013. He said he mistook her for an intruder when he fired four times through a locked toilet stall door in his home. ... 'There hasn't been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven't thought about your family,' the double-amputee star athlete said as he addressed the courtroom and Steenkamp's mother, June, who looked straight at him, stone-faced."

The World's Biggest Election: USA Today/AP: "Voters in India's remote northeast cast ballots on the first day of the world's biggest election Monday, with the opposition heading into the polls with strong momentum on promises of a surge in economic growth. With 814 million eligible voters, India will vote in stages over the next five weeks in a staggered approach made necessary by the country's vast size. Voters will choose representatives for the 543-seat lower house of parliament. Results from all 935,000 polling stations are expected on May 16. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and its candidate for prime minister, Narendra Modi, are seen as the biggest threats to the now-governing Congress party."

Another Kennedy: Washington Post: "According to a local report, Ted Kennedy Jr., the 52-year-old son of the former senator of the same name and nephew of assassinated president John F. Kennedy, will run for an open seat in the Connecticut state Senate. Kennedy is expected to make the announcement official on Tuesday. Kennedy's candidacy follows that of his nephew, Joe Kennedy III, who ran for and won a congressional seat in 2012. Prior to that win, no Kennedys had been in major Washington office for the first time in more than 60 decades. Ted Kennedy Jr. was rumored as a possible candidate for his father's U.S. Senate seat after his death in 2009 and has also been considered a potential candidate for Senate in Connecticut, his home state."

Peaches Geldoff Dead at 25: BBC News: "Peaches Geldof, second daughter of musician Bob Geldof and the late Paula Yates, has died aged 25, leaving a husband and two sons. 'We are beyond pain,' said her father, confirming her death. 'She was the wildest, funniest, cleverest, wittiest and the most bonkers of all of us.' Police, who were called to an address in Kent around lunchtime on Monday, say the death is currently being treated as 'unexplained and sudden.' Geldof was 11 when her own mother died."

That's all for today. See you back here Tuesday. Until then, tell your friends to subscribe or simply forward the newsletter on and let them make up their own minds.

Kelly Tunney is a Slate intern in New York City.

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