The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, March 17, 2014

The Note's Must-Reads are a round-up of today's political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at

Compiled by ABC News' Jayce Henderson and Janine Elliot

MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT 370 & INTERPOL DATABASE ABC News' Benjamin Bell: " Rep Peter King: No Terrorist Chatter on Missing Malaysian Flight" This morning on "This Week," House Intelligence Committee member Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that there has been no "terrorist chatter" picked up by the United States relating to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished nine days ago after leaving Kuala Lumpur headed toward Beijing. "There's nothing out there indicating it's terrorists. LINK

Bloomberg's Greg Giroux: " Jet probably crashed in Ocean as U.S. Help Resisted: Lawmakers" A missing passenger jet "most likely" went down in the Indian Ocean, and authorities in Malaysia should stop resisting international help in finding out what happened on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, U.S. lawmakers said today."A lot of folks that I talk to believe that's probably the most likely, the most probable circumstance, that in fact it is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean," Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, said on CBS's "Face the Nation" program. LINK

The New York Daily News' Reuven Blau: " Sen. Chuck Schumer wants to block countries that fail to check air passengers for stolen passports from the U.S. visa waiver program" Countries that do not check air passengers for stolen passports should be yanked from the United States visa waiver program, a top New York lawmaker said Sunday. Sen. Chuck Schumer plans to introduce a bill Monday to close a "gaping loophole" revealed by the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 March 8. Two passengers from that missing plane - Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad and Seyed Mohammad Reza Delavar - were traveling on stolen passports. LINK

CRIMEA ABC News' Benjamin Bell: " Sen. Chris Murphy: Nothing U.S. Could Do Militarily to Stop Russia in Ukraine" This morning on "This Week," Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., told ABC's George Stephanopoulos there was nothing the U.S. could do militarily to prevent Russia from moving into Eastern Ukraine following its seizure of the Crimean Peninsula. But Murphy advocated for new sanctions on Russia that could put economic pressure on President Vladimir Putin and prevent further Russian action in Ukraine. "Clearly, this is a longer-term effort to build up the Ukrainian military," said Murphy. "But if on Monday, we announce - with the European Union - a set of crippling sanctions coming after not only individuals, but Russian business entities, I think that sends a strong message to Putin." LINK

NY Times' David M. Herszenhorn: " Crimea Votes to Secede from Ukraine as Russian Troops Keep Watch" With thousands of heavily armed Russian troops occupying this perennially embattled peninsula, an overwhelming majority of Crimeans voted on Sunday to secede from Ukraine and join Russia, resolutely carrying out a public referendum that Western leaders had declared illegal and vowed to punish with economic sanctions. The outcome, in a region that shares a language and centuries of history with Russia, was a foregone conclusion even before exit polls showed more than 93 percent of voters favoring secession. LINK

Politico's Garry Kasparov: " Vladimir Putin and the Lessons of 1938" It's been a busy few weeks for Vladimir Putin. In the last month, the Russian president has hosted the Olympic Games, invaded a neighboring country and massed troops along its border. Back in Moscow, the Kremlin has cranked up the volume of hysterical anti-Western propaganda to a roar while cracking down on the last vestiges of the free media. All the while, he proclaims he wants peace and accuses Western leaders of hypocrisy and anti-Russian sentiment. If Putin wanted to do a better imitation of Adolf Hitler circa 1936-1938, he would have to grow a little mustache. Equally troubling is that the leaders of Europe and the United States have been doing a similarly good impersonation of the weak-kneed and risk-averse leaders who enabled Hitler's rise in the 1930s. LINK

Washington Post's Carol Morello, Pamela Constable and Anthony Faiola: " Crimeans vote in referendum on whether to break away from Ukraine, join Russia" Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to leave Ukraine and join Russia, election officials said Sunday, capping a heavy-handed campaign that blocked most voters from hearing a vision for any alternative to unification with Moscow. Mikhail Malyshev, a senior election commission spokesman in the Crimean capital of Simferopol, announced that with a little more than 50 percent of the ballots counted, about 93 percent had voted in favor of joining Russia. The White House and Western governments rejected the referendum, conducted as thousands of Russian troops occupied the peninsula, and are eyeing sanctions. LINK

Boston Globe's David Filipov: " Crimea votes yes; push to join Russia Spreads" Secessionist fever spread across eastern Ukraine Sunday as the Crimean peninsula overwhelmingly approved a referendum to rejoin Russia and ethnic-Russian protesters across a wide swath of the increasingly divided country demanded a similar secession vote in their own regions. Chanting "Rossiya, Rossiya" and "Putin, Putin," thousands of protesters took to the streets and stormed government buildings in the major frontier cities of Donetsk and Kharkiv, even as the United States condemned the Crimea vote as illegal and the threat of sanctions by the West loomed over Moscow. LINK

The Hill's Mario Trujillo: " White House slams Russian action as dangerous, destabilizing" The White House on Sunday called Russia's actions in Crimea "dangerous and destabilizing" and said it will not recognize the referendum vote held in the region. "As the United States and our allies have made clear, military intervention and violation of international law will bring increasing costs for Russia - not only due to measures imposed by the United States and our allies but also as a direct result of Russia's own destabilizing actions," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement shortly after the polls closed. LINK

The Washington Times' Guy Taylor: " Crimea votes in favor of secession, U.S. rejects" Under the gaze of Russian military forces Sunday, citizens of Crimea voted overwhelmingly in favor of splitting off from Ukraine to become a part of territorial Russia, a development likely to further stoke Cold War-style tensions that have been escalating for weeks between Moscow and the West. The United States and other countries promptly rejected the referendum as illegitimate, and President Obama called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday afternoon to reiterate that stance. LINK

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT Washington Post's Robert Costa: " House Republican leaders craft their vision for an alternative to health-care law" House Republican leaders are adopting an agreed-upon conservative approach to fixing the nation's health-care system, in part to draw an election-year contrast with President Obama's Affordable Care Act. The plan includes an expansion of high-risk insurance pools, promotion of health savings accounts and inducements for small businesses to purchase coverage together. The tenets of the plan - which could expand to include the ability to buy insurance across state lines, guaranteed renewability of policies and changes to medical-malpractice regulations - are ideas that various conservatives have for a long time backed as part of broader bills. LINK

2016 ELECTION Politico's Katie Glueck: " Hillary Clinton, Rand Paul top 2016 poll" Sen. Rand Paul leads the GOP 2016 pack, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is more likely to be perceived as capable of handling crises than is President Barack Obama, according to new survey data released Sunday. A CNN/ORC International survey found Paul the slight favorite for his party's nomination, with 16 percent of those polled on the question tapping the Kentucky Republican as their choice for the 2016 GOP nod. He was closely followed, within the margin of error, by 2012 vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who pulled in 15 percent; and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, with 11 percent.Perry, whose unsuccessful 2012 bid was characterized by a series of high-profile missteps, made a big splash at the Conservative Political Action conference earlier this month. Like Paul, he has signaled he is weighing a 2016 presidential bid. LINK

FEDERAL RESERVE The Wall Street Journal's Pedro Nicolaci Da Costa: " Federal Reserve Officials Weighing How to Retool Rate Guidance" Federal Reserve officials are discussing ways to revise their guidance about the likely future path of interest rates, but it takes some detective work to pin down how they might do it. The Fed has said in its recent policy statements it won't start raising short-term interest rates from near zero until well past the time the unemployment rate falls below 6.5%. That position hasn't changed. But with joblessness at 6.7% in February, several officials have indicated in recent speeches and interviews they might want to scrap the threshold entirely or revamp their message in other ways. LINK

TEXAS Senator TED CRUZ USA Today's Catalina Camia: " Check it out: Ted Cruz, the Republican Party's tattooed bad boy" Who knew Ted Cruz could get inked up and was buff to boot? Well, not exactly. But posters of the Texas senator - looking every bit the tattooed bad boy of the Republican Party - were spotted in Los Angeles last week. One such poster was labeled: "Ted Cruz's So-Cal Blacklisted & Loving it Tour," according to Breitbart News. The black and white posters appeared near such hip and trendy clubs as the Viper Room and the Whiskey-a-Go-Go. Now, Cruz was indeed in Los Angeles on Saturday to pick up the Claremont Institute's Statesmanship Award and speak at the conservative group's annual dinner honoring Winston Churchill. LINK

BOSTON Mayor MARTY WALSH The Los Angeles Times' Matt Pearce: " Citing exclusion of gays, Boston mayor skips St. Patrick's Day parade" Things don't get much more Boston than the St. Patrick's Day parade that goes through south Boston every year. But citing an exclusion of gay participants, the city's mayor decided not to join one of the famously Irish city's most famously Irish events on Sunday. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, whose parents were Irish immigrants, was keeping a promise not to attend after he failed to convince organizers to allow a gay veterans group to participate in the march. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO: " 'This Week': Crisis in Ukraine" LINK " 'This Week': Sen Chris Murphy" LINK " 'This Week': Bill Gates on Education" LINK " 'This Week': Congress on Concussions" LINK " 'This Week': Powerhouse Roundtable LINK

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