Unrelenting unrest. In an ominous echo of events in Crimea, pro-Russian separatists seized a provincial building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk on Monday and proclaimed the region independent. Ukrainian authorities called the move an attempt by Russia to sow unrest. The Russian Foreign Ministry rejected the allegations but reaffirmed its long-held demand that the Ukrainian government turn the country into a federation with broader powers for provinces. Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Russian troops remain stationed within 19 miles of the border.
In memory. Mickey Rooney, the cherub-faced icon of 1940s Hollywood, died Sunday at age 93. A superstar in his youth, Rooney sang and danced; played roles both serious and silly; wrote memoirs, a novel, movie scripts, and plays; and married eight times, fathering 11 children. His early blockbuster success as the vexing but wholesome Andy Hardy and as Judy Garland’s musical comrade was bookended 70 years later by roles in Night at the Museum and The Muppets. After a lifetime of philandering, he became a member of the Church of Religious Science, a New Age spirituality group that emphasizes meditation, and settled in suburban Thousand Oaks, about 40 miles west of Los Angeles. In 2011, Rooney was in the news again when he testified before Congress about abuse of the elderly, alleging that he was left powerless by a family member who took and misused his money.
Promising ping. Searchers looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have discovered signals in the Indian Ocean that could be from its black box. The Australian navy vessel Ocean Shield picked up the signals using a U.S. Navy device called a towed pinger locator. Crews are working to verify the signals and confirm their location. When and if they can do that, the next step will be to send down the U.S. Navy’s autonomous underwater vessel Bluefin 21, a robot that can create a sonar map of the seafloor and any wreckage, as well as take photos. Since the Bluefin’s range is limited, searchers are waiting to use it until they determine more precisely where the pings are coming from.
Mob mentality. A Bacchanalian Spring Break fest near the University of California, Santa Barbara, turned into a violent melee over the weekend. About 100 people were arrested and at least 44 were taken to the hospital after the party known as Deltopia devolved into a rock- and bottle-throwing free-for-all. Police had to fire tear gas and foam projectiles to break up the crowd of about 15,000 people. Party-goers got unruly when a campus officer arrested someone who hit him in the face with a backpack filled with large bottles of alcohol, sheriff's spokeswoman Kelly Hoover said. One university officer and five deputies were injured, including one who was hit in the face with a brick and two others who were both hit in the hand with bottles, authorities said. One will require surgery on his hand, Hoover said.
Taking bets. NASA wants your best guess on when an orbiter on a scientific mission will make a planned collision with the moon. The LADEE spacecraft is finishing up its work and gradually descending toward the moon, though when it will crash land is anyone’s guess. NASA is inviting members of the public to enter on a website their guesses of the day, hour, and minute the spacecraft will crash. Winners will be notified by email and receive a personalized certificate.