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Malaysian airliner downed in Ukraine war zone, 298 dead

18 July 2014 17:17:22 The Asian Age

People walk on the debris at the crash site after a passenger plan was shot down as it flew over Ukraine. Photo: AP The United States believes a surface-to-air missile brought down a Malaysian airliner that crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing all 298 people on board, an incident that sharply raises the stakes in a conflict between Kiev and pro-Moscow rebels. There is no evidence Ukrainian government forces fired a missile, said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. A second US official said the origin of the missile was unclear. US Vice President Joe Biden, speaking in Detroit, said the passenger jet apparently was "blown out of the sky". Ukraine accused pro-Moscow militants, aided by Russian military intelligence officers, of firing a long-range, Soviet-era SA-11 ground-to-air missile. Leaders of the rebel Donetsk People's Republic denied any involvement and said a Ukrainian air force jet had brought down the intercontinental flight. Russian President Vladimir Putin - at loggerheads with the West over his policies toward Ukraine - pinned the blame on Kiev for renewing its offensive against rebels two weeks ago after a ceasefire failed to hold. The Kremlin leader called it a "tragedy" but did not say who brought the Boeing down. The loss of MH-17 is the second disaster for Malaysia Airlines this year, following the mysterious loss of flight MH-370 in March, which disappeared with 239 passengers and crew on board on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. "If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told a pre-dawn news conference in Kuala Lumpur. "This is a tragic day, in what has already been a tragic year, for Malaysia." Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who had stepped up an offensive in the east, spoke to US President Barack Obama and sought to rally world opinion behind his cause. "The external aggression against Ukraine is not just our problem but a threat to European and global security," he said in a statement. MARKETS JITTERY Financial markets were hit by worries of new geopolitical tensions, as Israel invaded the Gaza Strip on the same day. Smouldering wreckage of the Boeing 777 lay strewn in fields near the Russian border, along with the bodies of passengers, more than half of them Dutch. With the area held by rebel forces, an international row was brewing over access to the site after separatists said they had taken a black box flight recorder. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a transparent international investigation of the incident. The UN Security Council will discuss the issue on Friday. The scale of the disaster, which left scores of unsuspecting foreigners, including many children, scattered lifeless across the muddy Ukrainian steppe, could prove a turning point for international pressure to resolve the crisis. It has killed hundreds since protests toppled the Moscow-backed president in Kiev in February and Russia annexed the Crimea a month later. As word came in of what might be the worst ever attack on a civilian airliner, Obama was on the phone with Putin, discussing a new round of economic sanctions that Washington and its allies have imposed to try to force Putin to do more to curb the revolt against the new government in Kiev. Obama warned of further sanctions if Moscow did not change course in Ukraine, the White House said. NATIONAL MOURNING IN NETHERLANDS Reuters journalists saw burning and charred wreckage bearing the red and blue Malaysia Airlines insignia and dozens of bodies in fields near the village of Hrabove, 40 km from the Russian border near the rebel-held regional capital of Donetsk. The airline said it was carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew. The Netherlands declared a day of national mourning for its 154 dead. Twenty-eight passengers were Malaysian, 27 Australian, 11 Indonesian, six British, four German, four Belgian, three Filipino and one Canadian. All 15 crew were Malaysian. Nationalities of the others aboard were unclear. Poroshenko called the incident a "terrorist" act and Ukrainian officials accused rebels of using a Soviet-era SA-11 missile system acquired from Russia - offering evidence that they may have believed they were firing on a Ukrainian military aircraft. The Ukrainian government released recordings it said were of Russian intelligence officers discussing the shooting down of an aircraft by rebels they were supporting. Supposedly timed within minutes of the last radar contact with MH-17 around 4:20 pm, they suggested militants thought they had hit a Ukrainian military plane before finding the airliner remains. "Hell," says one of those being recorded. "It's almost 100 percent certain that it's a civilian plane. Bits were falling in the streets ... Bits of seat, bodies." After the downing of several Ukrainian military aircraft in the area in recent months, including two this week, Kiev had accused Russian forces of playing a direct role. International air lanes had been open in the area, although only above 32,000 ft (9,750 metres). The Malaysia plane was flying 1,000 ft higher, officials said. The area was closed to flights afterwards. Ukrainian Interior Ministry official Anton Gerashchenko said on Facebook: "Just now, over Torez, terrorists using a Buk anti-aircraft system kindly given to them by Putin have shot down a civilian airliner flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur." The Buk - which means beech tree in Russia - is a 1970s vintage, truck-mounted, radar-guided missile system, codenamed SA-11 Gadfly by Cold War NATO adversaries. It fires a 5.7-metre (19-ft), 55-kg missile for up to 28 km. He also published a photograph he said showed a Buk launcher in the centre of the town of Torez, near Hrabove, on Thursday. It was not possible to verify the image. Separatists were quoted in Russian media last month saying they had acquired a long-range SA-11 anti-aircraft system. One group was quoted as saying that it used such a weapon on Monday to bring down an Antonov An-26 turboprop plane - a loss that the Ukrainian forces had confirmed this week along with the downing of a Sukhoi Su-25 fighter on Wednesday. EVIDENCE DEMAND "I was working in the field on my tractor when I heard the sound of a plane and then a bang," one local man told Reuters at Hrabove, known in Russian as Grabovo. "Then I saw the plane hit the ground and break in two. There was thick black smoke." An emergency worker said at least 100 bodies had been found so far and that debris was spread over 15 km. People were scouring the area for the black box flight recorders and separatists were later quoted as saying they had found one. Kiev complained that separatists who are the main force in the area prevented Ukrainian officials from reaching the site. After Obama and Poroshenko spoke, the White House said: "The presidents emphasised that all evidence from the crash site must remain in place on the territory of Ukraine until international investigators are able to examine all aspects of the tragedy." At the airport in Kuala Lumpur, relatives of those aboard gathered, hoping for word. Akma Mohammad Noor said her sister, Rahimah, was on the flight, coming home for the first time in years to mark the Muslim festival of the end of Ramad

Vice null Time18 July 2014 17:17:22


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Post MH 370, Europe seeks tighter flight data rules

23 June 2014 08:22:40 WN.com - World News

Regulators in Europe are pressing for new ways that would make it impossible to disable safety and communications systems on commercial airliners, the NYT reports....

Vice All News Time23 June 2014 08:22:40


Missing plane update: MH370 pilot Captain Zaharie Shah now 'chief suspect'

22 June 2014 19:49:04 WN.com - World News

The Malaysian Airlines MH 370...

Vice All News Time22 June 2014 19:49:04


No 'blame' for media on MH 370 coverage

04 June 2014 01:00:18 WN.com - World News

"I'm not going to blame the media. People want to hear about it," Tony Tyler says....

Vice All News Time04 June 2014 01:00:18


MHS launches awards

25 May 2014 09:48:31 timesofmalta.com

The Malta Historical Society is launching its first edition of awards to recognise publications that have contributed distinctly to Maltese historical studies. The awards will acknowledge excellence in scholarly articles on Maltese history published in Malta and abroad by Maltese and foreign authors, as well as articles by new entrants in the field of historical research. The society will present two awards: the MHS Awards for Published Historical Research and for Published Historical Research by Emerging Authors. Middlesea Insurance plc is supporting the society. Nominated papers must have... This article is part of our premium content. Full story is available on Times of Malta Premium.

Vice All News Time25 May 2014 09:48:31


Rothschild Behind Malaysia Missing Flight

21 May 2014 06:43:27 WN.com - World News

With the disappearance of those on Malaysian Airlines MH370 billionaire Jacob Rothschild becomes the sole owner of an important semiconductor patent. Coincidence? I think not! The mysteries surrounding Malaysian Airliner MH-370 continue to grow with each passing day and Mr. Rothschild is smack dab in the middle. Illuminati member, Rothschild, is believed to have exploited the airliner to gain full Patent Rights of an incredible KL-03 micro-chip. The US technological company, Freescale Semiconductor, who shared its rights with Rothschild, had twenty senior members on board who had just launched a new electronic warfare gadget for military radar system’s the day before the plane went missing....

Vice All News Time21 May 2014 06:43:27


Former Prime Minister Of Malaysia Accuses CIA Of Covering Up MH-370 Disappearance

21 May 2014 01:03:24 Malaysia News latest RSS headlines - Malaysia Sun.com

It has been over two months since Malaysian flight MH-370 disappeared and still not a single credible trace of its final resting place has been ...

Vice All News Time21 May 2014 01:03:24


Bangladesh Navy launches fresh search in Bay for missing Malaysian aircraft

02 May 2014 17:59:14 The Bangladesh Today

DHAKA : Bangladesh Navy has launched a fresh search operation for the missing Malaysian passenger aircraft, MH Flight 370, in the Bay of Bengal, following the suggestion by an Australian survey company that the wreckage of a plane might be found in the bay, reports UNB. According to news published in international media, the Aussie

Vice All News Time02 May 2014 17:59:14


An eerie calm in new Flight 370 audio

01 May 2014 22:17:40 WN.com - World News

An eerie calm in new Flight 370...

Vice All News Time01 May 2014 22:17:40


Malaysia to release first report on MH 370

01 May 2014 13:20:58 CNN.com - World

As the world waits to see Malaysia's first report on MH 370, the private company that says it may have found plane wreckage defended its claim.

Vice All News Time01 May 2014 13:20:58