To date in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts at least 1,129 people have been killed, at least 3,442 people have been wounded and more than 100,000 people have been displaced. Map: Wikipedia
Intro: Feasting in the shadow of tragedy.
Malaysia mourns MH17 and MH370, even as it celebrates end of Ramadan
Satish Cheney in Kuala Lumpur South China Morning Post Hong Kong July 28, 2014
Fireworks danced across the sky in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday night, ahead of yesterday’s Hari Raya Puasa holiday marking the end of Ramadan.
But Malaysia’s festivities for Islam’s most important holiday, known elsewhere as Eid ul-Fitr, were shrouded by a dark mood, as the country reeled from the aviation disasters of flights MH370 and MH17.
“Mummy, this year’s Raya and the upcoming ones will not be Raya,” tweeted 15-year-old Diyana Yazeera, whose mother, Dora Shahila Kassim, was chief stewardess on MH17. She perished with 297 others when the Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over Ukraine.
“I’m not gonna celebrate it without you,” wrote Yazeera.
The air tragedies have cast a long shadow, leaving Malaysians struggling to make sense of the twin disasters.
Not a trace has been found of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, which vanished in March with 239 passengers. Two weeks ago, flight 17 was downed, allegedly by Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine.
Over the weekend, Kuala Lumpur roads were jammed as tens of thousands of Malaysians rushed to their hometowns to be with their parents and relatives for the religious holiday.
But for many, thoughts turned to the relatives of those lost in the air disasters.
Items: Putin: West should demand Kiev obey ceasefire during plane crash probe
RT Russia July 22, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin believes it is necessary to call on Kiev to observe the ceasefire, which should last while investigations into the MH17 crash are ongoing.
Putin said that Ukrainian troops attacked self-defense units near Donetsk almost at the same time anti-government forces were handing over the black boxes from the MH17 crash to international experts.
“Tanks broke through to the railway station,” Putin said at the Russian Security Council session on Tuesday. “It was shelled. The international experts there could not even look out of the windows.”
The Russian president said Moscow will do everything it can to facilitate the crash investigation, including trying to influence the anti-government forces in eastern Ukraine.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: Fighting intensifies near crash site
Associated Press/CBC News USA/Canada July 27, 2014
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Ukrainian armed forces mounted a major onslaught against pro-Russian separatist fighters Sunday in an attempt to gain control over the area where a Malaysia Airlines plane was downed earlier this month.
The U.S. State Department, meanwhile, released satellite images that it says back up its claims that rockets have been fired from Russia into eastern Ukraine and heavy artillery for separatists has also crossed the border.
A four-page document released by the State Department seems to show blast marks from where rockets were launched and craters where they landed. Officials said the images, sourced from the U.S. Director of National Intelligence, show heavy weapons fired between July 21 and July 26 — after the July 17 downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
Kiev says rocket blast downed MH17, Dutch probe says info ‘premature’
RT Russia July 28, 2014
Flight recorders of B-777 airliner that has crashed in Ukraine being transferred to Malaysian experts Photo: Mikhail Voskresenskiy/RIA Novosti
Ukraine says analysis of the black box flight recorders from the downed Malaysia Airlines plane shows it was destroyed by shrapnel from a rocket blast. Dutch investigators, however, say they have not shared data with Kiev, calling the claim “premature.”
The Ukrainian Security Council on Monday said that passenger flight MH17 crashed in eastern Ukraine due to “massive explosive decompression.”
The spokesman for the Council, Andrey Lysenko, told a news conference in Kiev the information came from experts analyzing the recorders from the plane that came down in territory held by anti-government forces in eastern Ukraine on July 17, killing all 298 passengers on board.
However, the Dutch Safety Board (DSB), which is heading the investigation into the crash, was puzzled by statements coming from Kiev. According to DSB spokeswoman Sara Vernooij, the “premature” release of details of MH17 black boxes is “not in the best interest of the investigation.”
Speaking to The Independent, Vernooij refused to confirm the claims or comment on the nature of the source used by Lysenko, saying that the board was not going to release anything until the crashed plane’s black boxes are analyzed in full.
“We want to analyze [and] combine information of several sources before we bring out anything, so we can give a coherent view on the whole investigation. Bringing out fragmented pieces of information is not on behalf of the investigation,” Vernooij was quoted as saying.
The DSB is expected to release its initial findings on the MH17 crash on August 1.
Police team turns back from Ukraine crash site
Associated Press/CBC News USA/Canada July 28, 2014
Heavy fighting raged Monday around the Malaysia Airlines debris field, once again preventing an international police team charged with securing the site from even getting there.
Government troops have stepped up their push to win back territory from pro-Russian separatists in fighting that the United Nations said Monday has killed more than 1,100 people in four months.
The international delegation of Australian and Dutch police and forensic experts stopped Monday in Shakhtarsk, a town around 30 kilometres from the fields where the Boeing 777 was brought down.
CBC correspondent Susan Ormiston said she could hear heavy bombardment in the area.
“After about 30 minutes we spotted the convoy racing back, likely making the assessment that it was too dangerous to continue to the crash site,” she said.
Sounds of regular shelling could be heard from Shakhtarsk and residents were seen fleeing town in cars.
Associated Press reporters saw a highrise apartment block in Shakhtarsk being hit by at least two rounds of artillery.
The mandate of the police team is to secure the currently rebel-controlled area so that comprehensive investigations can begin and any remaining bodies can be recovered.
The second cancelled site visit over two days has strained tempers among the observation team.
“There a job to be done,” said Alexander Hug, the deputy head of a monitoring team from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. “We are sick and tired of being interrupted by gunfights, despite the fact that we have agreed that there should be a ceasefire.”
While Russia and Ukraine trade accusations, the death toll has been mounting swiftly.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a report out Monday that at least 1,129 people have been killed between mid-April, when fighting began, and July 26. The report said at least 3,442 people had been wounded and more than 100,000 people had left their homes. A UN report from mid-June put the death toll at 356.
MH17 crash: Dutch and Australian forensic teams fail in fresh attempt to reach debris site
Natasha Culzac The Independent UK July 28, 2014
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Plans by Australian and Dutch authorities to reach the crash site of downed flight MH17 have once again been scuppered after heavy fighting rendered it too dangerous.
International experts had hoped to secure the area and search for the remaining unrecovered bodies after an effort to do so yesterday also failed.
Meanwhile, aviation chiefs are preparing to convene tomorrow to discuss potential issues resulting from the Malaysia Airlines crash, most notably the threat to passenger planes from war torn regions being flown over.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), International Air Transport Association (Iata) and Airports Council International will meet in Montreal, Canada.
Their assembly comes as Dubai-based carrier Emirates confirms is to stop flying over beleaguered Iraq, amid concerns that Islamist militants could fire missiles to passing planes.
“This is a political animal but… the fact of the matter is MH17 changed everything, and that was very nearly in European airspace,” Sir Tim Clark, Emirates Chief Executive told The Times.
“We cannot continue to say, ‘Well it’s a political thing’. We have to do something. We have to take the bull by the horns.”
Noted: Conspiracy theory: MH17 actually the lost MH370, Ukraine wreckage ‘not MH17′
Reissa Su International Business Times Australia July 26, 2014
The recent and tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that killed 298 people may have filled the news along with the other aircraft fatalities of TransAsia and Air Algerie but no one has forgotten about the mysterious disappearance of MH370.The recent and tragic crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that killed 298 people may have filled the news along with the other aircraft fatalities of TransAsia and Air Algerie but no one has forgotten about the mysterious disappearance of MH370.
Several conspiracy theories have already surfaced in social media. Although some were impossible and outrageous, others have become so believable that they have been shared countless times on social media feeds.
As the wreckage of MH370 remains undiscovered, more and more conspiracy theories have gone viral in social media. Only time can tell which one of them is the closest thing to the truth.