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Monday, July 21, 2014

I hold my own views on MH17 to my chest, so from Yahoo!News...

Belatedly, Desi is placing on record the MH17 tragedy FOR MY OWN RECROD. Believe, YL, Desi

#MH17 Live Report: Malaysia frustrated with separatists

21 JULY 2014


Dear readers,

We will be ending our live blog coverage of the MH17 tragedy. You can continue to follow the developments on our Yahoo Malaysia News site, our Facebook page and our Twitter account. Thank you for following Yahoo Malaysia's live updates, and we will continue to pray for a swift closure.

For those who are affected by this tragedy, we would like to extend our deepest condolences. The whole of Malaysia is standing behind you, and we always will.

Thank you.

The Yahoo Malaysia editorial team


2.50am: Malaysia is frustrated with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine for hampering efforts to recover, identify and repatriate the remains of the victims of flight MH17. Click here for more
1.10am: Analysts have warned that Russia president Vladimir Putin risks burning bridges with the West over the deadly plane crash in Ukraine as they do not see him accepting responsibility for the disaster. Read

20 JULY 2014
11.58pm: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak wants the remains of the MH17 victims be removed to a safe location before Hari Raya Aidilfitri comes around this July 28. More on this here
10.55pm: The rebels now have full control of the bodies, and the U.S. and European leaders demanded that Russian President Vladimir Putin make sure rebels give international investigators full access to the crash site. Read

10.10pm: Pro-Russian rebels who reportedly discovered the black boxes have agreed to hand them over to the International Civil Aviation Organization. More details here
9.35pm: According to Ukraine officials and monitors, armed rebels forced emergency workers to hand over all 196 bodies recovered from the crash site and had them loaded onto refrigerated train cars bound for a rebel-held city. Read

8.30pm: Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine said they had recovered objects which appear to be the black boxes of the downed airliner, and they are willing to hand them over to investigators. More of this here

7.07pm: Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that Russia was likely behind the downing of a MH17, saying such an operation takes professionals and not “drunken gorillas.” Full story.

5.19pm: Rebels have taken all the 196 bodies that workers recovered from the crash site to an unknown location, Ukraine's emergency services said. Associated Press journalists saw the pro-Russia rebels putting bagged bodies onto trucks at the crash site and driving them away. Read it here.

5.02pm: Malaysia Airlines has decided to retire its MH17 flight code on the Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur sector out of respect for the passengers and crews of the ill-fated airliner. Read.

4.42pm: Ukraine says 196 bodies had been found at the site where the the plane crashed. In full.
3.40pm: A top Ukrainian rebel leader said that pro-Russian fighters will guarantee the safety of international monitors at the crash site if Kiev agrees to a truce. Read.
2.54pm: Officials from eight nations - including Malaysia - are finalising further details pending the green light from Ukraine government officials for the multinational effort to enter the crash site near Grabovo. A Malaysian official said the Ukrainian government was being cautious because the area is a war zone. Details here.
2.01pm: The U.N. Security Council is considering a draft resolution that condemns in the strongest terms the shooting down Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Read more.
Meanwhile the United Kingdom has accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of terrorism, as Britain mourns entire families wiped out in MH17 tragedy. 12.37pm: Minutes after describing a 'very intense' conversation with Russian PM Vladimir Putin, Dutch PM Mark Rutte warned that Putin has one last chance to help in the recovery of bodies at the MH17 crash site. Read in full.
10:50am: As the bickering and blame game continues between Ukraine, Russia and the Russian-backed rebel separatists in eastern Ukraine, Western leaders are warning Russian premier Vladimir Putin that he has 'a last chance' to prove he really is interested in finding a solution to the tragedy. Read the full story here.Meanwhile, TIME magazine has waded into the issue with its own two cents worth. The publication has laid the blame for the tragedy on Western nations, saying that their inaction in Ukraine was what led to the incident. Read the report here.

9:50am: The US State Department says separatist rebels only allowed monitors 75 minutes at the crash site on the 18 and 3 hours of access yesterday. Spokespersn Jen Psaki also said monitors have only been allowed access to a small area. "The site is not secure, and there are multiple reports of bodies being removed, parts of the plane and other debris being hauled away, and potential evidence tampered with. This is unacceptable and an affront to all those who lost loved ones and to the dignity the victims deserve."
Read the full statement on the US State Department site here. 9:40am: A freelance journalist at the scene of the crash near Donetsk in Ukraine says he has not come across any mobile phones, cameras or a single wallet or purse with money in it. "They've all mysteriously gone missing," reports Filip Warwick, a photojournalist. Full story here.
7:45am: International anger towards Russia is growing over the denial of access and tampering of evidence at the crash site of the MH17 jetliner. The UK, US, Netherlands and Malaysia are just a few among the growing chorus of voices demanding that Russia ensure the armed separatists controlling the crash site give investigators full access to the scene of the tragedy. Full story here.
6:20am: Experts say that if Ukrainian rebels shot down MH17, it could've been because they didn't have proper radar systems in place to distinguish between military and civilian aircraft. Full story here.

Meanwhile, international monitors are moving gingerly through fields of reeking corpses in a desperate attempt to secure the site in the hopes a credbile investigation can be conducted. Details here.

4:38am: US Secretary of State John Kerry says his government is 'deeply concerned' that international investigators are being denied access to the MH17 crash site.

2.17am: The Ukrainian government has accused Russia of helping insurgents loot and destroy evidence at the crash site of the downed jet. Read.
1.00am: Two days after the plane went down in eastern Ukraine, rescuers are beginning to gather the dead bodies as the stench of death is now becoming unbearable. However, they are doing so under the watchful eyes of armed pro-Russian rebels who closely control the access to the crash site. More about this here.
12.35am: Dutch banks are already taking "preventative measures" after reports of credit cards being looted from the Ukrainian crash site. More on this here.

19 JULY 2014
11.35pm: In a twist of events, a pro-Russian militia leader claimed that the black boxes of the Malaysian jetliner that crashed in Ukraine have not been found. More on this here.
10.45pm: The Malaysian special investigation team has yet to find a safe passage to visit the crash site of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight. Read.

10.15pm: The names of passengers and crew members of the tragic Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 have been released. Full list can be found here.

9.20pm: Ukraine has accused Russia and pro-Moscow rebels of destroying evidence of "international crimes" from the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner. Read.

8.45pm: Malaysia Airlines has released the latest number of passengers and their nationalities of those on-board MH17:

Netherlands  192 (including 1 dual Netherlands/USA citizen)
Malaysia  44 (including 15 crew & 2 infants)
Australia  27
Indonesia  12 (including 1 infant)
United Kingdom  10 (including 1 dual UK/S. Africa citizen)
Germany  4
Belgium  4
Philippines  3
Canada  1
New Zealand  1

8.15pm: Malaysia’s Defence Ministry has outlined three foci in its participation in the operations involving the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH17 crash in Ukraine. Read.

6.45pm: The Russian government has reportedly removed sections in Wikipedia that accuse it of providing “terrorists” with the weapon that shot down flight MH17. More here.

5.47pm: Highlights from press conference by Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai

- MAS will release the full passenger manifest this evening.
- Malaysia is deeply concerned that the crash site hasn’t been properly secured. Integrity has been compromised. "Any action that prevents us from learning the truth about what happened cannot be tolerated. It will be a betrayal for lives that were lost.” Malaysia calls for the integrity of the crash site to be preserved. "MH17 has become a geopolitical issue, but it is still a human tragedy." Read.
- Liow to leave to Kiev to expedite retrieval of passenger remains and help with investigation. MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya is in Kiev.
- Air safety organization, Eurocontrol, and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) had approved the flight path. It never strayed into restricted airspace. MH17 was told by air traffic control to fly at 33,000 feet instead of the planned 35,000 feet.
- MAS: We did not make a mistake. All airlines conduct their own track analyses, also guided by ICAO and the path was determined safe. Safety is paramount to us. Those routes were validated. Read.
- Liow on decision to fly the route: It’s like a busy highway, like if I’m driving from KL to Singapore. The highway is safe and halfway, a bridge collapses. So can you blame me for that? We were traveling on a route approved by ICAO.
- Liow was unable to verify the status of the black box. Officials are yet to get access into the crash site. "We need the support of the world to ensure that the site is not tampered. We must have full access to it and the evidence is not tampered. We hope to ensure that justice can prevail.”

3.55pm: As fingers point at Malaysia Airlines for allowing flight MH17 to fly over a war zone, a German weekly news magazine has revealed that Singapore Airlines jets flew over the same eastern Ukraine area 75 times in the past week. Story.

2.32pm: Ukraine and separatist rebels agree to 'security zone' around Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 crash site, AFP reports.

2.06pm: Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai will fly to Kiev on Saturday to make sure that the investigating team gets safe access to the crash site.  Read.

1.45pm: More than 24 hours after flight MH17 was shot down, decomposing bodies mixed with the charred odour of the wreckage is reeking in the summer Ukrainian heat, CNN reports. Read more.

12.56pm: Investigators are facing massive hurdles as they try to access the grisly crash site of flight MH17, with the area controlled by armed rebels blamed for downing the jet with a missile. Details.

A pro-Russia militant stands guard at the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Grabove. - AFP picA pro-Russia militant stands guard at the crash site of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Grabove. - AFP pi …

12.32pm: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has announced that it will waive any change fees for passengers who wish to change their itinerary to any flight destination. Full report
The airline also announced the latest list of nationalities of passengers on board flight MH17.

11:50am: A Malaysian disaster response team including two air accident investigators has arrived in Kiev. PM Najib has appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin to help them gain access to the MH17 crash site. Full story here.

11:04am: Over a day after the MH17 crash, there are 13 things you can consider as fact. Click here to read them.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian armed forces will dispatch two Hercules C-130 aircraft as well as a 15-member medical team to Ukraine to assist the Malaysia Airlines MH17 Post-tragedy Investigation and Management Team in its operations.

10am: Ukraine and Russia's blame game shows no signs of abating. The latest move is from Ukraine, who've released grisly images of a dead baby lying in a field. They're using the image to castigate Russian premier, Vladimir Putin, telling him its death is on his conscience. Full story here.

The G20 meeting in Sydney, Australia that begins today is threatening to be overshadowed by the MH17 crash. G20 chair Australia has sought to keep the meeting focused on economic growth, but Thursday's gunning down of the Malaysian plane in rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine refocused the spotlight on Russia and its possible links to the separatists. Full story here.

8:42am: Painful to see this. Heartbreak in Malaysia, the Netherlands and many other parts of the world.

8:05am: A day after a strangely casual reaction to the MH17 tragedy, US President Barack Obama has come out with a far stronger statement. The American president stopped just short of blaming Russia directly for the incident, which he called 'an outrage of unspeakble proportions' and 'a wake-up call' for timid European leaders. A summarised version of his comments here.
Full story on his comments against Russia here.
Full report on his 'wake-up' call statement to European leaders here.

7:15am: The International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), under the spotlight after the MH17 tragedy, has gone on the defensive. The UN civil aviation authority says it's not their job to declare airspace safe or unsafe or undertake any other direct operational responsibilities with respect to civilian air services. It's placing the onus squarely on respective states to advise other states of potential safety hazards. Asked if ICAO would ever issue warnings about dangers like missiles, it's spokesman Anthony Philbin said 'it's not our job'. Full story here.

Meanwhile, international investigators at the crash scene in Ukraine are reportedly having a tough time securing evidence in the middle of the war zone, especially since locals and rebels have been sifting through debris and moving bodies for the past 24 hours. Full story here.
6:33am: According to CNN, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says its inspectors asked for black boxes at the MH17 crash site but were told nobody knew where they were.

5:09am: The Wall Street Journal Asia says the loss of two planes and 537 people in less than five months could cripple Malaysia Airlines financially and reputationally. The big question now, they say, is: will people continue to take their flights? Full story here.
Quinn Lucas Schansman with dual citizenship U.S. and Dutch was the only named U.S. citizen who perished on board MH17 on July 17. The plane was shot down over Ukraine, allegedly by Russian separatists... more 
4:45am: The issue of whether to avoid flying over conflict zones has come into sharp focus in the wake of the MH17 tragedy. Qantas, Air Berlin, Asiana Airlines, Korean Air Lines and Taiwan's China Airlines are among the airlines to avoid Ukraine airspace for the past few months. However, civil aviation regulators imposed no restrictions on crossing an area which has been the scene of heavy fighting. Some are saying that airlines have their own intelligence operations, which should be making the call on whether or not to fly in these kinds of areas. Full story here.

Meanwhile, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is in a fury over the attack, which killed 189 of his citizens, and has vowed 'not to rest' until the killers have been tracked down and brought to justice. Full story here.

3.10am: A top pro-Russia rebel commander in eastern Ukraine has given a bizarre version of events surrounding the crash: many of the victims may have died days before the plane took off. More on this here

2.35am: “I could see something different in his face."
The neighbour of MH17 co-pilot Captain Eugene Choo Jin Leong said he looked different when he saw him last Saturday seated in front of his house. Read

1.20am: "This has just blown everyone clean out of the water."
An Australian couple who lost a son and daughter-in-law on the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 that disappeared in March are again mourning after more relatives were killed when their plane was downed in Ukraine. Read their devastating story here.
12.30am: Key points from US President Barack Obama's just concluded press conference:

• Obama has called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine so that an international investigation can be carried out
• The President calls the downing of the Malaysia Airlines plane an "outrage of unspeakable proportion"
• He also revealed that the shot was taken from "territory that was controlled by the Russian separatists."
• Obama also revealed that pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine have received a "steady flow" of firearms and training from Russia. That also includes anti-aircraft weapons
• So far, only one American passenger who died in the crash has been identified
12.00am: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has called for an emergency Parliament session on July 23 to condemn the irresponsible acts by those who caused the flight MH17 crash. Read

18 JULY 2014

11.20pm: The Washington Post reported that an advance anti-air missile system would be required to shoot at a commercial aircraft flying at cruising altitude. Read

10.15pm: This picture of UN officials observing a moment of silence as a mark of respect has been circulating on the internet:

9.25pm: According to the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), pro-Russian separatists have admitted to downing the Malaysia Airlines flight over Ukraine based on intercepted phone calls between between Russian military intelligence officers and the rebels. Read
9.00pm: The latest breakdown of nationalities of those on board the flight:
· 189 Netherlands
· 44 Malaysia
· 27 Australia
· 12 Indonesia
· 9 UK
· 4 Belgium
· 4 Germany
· 3 Philippines
· 1 Canada
· 1 New Zealand
*Four passengers’ nationalities remain to be verified.
8.30pm: Malaysia's Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai denied rumours that MAS Flight MH17 had chosen to fly a shorter route over conflict-ridden eastern Ukraine to save money and fuel. Read
7.05pm: Rescuers have recovered as many as 181 bodies so far at the site of the Malaysian airliner crash in eastern Ukraine, an official at Kiev's Foreign Ministry tells a briefing. Read

6.15pm: World leaders demanded an international investigation into the shooting down of MH17, a tragedy that could mark a pivotal moment in the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the Cold War. More.
4.40pm: Highlights from this evening’s media conference:

- Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai denied that MAS had taken that route because it was shorter and it would have saved fuel. Read.
"This route is an approved route by ICAO. We were not given any notice (that is it not approved). After this incident ICAO suggested a different route. They have now closed this route.
- Passenger list to be released after families are informed. Read.
- MAS says it will not be flying the relatives of passengers to Kiev but have arranged for 40 employees to fly in to Amsterdam to take care of the next of kin.
- No distress signal was received from the cockpit. The path used by MAS was approved by ICAO and there was no change to the route at the last minute. Route has been used by airlines from 15 other countries.
- MAS confirmed that the jetliner was given a clean bill of health.

The latest breakdown of known nationalities of those on board is as follows:

173 from the Netherlands
44 Malaysians
27 Australians
12 Indonesians
9 from the United Kingdom
4 Germans
4 Belgians
3 Filipinos
1 Canadian
1 New Zealander

20 passengers remain unidentified.
Read his full statement.

REFILE - CORRECTING BYLINE A woman, who said she believed her sister was on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, cries as she waits for more information about the crashed plane at Kuala Lumpur ... more 

4.03pm: Ukraine has closed the airspace over eastern regions where it is carrying out a security operation against pro-Russian separatists. Russian airlines have also limited their flights to Ukraine after the incident. Details.
Malaysia Airlines is trying to arrange safe access for relatives of victims to the site in eastern Ukraine where its Boeing 777 airliner crashed killing all 298 on board. The airline's European head said it was sending a Boeing 747 to Amsterdam to take relatives to the Ukrainian capital Kiev. More here.

2.56pm: Australian PM Tony Abbott: It is very important that we do not let Russia prevent an absolutely comprehensive investigation into what happened here. This is not an accident. It is a crime. This aircraft was downed, it did not crash. Read in full.

2.20pm: Rescue workers have recovered the second flight recorder from the Malaysia Airlines MH17 jetliner. More details.
In another development, Malaysia Airlines says it has changed the route its planes will take on flights to and from Europe. The airline said in a statement Friday on its website that all of its European flights "will be taking alternative routes avoiding the usual route." Read it here.

According to MAS, the plane had a clean maintenance record and had undergone its last maintenance check on July 11. Read in full.

2.03pm: Petronas has set up a RM10 million initial seed fund to assist the government in supporting families of those on board the ill-fated flight MH17. Full report.
 1.58pm: Here are six crucial things we know about flight MH17 so far.

1.48pm: The Wall Street Journal speaks to former a UN Weapons Inspector about the debris that will provide crucial clues as investigators work to determine what brought down flight MH17 over Ukraine. Watch it here.

MH17 is not the only jetliner to have been shot down. Here is a list of major commercial airliners shot down over the last 40 years. Read.
1.18pm: The United States claims that flight MH17 was shot down in a missile attack, prompting global consternation. More details.
Malaysia Airlines shares, meanwhile, took a hit as it tumbled almost 18 per cent on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange today. Full report.

12.48pm: The mother of the chief steward on board flight MH17 pleaded to the public to stop publishing pictures depicting the victims of the mishap. In her words.
11:39am: In a further blow to Malaysia Airlines, Hong Leong Investment Bank projects that the MH17 disaster, on the back of the MH370 disappearance, will further hamper the airline's hopes of a turnaround by 2015. Full story here.
11:22am: The international community is making its collective voice heard over the MH17 crash.
The United States is demanding an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine to ensure an unimpeded investigation into the crash. Meanwhile, Australian PM Tony Abbott is blaming Russia for the tragedy and is pushing for a resolution at the United Nations Security Council calling for a full and impartial investigation, including access to the site, debris, black box and any individuals who can shed light on the situation.

Asian shares tumbled in the wake of the disaster, with Malaysia Airlines losing 18 percentage points of its share value.

11:10am: MH370 families advise kin of crashed MAS Boeing 777 jet to stay strong. Read full story here.

MH17: the knowns and unknowns thus farMH17: the knowns and unknowns thus far

10:52am: Social media posts by pro-Russian insurgents -- most of them hastily removed -- suggest the rebels thought they had shot down a Ukrainian army plane before realising in horror that it was in fact a packed Malaysian airliner. Read full story here.

9:41am: What are the known and unknown quantities of the MH17 attack so far? Well, perhaps the most important among the 'unknowns' is who actually shot down the plane and from where. Read full story here.
9:25am: Ukrainian officials allege that they have recordings of phone calls between 'terrorists', discussing the MH17 Boeing 777 'shoot down'. Read full story here.

8:55am: US President Barack Obama's casual and flippant reaction to the MH17 tragedy has led to a torrent of criticism online. Read full story here.SLIDESHOW - River of tears: Malaysia plunged into mourning. Click to view.
8:38am: Malaysia Airlines announces that all European flights will avoid their usual routes and use alternative routes. The airline also says it's deploying its 'Go Team' to Amsterdam with a group of caregivers and volunteers to assist the family members of the passengers. Families of passengers and crew may contact +603 7884 1234 (Malaysia) or +31703487770 (Netherlands).

A screen showing arrival details of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 (2nd from top) is seen at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang July 18, 2014. REUTERS/Samsul SaidA screen showing arrival details of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 (2nd from top) is seen at Kuala Lumpur International …

8:12am: Among the victims of the MH17 tragedy are a number of AIDS researchers, heading to the AIDS2014 conference in Melbourne. UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibe tweeted a message of condolences to their families.

7:50am: Malaysia Airlines has released the latest list of MH17 passengers' nationalities. They are as follows:
Netherlands: 154
Malaysia: 43 (including 15 crew and 2 infants)
Australia: 27
Indonesia: 12 (including 1 infant)
United Kingdom: 9
Germany: 4
Belgium: 4
Philippines: 3
Canada: 1
Unverified: 41
TOTAL: 298

The airline says it is in the process of notifying the passengers' and crew's next-of-kin.

7:46am: Pro-Russian separatists engulfed in the Ukraine war, and accused of bringing down MH17, have arrived at the scene of the crash. Meanwhile, a Putin spokesman says any allegations of Russian involvement is 'stupidity'.
6:38am: The attack on MH17, which has claimed 295 lives, is the worst aviation incident since the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, when 2995 people were killed.

6:29am: TIME reports that Ukraine separatists have denied shooting down MH17, claiming they don't have the firepower to do so. However, in its article, TIME says the separatists recent surface-to-air record suggests otherwise. Read full article here.
6:04am: For those of you just joining us, here's a quick roundup of what's happened so far. Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur has been shot down over Ukraine. The incident is believed to have occured two hours into the flight, which was supposed to have landed at 6:10am (+8 GMT). All 295 people on board are believed to have been killed by what is reportedly a surface-to-air missile. The majority of the passengers were of Dutch nationality.

However there were at least 38 Malaysians on board - 23 passengers and 15 crew members. It is still unclear who is responsible for the attack; the Ukraine government is blaming the separatists in the east for the attack. However, the separatists are denying responsibility, claiming they don't have the weaponry to carry out such an attack. The missiles are believed to have been launched from Russian-made BUK missile launchers.
Meanwhile, world leaders have condemned the attack and express their shock and grief at the fate of the passengers on the doomed flight. Prime Minister Najib Razak made a press announcement at 4am, demanding that the perpetrators be brought to justice. Read the full transcript of his speech here.

5am: This is what we know so far on the nationalities of the passengers and crew on flight MH17:

154 - Dutch
6- British
23- American
24 - Australian
23 - Malaysian
15 crew - Malaysian Total: 245. Fifty people are still unidentified. Meanwhile. the Star Online reports that there were Indonesians, French, Belgian and Canadian passengers on board.

4.50am: Highlights from press conference by PM Najib Razak:

-The Ukrainian government says there will be a full, thorough and independent investigation into the crash and Malaysian officials will be invited to take part.
“If the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice”.
- Ukrainian authorities believe the plane was shot down. “ We must and we will find out precisely what happened to this flight”.
- Flight route was declared safe by ICAO. IATA has stated that the airspace was not subject to restrictions. MAS confirms that the aircraft did not make a distress call. MAS is in the process of notifying the next of kin of the passengers and crew. All possible care will be provided to the families.
- Government will be sending special flight to Kiev with a special disaster assistance and rescue team and a medical team.
- Najib and Obrama want international teams to have full access to the crash site and no one should interfere with the area or move any debris including the black box.
- “This is a tragic day for what has already been a tragic year for Malaysia. I canont imagine what they must be going through in this painful time. The passenger and crew came from many different countries but today regardless of nationality we are all united in grief."

3.30am: A social media site attributed to a top Ukrainian rebel commander suggest the separatists shot down the plane by mistake, believing it was a large Ukrainian army transport plane. Read in full.

A spokesman for the Ukranian government says the incident would be investigated as a 'criminal case' and not a terrorist case. 
CNN reporter Noah Sneider in Ukraine describes the scene as gruesome with bodies splayed out. Says plane exploded in the air, bodies rained down in pieces. "Huge metal pieces but for most up, everything is burned up'.  The debris field may be five kilometres wide.

3am: Relatives of passengers onboard flight MH17 have started to gather at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) here to check on the fate of their loved ones. More.

2.49am: Pakatan leaders express shock, pray for those on board flight MH17.

2.43am: A CNN expert says there was an 'in-flight breakup', similar to the Challenger Shuttle explosion in the 1980s.

2.24am: PM Najib Razak expresses shock over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Read.

2.16am: A rebel leader said Ukrainian forces shot the airliner down. Ukrainian official said their military was not involved. Details.
2:12am: U.S. President Barack Obama promises that the U.S. 'will offer any assistance it can'. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all the passengers," he said.

1.59am: A video taken in Russia showing what is believed to be flight MH17 going down.

Sky News reports that flight MH17 was in a restricted area, unsuitable for civilian aircraft.

Number of dead from crash is more than 300, the Interfax news agency says, quoting interior ministry advisor.

Netizens react to tragic news of crashed MAS plane, just over four months since flight MH370 disappeared.

The black box from flight MH17 has been reportedlly found 60km from the Russian border, reports CNN.

Reuters reports that at least 100 bodies were found at the crash site.

The New York Times reports that Ukraine’s president Petro O. Poroshenko was calling for an immediate investigation of the crash and did not rule out that it might have been shot down.


MAS says it lost contact with MH17 at 1415GMT (10.15pm Malaysian time); the Boeing 777 was carrying 280 passengers and 15 crew members.

A Ukrainian official said a plane carrying 295 people was shot down over a town in the east of the country. Malaysia Airlines said on its Twitter feed that it "has lost contact of MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukrainian airspace. More details to follow.". Details here.
12:15am: Ukraine's Interior Minister says a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet has been shot down over Eastern Ukraine. PM Najib says he's shocked over the news and that Malaysia is investigating the matter. The plane was allegedly carrying 295 passengers when the incident occurred.
The flight was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam and was flying over the area that's the scene of fierce fighting between Russia and Ukraine. Early reports here.

DESIDERATA: Following is a more current news byte from the NST:)~~~~

MH17: MASA 1777’s Instagram is real

ROTTERDAM): Strange as it may seem, Mohd Ali Md Salim's Instagram username MASA 1777 and his video clip that became trending has a very simple explanation. It has nothing to do with the fact that the ill-fated flight crashed on 17th of 7 and the plane was a Boeing 777. It was actually the registration number of the Honda Civic which the neuropsychopathology student bought before he left for the The Netherlands three years ago. MASA was the acronym for Mohd Ali Md Salim – thus MASA 1777.
Two close friends of Mohd Ali were at pains to explain this when the trending clip drew some comments saying that it was a fake account.
According to Muhammad Hariz Aizat bin Azizan, 19, a student at College Zadkine Rotterdam, who also shared the same house with Mohd Ali in Rotterdam, there were people who claimed that the username was a fake.
“He bought the car just before he came to The Netherlands but has since sold it as no one was using it. It was all a coincidence. He went in the month of Ramadan, on a Friday night before the Nuzul Quran. We have lost someone we loved very much but we have to accept the fact that Allah loves him more,” said Hariz who said Mohd Ali was more like a brother to him since he came to Rotterdam five years ago.
The 15-second video clip, showing the interior of the plane before take off, was captioned “Bismillah #hatiadasikitgentar” (In the name of Allah..#feeling a bit nervous).
Ahmad Huzaimi Abdul Jamil, 30, a PhD in Construction Management at Vrije University in Amsterdam, who was one of four close friends who sent Mohd Ali off at Schipol Airport on the tragic day said, anyone who knew Mohd Ali would know that that was nothing unusual.
“It was typical of Mohd Ali to express his feelings when he felt nervous or worried especially when he was travelling. But when this tragedy happened, we thought perhaps this was some kind of a warning that he was going. At first to us, it was just normal. It was just something that Mohd Ali would do,” he said.
Both Huzaimi and Hariz together with Nur Fariza M. Shaipullah, 33, another close friend and Joe Ismail, 76, whom everyone affectionately called Uncle Joe, were the four who sent him off at the airport, after spending a sleepless night the night before, helping him to pack and bantering with him to keep him awake.
“He wanted a haircut after breaking the fast. So, I gave him a haircut in the kitchen. He was so excited about going back for Hari Raya. When my mother came to Holland, (he was close to my mother) he was so excited about going shopping with her. We went to the flea market and he bought a plastic bag full of soft toys for his sister's newborn,” recalled Hariz sadly.
And sadly too, those were the toys shown scattered at the crash site.
“Those were the toys for his sister's baby. My mother confirmed that because she saw him buying them,” added Hariz.
For Nur Fariza, the pain of the loss of her confidant and someone she considered a younger brother, was still etched on her face. They arrived in Holland at the same time three years ago and registered at their respective universities. Nur Fariza is a final year PhD student in Plant BioChemistry at the Uni of Amsterdam. Although Mohd Ali was at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, he was her rock listening to her problems, sharing her woes coping with life in a foreign country.
“There were three of us, Ali, myself and Liyana and we were always together, going on holidays to London and Paris, sharing everything, “ she said coming to terms with the loss.
When told of the crash, Nur Fariza fainted and has been in tears ever since receiving the sad news.
"He was like my brother, always there for me, always there for everyone,” she added.
The sentiment was shared many others, especially Joe who had rented out a room in his house to Mohd Ali.
“A more caring person, you will never find,” said Joe of his former tenant who cooked for him and cared for him when he was not well.
“When I organised a meeting of committee members for the Malaysian Association of The Netherlands and the cook didn't turn up, I asked Ali if he could help out. He said sure and made nasi lemak for 40 people. He never said no,” recalled Joe, treasurer of the association who has been in Holland for more than 40 years.
Before leaving for the airport, Mohd Ali had made Hariz promise to keep Joe, 76, company during Hari Raya.
“He was that sort of a person. Always caring for others.” That seemed to sum up Mohd Ali.
Indeed from his album, there was Mohd Ali, cooking for the community, helping someone to pack, joining in a kompang session and being a friend to everybody. The Malaysian community in Holland has lost a very dear son and a brother.

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