Wednesday, July 23, 2014

#MH17 Malaysia Airlines Plane Crashes Updated/ 23July2014/1600


MH17 black boxes head to Farnborough for analysis
AAIB experts will examine chain of events using data from voice and flight recorders belonging to Malaysia Airlines plane

00.00 Thanks for joining us. Follow the latest updates back here tomorrow morning
21.20 The euro fell to its lowest point this year against the dollar amid fear the downing of the jet will further damage EU-Russia relations, APreports.
21.12 French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius let slip his irritation with Britain, pointing out that the British capital was full of "Russian oligarchs",AFP reports.
When asked on French television about the controversy surrounding the contract, Fabius responded with a strong dose of sarcasm.
"The British in particular were very pleasant when they said 'we would never have done that'," he said.
"Dear British friends, let's also talk about finance. I was led to believe that there were quite a few Russian oligarchs in London."
Asked by the interviewer whether he was inviting the British to put their own house in order before making comments, Fabius said, "Exactly."
21.00 Representatives to the U.N. civil aviation body are considering whether the agency should expand its role and issue safety advisories after a Malaysian airliner was shot down last week, two sources toldReuters.
QuoteBut the sources said there was no guarantee the Montreal-based International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) would decide to take on more responsibility.
ICAO, composed of 191 signatory states, as well as global industry and aviation organizations, has a limited role. It cannot open or close air routes and does not warn airlines to avoid regions because of conflict.
Some in the aviation industry now want ICAO to do more after Malaysian Airlines flight MH-17 was downed by a missile over eastern Ukraine last week, killing 298 people. Malaysia has said it was flying an ICAO-approved route, a misreading of the agency's role.
No one global body has overall responsibility for keeping the skies safe for civil aviation.
20.43 Harriet Alexander reports that there will be an 11am (local time) departure ceremony at Kharkiv.
 At 4pm in Netherlands (3pm London) there will be a ceremony to mark the first plane touching down in Eindhoven. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will be there, as well as Dutch PM Mark Rutte and many from cabinet.
There will be a one minute silence for the arrival and after bells will ring out across country. It's a national day of mourning - first since death of Queen Wilhemina in 1962.
Bodies will then travel by road the 100km to Hilversum.
20.19 The delivery of French Mistral-class warships to Russia would be "completely inappropriate" given the West's misgivings about Moscow's role in Ukraine, the United States said, AFP reports.
Quote"We don't think anyone should be providing arms to Russia," deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters, adding US officials had voiced their concern over the deal in recent days to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
In the wake of the downing of a Malaysian airliner last week, blamed by the United States on a Russian missile system which it says was given to Ukrainian pro-Moscow separatists, EU foreign ministers agreed on Tuesday to strengthen sanctions against Russia.
But they remained divided as to how far to go, with British-led calls for an arms embargo putting France on the spot.
Paris has a deal worth 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion) to supply Russia with two Mistral warships.
French President Francois Hollande on Monday said the agreement was still in place, but added that delivery of the second Mistral ship would "depend on Russia's attitude."
20.04 The real work will only start once the bodies have been transported from Eindhoven to a military base in the town of Hilversum, near Amsterdam, reports Reuters.
QuoteThere, forensic examiners will compare the remains with material gathered from family members.
"Since last Saturday, for three days already, we have 80 family detectives on the way to the relatives, who collect all the information about the missing people," said Ed Krasziewski, a spokesman for the national forensic investigation team.
That information includes personal identifying marks, from tattoos to scars. Detectives have sought out dental records, fingerprints and DNA material where it is available, and assembled it all into a so-called ante-mortem file that is available to compare with the remains stored in Hilversum.
"There are many victims," Krasziewski said. "We don't know the state of the victims; we have to look at what they bring us tomorrow, and then we will see."
19.47 The United States will release intelligence backing its assertion the Malaysian airliner that crashed in Ukraine was brought down by a missile fired from the separatist-controlled area, the State Department toldReuters.
Spokesman Marie Harf told reporters the intelligence community would later in the day "be further declassifying information and will be putting out additional information that supports what we have said."
Harf repeated the U.S. belief that the plane, with nearly 300 people on board, was shot down by a Russian-made SA-11 ground-to-air missile fired from an area controlled by separatists close to the Russian border in eastern Ukraine.
19.25 The delivery of French Mistral-class warships to Russia would be "completely inappropriate" given the West's misgivings about Moscow's role in Ukraine, the United States said according to AFP.
QuoteWe don't think anyone should be providing arms to Russia," deputy State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters, adding that US officials had voiced their concern over the deal in recent days to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
19.22 Michael Bociurkiw told Reuters all recovery efforts seem to have ended but that at the site his group saw a plastic bag with some human remains left behind while Malaysian experts noticed a strong smell indicating the likely presence of more remains in another spot.
"We've never really seen that intensive combing over the site - people arm in arm going over the fields," Bociurkiw said, adding there was effectively no security at the site and that so far only a small number of international experts visited it.
19.06 According to BuzzFeed, Russia Today, the Kremlin-backed news channel, is to be investigated for violating broadcasting regulations on accuracy and impartiality during its coverage of the MH17 air crash.
Ofcom told the news organisation it was considering whether to investigate the matter further after getting complaints from viewers about RT's tone.
Anna Belkina, head of communications at Russia Today told BuzzFeed: “While we would love to provide the details of our communication with Ofcom and the facts and arguments that RT had presented to the regulator in support of our position, we cannot do so as it would violate the regulator’s rules.
“It is sad that the news media of the US and the UK, which has always prided itself on its commitment to asking hard questions of its own government when it comes to domestic politics, in this particular situation is readily swallowing up the ‘party line’ of the Department of State and the Foreign Office, demanding no proof of their claims."
It comes after Sara Firth resigned from the channel last week in protest against the way the channel covered the crash.
18.57 The twin sister of a British man who was killed in the Malaysia Airlines tragedy on Thursday has said she does not feel bitter towards those who caused his death, Nick Collins reports.
Tracey Withers, 49, said she did not want to become “bitter or twisted” over the loss of her brother Glenn Thomas, a media officer for the World Health Organisation.
She told the BBC she had not been thinking about who was responsible for bringing down flight MH17 over Ukraine, amid the widespread belief it was shot down by a missile.
“I’m trying not to get too involved in how I feel about what they’ve done because I don’t want it to eat me up inside,” she said.
“I just want to grieve and carry on the way my brother would want our family to carry on as he was such a big personality.”
She said her family had stayed positive after the recent loss of her father, and that Mr Thomas would have wanted them to do the same after his death.
However, she added that her brother’s partner was feeling “lost” and that her family would fly to Geneva on Wednesday to support him.
18.54 Kiev has launched a criminal investigation against Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and a shadowy Muscovite millionaire for organising and financing "illegal armed groups" in Ukraine, AFP reports.
QuoteThe investigation comes just over a month after Russia launched an investigation of its own against Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and a billionaire local governor over the killings of civilians and journalists in conflict-torn east Ukraine.
Avakov, who announced the move against the two Russians, said in a statement that Shoigu is suspected of having organised the "illegal armed groups on Ukrainian territory".
Avakov added that insurgents "commanded by Russian citizens, systematically carried out armed attacks against" Ukrainian authorities, "causing loss of life, destruction and other serious consequences."
Russian nationalist Konstantin Malofeev - an enigmatic investment banker with ties to some of the leading rebels fighting in Ukraine - was accused of having financed the pro-Moscow militias.
18.44 Dutch PM Mr Rutte declares Wednesday a national day of mourning, Dutch media is saying, reports Harriet Alexander.
 Tomorrow when the bodies arrive at Eindhoven, those attending will include Dutch King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima, PM Rutte, Deputy PM Asscher, and representatives of countries.
According to Michael van Poppel, MH17 victims are expected to arrive at Eindhoven Airport at around 4 p.m. local time and before their arrival, there will be a nationwide 5-minute bell ringing.
When they arrive, it will be marked by bugle call, followed by a minute of silence.
18.36 OSCE has told Reuters human remains can be still be seen at the crash site as recovery efforts appear halted.
Quote"We observed the presence of smaller body parts at the site," an OSCE spokesman, Michael Bociurkiw, told a briefing in Ukraine's eastern city of Donetsk after his group inspected the site earlier in the day.
"We did not observe any recovery activity in place."
18.34 Alexei Kudrin, a former Russian finance minister and loyal ally of President Vladimir Putin, warned anti-Western rhetoric during the Ukrainian crisis could isolate the nation and derail its modernisation, Reuters reports.
In rare high-level criticism of growing Kremlin conservatism, Kudrin said Moscow should not intervene militarily in the rebellion in eastern Ukraine and expressed dismay that Russians were as once again becoming adversaries of the West.
Kudrin, who repaired state finances after the chaos of the 1990s, told ITAR-TASS news agency that Russia risked taking a dangerous path internationally.
18.32 The president of the former Soviet republic of Lithuania, now an EU member, has accused France of pursuing a policy akin to the 1930s appeasement of Nazi Germany over its decision to go ahead with the delivery of a helicopter carrier to Moscow, Reuters said.
18.29 Turkish Airlines said via Twitter Dnepropetrovsk flights were cancelled until July 24.


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