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LIVE! IAF using WW-II era lighting system at Leh airbase: CAG

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July 18, 2014


23:25  Amarnath yatra suspended over clashes:  Clashes between ponywallas and community kitchen operators at Baltal Base camp today forced suspension of the Amarnath Yatra even as Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra and state government appealed to both parties to maintain peace for smooth conduct of the pilgrimage. 

At least 37 persons, including few security force personnel, were injured in the clashes that broke out this morning after a dispute between pony owners and those running community kitchens followed by the alleged high-handedness by CRPF personnel.
23:13  IAF using WW-II era lighting system at Leh airbase: CAG:  Indian Air Force uses a World War-II era lighting system for the landing of fighter and transport aircraft at the Leh airbase at night due to lack of any facility for advanced airfield lighting, CAG pointed out today. 

The government auditor has found that IAF was using solar gooseneck flares for running flight operations at night at Leh airbase.
22:09  'Putin says Russia will assist fully in investigation' :   Malaysian Minister of Defence Hishammuddin Hussein tweets: Pres Putin said Russian Military will assist fully in the #MH17 investigation. I have directed our CDF to contact them!
22:00  Modi writes to Dutch PM, says saddened by Malaysian plane tragedy :   Prime Minister Narendra Modi today wrote to his Netherlands counterpart Mark Rutte condoling the death of Dutch nationals in the Malaysian air tragedy.   

"I was shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the very tragic and unfortunate loss of nearly 300 lives in the Malaysian airliner crash in Ukraine. As more than half of those who perished in the crash were from the Netherlands, this terrible tragedy must be particularly painful to you and the people of your country," Modi said in a letter to Rutte.
21:48  80 children among 298 killed in crash: UN:  The United Nations says 80 children were among the 298 people on board the Malaysian airliner that crashed in Ukraine on Thursday.
21:45  Russian President "Putin has the most control over the violent situation in Ukraine," says Obama.  
21:42  Rebels heavily trained because they are helped by Russia: Obama:  Obama talks tough says that the rebels are "heavily armed and heavily trained" and it is because they are helped by Russia.

"We don't know exactly what happened yet and I don't want to get ahead of the facts, but what I do know is that we have seen a ticking up of violence in eastern Ukraine," he said.

"We have increasing confidence the shot came from areas controlled by the separatists."

"This certainly will be a wake-up call for Europe and the world that there are consequences to an escalating conflict in eastern Ukraine. It is not going to be localised, it is not going to be contained."
21:38  Obama on the MH 17 crash says, "The shot was taken from territory that was controlled by the Russian separatists."

"Different actions" from Russia are needed to show they are willing to work with the Ukrainian government to arrive at a ceasefire and a peace in Ukraine.  
21:36  Russia continues to violate Ukraine's sovereignty: US :  Obama said that the downing of the plane is a global tragedy. "Evidence must not be tampered with.."

"Too early to be able to guess what the intentions of those who might have launched the surface to air missile might have had. Investigations will be ongoing." 
21:32  Russia and Ukraine must enter into ceasefire immediately: Obama:   Talking about the MH 17 crash United States President Barack Obama, "One American life was lost. I have spoken to leaders of Ukraine, Russia and The Netherlands."

"The shooting down of the plane is outrageous. Evidence shows that the plane was shot down by a missile. Russian backed separatists have shot down the plane," he said.

"Russia and Ukraine must enter into ceasefire immediately. Russia has failed to de-escalate the situation in east Ukraine." 
21:12  We put all blame on Ukraine govt: Russian envoy :  Russian envoy Vitaly Churkin speaks at the UN Security Council: "We put all blame on the Ukraine government." He says that despite western envoys speaking of the restraint of the Kiev authorities, the Ukrainian forces have been aggressive and targeted civilians in the east.
20:55  Russia has provided SA-11s to separatists: US:  BBC reports: United States ambassador to the UN Samantha Power says the US believes that a SA-11 missile was fired from an area controlled by pro-Russian separatists, who had previously boasted about obtaining such missiles.

She said Russia has provided SA-11s and other heavy weapons to the separatists.

Russia's envoy to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, tells the UN Security Council there must be an impartial open investigation.
20:39  CNN's @FareedZakaria tweets: MH17 tragedy a reminder that government in Kiev doesn't actually control all of #Ukraine's territory. My take cnn.it/1rwy2sH
20:16  'Russia can end this war, Russia must end this war':  The United Nations Security Council observed a moment's silence in New York in memory of those killed in the Malaysian airlines crash.

US envoy to the UN Samantha Power said, "We cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel... This [the attack on the plane] follows a pattern of actions by Russia-backed separatists."

"Russia can end this war, Russia must end this war." 
19:55  The United Nations Security Council has issued a statement calling for a "full, thorough and independent international investigation" into the Malaysian Airlines plane crash, and "appropriate accountability".
19:53  Dutch PM on MH17 crash: If this was an attack, people responsible will be determined:  Addressing a presser of the Malaysian plane crash, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said, "The Netherlands is shocked by this terrible event. Investigators from the Dutch safety unit will travel to site of crash. We will turn every stone and if it becomes clear that this was an attack I will be personally responsible for guaranteeing that the people responsible will be determined. That's what we owe the innocent victims and their families."   
19:49  Kerala Governor Sheila Dikshit and Chief Minister Oommen Chnandy had a 10-minute discussion with President Pranab Mukherjee on board his aircraft from Mangalore to Thiruvananthapuram where they spoke about BJP's policy on governors.   
19:45  China slams West for 'one-sided' accusations against Russia:  Chinese state news agency Xinhua has published a commentary warning against "hasty conclusions" on who is to blame for the crash. It criticises Western countries for making a "one-sided accusation" against east Ukrainian rebels and Russia.
19:08  Kerala governor Sheila Dikshit and chief minister Oomen Chandy spent 10 minutes with President Pranab Mukherjee today.
18:25  That's the headline on the New York Times today, a story that was front-paged across newspapers the world over.
18:23  300 planes were to fly over Ukraine on day MH17 was shot down :  Nearly 300 passenger planes were scheduled to fly over the Ukraine yesterday. Some 290 commercial flights continued operating over the war zone, with just 10 fewer aircraft entering Ukrainian airspace than normal, according to European air traffic control centre Eurocontrol.
Read
18:07  All firemen stuck in Mumbai building rescued :  Finally, some good news. All the firefighters stuck inside the Mumbai highrise, Lotus Business Centre in Andheri have been rescued. One fireman lost his life in the incident.

Fire brigade, navy and Coast Guard personnel fought a grim battle to rescue the 32 firemen trapped on the terrace of the 22-storey commercial building in the western suburbs of Mumbai. The 21st floor was ablaze for over four hours. Two two helicopters were deployed to evacuate them. The fire which was doused earlier has now been reignited because of strong winds.
18:01  Did MH17 pilot divert plane because he felt 'uncomfortable'?:  The pilot of MH17 radioed that he 'felt uncomfortable' about the route he was flying while over Ukraine and tragically altered his course to hostile territory where Russian separatist missile operators mistook his plane for a government military transport aircraft, according to an expert. Read more
17:54  Lloyd-Webber: I wanted to join Dignitas and die:  On a day of death and dying, Lord Lloyd-Webber says he considered joining suicide clinic Dignitas, but is now opposed to assisted dying as former attorney general warns change in the law could lead to 'a form of legalised execution'. Read
17:43  Family urges Modi to investigate Netaji's disappearance:  In other news, family members of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose have appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to form a Special Investigation Team for solving the mystery behind the nationalist leader's disappearance.

In a letter written to Modi from the Open Platform for Netaji, the family members said that an SIT should be constituted under the guidance of a sitting judge of the Supreme Court to investigate into the matter.

"The SIT would include professionals from all relevant fields of expertise eg Central Home Department, Intelligence Bureau, Central Bureau of Intelligence, External Affairs Ministry, historians and researchers. The SIT would scrutinies all the declassified documents and interview/cross examine witnesses and concerned persons," the letter said.

Netaji's grandnephew Chandra Kumar Bose told PTI that they have also sought an appointment with Modi next month to press for their demands.
17:40  First pictures of the tragic victims of Flight MH17. RIP.
17:37  Coal miners, cops at rescue site :  Rescue workers, police officers and even off-duty coal miners are combing the crash site. Firefighters have been fanning out across the crash site in Donetsk marking sites of body parts with poles and white ribbons.
16:49  What you should know about Donetsk, the crash site of MH17:  Grabavo, where Flight MH 17 exploded and crashed in a field, is in the eastern province of Donetsk.It is under the control of pro-Russia separatists and has been the site of severe fighting between pro-Russia rebels and the Ukraine government, headquartered in Kiev. Read more
16:42  Interview: I was a separatist fighter In Ukraine :  Artur Gasparyan, a 24-year-old native of Spitak, Armenia, was recruited in Moscow in May to fight in eastern Ukraine. Read his experiences.
16:30  In other news: In an interview with The Guardian, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that government analysts would routinely pass around sexually explicit photos they stumbled across. Read
16:29  Author Jeffrey Archer @Jeffrey_Archer  tweets this lovely picture. "There I was, having my photo taken with Mrs Tendulkar, when an unknown Indian cricketer tried to join us... "

16:26   Meanwhile, the Delhi government formation hots up. Ramvir Singh Bidhuri, a BJP MLA says seven AAP MLAs met him and said they were feeling "suffocated in their party and wanted to join BJP."

All 27 MLAs of AAP turned up for a show-of-strength meeting yesterday, where it was decided that the party would resist any backdoor attempt at government formation in Delhi.
All 27 members of legislative assembly (MLAs) of the AAP turned up for a meeting, called to show that the flock holds together, where it was decided that the party would resist any backdoor attempt at government formation in Delhi.

Read more at: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/hRV0A5RiIOcIvMclMbGSAM/AAP-calls-MLA-meet-amid-reports-of-BJP-exploring-govt-format.html?utm_source=copy

16:18  Russians leave flowers, candles, and a "Forgive us!' sign outside the Dutch embassy in Moscow.
16:17  Shocked at the selfies at the MH17 crash site? Don't be.

When Bollywood director Ramgopal Varma visited the Taj after 26/11, he was accused of indulging in terror tourism. While the Bollywood director was forced to clarify that it was the last thing on his mind, there is indeed a small breed of men and women who spend money and time visiting places struck by terror. Bomb blast sites, missile-hit spots, strife-torn locations, they are fascinated by them.  Read
16:15  MH17 passenger joked on Facebook "If It Disappears, This Is What It Looks Like'. Read
16:13  LIVE! People take selfies at MH17 crash site :  The Balkanist Magazine reports that some people are apparently taking selfies at the scene of the #MH17 crash site. 181 bodies have so far been removed from site of crashed Malaysia Airlines flight in eastern Ukraine, reports AP.
16:06  The BMC Disaster Management Cell says the fire in the Andheri high-rise is now under control.
16:00  'Strong winds intensified the flames':  Mumbai fire: Choppers were rushed to the rescue of stranded firemen after gusty winds fanned the fire making their evacuation impossible by any other means. According to fire brigade officials, 22 fire engines, 10 water tankers and 6 jetties have been deployed to quell the blaze.

"We have also requested the Thane Municipal Corporation and the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation and others to provide additional fire engines to help us bring the fire under control," a fire officer said.

"We had initially categorised the fire at Grade 2 and sent 12 fire engines to the spot. The strong winds at the top further aggravated the intensity of the flames and we have now further upgraded the fire to the top notch," the official said.
15:58  One fireman killed, six injured as blaze in Andheri building reignites :  Just in: One firemen has died, while six others are seriously injured in the Lotus Business Centre fire. The fire which had been doused was reignited by strong winds, which trapped the firemen who had gone in for a cleanup. A Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) official said that around 15-20 fire fighters were stuck on the terrace of Lotus Business Park on Andheri Link road. Dramatic video footages showed Navy and Coast Guard helicopters lowering ropes on the rooftop to help the stranded firemen clamber up to safety from their perilous perch.
15:54  MH17 crash may cripple crisis-hit Malaysia Airlines:  Shares in struggling Malaysia Airlines sank today after one of its jets crashed in Ukraine, dealing it a blow just months after the loss of Flight MH370, with analysts warning of the firm's collapse without government help.

All 298 people aboard MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur died yesterday when it came down in violence-wracked eastern Ukraine, with the United States saying it was hit by a surface-to-air missile.

Some industry experts say the incident was beyond the airline's control and while its reputation will be further tarnished, the effect could be limited if it avoided the mistakes made in the MH370 case.

But others warn that even if yesterday's tragedy is proved to have been caused by outside forces it faces an uphill fight to regain passenger confidence.

The flag carrier was already in financial trouble when MH370 disappeared in March en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

The plane has yet to be found despite an extensive international search. "MH370 sent shivers down people's spines, but most people realised it was an out-of-the-ordinary occurrence, so bookings recovered," Gerry Soejatman, a consultant with the Jakarta-based Whitesky Aviation chartered flight provider, told AFP.

"MH17 is like lightning striking twice. The effects on bookings will be bigger," he said.

Crucially, two-thirds of passengers on MH370 were from China, its key market, and the firm said sales in the country dived 60 percent after the disappearance.

News of a second tragedy could prove to be a hammer blow to its chances in China, a country where a brand's link to anything to do with death can be extremely damaging.
15:43  Family who lost two members on MH370 loses two more on MH17!:   An Australian family has tragically been hit by both Malaysia Airlines tragedies, having now lost four members through flight MH370's disappearance and flight MH17 being shot down over Ukraine.

Read their story here.

Pic: People pay homage outside the Embassy of Netherlands in Kiev, Ukraine.
15:32  Who brought down MH17? Six conspiracy theories :  After Malaysia Airlines MH370 went down in the Indian Ocean, there were a slew of conspiracies surrounding the incident.Three months on, another Malaysia Airlines has gone down and hours after it 'disintegrated' in the sky, several conspiracies are floating behind the tragedy. Take a look at six conspiracy theories.
15:27  Firemen rescued from Mumbai building blaze :  Mumbai building fire: No reports of casualties yet at the Lotus Business Centre fire. Fire brigade personnel are being airlifted by Navy choppers. There are 42 fire tenders at the spot. 
15:25  MH17 crash: International inspectors on the way to crash site :   Update on the MH17 crash: International inspectors are on their way to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 to search for the flight data recorders. Two flight data recorders have been recovered.

A helicopter has ferried a group of monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to rebel territory in the Donetsk region. From there, they will have to drive, reports CNN IBN. 

The Boeing 77 jet fell from the sky in eastern Ukraine with 298 people aboard. 
15:16  The missile system that shot down Malaysian Airlines flight MH17. Read
15:12  20 firefighters trapped in Andheri building blaze :  Actor Hrithik Roshan is believed to be at the of the fire. He has three offices in the building. There are 42 fire tenders at the spot and firemen say they are finding it difficult to control the flames. Around 20 firemen are believed to be trapped in the building.
15:09  Mumbai fire: Navy, coast guard choppers to rescue trapped firemen :  Update on the fire on the 21st floor of Lotus Business Centre in Andheri, Mumbai. A spell of rain has helped tame  the fire which started on the 21st floor of Lotus Business Park on Andheri Link road, and later spread to the 20th floor, according to fire brigade officials.

"We got a call at around 11 AM that a fire has broken out in the commercial building. We initially thought it was a grade-1 fire and sent four fire tankers to the spot. The fire was then upgraded to grade 2 and we have now deployed 12 fire engines and nine water tankers at the site," a fire brigade official said.

The fire, which gutted the top two floors of the building, is yet to be brought under control, he said.

Firemen are believed to be trapped on the top floors, while Coastguard and navy helicopters have been called in for rescue. Eight fire fighters are stuck on the top floors. 
14:53  Oz PM warns Russia will lose international standing if it blocks crash probe :  Australian PM Tony Abbott has criticised Russia over the MH17 disaster. He warned that Russia would lose "any international standing" if it blocked an impartial investigation into the deaths of the 298 people.

The Australian prime minister said Russia's denial of any responsibility "frankly does not stand up to any serious scrutiny'. He said the Boeing 777 was shot down in eastern Ukraine "over territory controlled by Russian-backed rebels" and "by a missile which seems to have been launched by Russian-backed rebels".
14:48  MH17 Update:
-- At least 95 rescuers at the crash site.
-- UN to hold meeting at 7:30 pm IST on the MH17 crash.

14:38  'No plans to fly relatives to Ukraine':   Malaysian transport minister says as of now there are no plans to fly next-of-kin to Kiev in Ukraine. Malaysian authorities are sending a special team of 62 people to Kiev to assist in the #MH17 probe.
14:17  MH17 crash: Flight path was approved, says Malaysia govt :   The Malaysia govt says the plane's flight path was approved and many Asia-Pacific flights have flown over the same route.

Ukraine govt has started an investigation into the crash. "We will bring the perpetrators to justice.
14:04  'Flight path was safe':  Europe's Air Traffic Regulator Eurocontrol's statement should put to rest naysayers who have slammed Malaysia Airlines for flying over Ukraine.

"According to our information, the aircraft was flying at Flight Level 330 (approximately 10,000 metres/33,000 feet) when it disappeared from the radar. This route had been closed by the Ukrainian authorities from ground to flight level 320 but was open at the level at which the aircraft was flying."

Read the full statement HERE.
13:56  Air safety experts have criticised Malaysia Airlines for flying over Ukraine airspace, but the company maintains that the flight path was deemed safe to travel by civil aviation authorities.
13:54  LIVE! 21 of the 41 unidentified bodies have been identified: Malaysia govt :  The Malaysian govt is holding a presser on the downing of MH17. The country's transport minister says 21 of the 41 unidentified passengers have been identified. Malaysian Airlines staff will assist the families of the dead. The airlines has already flown in staff to Amsterdam to assist victims' kin.

All 298 people on board a Malaysia Airlines plane were killed on Thursday after the jet was shot down by "terrorists" over war-torn eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, nearly four months after the mysterious disappearance of MH370 in the Indian Ocean.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur carrying 283 passengers and 15 crew.
13:47  World loses a giant in the field of HIV/AIDS research:  About 100 of the 298 people killed on the downed Malaysia Airlines jet were heading to the AIDS 2014 conference in Melbourne, including researchers, health workers, activists and people living with HIV.

But Dutch HIV researcher and former International Aids Society (IAS) president Dr Joep Lange and his wife and collaborator Jacqueline van Tongeren are among those killed.
13:42  The first inkling of a disaster about to unfold: the tweet from Malaysian Airlines saying they have lost contact with MH17.. 
13:34  Missile must have come from Russia: Clinton:  US former secretary of state Hillary Clinton says that if the plane was shot down by a surface-to-air missile, as has been quite confidently suggested by US analysts, then "the equipment had to have come from Russia". She also called on the EU to increase sanctions against Russia, and join with the US in further supporting Ukraine.
13:31  SC issues notice to govt on "misuse" of power by ministers and secretaries by allowing certain individuals to overstay in official bungalows.
13:09  Pak on Vaidik-Saeed meet: Our govt, nor Indian govt aware of visit:  And the Ved Vaidik meeting with Hafiz Saeed continues to simmer.
Pakistan envoy to India Abdul Basit says, "Mr Vaidik keeps visiting Pakistan, we were not in the loop about it. This was a meeting between two private citizens, our Govt was not aware nor was the Indian Govt."
12:59  Meanwhile in India, Odisha CM Navin Patnaik confirms that "most wanted Maoist" Sabyasachi Panda was arrested last night.
12:56   Swapping shifts kills Indian-origin steward on board MH17 :   And this is the story on the steward...

Swapping a shift with a colleague cost ethnic Indian flight steward Sanjid Singh Sandu his life. 41-year-old Sanjid had switched his shift with a colleague on the ill-fated Flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur which was shot down over Eastern Ukraine yesterday.

All 298 people on board were killed in the crash.

According to his distraught father Jijar Singh, Sanjid's mother had planned to cook her son's favourite dishes upon his arrival in Penang, Malaysia.

"My son spoke to me over the phone just before his flight. I didn't know that would be my last conversation with him. What has happened has happened," Jijar, with tears flowing, told reporters at his house in Penang. Jijar and his wife received the news from their daughter- in-law, who is also a flight stewardess at Malaysia Airlines, the Star newspaper reported.

He said Sanjid, fondly known as Bobby, was his youngest child and only son. Flight MH17 took off from Amsterdam's Schiphol airport shortly afternoon yesterday and was supposed to land in Kuala Lumpur at about 6.10am Malaysia time today.

Flight tracking data indicated that the plane was at its cruising altitude of 33,000 feet when it disappeared. The Boeing 777 is believed to have been shot down 50km from the Ukraine-Russia border.
12:55  21st floor of office building in Andheri completely gutted in fire:  In other news: A major fire broke out on 21st floor of Lotus Business park building at Andheri, Link road. The fire reportedly broke out around 10:15 am on the 21st floor of the 22-storey Lotus Business Park building and has since been doused. At least 12 fire engines and nine water tankers were deployed at the site. As per early reports, everyone has been evacuated. The 21st floor was completely gutted.
12:48  Malaysia Airlines statement: Plane had clean maintenance record :   Malaysia Airlines has released a statement saying the MH17 plane had a clean maintenance record.

"The aircraft's last maintenance check was on 11 July 2014. The next check was due on 27 Aug 2014. The maintenance was conducted at Malaysia Airlines' hangar at KLIA. The aircraft had a clean bill of health.

"The aircraft was manufactured in July 1997, and so had 17 years in service. The aircraft had recorded 75322 hours with a total of 11434 cycles.

All communication system on the aircraft were functioning normally. The B777-200 uses the Rolls-Royce Trent-800 engine and has a 282 seat capacity."
12:42  The New Indian Express reports that an Indian origin steward was among the 15 crew members on board the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. 
12:31  MH17 crash site: impact threw us to the ground, say shocked witnesses:  MH17 crash: One local resident, Alexander, was working in the field a few hundred metres away from the plane's final resting place when he looked up. He said he feared the aircraft was going to fall on top of him as it dropped out of the sky.

Another farmer said he was on his tractor when he heard the plane, followed by a loud bang. "Then I saw the plane hit the ground and break in two '" there was thick black smoke," he said.

Read
12:22  Couple who were meant to fly on MH17 tell of their lucky escape :  And as with any plan crash, stories of people who cancelled the flight.

Barry and Izzy Sim had been booked to travel on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, which has been shot down on the Russia-Ukraine border, killing 298 people including 27 Australians.But the couple, who were travelling with their baby, rebooked to a later flight with another airline after learning the flight was full, the UK's Telegraph reported.

They have spoken about their shock at hearing the tragic news."You get this sick feeling in the pit of your stomach,' Mr Sim said. "We started getting butterflies. Your heartbeat starts going."There must have been someone watching over us and saying 'you must not get on that flight'.'

Read more
12:15  MH 17 crash: Second black box found :  Ukrainian emergency workers have found the plane's black box flight recorder, AFP reports .It was earlier believed the recorder had been taken by pro-Russian separatists in the area.
12:13  Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju confirms that no Indian was on board the Malaysian Airlines plane. So far 121 bodies of the 298 on board have been found.   
11:59  Of the passengers on board, officials said several were world-renowned researchers heading to an international AIDS conference in Australia. The plane was scheduled to continue flying to Perth after stopping in Kuala Lumpur, Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop told reporters in Brisbane.
11:58  Witnesses says rescuers have recovered the second flight recorder from Malaysian Airlines MH 17. 
11:56  Perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice: Malaysia :  Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak today demanded that perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice. "This is a tragic day in what has already been a tragic year for Malaysia. The flight's passengers were from many nations but we are all united in grief," Najib said today.

The Boeing 777 was on a scheduled flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and it had not made a distress call. It is still not clear if the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down purposely or mistakenly yesterday.

Najib said a probe would begin immediately into it. "The government of Malaysia is dispatching a special flight to Kiev, carrying a special Malaysia disaster assistance and rescue team, as well as a medical team," he told reporters at a press conference.

He said that Ukrainian authorities believed that the plane was shot down by pro-Russia rebels but that Malaysia was unable to verify this at this moment. "If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice," he said. Najib said he had talked to Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko who pledged a thorough investigation into the incident.
11:52  Meanwhile, after four days, the govt has agreed for a discussion on Gaza in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.
11:51  The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting on Ukraine on Friday and is mulling a draft statement calling for "a full, thorough and independent international investigation."

Pic: Flight paths of other airlines show how they avoided flying over Ukraine.
11:41  Govt confirms NO Indians among passengers on board MH17:   The Indian government has now confirmed that there were NO Indian passengers on board MH17. All 298 people on board the Malaysia Airlines plane were killed on Thursday after the jet was shot down by "terrorists" over war-torn eastern Ukraine near the Russian border.

So far, what we have of the passenger list is this: 154 were Dutch, 27 were Australian, 23 were from Malaysia, 11 were Indonesian, six were British, four were German, another four were from Belgium, three were from the Philippines and one was Canadian.

European flight safety body Eurocontrol says Ukrainian authorities have closed the airspace in the east of the country to all airline flights. It said all flight plans that use routes in the area are being rejected.
11:29  LIVE! 'So many dead, unlikely local morgue can hold them':  Headphones and computers were scattered throughout a field of sunflowers. In another field, a Dutch passport lay open. Bodies fell from the sky, looking like rags or clumps of ash. That was some of what residents and rescue workers saw after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 came to a jolting rest in a large wheat field dotted with purple flowers and Queen Anne's lace, trailing debris over several miles of sparsely populated Ukrainian farmland. Read more

Pic: Relatives of passengers who died on board MH17 console each other
11:18  Prime Minister Narendra Modi has expressed his grief over the loss of lives in the Malaysian airline tragedy.
11:16  Fire in office building :   Meanwhile, fire at a building in Andheri, Mumbai. The building is called the Lotus Business Park and is in Andheri (west). No reports of casualties, thankfully. If you are headed towards this direction, Veera Desai Road has been blocked off as well as the road behind Yash Raj Studio. Details awaited. 
11:14  MH 17 was flying just 1,000 feet above restricted Ukraine airspace:  Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was cruising just 1,000 feet above restricted airspace when it was struck by a missile in Ukraine's Donetsk region, according to aviation and intelligence officials.

Despite ongoing violence in eastern Ukraine, including the recent downing of two military aircraft, Ukrainian aviation officials had closed the region's airspace only below 32,000 feet in altitude. Read more
11:12  Panic aboard Pak plane as pilot spots laser beam:  And panic in Pakistan over another flight. Fear gripped the law enforcement agencies in Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Thursday night after an unidentified person pointed a laser beam on a cargo plane as it was flying over Bahria Town Phase VII, security sources said.

The sources said that the pilot spotted a light, but it was unsure whether it was a laser beam or the trail of a bullet fired from the ground. However, the plane landed safely at the airbase. Read
11:05  Russia-backed militants shot down Malaysian aircraft:  A group of Russia-backed Cossack militants has been held responsible for shooting down Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, near the village of Chornukhine, some 80 kilometers north-west of Donetsk.

Sluzhba Bezpeky Ukrayiny, Ukraine's special purpose law enforcement agency, reportedly intercepted a phone call made at 4:40 pm Kyiv time, or 20 minutes after the plane crash, by Igor Bezler -- who the SBU says is a Russian military intelligence officer and leading commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.

He reported to a person identified by Ukraine's SBU as a colonel in the main intelligence department of the general headquarters of the armed forces of the Russian Federation Vasili Geranin regarding the shot down plane, which is about to be examined by the militants. Read more
10:55  Ukraine's government and pro-Russian insurgents traded blame for the disaster, with comments attributed to a rebel chief suggesting his men may have downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 by mistake, believing it was a Ukrainian army transport plane. It is believed many of those aboard were experts heading to Australia for an international conference on AIDS in Melbourne starting this weekend.
10:46  How does MH17 compare with MH370?:   The crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine has many people thinking about the disappearance and presumed crash of another Malaysia Airlines plane -- Flight 370 -- in March.

While the crash site of MH17 was found within moments -- its point of impact even captured on video --  no wreckage has been found yet for MH 370.

Here's what the planes had in common. Read
10:41  Wreckage from flight MH 17
10:37  Insurance firm sorry after buying keyword Malaysia Airlines on Google:  An insurance firm has apologised for buying the keyword Malaysia Airlines on Google Adwords and running an ad saying 'Is MH17 Malaysian Airlines tragedy a sign to consider life insurance'? following this morning's disaster.

The ads for Victoria-based Lisa Group appeared above stories of the tragedy '" in which 298 people died, including 27 Australians, when people searched for the term Malaysia Airlines.

The ads appeared on searches of Malaysian Airlines, indicating Google Adwords had been bought with the aim of driving traffic to the Lisa Group site.  Read more
10:35  Ukraine prez: We are calling this not a catastrophe, but a terrorist act':  Geography, motive, communications intercepts, and all manner of circumstantial evidence suggest that the likeliest suspect in the horrific deaths of two hundred and ninety-eight people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was the curiously well-armed and well-cordinated military outfit loyal to Moscow in eastern Ukraine.

Various government and intelligence officials in Kiev say that they have evidence, including a series of damning tapped conversations among pro-Russian forces, that the separatists shot down the plane, which crashed near Grabovo, a coal-mining town in the Donetsk region.  Read more
10:14  PM Modi's flight was on same path as MH17:  
Even as the world struggles to come to terms with the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine, it has come to light that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on the same flight path as the MH17 Boeing 777. 

A report in The Hindu newspaper claimed that Prime Minister Modi's flight back to India was rerouted after the incident, in which 298 people died. 

The flight had taken off from Frankfurt, Germany, about two hours before the Malaysian airliner was hit was a surface-to-air missile.
 
According to the report, while the Indian PM faced no danger his plane would have flown over the same area had the crash not taken place. 

The Malaysian airliner crashed at Torez, near Shakhtersk, some 40 kilometres from the Russian border in Ukraine after being hit by a missile, as concluded by the US. The incident happened at 13:20 hrs GMT. 

The Air India plane carrying PM Modi would have flown over the same area about an hour later had it continued on the same flight path, as the flight had taken off from Frankfurt at 11:22 GMT. 

Read more HERE
10:12  It was a surface-to-air missile: US intelligence:  
Associated Press has reported that US intelligence authorities believe it was a surface-to-air missile that took down the passenger jet in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, though the Obama administration was still to confirm who launched the strike.

There appears to be growing agreement that the pro-Russia separatists may have indeed armed themselves with such a missile, though it was believed until now that the militants only had shoulder-fired 'manpads' that only have a range of about 10,000 feet and can thus target low-flying aircraft only
09:39  UN Security Council sets urgent meeting on Ukraine:  
The UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting today morning on Ukraine. 

Britain's UN Mission said yesterday it requested the meeting and later tweeted that it is set for 10 am today. 

The request follows Wednesday's downing of a Ukrainian air force fighter and yesterday's downing of a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people over eastern Ukraine. Britain has proposed a Security Council press statement calling for "a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident."

Earlier, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-noon said "there is clearly a need for a full and transparent international investigation" into the plane crash in Ukraine. 

Ban said during a media event that the International Civil Aviation Organization, a UN agency, is closely monitoring the disaster involving the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane carrying 295 people.
09:38  US demands ceasefire to access crash site:  
In a statement, the White House has urged Russia, pro-Russian separatists and Ukraine "to support an immediate cease-fire in order to ensure safe and unfettered access to the crash site for international investigators and in order to facilitate the recovery of remains". 

Meanwhile US vice president Joe Biden has said that the plane 'was blown out of the sky' and that it was 'not an accident'.
03:54  Israel will pay 'high price' for Gaza ground operation: Hamas:  Israel will pay a "high price" for launching a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Hamas movement has said. "The start of the Israeli ground attack on Gaza is a dangerous step, the consequences of which have not been calculated," said Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum in a statement yesterday night.
03:51  East Ukraine a no-fly zone after Malaysian plane crash:  Ukrainian authorities has declared the east of the country a no-fly zone after a Malaysian airliner carrying 295 people crashed in the volatile region, European flight safety body Eurocontrol has said. 

European and US airlines rerouted their flights as Kiev said the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down in a "terrorist" attack and a US official said intelligence analysts "strongly believe" it was downed by a surface-to-air missile.
03:51  Iranian president backs extension of nuclear talks:  Iran's president has backed an extension of his country's nuclear negotiations with world powers underway in Vienna, saying it would be in the "interest of all" if the talks went on past their planned July 20 deadline. 

The talks aim at a deal that curbs Iran's atomic program in exchange for an end to the nuclear-related sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Negotiators have been holed up for weeks working on a plan to prevent Iran from building an atomic weapon but still letting it
03:48  Flight MH17: What the wreckage is already revealing:   Once investigators find the chemical signature of the device, they will be able to tell with great certainty what kind of explosive caused the damage '" and very likely where that charge was manufactured and by whom.

With the crash of another Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, this one in eastern Ukraine, aviation accident investigators are again asking the same big questions as in any disaster: What happened and why did it happen? 

In the case of the disappearance of MH370 this spring, the answer at this point on both counts is that no one knows. This will not be the case with MH17. We already know a lot about what happened '" if not why.

02:34  Reuters reports: Russia's Putin says Kiev bears responsibility for crash of passenger plane because it was brought down in Ukraine. 

He says airplane disaster would not have happened if Kiev had not renewed military operation against rebels in east Ukraine
02:18  Malaysia Airlines plane shot down: US official :  The United States has concluded the Malaysian airline was shot down, a senior US official told CNN's Barbara Starr. 

One radar system saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft right before the plane went down Thursday, according to the official.

A second system saw a heat signature at the time the airliner was hit, the official said. The United States is analyzing the trajectory of the missile to try to learn where the attack came from.
01:43  American who hijacked jet to Cuba gets 20 years:  An American who returned from Cuba decades after hijacking a jetliner to the communist island was sentenced today to 20 years in US prison but will be eligible for early release on parole, an acknowledgement by prosecutors of the years he spent behind bars in Cuba. 

US District Judge K Michael Moore imposed the sentenced today on William Potts Jr, 57, for the 1984 hijacking of the Piedmont Airlines flight en route from New York to Miami.
01:38  Rebel site suggests insurgents shot down Malaysia plane by mistake:  A social media site attributed to a top Ukrainian rebel commander said the insurgents had shot down an army transporter at the location where a Malaysia Airlines plane crashed today near the Russian border. 

The comments by the top military commander of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" suggest the separatists had shot down the Malaysia Airlines plane by mistake, believing it was a large Ukrainian army transport plane.
01:23  Gaza residents scramble to make most of five-hour truce:  Residents of the Gaza Strip rushed out of their homes Thursday morning to take advantage of a five-hour "humanitarian truce' between the Israeli military and Hamas militants, a respite that began just hours after Israel bombed what it called a "terror tunnel' under the Gaza border, foiling a potentially "devastating' attack by heavily armed infiltrators.

Just as the temporary cease-fire ended at 3 p.m. local time (8 a.m. Eastern time), Palestinian militants in the coastal enclave fired a rocket at the Israeli city of Ashkelon, about eight miles north of the Gaza border, but no injuries were reported, the Israeli military said. Three mortar rounds were also fired toward Israel after the truce took effect at 10 a.m. (3 a.m. EDT).
01:20  Hard for Malaysia Airlines to survive after two crashes:  Malaysia Airlines was in dire financial straits even before losing a plane o March 8, and analysts said it may be difficult for the national carrier to continue after the latest crash Thursday.

The reason Flight 370 went missing with 239 people aboard is unknown, and the latest crash of Flight 17 with 295 people aboard might have been caused by hostile military action. But analysts say the two catastrophes could make it difficult for the airline to continue operating.

Read more
00:57  PM returns home after attending BRICS Summit:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned home late tonight after a five-day visit to Brazil where he attended the BRICS Summit. On a brief technical halt in Frankfurt on his way to New Delhi, Modi spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
00:56  US pilots previously told not to fly over Ukraine:  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had warned US pilots earlier this year not to fly over portions of Ukraine in the Crimea region, according to notices posted on the agency's website. 

The notices were posted on April 23. The UN's International Civil Aviation Organization and the aviation authorities in most countries issue similar notices for areas where unrest or military conflict creates a risk of being shot down.
00:55  China to join military exercise with US, Australia:  China's military will take part in an infantry exercise for the first time with Australian and US forces in October, the Pentagon said today. The joint exercise will take place in northern Australia and marks another step forward in efforts by Washington and Canberra to bolster relations with China's People's Liberation Army, officials said. 

"This is a small-scale exercise," Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren told reporter.
00:49  UK Parliament passes emergency data access laws:  The UK Parliament today cleared an emergency legislation enabling the British police to access the phone and internet use records of communication companies, and the legislation is set to become a law. 

Peers or the Members of the House of Lords approved the 'Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Bill' after two consecutive days of debate. The bill had already won House of Commons' backing.
00:48  45 dead in China rains, red alert issued for typhoon:  At least 45 people were killed and 21 others injured over the past week by heavy rains and landslides in China as authorities today issued the first red alert for the typhoon Rammasun which is all set to hit the southern region of the country. 

China's Meteorological authorities issued its first red alert as typhoon Rammasun heads for landfall in south China tomorrow. Rammasun is likely to come ashore in Hainan and Guangdong provinces tomorrow, bringing torrential rain to already waterlogged regions, the National Meteorological Centre (NMC) said.
00:45  Is Israels Iron Dome all its cracked up to be?:  A U.S. Senate defense subcommittee has voted to double funding for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system.  The Pentagon originally requested $175 million for Iron Dome, but if the new bill passes, Israel would receive more than $350 million.

That's good news for Israel'"and for American defense contractors slated to receive more than half those funds to co-produce more Iron Dome units.   But critics question such big spending on a system they say doesn't live up to its glowing reputation.
00:29  Obama, Putin discuss US sanctions on Russia:  US President Barack Obama today spoke over the phone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on the latest American sanctions slapped against Moscow and also discussed the Malaysian airliner that was reportedly shot down over Ukraine. 

The phone call was done at the request of Moscow, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters travelling with the president aboard Air Force One.
00:26  Obama: Malaysian jet crash in Ukraine 'terrible tragedy':  Terming the crash of a Malaysian airliner in eastern Ukraine as a "terrible tragedy", US President Barack Obama today said officials were trying to establish if any Americans were on board. 

"The world is watching reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border, and it looks like it may be a terrible tragedy," Obama said at Wilmington in Delaware, where he delivered remarks on the US infrastructure.
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