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UN demands ‘full’ probe over downed passenger jet
UNITED NATIONS: Members of the UN Security Council on Friday demanded a full, independent investigation into the apparent shooting down of a Malaysian jet over Ukraine that killed all 298 people on board.
Diplomats stood for a minute of silence in memory of the victims in Thursday’s disaster over a rebel-held eastern part of the country after agreeing on a unanimous call for a complete probe.
A joint statement called for “a full, thorough and independent international investigation… in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines and for appropriate accountability.”
It stressed the need for “immediate access” by investigators to the crash site and expressed deep condolences over the catastrophic loss of life on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.
But an emergency session of the United Nations Security Council exposed the deep fault lines over the conflict in Ukraine, arguably the worst crisis in Western-Russian relations since the Cold War. ARAB NEWS ONLINE
MH17 crash: Looting reported at crash site
PETALING JAYA: Looters are reported to have descended on the Ukrainian field where Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17 crashed last Thursday and ransacked victims’ possessions.
According to witnesses, many pieces of luggage that were pulled from the charred crime scene had already been opened and rifled through, USA Today reported.
Among the items left behind were a Minnie Mouse lunchbox, a Winnie the Pooh stuffed animal, family photographs and passports that were still intact.
The daily also reported that the lack of security in the area likely encouraged the “heartless” ransacking.
It said that the scene has not been cordoned off and unidentified men were allowed to walk into the area. THE STAR ONLINE
UN council demands `full` probe over downed Malaysia jet
United Nations, United States (ANTARA News/AFP) – The UN Security Council on Friday demanded a full, independent and international investigation into the apparent shooting down of a Malaysian jet over Ukraine that killed 298 people on board.
Council members stood for a minute of silence in memory of those who lost their lives in Thursdays crash over rebel-held eastern Ukraine, at the start of an emergency meeting on the disaster.
“The members of the Security Council called for a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines and for appropriate accountability,” the council said.
“The members of the Security Council further stressed the need for all parties to grant immediate access to investigators to the crash site to determine the cause of the incident,” it added.
The Council expressed their deepest condolences to the families of the victims and to the people and governments of all those killed in the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 ANTARA NEWS ONLINE
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Malaysia team arrives in Ukraine to probe incident
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – A Malaysian team, including two air accident investigators, arrived in Kiev on Saturday and the transport minister was expected to follow as the Malaysian Prime Minister appealed for access to the MH17 crash site.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said he spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone late Friday to stress the need for an objective, unfettered probe into the crash that killed 298 people, amid concerns the site was vulnerable to tampering.
“I also told Putin that the site should not be tampered (with) before the team begins its investigation,” he was quoted saying by national news agency Bernama.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 came down in a separatist-held region, with the United States saying it was shot down in a missile attack, a possible casualty of Ukraine’s battle with pro-Russia rebels.
A 62-member Malaysian team arrived in Kiev on Saturday, a member of the delegation told AFP.
It was to include two accredited air crash investigators invited by Ukraine to help probe responsibility for the disaster. THE STRAITS TIMES ONLINE
Focus: Investigators struggle to reach MH17 crash site in strife-torn Ukraine
GRABOVE, UKRAINE – Investigators faced massive hurdles Saturday as they sought access to the grisly crash site of a Malaysian plane in eastern Ukraine, with the area controlled by armed rebels blamed for downing the jet with a missile.
Despite a hail of calls from around the globe for a swift probe into the crash, initial efforts by international monitors to gain full access to the site have been impeded by pro-Russian separatists locked in fighting with Ukraine forces.
The fate of the vital black boxes — at least one of which was reported to have been recovered — was unknown. AFP journalists at the site say dozens of mutilated corpses remained scattered around the vast area, the scale of which appears to have overwhelmed local rescue workers.
While the rebels, who Kiev and the U.S. believe fired a sophisticated surface-to-air missile at the jet, have vowed to protect the scene, they have ruled out a ceasefire and rocket fire still rings out in the distance.
Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans, whose nation was stunned by the loss of nearly 200 citizens in the crash, arrived in Kiev on Friday with a team of 15 forensic experts. A 62-strong Malaysian disaster response team was due to arrive on Saturday, and Prime Minister Najib Razak urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phonecall to help them gain access to the site. THE JAPAN TIMES ONLINE
MH17 crash site stymies investigation
THE war zone where Malaysia Airlines flight 17 went down continues to stymie investigators, leading to Prime Minister Tony Abbott warning that it may be weeks before the remains of Australian victims are returned.
BODIES remain strewn about the wreckage more than a day after the jet was felled in rebel-controlled territory in eastern Ukraine.
Reaching the sprawling crash site remains difficult, with rebel checkpoints dotting the only road from Donetsk, the nearest major city.
A team of about 30 monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe say rebel gunmen, some of whom appeared intoxicated, restricted their access to wreckage on Friday.
The monitors were unable to secure an access corridor to the crash site, and stayed for only 75 minutes, citing intimidation from rebels.
World leaders have demanded rebels allow independent investigators immediate, unfettered access to determine who shot down the plane.
“Armed rebels are trampling the site,” Mr Abbott said on Saturday. THE AUSTRALIAN ONLINE
AIDS expert among dead in Malaysia crash as world mourns hundreds
THE HAGUE — International passengers from all walks of life, from a prominent AIDS researcher and soccer fans to a nun and a florist, were aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
The Boeing 777 was carrying 298 people when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday in eastern Ukraine, sending shockwaves around the world from Malaysia to the Netherlands.
Relatives, friends and colleagues paid tribute Friday to victims even before the airline released their names as it scrambled to contact the next of kin of the victims.
For one Australian family, the Ukraine crash represented an almost unbelievable double tragedy. Kaylene Mann’s brother Rod Burrows and sister-in-law Mary Burrows were on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 when it vanished in March. On Friday, Mann found out that her stepdaughter, Maree Rizk, was killed on Flight 17.
“It’s just brought everyone, everything back,” said Greg Burrows, Mann’s brother. “It’s just … ripped our guts again.”
Several passengers were traveling to Melbourne, Australia, for the 20th International AIDS conference, which was starting Sunday.
The Academic Medical Center hospital in Amsterdam said in a statement that two of its staff, including renowned AIDS researcher Joep Lange, a former president of the International AIDS Society, and his colleague Jacqueline van Tongeren were believed to have perished. SAUDI GAZETTE ONLINE
MH17 plane crash site: sunhats, sweets … and stakes marking body parts
For miles around, you can see them, strips of white cotton attached to wooden stakes in the fields of eastern Ukraine. Each stake marks a victim from flight MH17, or at least a body part. There are a lot of stakes.
But then there is a lot of debris, a vast wash of metal, charred remnants, and the surreal paraphernalia of international long-haul travel, smeared over a ruined 15-square mile area. Handbags. Footwear. Passports amid the sunflowers.
You can tell some of the passengers had been on holiday. Scattered across the crash site was the unmistakable jetsam of vacation: sunhats and suntan lotion, summer clothing, duty free shopping, the occasional poolside novel. You could also tell that children were here from the unopened packets of Haribo sweets, the fistful of playing cards, a first-year drawing scrawled in a notebook, a small black-and-white stuffed monkey abandoned in the grass.
Some of the bodies are perfectly intact, some ruined beyond recognition, some partly disrobed by the G-force of falling to earth. One woman lies partly burned, a hand raised above her head, stripped of all but her undergarments.
It was not just the human passengers that died. An unlikely menagerie of dead pets lay strewn across the scene in the grass, bright blue and yellow macaws, a cockatoo, a random giant St Bernard dog curled peacefully where he fell. THE GUARDIAN ONLINE
World Leaders Comment on Downing of Plane Over Ukraine
As news broke of the downing of a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine, killing all 283 passengers and crew on board, world leaders were quick to come forward with their condolences, interpretation of events and denouncement of the culprits.
“(The plane) apparently has been shot down — shot down, not an accident, blown out of the sky.”
“This tragedy would not have happened, if there had been peace on that land, or in any case if military operations in southeastern Ukraine had not been renewed. And without doubt the government of the territory on which it happened bears responsibility for this frightening tragedy.”
“We will do everything that we can so that an objective picture of what happened can be achieved. This is a completely unacceptable thing.”
“We need to start an independent investigation as quickly as possibly. A ceasefire is needed for that and it’s important that those responsible are bought to justice. There are many indications that the plane was shot down, so we have to take things very seriously.”
“(I am making) a very clear call for the Russian president and government to make their contribution to bringing about a political solution.”
“If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice.”
“(The) tragedy showed again that terrorism is not localized, but a world problem. And the external aggression against Ukraine is not just our problem, but a threat to European and global security.”
“We all know that there are problems in Ukraine. We also know who is very substantially to blame for those problems, and the idea that Russia can somehow say that none of this had anything to do with them because it happened in Ukrainian airspace frankly does not stand up to any serious scrutiny.” THE MOSCOW TIMES ONLINE
The Netherlands, a Nation in Mourning but Mindful of Ties to Russia
AMSTERDAM — Flags flew at half-staff Friday in this small but extremely international country, one that is accustomed to standing on the forefront of global cultural debates over such things as gay rights, euthanasia and marijuana policies. But on Thursday, after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the Netherlands found itself thrust squarely into an unaccustomed role at the center of the realpolitik of the conflict in Ukraine.
It seemed as if everyone in the Netherlands, a country of 16 million people, knew someone among the 189 Dutch nationals killed in the crash, whether personally, or as a friend of a friend, or simply by the familiarity of celebrity, as with Senator Willem Witteveen and the AIDS specialist Joep Lange.
Like Dr. Lange, a scientist, many of those on board were activists traveling to AIDS 2014, an international conference in Melbourne, Australia, at which former President Bill Clinton is scheduled to speak. There were many others, of course: a florist couple on vacation; a young employee of the human rights organization Amnesty International; children accompanying their parents on holiday excursions. All were sad testaments to one of the worst plane disasters in the country’s history. THE NEW YORK TIMES ONLINE
Ukrainian separatists limit investigators’ access to jet crash site
KIEV, Ukraine — The quest for clues in the downing of a Malaysia Airlines jet faced major obstacles Friday as the rebel militias that Ukraine blames for the disaster limited access to the mammoth crash site strewn with airplane parts and bodies.
Ukrainian officials were trying to negotiate safe passage for teams of investigators and international observers deep in territory held by the pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.
The fate of the airplane’s black-box data recorders, which could give crucial information about the plane’s final moments, was unclear, with neither side acknowledging possession. And rebels argued among themselves whether to agree to a brief cease-fire to allow the bodies of victims to be taken to morgues elsewhere in the country.
Rebel leaders said they would leave victims and airplane parts in place to facilitate the investigation and vowed to allow investigators to visit the site because, they said, they had nothing to hide in the catastrophe in which 298 people died. THE WASHINGTON POST