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A Malaysia Airlines (MAS) jet was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board, in an attack that the government in Kiev blamed on pro-Russian rebels. The separatists denied the accusation.

Ukraine?s state security service said it intercepted phone conversations among militants discussing the missile strike, which knocked Flight 17 from the sky within 50 kilometers (31 miles) of the Russian border. U.S. officials said the weapon probably was a Russian-made model used widely in Eastern Europe.

The Boeing Co. 777 crashed en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam in the main battleground of Ukraine?s civil war, threatening to escalate tensions in Europe?s worst geopolitical crisis since the end of the Cold War. A European air-traffic control agency routed planes away from the region, which sits astride some of the busiest routes to and from Asia.

President Vladimir Putin, who has repeatedly denied Russian involvement in the fighting, said Ukraine?s government bore responsibility because the crash wouldn?t have occurred without the current strife. He said he also directed Russian military and civilian authorities to ?investigate this crime,? according to a transcript of his remarks to Cabinet ministers.

U.S. President Barack Obama called Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to offer condolences and ?immediate assistance to support a prompt international investigation,? according to a White House statement. The United Nations Security Council is holding an emergency meeting on the incident later today.

Flight 370
It was the second major disaster for Malaysian Airline System Bhd. this year. Flight 370 vanished with 239 people on board in March en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, sparking what has turned out to be the world?s longest search for a missing jetliner in modern aviation history.

The disappearance of Flight 370 baffled authorities as contact was lost less than an hour into the journey with no emergency warnings. The jet went off civil radar while headed north and then changed direction to fly steadily over the equator. No debris has been found after months of combing the Indian Ocean.

While the motive behind the turn back from its original route remains unknown, MH370 was deliberately steered south, Najib has said.

Here passenger and crew data delivered by MAS (18/7/2014) :
Netherland: 154 people
Malaysia: 43 (include 15 crew and 2 babies)
Australia: 27 people
Indonesia: 12 ( include 1 baby)
Britain: 9 people
Germany:4 people
Belgium: 4 people
Philippine: 3 people
Canada: 1 people
Not yet verified : 41 people

Total: 298 .
News from CNN in July 18th 2014

SOURCE : Bloomberg.com

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