Who should you blame for MH17?

By Mariam Mokhtar

Before any investigation has started, the MH17 crash site has been compromised and evidence tampered with or removed. The blame game started within hours of the MH17 disaster, and the three parties, Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine and Russians, have all denied responsibility.

Some are ready to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin; but who stands to gain from the deliberate act of provocation over eastern Ukraine? Putin is an easy target, as he has been vilified by the western world.

Putin (right) is ruthless and determined, unlike many of his western European and American counterparts. He returned from Brazil the same day MH17 was shot down, after a successful BRIC summit in Brazil. (BRIC is the acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China, the new emergent economic powerhouses.) Putin would gain nothing from waging a full-scale war.

If that rhetorical question is too difficult to contemplate, think about Perkasa and Isma scaring the rakyat with claims that the DAP and Chinese are capable of starting another May 13. Racial conflict will plunge Malaysia into economic and social chaos. The Chinese, most of whom are purportedly in business, would not be so stupid as to harm their livelihoods and ‘create’ another May 13.

Perkasa and Isma have one thing in common with the CIA. They spread disinformation to cause confusion and to divert attention from the real agenda.
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Why did these children have to die?

PETALING JAYA: It’s senseless! Eighty-three children murdered in cold blood.

They had dreams — they were going home for Raya, to meet their grandparents, for a tropical holiday. For many, it was their first trip on a plane — and their last.

Those who killed them, and denying them the basic human decency of a proper funeral, must not go unpunished.

Australians Mo, Evie and Otis Maslin, aged 12, 10 and eight respectively, were on MH17 with their grandfather Nick Norris, going home to Perth after a holiday in Europe.

Norris took his grandchildren away on the holiday so that their parents could spend some time alone together.

Back from the grandparents: Eight-year-old Margaux van den Hende and her brothers Piers (inset, top) and Marnix were on their way home to Melbourne after a holiday with their grandparents in the Netherlands.

Back from the grandparents: Eight-year-old Margaux van den Hende and her brothers Piers (inset, top) and Marnix were on their way home to Melbourne after a holiday with their grandparents in the Netherlands.

Anthony and Rin, the trio’s parents, released balloons earlier this week in memory of their children, along with Mo’s football team.

Australians Piers, Marnix and Margaux van den Hende (aged 15, 12 and eight respectively) were headed back to Melbourne with father Hans van den Hende and mother Shaliza Dewa after spending time with their grandparents in the Netherlands.

Dutch siblings Brett (17), Jinte (15), Amel (13) and Solenn Wals (nine), were on their way to a summer vacation in Kuala Lumpur with their parents Jeroen Wals and Nicole Martens.
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Ukraine committee says 251 bodies now found

Day 4 of the MH17 tragedy

Latest developments:

  • Donetsk group says black boxes in their keep
  • Malaysia demands for ‘immediate and unrestricted access’
  • RMAF to deploy two planes to retrieve remains

Follow us as we bring the latest updates and coverage on Flight MH17:

3.29pm: Malaysia Hindu Sangam (MHS) president, RS Mohan Shan calls on all temples in the country to hold atma shanti prayers for the 298 passengers on board the ill-fated flight.

Mohan reportedly tells RTM that the special prayers are not only for those who lost their lives, but for Malaysia following the lost of two national carriers in the last five months.

Train with bodies blocked by ‘terrorists’

3.16pm: The Ukrainian government states that rescuers have found up to 251 bodies and 86 body fragments at the site of the MH17 crash as of late yesterday, according to a Reuters report.

Quoting a statement by the Ukrainian investigating committee, the newswire report that the remains will be loaded onto a second train with refrigerator wagons.

However, at the same time, the committee alleges the first such train, on which some 200 of the bodies were loaded, “was stuck in the station in the town of Torez because ‘terrorists are blocking its exit’ ”.

Tour packages not affected for now

3.12pm: Tourism Malaysia says it has not received information on any immediate cancellation of tour packages from Western Europe, Scandinavian, and Benelux country as a result of the MH17 mishap.

In a statement, it explains tourists normally travel to South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand on Malaysia Airlines (MAS) during this time, due to the long summer break.

“We will continue to monitor the situation,” adds Tourism Malaysia.
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20 families gone in one shot

Clockwise from top left: The Smallenburgs, Wals, Dewa, the Kottes, van Muijlwijk and his daughter Adinda.

Clockwise from top left: The Smallenburgs, Wals, Dewa, the Kottes, van Muijlwijk and his daughter Adinda.

PETALING JAYA: The passenger manifest of MH17 tells a grim tale. More than 20 families were wiped out when the Malaysia Airlines jetliner was shot down in Ukraine.

Two families of six were from Netherlands and Malaysia while there were a number of families of five, four and three that perished.

Many of those who died were children, of which at least 20 were below the age of 12.

A number of teenagers also perished along with couples who were returning from a holiday or embarking on one.

Fifteen-year-old Jinte Wals had been so excited about her upcoming holiday in Malaysia that she tweeted about it an hour before her flight left Amsterdam.

She died along with her cycling enthusiast father Jeroen, mother Nicole, and siblings Brett, 17, Amèl, 12, and nine-year-old Solenn.

“Over uurtje in t vliegtuig naar Maleisië ! (In an hour, I will be in the air to Malaysia!),” she posted on Thursday, on what would become her last Twitter message.

The Wals were from the small town of Neerkant in the Netherlands.

Neighbours living across from the family told Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad that they could not believe that the family of six has been killed.

“It is awful. Never again shall we see Jeroen bring out the bicycle for his daughter,” Nel and Ton Winkelmolen told the daily. Continue reading

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Leader, inspiration, friend – tributes pour in

TRIBUTE: Amid fields of sunflowers, the remains of those who perished in the downing of MH17 are scattered in a quiet Ukrainian village of Donetsk, some 500 kilometres from Kiev.

Along with the Malaysian Airlines aircraft, the world lost leading scientists, a top chef, educators and community leaders.

“The cure for AIDS may have been on that plane, we just don’t know,” AIDS consultant Trevor Stratton who was attending a pre-event of a conference in Melbourne, which was supposed to be attended by more than 100 of those on board.

“You can’t just help but wonder about the kind of expertise on that plane,” he is quoted by the Daily Mirror as saying.

In tributes for the 298 on board, family and friends share that what remains of their loved ones are more than flesh and bones.

Here are some their stories:

The leading scientist: Joep Lange, HIV/Aids researcher(The Netherlands)

Pioneer, luminary and leader were words used repeatedly in reports the world over describing University of Amsterdam professor Joep Lange.

The Dutch scientist’s most significant contribution was the 1998 study that ushered the drug “triple cocktail” – a cocktail of medication, which CBC News said “tempered the virus from a degenerative, fatal infection to a chronic and manageable ailment.”

According to his friend Tobias Rinke de Wit, Lange (left) was not only working to get treatment to hundreds of people living with HIV but also on researching other disease like cardiovascular diseases, for the developing world.

He was among about dozens on board who were en route an AIDS conference in Melboune, Australia.

They also include WHO spokesperson Glenn Thomas, whose family said died “doing what he loved”.

The passionate educator: Ng Shi Ing, university lecturer (Malaysia)

“I remember you as the spunky one, who once told me with the deepest conviction that “education is the fundamental to solve the world’s problem”. You inspired me…

“I remember how we came together and bonded because of an organization that believed world peace is achievable. And I am reminded from this tragedy, how faraway we are from achieving that,” her friend Hui Woon Tan writes on Facebook.

Ng, or JC to her friends, was returning from an international conference in the Netherlands.
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MH17 crash: Dutch cyclist escapes death twice

Cyclist Maarten de Jonge. Photo taken from Twitter

Cyclist Maarten de Jonge. Photo taken from Twitter

By T Avineshwaran

PETALING JAYA: Dutch cyclist Maarten de Jonge cheated death twice after he made last minute changes to his flight tickets for MH370 and MH17.

The 29-year-old cyclist who is a member of the Terengganu Cycling Team (TSG) told Dutch televison station RTV Oost that he had to change his MH17 ticket to another date because he wanted to save money by getting cheap airfare.

De Jonge, who comes from Oldenzaal, also said he was supposed to board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 on March 8 for a competition in Taiwan but changed to another flight to avoid transit.

“It’s hard to believe. I grieve for the passengers and their families but I’m grateful that I escaped the flight,” according to his website.

He also said that he will take MAS to return to Malaysia via Frankfurt and has no worries about it.

De Jonge also said he was overwhelmed by the number of responses that he got after news broke out that he changed his flight.
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I had repeatedly told my daughter to quit her job

PUTRAJAYA: The mother of Nur Shazana Mohamad Salleh (pix), one of the victims of the MH17 crash, had repeatedly asked her daughter to stop her job as a flight stewardess and work in other fields.

Sharom Ibrahim, 57, said she had asked Nur Shazana to change her job as she was worried that untoward incidents would happen especially after the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

“But she had refused. She liked to travel. She had said that even pedestrians could die. I had told her that in this case, there would at least be a body, but she had said that it would be better if the aircraft would just burst,” Sharom said here on Saturday.

She said her daughter had been working as a flight stewardess for nine years.
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