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Victim’s tragic link to MH370

Written By kom limapulan on Jumat, 18 Juli 2014 | 23.46

Professor Francoise Barr-Sinousi addresses the National Press Club with words of grief and loss over colleague and HIV expert Joep Lange, amongst hundreds dead in the crash of flight MH17.

Evidence is growing that a surface-to-air missile brought down a Malaysia Airlines flight that has crashed in Ukraine killing all on board.

Confirmed to be on flight ... Albert Rizk (left) and wife Marie (third from left). Source: Supplied

A TEACHER in a remote Northern Territory community is among the latest Australians named as a victim in the MH17 tragedy.

Emma Bell, aged in her 20s, had moved to the Maningrida community, 500kms east of Darwin last year, from her home town of Lithgow in the Blue Mountains.

She was returning from holiday to start the new school term when she was killed on Flight MH17.

Maningrida teacher Emma Bell. Picture: Facebook Source: Facebook

THREE PASSENGERS FROM NORTHERN TERRITORY

Bell, along with a public servant and her husband, are the three Northern Territory victims believed to have been on the doomed flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Ms Bell was holidaying in Europe and travelling back to Darwin prior to the start of the new school term next week.

Her colleagues in the tight-knit community were said to be devastated as condolence messages began to circulate in Maningrida yesterday morning.

It is understand the NT Education Department has spoken to Ms Bell's family.

Chief Minister Adam Giles said the NT Government was working with Consular officials, and the NT Police Disaster Victim Identification staff remained on standby if needed to assist with identifications.

"This is truly reprehensible and unspeakable criminal act and on behalf of all Territorians, I wish to express my condolences to all the families and friends of the victims, particularly the Territory families involved, "Mr Giles said.

"This is a sad and sorry day for our country and all nations affected."

Hers is just one of hundreds of sad stories to be told in the wake of the MH17 tragedy.

Sunbury real estate agent Albert Rizk. Picture: Facebook Source: Facebook

Melbourne couple Elaine Teoh and Emiel Mahler. Picture: Facebook Source: News Corp Australia

TEN PASSENGERS FROM VICTORIA

Ten Victorians are also among those killed, Premier Denis Napthine said.

"This is a sad and tragic day, not just for Victorians but for all people and all nations," he said.

"The shooting down of a passenger aircraft full of innocent civilians is an unspeakable act that will forever leave a dark stain on our history."

Toorak College teacher Frankie Davison and her husband, Liam, are among the dead.

"We are devastated by the news of this tragedy," a statement on the Toorak College website said.

"Our heartfelt sympathy and prayers are with Frankie's family and friends." The Davisons had two children, the college said.

Albert Rizk, a real estate agent, and his wife Marie, from Sunbury, 40km northwest of Melbourne, were due to return home today after spending a month holidaying in Europe, the Herald-Sun reports.

The pair were holidaying with two friends, who caught an earlier flight which the Rizks missed.

A former University of Melbourne student, 27-year-old Elaine Teoh, was killed.

A statement from Malaysians of Melbourne University confirmed that Ms Teoh was one of the 298 victims of the plane crash.

"We would like to extend our sincerest condolences to the families of all victims in flight MH17," the group said.

"It has been a tough year for Malaysia. Let us stand united in hoping for betterment."

Teoh is from Penang, in Malaysia, but lived in Melbourne, according to her Facebook page. Dutch national Emiel Mahler, Elaine's boyfriend, was also a victim who lived in Melbourne.

Ms Teoh's employer, IG Australia, issued a statement saying she and Mr Mahler — who used to work at the company — were "beloved members of our close IG community and were valued members of our team".

Mr Mahler left IG Australia to join Vanguard Australia, which said staff were "extremely sad".

Toowoomba pathologist Roger Guard. Source: News Corp Australia

Gold Coast resident Helena Sidelik. Source: Supplied

SEVEN PASSENGERS FROM QUEENSLAND

Premier Campbell Newman said he was "shocked, outraged, dismayed and deeply saddened," by what "appears to be a crime".

"Today, as far as I'm concerned, is about families, friends and communities of Queensland that are affected," he said.

Mr Newman said he supported the Australian government's push for a full, independent inquiry into what had occurred and who was responsible.

He said the loss of so many innocent lives was chilling and sickening.

"It's hard not to get angry and emotional about it," Mr Newman said.

Some of the Queensland victims have been identified.

Toowoomba pathologist Roger Guard and his wife Jill have been confirmed as two of the seven Queenslanders to die in the MH17 crash.

Dr Guard, a long-time Queensland Health employee was due back at work on Monday and was returning from a European holiday with his wife.

A Gold Coast woman travelling home from a friend's European wedding has also been confirmed as a victim of the MH17 tragedy.

Burleigh resident Helena Sidelik, aged in her late 50s, sent a final message to friends just before she boarded flight MH17, the Gold Coast Bulletin reports.

Irene and George Burrows, from Biloela in central Queensland, have been mourning the loss of son Rodney and daughter-in-law Mary aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, whose final resting place still remains unclear.

They are now mourning the loss of another family member from the MH17 disaster, The Courier Mail reports.

Plane crash victims ... Mo, Otis and Evie Norris died alongside their grandfather. Source: Supplied

SEVEN PASSENGERS FROM WESTERN AUSTRALIA

In Western Australia, seven people have been confirmed to have boarded the plane.

Perth man Nick Norris, a member of the South Perth Yacht Club, and some of his grandchildren are also believed to have perished.

News Talk 6PR said that his wife in Perth has been informed.

Three West Australian children travelling with their grandfather are among the youngest victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Parents of Mo, 12, Evie, 10, and Otis Maslin, 8, who were on their way back to Perth with their grandfather, local businessman Nick Norris, have been crushed by the enormity of their loss.

Rin Norris and Anthony Maslin were not on board the plane with their children who were flying back to be back in time for the next school term, Perth Now reports.

Illawarra resident Carol Clancy. Picture: Facebook Source: Facebook

Perth businessman Nick Norris. Source: Supplied

THREE PASSENGERS FROM NEW SOUTH WALES

Sydney nun Sister Philomena Tiernan is with the Sisters of the Sacred Heart at Kincoppal-Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart, The Daily Telegraph reports.

"Sadly, we have been advised that one person from NSW was on board the flight and I extend my sympathies and offer my support to their family and friends," NSW premier Mike Baird said in a statement.

An Illawarra couple are also among 289 killed on Malaysia Airlines Flight, neighbours have confirmed.

Retired couple Michael and Carol Clancy, believed to be in their 60s, were due to return from a three-week European holiday when the flight was shot down over eastern Ukraine early today.

Staff and students at Albion Park Public School, where Mr Clancy taught for 21 years until the end of last year, were notified the couple were believed to have been on the plane.

Carol Clancy's devastated daughter Jane Malcolm fought back tears as she tried to comprehend why someone would want to hurt her mother.

"(Michael) had recently retired and they were going overseas for a big trip and we found out this morning it had been shot down," Ms Malcolm said.

"It hasn't sunk in," she said. "It's something that happens to other people, not something that happens to you.

"I spoke to them at Sydney Airport, they were excited about leaving a couple of weeks ago. It's really hard to image someone wanting to hurt them."

Ms Malcolm said the trip involved visiting Netherlands, Germany, France and Norway.

"My stepfather has health problems, they had to pay for first class tickets because of his health to be able to travel with his back problems," she said,

"It's not like they were frequent travelling."

She said the holiday was a reward for years of service teaching.

Mrs Clancy taught at Lakelands Public School and Fig Tree Public School.

"Both were primary school teachers with special needs students," she said.

"We'll get through this but it's horrific."

Mother-of-two Liliane Derden, 50, from the ACT. Source: News Corp Australia

ONE PASSENGER FROM THE AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY

A Canberra mother-of-two has been identified as one of 28 Australian victims killed in the Ukraine plane disaster.

Liliane Derden, 50, from Hall in Canberra's north, was on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 when it crashed in rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine.

She worked for the National Health and Medical Research Council whose staff expressed deep sadness at the loss of a valued colleague and friend.

ACT acting chief minister Andrew Barr said the tragedy was devastating news for Ms Derden's family and friends.

A New Zealand woman, a long-time resident of Australia, was travelling with her husband, a Danish citizen, is also believed to have been on the flight.

Flight attendant Sanjid Singh. Source: Supplied

All that is left ... wreckage from MH17. Source: AFP

TRAGIC LINK TO MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT MH370

The stories of people killed on the downed plane are of course international — but few are as heartbreaking as the story of Sanjid Singh.

Just 313 days ago, Mr Singh's wife — a flight attendant — pulled out of a work shift that would have had her on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 — the Boeing 777 which went missing over the Gulf of Thailand in the early hours of March 8.

But is a terrible twist, Mr Singh's grieving father told The Malysian Insider that his son had called to say that he had swapped a shift of his own in order to get on board flight MH17 and fly home to Kuala Lumpur.

"He told us recently that he swapped with a colleague for the return Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight," said Jijar Singh.

"He always called us before he leaves for his trip. He was supposed to come here at noon after he returns from Amsterdam this morning. His mother had prepared all his favourite dishes."

It was then as the 71-year-old sobbed that he revealed that Sanjid's wife was meant to be on the ill-fated MH370.

"Sanjid's wife was meant to fly on MH370 but swapped with another colleague at the last minute," he said between sobs.

Mr Singh, 41, was among the 15 crew members who died in the plane crash.

"I have undergone two heart bypasses," his father said. "Our daughter waited until 4am to tell us. She dare not tell us earlier. I am 71 and she (Sanjid's mother) is 73. We are in such a state. My whole body is shivering.

"We are heartbroken because he was our only son. What to do? What has happened, has happened," he said with a trembling voice.

Leading researcher into the HIV virus ... Professor Joep Lange. Source: Supplied

AIDS campaigner ... Pim de Kuijer. Picture: Facebook Source: Facebook

AROUND 100 PASSENGERS WERE HEADING TO AIDS CONFERENCE

A number of passengers on the plane were bound for Melbourne to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference. Some were part of the World Health Organisation.

Leading HIV researcher and father of five Joep Lange was aboard the flight from Amsterdam.

HIV Researchers Dr Lucie van Mens, Martine de Schutter of AIDS Action Europe, Pim de Kuijer and Jacqueline van Tongeren are also thought to have perished.

The World Health Organisation's Glenn Thomas was also bound for Melbourne.

World Health Organisation representative Glenn Thomas. Source: Supplied

Lucie van Mens from the Female Health Company. Source: Supplied

President of the International AIDS Society Professor Francoise Barré-Sinousi expressed her sadness at losing colleagues on board.

"It's a very sad day. I apologise if I don't feel so well," she said at the start of an address to the National Press Club in Canberra.

"In that plane, probably it was many passengers coming to the AIDS conference in Melbourne, including friends, colleagues and our thoughts right now are really with them, with their family. It will be a great loss for the HIV-AIDS community."

She said if it is confirmed Joep Lange, a former president, has been killed it will be "a terrible loss for all of us".

"I have no words, really, to try to express my sadness. I feel totally devastated, if it is confirmed.

"I had the privilege myself to work with him in the past, work closely with them. Joep was a wonderful person. A great professional and professional, but more than that, a wonderful human being."

Former US President Bill Clinton, founder of the Clinton Foundation, UNAIDS executive director Michel Sidibé and musician and activist Sir Bob Geldof are scheduled to be among the main speakers.

"The International AIDS Society (IAS) today expresses its sincere sadness at receiving news that a number of colleagues and friends en route to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference taking place in Melbourne, Australia, were on board the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight that has crashed over Ukraine earlier today," IAS said in a statement.

"At this incredibly sad and sensitive time the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy."

Crew member Angeline Premila. Picture: Facebook Source: Facebook

Flight attendant Nur Shazana Binti Mohamed Salleh. Picture: Facebook Source: Facebook

15 MEMBERS OF THE CREW MOURNED

Chinese-language Malaysian news sources Sin Chew has released the names of the 15 crew members on the flight that was shot down in the eastern region of Ukraine, near the Russian border, killing the 298 passengers and crew.

They are:

Captain: Wan Amran Bin Wan Hussin (male, 50 years old);

Captain: Eugene Choo Jin Leong (male, 45 years old);

Vice- captain: Ahmad Hakimi Bin Hanapi (male, 29 years old);

Vice- captain: Muhamad Firdaus Bin Abdul Rahim (male, 27 years old);

Mohd Ghafar Bin Abu Bakar (male, 54 years old);

Dora Shamila Binti Kassim (female, 47 years old);

Azrina Binti Yakob (female, 41 years old);

Lee Hui Pin (female, 42 years old);

Mastura Binti Mustafa (female, 40 years old);

Chong Yee Pheng (female, 40 years old);

Shaikh Mohd Noor Bin Mahmood (male, 44 years old);

Sanjid Singh Sandhu (male, 41 years old);

Hamfazlin Sham Binti Mohamed Arifin (female, 42 years old);

Nur Shazana Binti Mohamed Salleh (female, 31 years old), and

Angeline Premila Rajandaran (female, 30 years old).


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Passengers ‘did not see missile coming’

The moment Malaysia Airlines flight 17 disappears from Flightradar24.

AVIATION experts and weapons analysts have shed more light on what happened on-board Flight MH17 before it was shot down.

The flight, on a Boeing 777-200, was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Passengers left Amsterdam at 12.15pm (local time) in the afternoon, and were due to touch down in Kuala Lumpur the next day at 6.10am local time.

The flight was meant to be a total of 13 hours and 10 minutes.

But less than four hours into their flight, Malaysian officials lost contact with the plane, at about 12.15am Sydney time.

The 285 people on-board would have settled in, had their first round of in-flight snacks and drinks as some of them may have dozed off until their evening meal was served or started watching in-flight movies to relax.

But at around 4pm Amsterdam time reports began to emerge that a passenger plane had crashed in eastern Ukraine.

The early reports came from an "aviation source" who was quoted by the privately-owned Russian Interfax news agency.

The plane was flying in an international air corridor over eastern Ukraine when it crashed, the Russian news agency reported.

An adviser to the Ukrainian interior minister, Anton Gerashenko, posted on his Facebook page that the plane was flying at an altitude of 10,000 metres (33,000 feet) when it was "hit by a missile fired from a Buk launcher", according to the Associated Press.

Shortly after reports surfaced, Malaysia Airlines tweeted it had lost contact with flight MH17 from Amsterdam.

REVEALED: What is a BUK missile?

WARNINGS IGNORED: Flight paths via Ukraine

At 33,000 feet, the plane would have been flying at roughly the same height as the summit of Mount Everest.

The air at that altitude and temperature is extremely dry, and the temperature outside would be minus 40 degrees Celsius.

Experts say that when the plane was struck by the missile, the cabin would have suddenly depressurised, leaving people with little if any time to get oxygen, before the plane crashed.

Former Qantas pilot Graham Dutton, who regularly used to fly the route over Ukraine, said it was a busy flight path and no one on the flight would have known the missile was coming their way.

"They would have had no idea what was about to happen," he said.

Mr Dutton said airlines had generally deemed it safe for passenger planes to overfly "hot spots" at cruising altitudes above 28,000 feet.

That was considered a safe level, outside the reach of normal, portable surface-to-air missiles used by non-government forces.

What happened before ... experts are trying to establish what occurred before Malaysia Airlines flight M17 was shot down. Here, passengers board at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport for Kuala Lumpur. Picture: Nicolas Asfouri Source: AFP

Former UN weapons analyst with the UN's Department of Peace Keeping Ben Rich, agreed that passengers and the crew would not have had any warning of the missile coming.

He said the radar-controlled BUK — or SA6 Russian-made missile — carries a 70kg high-explosive warhead and is designed to detonate within 20 metres of its target.

It causes terminal damage to an aircraft's engines and control systems and then causes secondary damage through fuel explosion, and wing and fuselage rupture.

Mr Rich said the SA6 family of portable, trucked missiles is the only known type in the region capable of reaching a 10km altitude to hit a commercial aircraft.

"These people (on board) would not have known the second before they were hit," Mr Rich said.

Aviation expert Bruce Rodger, President of Aero Consulting Experts, told TheWire.com that

the plane would have taken only minutes to crash.

This may explain why there was no distress call placed by the pilot before the plane was shot down.

Finding the wreckage ... an unverified image posted online shows part of the plane at the crash site. Source: Supplied

"The time for it to fall out of the sky from its altitude, depending where it hits, the engine, the wing, it takes about three to five minutes," he said.

"It all depends on the altitude and where the missile hits the plane. It could be the missile took out the aeroplane right away and it exploded right away."

As for an understanding of whether it was shot down or crashed, Rodgers says the proof is in the debris.

"A plane that has been shot down, you would have pieces of debris over a wide area. An aeroplane that has been flown till impact with the ground, you would have the aeroplane there, about three or four football fields length of debris, vs. shot down, which is miles of debris."

A US official said American intelligence authorities believe a surface-to-air missile took down the plane, but it is not clear who fired it.

PICTURES: THE M17 CRASH SITE

He said it appears unlikely the Ukrainian government, which has denied responsibility, shot down the plane because it doesn't have the capabilities. Pro-Russia separatists fighting the government have also denied any responsibility.

To back up its charge of rebel responsibility, the Ukrainian government posted on YouTube a recording of what it said was an intercepted telephone call, in which a rebel commander tells a Russian military intelligence officer that his men had shot down a passenger jet.

In the recording, the pro-Russia separatist, identified as Igor Bezler, purportedly informs the Russian, identified as Col. Vasily Geranin, that his men at the scene found "lots of bodies ... civilian stuff, aircraft seats, medical supplies, towels, toilet paper" and the passport of an Indonesian student.


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This guy is not using Tinder for sex

One man on dating app 'Tinder' has volunteered for the 'friend zone', promising to make all his matches' non-sexual dreams come true.

Robert Townley's DTF (Down To Fun) project aims to connect strangers through "platonic adventures". Photo: Robert Townley. Source: Facebook

ROBERT Townley gets around 100 matches a day on Tinder.

The 25-year-old New Yorker went on a date every day last week.

But these weren't romantic, candlelit dinner dates, and Robert certainly didn't have sex with any of these women.

He's conducting a social experiment, called the DTF (Down To Fun) project, where he asks his Tinder matches to suggest ideas for a "platonic adventure", or an activity that they've never done before.

It can literally be anything — but there are a few ground rules: "It can't be expensive, illegal, sexual, mean-spirited or involve me leaving New York City," Mr Townley told news.com.au.

Mr Townley wanted to take the weirdness out of Tinder by using the dating app outside of its "intended purpose" — getting laid.

Rob's proposal to his Tinder matches. Photo: Tinder. Source: Supplied

"Tinder has this connotation of being a creepy thing," he said. "Online dating has a very creepy context — you assume that everyone on the internet is going to be a weirdo.

"We're taught not to talk to strangers, but there's a lot of strangers out there, and saying you won't talk to strangers cuts off connection with a lot of people.

"I actually don't know any of my neighbours — people tend to lock themselves in their apartments. People are scared to make eye contact on the subway — it's a very unhealthy, scary thing."

He wants to break apart social norms, reconnect people, and get us out of our comfort zones. And it seems many people are keen to join the party.

Mr Townley "swipes right" for everyone and has been inundated with matches. He's only gone on dates with girls so far, but has been matched with several guys and plans to meet up with them in the future.

The five rules his dates or "platonic adventures" must adhere to. Photo: Tinder. Source: Supplied

The first 'date' he went on was with a girl who was annoyed by a fly in her apartment, and asked Townley if he would come over and kill it.

"I was like, 'Sure, I'll do that. No problem'".

They met up at the local train station, "to check that I wasn't a creep" and when they got to her apartment, "her roommate was sitting on the couch, watching the Germany vs. France World Cup game and the fly was right there on the counter.

"We spend about 45 minutes chasing it around her apartment. Finally in the 80th minute of the game we got it!"

He's walked the entire length of Manhattan, gone ballroom dancing and taught a woman to ride a bicycle.

"All these things are adventures that people have always wanted to do, and they're always bubbling underneath the surface," he said. "All it takes is one person to say, 'I'll do that with you'".

He's only turned down one date request — to sleep in a cemetery overnight — on the grounds that it's illegal.

Rob's potential date ideas. Photo: Tinder. Source: Supplied

And surprisingly, none of the dates have been total disasters: "I've been on a few that didn't really do it for me, but I've never felt endangered or things have got so overwhelmingly awkward that we had to call it quits."

Mr Townley says he can see himself becoming true friends with a few of his dates.

"There's been three girls where I have genuinely felt, 'You're cool, I could definitely be friends with you'.

"One girl wanted to go to a religious art museum in Manhattan and we walked around the museum together and were cracking jokes and we got along really well. I could see that developing into a friendship."

But what happens if he starts to develop romantic feelings for one of his platonic dates?

"I don't think men are quite the horndogs that people make us out to be," he said.

"Even if I was really crazy interested in a girl, I don't want to ruin the sanctity of the project.

"I have been physically attracted to a couple of girls, but I promised this was going to be a platonic experience and I need to value that."

Rob's favourite date was when he taught a woman how to ride a bike. Photo: Tinder. Source: Supplied

Mr Townley, who just left his job as a web developer to run a Model UN not-for-profit program for kids, says the act of putting yourself in a vulnerable position allows a beautiful connection to be made.

"I'm going to be able to give them a positive experience, talk with them, be polite and nice and happy and make a really good effort to show them a good time. I think that in itself is a nice statement."

And, for the record, what would his ideal date be?

"I've always wanted to see an abandoned New York City subway station.

"If not then hang out with someone in an arcade and play Dance Dance Revolution."

Would you on a "platonic adventure" with a stranger? Join the conversation @newscomauhq | @beck_sullivan


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Moving targets in the sky

Scene of destruction ... a policeman surveys the damaged cockpit of Pan Am 103 on December 22, 1998, the day after it was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland. Picture: Roy Letkey Source: AFP

A Malaysian airliner has crashed in east Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board and stunning world leaders

MALAYSIA Airlines Flight 17 from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur is the latest in a long line of civilian aircraft brought down either by rebel ground fire, terrorists or military fighter jets.

In the past a lack of identifying technology or accidental airspace incursions have been used as an excuse for the atrocities.

Today there is no such excuse.

"This looks less like an accident than a crime," said Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

The destruction of the Malaysian flight, just four months after the loss of flight MH-370 in the Indian Ocean, is a global crime on an unimaginable scale.

Experts believe that it was either the act of incompetent and poorly trained operators from the pro-Russian separatist movement or a deliberate, provocative act designed to escalate the conflict in Ukraine. Either way Russia must bear some responsibility and will be subject to an even more intense regime of sanctions by the international community.

VICTIMS: Aussies lost on Flight MH17

EARLIER: Ten things we know about MH17

Experts agreed that there was no way an accidental firing could have brought down the nearest over flying aircraft. This was not a simple heat seeking weapon and the Boeing 777 was shot down deliberately by a surface-to-air missile guided to its target by a sophisticated radar guidance system.

"This is a major piece of conventional weaponry designed for serious war fighting not for militias," said Dr John Blaxland from the ANU.

"There has historically been a risk from Stinger type weapons at low altitudes but this was an airliner flying at 33,000 feet."

Regardless of who pulled the trigger and why, 298 innocent lives — including 28 Australians — have been taken in history's worst ever case of airborne mass murder.

And this is not the first time that a civilian plane has been shot down in Ukrainian airspace.

In On 4 October 2001, a Siberian Airline Tu-154 airliner crashed over the Black Sea after allegedly being hit by a Russian built S-200 missile fired by Ukrainian forces.

No responsibility was ever claimed but Ukrainian officials expressed their condolences to the families of the 78 people on board.

Since the end of World War Two more than 20 civil aeroplanes have been lost to military or paramilitary action.

Horrifying task ... people looking for family members walk amid bodies of victims from Iran Air Flight 655 in a morgue in Bandar Abbas, Iran, a day after the plane was shot down over the Persian Gulf by the USS Vincennes. Picture: Mohammad Sayyad Source: AP

One of the worst was Iran Air Flight 655 that was shot from the sky over the Persian Gulf by the United States cruiser USS Vincennes on July 3, 1988, with the loss of all 290 people on board.

The aircraft was en-route from Tehran to Dubai and was emitting inappropriate identification codes that caused the American ship to identify it as a hostile Iranian F-14 fighter jet. When its actual identity could not be verified the cruiser fired a missile.

The US admitted liability and paid Iran $62 million in compensation.

During the Cold War Soviet fighter planes took out several civilian airliners that strayed into its airspace. These included two Korean Airlines flights.

The first, KAL 902, was shot down by a Soviet Su-15 fighter near Murmansk in northern Russia that failed to respond to the interceptors.

The aircraft made an emergency landing on a frozen lake and two of the 109 people on board were killed.

Grim search ... a Soviet mini-submarine used to search for debris from Korean Air Lines flight 007, shot down on September 1, 1983, near Sakhalin Island. Picture: Neal Ulevich Source: AP

The second tragedy occurred on September 1, 1983 when KAL Flight 007, a Boeing 747 jumbo jet, was shot out of the sky by a Soviet Su-15 fighter when it strayed into Soviet airspace near Sakhalin Island with the loss of 269 lives including US Congressman Larry McDonald.

Pilot error was blamed for the course error but the Soviets claimed the plane was on a spying mission.

In what would become one of the most serious incidents of the Cold War, the Soviets accused the US of using the incident to test Soviet defences or to provoke a war.

Closer to home an Antonov An-24 aircraft operated by Lionair as flight LN 602 was brought down by Tamil Tigers near the city of Jaffna with the loss of 55 lives.

On February 21, 1973 Libyan Airlines Flight 114 was intercepted by two Israeli F-4 Phantom jets over the Sinai Peninsula. When the offcourse airliner refused to land it was shot down with the loss of 108 of the 113 people on board.

The attacks against civilian aircraft are so random that they have involved aircraft from nations as diverse as Zimbabwe, Italy, Belarus, South Korea and Malaysia. In most cases it was a case of wrong place at wrong time rather than any specific targeting.

The clean up ... residents of Lockerbie, Scotland, look at the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103. Picture: Roy Letkey Source: News Corp Australia

The one exception was Pan Am Flight 103 from Frankfurt to Detroit on December 21, 1988. The Boeing 747 was blown up by terrorists working for Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi over Lockerbie in Scotland with the loss of 259 people on the plane and 11 on the ground.

Civilian airliners often fly specific corridors to avoid trouble spots such as eastern Ukraine. Several airlines have flown around the conflict zone since the troubles began and since military aircraft have been targeted by both sides, but many airlines still use the most direct route from Europe to South-East Asia.

Other trouble spots such as Pakistan and Afghanistan also feature commercial aircraft corridors, but insurgents in both those countries do not have the advanced hardware required to bring down airliners flying above 10,000 metres.


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Is this the tipping point for war?

Russian President Vladimir Putin expresses sorrow for the downed jetliner and blames the conflict in Ukraine. Nathan Frandino reports.

WSJs Jerry Seib says President Obama could end up getting more international support for sanctioning Russia over Ukraine crisis if theres any hint of Russian involvement in the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin. A-NOVOSTI / POOL / ALEXEI NIKOLSKY Source: AFP

RUSSIAN leader Vladimir Putin has two choices in the wake of the murder of 298 innocent civilians on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

He can either deny all knowledge and any culpability and risk even greater isolation and harsher sanctions from NATO and the United States or he can condemn the actions of local rebel commanders and withdraw support from eastern Ukraine thus allowing Ukrainian forces to move in and tidy up their eastern border.

It remains unclear whether the missile used in the tragedy was provided directly by Moscow or stolen from Ukrainian forces by the separatist rebels.

What will he do? ... Russia's President Vladimir Putin. Pic: ALEXEI NIKOLSKY Source: AFP

The two scenarios have been put forward by experts including a senior government adviser, who asked not be named, and the head of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Peter Jennings.

"There is a fair probability that Russia will back off for a couple of years," the government adviser said.

"The ultimate outcome of any denial by Putin would be to see him backed further into a corner. If he has nothing to lose then who knows what might happen."

Dr John Blaxland from the Australian National University said the MH-17 tragedy could trigger an even deeper conflict in the Ukraine.

Collateral damage ... A man stands next to the wreckage of the Malaysian airliner after it crashed in rebel-held east Ukraine, near the town of Shaktarsk. Pic: DOMINIQUE FAGET Source: AFP

"Putin may choose not to back down. He has a lot invested in the Ukraine and if he takes that course it won't be good,' Dr Blaxland said.

"The Russian Army is poised on the Ukraine border."

No one is suggesting an all-out conflict between Russia and the West but an isolated Russia could manifest its anger by supporting the proxy war in the wider Middle East.

Russia can easily escalate conflict in Syria or Iran and it can also negate any United Nations efforts at peace by exercising its veto power in the UN Security Council.

Tense times ... It is hard to imagine Putin and Obama sharing a podium in Brisbane just five months from now as they did at the G20 summit in 2013 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Photo: Guneev Sergey/Host Photo Agency Source: Getty Images

Dr Jennings said the smartest thing Putin could do was to severely rebuke the rebels and demonstrate a distance between Russia and the Ukrainian militias and what they have done.

"There is no possible logic as to why the Russians would want something like this to happen," he said.

Dr Jennings said some of the blame would be sheeted home to Putin for not controlling the rebels regardless of how he responds.

He said more aggressive sanctions against Moscow and a ban on Putin from attending the G20 summit in Brisbane in November were likely outcomes.

"It is hard to imagine Putin and Obama sharing a podium in Brisbane just five months from now."

The key to that will be Putin's response to this terrible crime.


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Bishop warns: brace for more pain

Tony Abbott has dismissed as 'deeply, deeply unsatisfactory' the Russian response to the MH17 disaster.

Pro Russian separatists are being blamed for firing a Russian built surface-to-air missile to bring down MH17 in eastern Ukraine

Evidence is growing that a surface-to-air missile brought down a Malaysia Airlines flight that has crashed in Ukraine killing all on board.

Smoke billows into the sky from the stricken aircraft. Source: Supplied

  • Malaysia Airlines plane shot down over eastern Ukraine
  • Surface-to-air missile used
  • 27 Australians were among the 298 on board
  • Pro-Russian separatists blamed, but have denied attack
  • The plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur

FOREIGN Minister Julie Bishop has warned the Australian death toll may still rise as investigators work to uncover the identities of 41 victims of the MH17 disaster who are not yet accounted for.

Speaking on Sky News on Friday night, Ms Bishop also confirmed a 28th Australian death is that of a dual citizen.

The Malaysia Airlines plane with 298 people on board, including at least 28 Australians, was downed about 12.15am today Sydney time.

The flight MH17, a Boeing 777-200, was travelling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur but was shot down in separatist-controlled eastern Ukraine.

Plumes of black smoke could be seen near the rebel-held village of Grabovo in eastern Ukraine, at the crash site 40 kilometres from the Russian border.

The Foreign Minister has issued a stark warning to Russia as it becomes increasingly clear that pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine are responsible for bringing down the jet.

Using language that is more direct than is custom in international relations, Ms Bishop made it clear Australia would use its position on the United Nations Security Council to push for an international investigation and warned Russia not to stand in the way.

"Russia has a crucial role to play in all of this. If, as Russia claims, Ukraine is responsible for this, I expect Russia to support a thorough investigation", she said.

Ms Bishop's words were backed by the UN Security Council, which passed a unanimous motion calling for a full and thorough investigation.

"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 in a unanimous declaration.

The UN statement expressed the council's "deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims, and to the people and governments of all those killed in the crash."

Council members stood in a moment of silent tribute to the 298 victims at the start of an emergency council meeting.

The council called for an 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 to determine the cause of the incident."

Ms Bishop also said she had been unable to get in touch with her Russian counterpart, who is on holidays, and was told by the Russians she could not speak to a more junior representative.

The comments came after Prime Minister Tony Abbott earlier condemned the initial response of the Russian Ambassador to the MH17 disaster.

Julie Bishop following her meeting with the Russian Ambassador Vladimir Morozov. Source: AFP

Mr Abbott said it was "highly probable" MH17 was "shot down" by what appeared to be a Russian-backed rebel missile.

This afternoon, the Prime Minister revealed the first response from the Russian Ambassador was to blame Ukraine forces for the tragedy — a response he called "deeply, deeply unsatisfactory".

The ambassador had been summoned to speak in Sydney with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, who was seeking assurances Russia would co-operate with investigators and Australia would get access to the crash site.

Mr Abbott repeated his statement made in Parliament earlier today that the disaster was a crime and not an accident.

Rescue crews walk through the crash site. Source: AP

Australia was working for a binding UN Security Council resolution to secure an independent international investigation, he said.

"It's very important that we don't allow Russia to prevent an absolutely comprehensive investigation."

Mr Abbott said Australia was eager to take a leading role in the investigation, given the high number of Australians killed.

"These people were innocent people going about their lives ... And they have been killed by Russian-backed rebels ... Possibly with Russian supplied missiles."

He had strong words for those that supplied the rebels with the missile.

"Anyone who gave such a weapon to people who were absolutely incapable of using it ... Should feel a sense of shame."

He said Russia's involvement would be a test for that country. "There can be no excuses, no buck passing."

Mr Abbott said there would be a national day of mourning and ordered flags at government buildings to be flown at half-mast tomorrow.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said anyone with concerns for friends or family can call the hotline on 1300 555 135.

People search for bodies near the wreckage of Flight MH17 Source: AFP

THE VICTIMS

Malaysia Airlines says there were 298 people on board, not 295 as originally stated. At least 28 of the victims are Australian.

The number of Australians killed was revised to 28 by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop this afternoon, after she met with Russian Ambassador. It's possible the number of Australian citizens killed in the disaster will go higher.

Among the dead are Victorian couple Albert and Marie Rizk, who are believed to have missed an earlier flight and ended up on MH17.

Mr Rizk, a local real estate agent, and his wife, who have two children, were due to return home from Europe today after spending a month abroad on holidays.

Other victims are 27-year-old Melbourne student Elaine Teoh, Sister Philomene Tiernan — a teacher at eastern Sydney's Catholic girls' school — and Perth management consultant Nick Norris, who was travelling with his grandchildren.

Denis Napthine, the Premier of Victoria, said it was likely there were permanent residents of Australia travelling on other passports who were also killed in the crash.

Albert Rizk (on left) and wife Marie (third from left) the couple believed to be on flight MH-17. Source: Supplied

The airline confirmed that those on board included 28 Australians, as well as 154 Dutch, 43 Malaysians, 12 Indonesian (including one infant), nine from the UK, four German, four Beligum, three Filipinos, one Canadian. The nationalities of 41 others on the plane were still unknown.

RELATED: The lives lost on MH17

RELATED: Passenger's tragic last words

RELATED: The families that should have been on MH17

Debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is shown smouldering in a field July 17, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine near the Russian border. Source: Getty Images

REACTION

Government minister Ian MacFarlane has played down the possibility that Vladimir Putin could be excluded from the G20 summit in Brisbane in November.

"It's not a security forum and therefore while we need to be mindful that an investigation does have to take place and we do have to obviously see exactly what's happened here, in terms of the G20, it is an economic forum not a security forum."

In the US, Hillary Clinton, the former US secretary of state, and possible presidential candidate, said in a television interview that indications pointed to Russian-backed side and action was needed to "put [Vladimir] Putin on notice that he has gone too far and we are not going to stand idly by".

"The questions I'd be asking is, number one, who could have shot it down? Who had the equipment? It's obviously an anti-aircraft missile. Who could have had the expertise to do that? Because commercial airlines are big targets, but by the time they got over that part of Ukraine they should have been high, so it takes some planning [to target such a plane].

"And the Ukrainian government has been quick to blame it on terrorists, which is their name for the Russian insurgents. And there does seem to be some growing awareness that it probably had to be Russian insurgents."

A firefighter stands among the wreckage. DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

AIDS CONFERENCE

One of those on board was HIV researcher Joep Lange, who was on his way to Melbourne from the Netherlands to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference, AIDS2014.

As many as 100 of the passengers were thought to be headed to Melbourne for the conference. Organisers have confirmed it will go ahead as planned

"The International AIDS Society (IAS) today expresses its sincere sadness at receiving news that a number of colleagues and friends en route to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference taking place in Melbourne, Australia, were on board the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight that has crashed over Ukraine earlier today," a statement from the International AIDS Society said.

"At this incredibly sad and sensitive time the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy."

The event is to be held in Melbourne from July 20-25.

People stand next to the wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines flight. AFP PHOTO/DOMINIQUE FAGET Source: AFP

Australian passport found at Malaysia Airlines wreckage site. Photo: Live Leak Source: Supplied

Earlier, Ukraine's Interior Minister Anton Gerashchenko was quoted as saying the plane had been shot down by a ground-to-air missile.

According to CNN senior US officials have concluded the plane was shot down but were divided over the origin.

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

A second system saw a heat signature at the time the airliner was hit.

RELATED: Russian rebels 'likely responsible'

RELATED: Warnings ignored on Ukraine's airspace

INTERCEPTED PHONE CALLS

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has reportedly released recordings of intercepted phone calls between Russian military intelligence officers and members of terrorist groups that took place about 20 minutes after the crash.

One call was apparently made by Igor Bezler, who the SBU says is a Russian military intelligence officer and leading commander of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic.

Igor Bezler: "We have just shot down a plane. Group Minera. It fell down beyond Yenakievo (Donetsk Oblast)."

Vasili Geranin, a colonel in the main intelligence department Russian Federation armed forces then asks: "Pilots. Where are the pilots?"

Bezler replies: "Gone to search for and photograph the plane. Its smoking."

An audio recording purports to show Ukrainian separatists admit to downing passenger jet, MH17. Courtesy Security Service of Ukraine/YouTube

Footage apparently showing Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 being shot down. Source: Supplied

A second call was between militants nicknamed "Major" and "Greek" about 40 minutes later.

"It's 100 per cent a passenger (civilian) aircraft," Major is recorded as admitting that he had seen no weapons on site. "Absolutely nothing. Civilian items, medicinal stuff, towels, toilet paper."

Australian Federal MP Christopher Pyne said there was no doubt that the plane was shot out of the sky. But Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that at this stage it had been unable to verify the cause of the tragedy.

Earlier Mr Gerashchenko told the Wall Street Journal pro-Russia rebels had set up a ground-to-missile battery near the Russian border by the town of Snizhne.

"They clearly thought that it was a military transport plane that they were shooting at," he said. "They were the ones who did this."

Wreckage of the Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Picture: AFP / DOMINIQUE FAGET Source: AFP

WHAT HAPPENED?

The plane appeared to have broken up before hitting the ground, and the burning wreckage — which included body parts and the belongings of passengers — was scattered over a wide area.

It came down near the town of Shaktarsk, in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, and shocking photos of bodies among the wreckage have been posted on Twitter.

Amateur video shows smoke from a Malaysian passenger plane that crashed in eastern Ukraine, killing all onboard including 23 U.S. citizens. Deborah Gembara reports.

"Malaysia Airlines confirms it received notification from Ukrainian ATC that it had lost contact with flight MH17 at 1415 (GMT) at 30km from Tamak waypoint, approximately 50km from the Russia-Ukraine border," the carrier said in a statement on Facebook.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the downing an act of terrorism and called for an international investigation into the crash.

Some are blaming Russia for allegedly supporting the separatists but a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said allegations that Russia had been involved in the incident was "stupidity".

Ukrainian woman lies down in front of Dutch embassy holding a poster reading "Putin is a killer". AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov Source: AP

Mr Putin has blamed Ukraine for the crash, "Undoubtedly, the government in whose air space this happened bears responsibility for this terrible tragedy," a Kremlin statement says.

Putin reportedly opened a meeting with his economic advisers by calling for a moment of silence over the crash.

"This tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in southeast Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy," he said, according to the statement.

The village of Grabovo is currently under the control of the separatists and the area has seen severe fighting between the two sides in recent days.

A man stands next to the wreckage of the Malaysian Airlines plane. Picture: AFP / DOMINIQUE FAGET Source: AFP

SEPARATIST MOVEMENT

Ukraine is a country in crisis. The region where MH17 went down has seen severe fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russia separatists in recent days. Ukraine has been in crisis ever since pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych was driven from office in February by a protest movement among citizens wanting closer ties with the European Union. Russia later annexed the Crimean Peninsula in southern Ukraine, and pro-Russians separatists in the country's eastern regions began occupying government buildings and pressing for independence. Moscow denies Western charges it is supporting the separatists or sowing unrest.

Wreckage near the town of Shaktarsk, in rebel-held east Ukraine. Picture: AFP / DOMINIQUE FAGET Source: AFP

Luggage on the site of the crash of the crash. Picture: AFP /DOMINIQUE FAGET Source: AFP

Flames among the wreckage. Picture: AFP / DOMINIQUE FAGET Source: AFP

SEPARATISTS BLAMED

In a statement, Mr Poroshenko said the plane "disappeared from radar screens".

"In recent days, this is the third tragic accident after the Russian territory were downed aircraft AN-26 and SU-25 Armed Forces of Ukraine. We do not exclude that this aircraft was also shot down, and stress that the Armed Forces of Ukraine did not commit any action to defeat the purposes of the air," Mr Poroshenko added.

A defence expert told the BBC that shooting down a plane at that height would have required a long-range surface-to-air missile — possibly guided by radar.

Oleg Tsarev, one of the leaders of the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic, told Time that the rebels did not shoot down the plane.

"We don't have weapons that can take down a plane from that altitude," he said, minutes after news of the crash broke.

But there are reports that rebels did have an anti-aircraft military station and the Russian state media even congratulated the rebels on their new Russian-made Buk missile launchers seized from a Ukrainian air force base.

"The Donetsk resistance fighters have captured an anti-aircraft military station," the Kremlin's main television network Vesti announced three weeks ago.

Since then there have been regular downings of Ukrainian aircraft including an AN-26 military transport plane, which was shot down on Monday. Its four crew members were taken hostage after they ejected from the aircraft, rebels later confirmed.

According to The Telegraph, the DPR also posted a Twitter picture of a missile system that it captured when it overran a Ukrainian army garrison on June 29.

A spokesman told Voice of Russia radio at the time: "The forces of the Donetsk People's Republic assumed control of A-1402 (regiment's) military base" and boasted of capturing the Buk launcher.

Ukrainian government forces manoeuvre a Buk anti-aircraft missile launcher. Picture: AP / Dmitry Lovetsky Source: AP

A similar weapon was reportedly seen by an Associated Press journalist on Thursday in Snizhne.

As news spread of the crashed Malaysia Airlines flight, the separatists deleted the Twitter photo of the captured missile system.

A raft of global airlines, including Air France, Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, swiftly responded to the disaster by saying they had been avoiding airspace over eastern Ukraine due to safety concerns.

Qantas has confirmed that it has not flown the route across the Ukraine in recent months because it recognised the risks presented by the separatist conflict, during which the aircraft were being shot down.

They were further advised on Thursday to avoid Ukraine's airspace

In France, a statement by junior transport minister Frederic Cuvillier said he had advised "French airlines to avoid Ukraine's air space as long as the reasons behind this catastrophe are not known."

FLIGHT PATH

Flight MH17 departed Amsterdam at 12:15pm (Amsterdam local time, 8:15pm AEDT) on Thursday and was scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur at 6:10am (Malaysia local time, 8:10am AEDT) the next day.

A Malaysian official tonight told a news conference the flight path was approved by the International Civilian Aviation Organisation and was in unrestricted airspace.

The plane disappeared from radar when flying at 10,000 metres cruising altitude, Interfa-Ukraine reports.

The Daily Beast reported the plane's "black box" was on its way to Moscow for "investigation".

But the head of Ukrainian Emergency Situations has since reportedly claimed that search efforts at the scene are being hampered by "armed terrorists".

In response to the disaster Thai Airways said its flights to Europe have been rerouted to avoid Ukrainian airspace.

The company didn't say when the route changes were made effective or how many flights were affected.

America's FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) has also banned US flights from entering the airspace of eastern Ukraine. Via Mashable.

"The FAA has made official what most airlines were already doing: American flights are barred from entering the airspace of eastern Ukraine "until further notice," the agency says. Flights were already officially barred from Crimea and surrounding areas."

The crash comes just four months after the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which remains missing.

Malaysia's prime minister Najib Razak said he was "shocked" by the reports. "We are launching an immediate investigation," he said.

The Kremlin said US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin had discussed the crash over the phone.

He said US would offer any assistance it could to determine what happened.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the passengers, wherever they call home."

A statement from the White House said there needed to be a "full, credible and unimpeded" investigation and urged all concerned — Russia, pro-Russians separatists and the Ukraine — to agree to an immediate ceasefire so investigators could gain access to the crash site.

Malaysia Airlines shot down on Ukraine-Russia border. In this Press Association graphic the earlier figure of 295 was given before the airline revised the figure to 298. Source: Supplied


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World HIV/AIDS community decimated

A number of delegates headed to a HIV conference in Melbourne have been killed on flight MH17.

The 20th International AIDS Conference will happen in Melbourne. Source: Getty Images

Nic Holas is a writer focusing on living with HIV and a delegate to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne. Here, he writes on the impact of the MH17 tragedy and the importance of the Melbourne conference.

TODAY, we awoke to terrible news of the destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.

Beyond the already devastating tragedy of 298 civilian lives lost, we now estimate that over 100 delegates to the 2014 AIDS conference were on board, including the former President of the International AIDS Society, Joep Lange.

MORE: MH17 an 'unspeakable crime'

Many of you may not have realised that the 20th International AIDS Conference was about to take over Melbourne. From scientists to sex workers, it's the single largest gathering (some 15,000 people) of HIV researchers, activists, community workers and people living with HIV the region has seen.

Joep Lange was one of the passengers on MH17. Source: Supplied

This might come as a surprise to those who think that AIDS is not really a big deal anymore. Here in Australia, AIDS is perceived as something that affected us in the 1980s before going off the radar, but it used to be the drum that gay men in Australia beat at any opportunity.

Nowadays, with HIV taking up less of the spotlight, the community is more focused on civil issues like marriage equality. If the people most affected by it aren't too concerned, why should you be?

MORE: Australia grieves as MH17 victims identified

The reality is AIDS has never left us, and HIV infections have been on the rise for the last decade. While we're very fortunate to have all but eliminated AIDS-related deaths in Australia (we don't even publish the annual amount, that's how low it is), globally, AIDS-related illnesses kill around 1.6 million people per year. That's roughly the population of Perth, killed every year. The most tragic part is that those deaths can be prevented.

Workers put on some finishing touches ahead of the conference in Melbourne. Source: News Corp Australia

Meanwhile, there are around 1,200 new HIV infections in Australia each year and some 26,000 people living with the disease. So how come we're not worried about AIDS anymore?

What you might not know is that in 1996, everything changed. Treatments for HIV vastly improved, and living with the disease went from enduring chemotherapy-like side effects to, eventually, hardly any side effects at all. These days, most people living with HIV take 1-3 pills per day, and the science has advanced to the point where the virus becomes suppressed to undetectable levels — that means HIV won't progress to AIDS, and is far less likely to be passed on to another person.

Treatments changed the face of AIDS and HIV around the world, but it wasn't the miracle cure story we expected, or the one we're used to from Hollywood stories about epidemics. Instead, after 1996, the story became more nuanced and complex. The black and white of a positive HIV diagnosis being a death sentence was over, and in its place came a very complex narrative that calls for regular testing, a variety of prevention methods, and adherence and access to daily treatments.

The conference will take place at the Melbourne Exhibition and Conference Centre. Source: News Corp Australia

That story is even more complex in parts of the world where cultural beliefs, stigma and a lack of funding and education prevent people — those living with HIV and at risk of contracting it — from accessing services. Around the world, 36 million people are infected with HIV.

Perhaps the most sobering part of that statistic is that 25 million of the people living with HIV are in Sub-Saharan Africa. For those who believe this is a disease only affecting "gays, junkies and hookers" (AKA "people who should know better"), it might surprise you to know a significant proportion of those 25 million people are women and children, and they're dying unnecessary deaths because we can't get lifesaving treatments to them.

This is the great tragedy of AIDS in 2014: We have a way to stop the deaths, and it's not happening quickly enough. AIDS is an international humanitarian problem, and as a privileged nation, we have a responsibility to all people affected by it. However, each nation struggles with the question of how to address its most at-risk groups.

The conference runs from July 20-25. Source: News Corp Australia

Here in Australia, 80% of people living with HIV are gay men, which is thanks to early efforts to contain the disease, particularly through the empowerment of that community, along with the sex worker and injecting drug user communities (we enjoy some of the world's lowest rates of HIV among those two communities).

Elsewhere in the world it's a different story, and neighbouring nations can see wildly different issues. In Poland, injecting drug users drive the epidemic, whereas next door in Germany, it's men who have sex with men, and in Ukraine, its sex workers.

None of these communities should be blamed for the high prevalence of HIV. Rather, it is the responsibility of the respective governments (and wider communities) to ask which factors of their particular cultures are driving people to contract HIV. How is each culture turning its back on people?

Premier Denis Napthine confirms nine Victorians were aboard the doomed flight MH17, amongst many heading to the 2014 AIDS conference. Sky News

For those of us who think "that's all well and good, but that's their problem", bear in mind that HIV has no respect for geopolitical borders, no matter how "sovereign" we here in Australia may consider them to be. We're part of a global transient community. HIV is contracted at home, on holiday or on business trips, and always by mistake. It's a very human kind of disease, mainly spread by an act of love, so our approach to it must be human, too.

That human approach is certainly felt today, as I stand alongside my friends and mentors who have lost friends, colleagues and some of the heroes of this movement. Today, we mourn the loss of 108 lives dedicated to the fight against AIDS and HIV.

The International AIDS Conference in Melbourne is a timely reminder that this problem is still here, and we have a part to play. As a relative newcomer to this community, I am so privileged to extend the work of those who went before me.

Usually, that refers to those who have been claimed by AIDS, but today we're faced with a different kind of tragedy.

Nic Holas is a writer focusing on living with HIV and the contemporary gay experience, and has been published in Hello Mr., Junkee, SX, Star Observer, Cosmopolitan, and more. Nic is co-founder of The Institute of Many (TIM), a social umbrella for HIV positive people, and an ENUF Ambassador. Tweet him at @nicheholas.


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Users told of breach — 3 years on

Three years on ... Catch of the Day warned customers their credit cards may have been compromised in 2011 in an email to users late on Friday. Source: ThinkStock

AUSTRALIA'S biggest daily deals website Catch of the Day waited more than three years to warn customers their credit cards may have been compromised, only coming clean late on Friday in an email.

The company, operating since October 2006 and named "Australia's number one shopping site" according to Hitwise, had its security compromised in April and May 2011.

In an "important notice" to customers on Friday evening, the company publicly admitted to the breach, and that financial information had been accessed and may be misused.

"Only a relatively small portion of users had credit card information compromised," the email read.

The company said it reported the incident to "relevant banks and card companies" but it failed to advise users.

Founder Gabby Leibovich did not answer questions late on Friday, with Catch of the Day group general executive manager Jason Rudy instead issuing a statement apologising for the breach but not explaining the delay.

"We unreservedly apologise to our customers for this incident," the statement read.

Mr Rudy advised Catch customers who joined the website before May 7, 2011 to change their password to avoid financial fraud.


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The Aussies lost on flight MH17

Pro Russian separatists are being blamed for firing a Russian built surface-to-air missile to bring down MH17 in eastern Ukraine

A blue passport bearing the distinctive Australian coat-of-arms has appeared in a Russian television news report from the crash site of MH17 in Ukraine.

An Australian passport seen among the wreckage. Source: Supplied

THREE people from the Northern Territory, including a teacher from a young outback community, are the latest Australians confirmed as having died in the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster.

Emma Bell, originally from Lithgow in the NSW Blue Mountains, moved to the Top End last year to teach in the remote community of Maningrida, 500kms east of Darwin.

Miss Bell was flying back home from her European holiday in time for the start of the new school term.

Her colleagues in the tight-knit community were devastated as condolence messages began to circulate in Maningrida yesterday morning.

It is understood the NT Education Department has spoken to Ms Bell's family.

Maningrida College homelands teacher Emma Bell. Source: Facebook

Chief Minister Adam Giles said the NT Government was working with Consular officials, and the NT Police Disaster Victim Identification staff remained on standby if needed to assist with identifications.

"This is truly reprehensible and unspeakable criminal act and on behalf of all Territorians, I wish to express my condolences to all the families and friends of the victims, particularly the Territory families involved, "Mr Giles said.

"This is a sad and sorry day for our country and all nations affected."

An unidentified NT public servant and her husband are also believed to have been on board the doomed flight.

Also flying back for the start of the new school term were three Perth children.

Mo, 12, Evie, 10, and Otis Maslin, 8 were on the final leg of their trip-of-a-lifetime with their grandfather, Nick Norris.

Mo, Otis and Evie Norris Source: Supplied

The children's parents, who did not travel with them, are said to be devastated.

Mr Norris, a well-known sailor and member of the South Perth Yacht Club, is the managing director of Collaborative Systemic Change Pty Ltd. He leaves behind a wife.

Sydney nun Sister Philomena Tiernan with the Sisters of the Sacred Heart at Kincoppal-Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart is also among the dead.

"This has come as an enormous shock to me and our school community as I am sure it will to all of you," the school's principal, Hilary Johnston-Croke, wrote to parents today.

"I heard from Phil yesterday morning and she told me that she had left Joigny, where she had been attending a retreat, in Paris while there, she saw Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat in her caisse at St Francis Xavier Church, which was a very special moment for her.

"Phil was a very much loved staff member and friend. She contributed greatly to our community and she touched the lives of all at KRB in such a positive and meaningful way."

Sister Philomene Tiernan, centre. Photo: Supplied. Source: Supplied

Also from NSW are retired couple Michael and Carol Clancy, believed to be in their 60s, who were returning from a three-week European holiday.

A neighbour of the Illawarra couple was reportedly told of their deaths today.

Also among the dead are 27-year-old Melbourne University student Elaine Teoh, Victorian couple Albert and Marie Rizk and Toorak teacher Frankie Davison and her husband Liam.

Toowoomba pathologist Dr Roger Guard, his GP wife Jill, and Gold Coast woman Helena Sidelik have been confirmed as three of the nine Queenslanders to die in the MH17 crash.

Canberra mother-of-two Liliane Derden, 50, from Hall in Canberra's north, was on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 when it crashed in rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine.

She worked for the National Health and Medical Research Council whose staff expressed deep sadness at the loss of a valued colleague and friend.

ACT acting chief minister Andrew Barr said the tragedy was devastating news for Ms Derden's family and friends.

A New Zealand woman, a long-time resident of Australia, was travelling with her husband, a Danish citizen, is also believed to have been on the flight.

Helena Sidelik was on her way home from a friend's wedding in Europe when she perished on Flight MH17 Source: Supplied

Pathologist Dr Roger Guard (above) and his GP wife Jill (below) were also on board the flight Source: News Corp Australia

Queenslanders Dr Jill Guard (above) and her pathologist husband Roger Guard were also on board the flight. Source: Supplied

Dr Guard, a long-time Queensland Health employee was due back at work on Monday and was returning from a European holiday with his wife.

The Herald Sun reports that Mr and Mrs Rizk, from Sunbury, missed an earlier flight and ended up on the doomed MH17.

Jack Ogilvie, a friend of the Rizks, said: "I'm in shock. He was one of the best blokes to have a beer with.

"We were actually looking after his son while they were away, making sure he was eating the right things, that sort of thing."

Albert Rizk (left) and his wife Marie (second from right) were believed to have been travelling on Flight MH17. Picture: Adam Elwood Source: News Corp Australia

The number of Australian passengers on board MH17 has been revised to 28, including nine from Queensland, nine from Victoria, seven from WA, one from NSW and one from the ACT.

One of the victims is a dual Australian citizen, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has confirmed.

Ms Bishop also warned the Australian toll may rise as investigators identify some of the 41 passengers who remain unaccounted for.

Perth management consultant and keen sailor Nick Norris was believed to have been on doomed Flight MH17 with his grandchildren. Source: Supplied

Mr Rizk, a local real estate agent, and his wife, who have two children, were due to return home from Europe today after spending a month abroad on holidays.

Jack Ogilvie, friend of the victims, told 3AW the Sunbury community is in shock at losing "just terrific people".

Prime Minister Tony Abbott this morning confirmed, "we're working with the Dutch to confirm identities. Once that's happened we'll be in contact with families and next of kin".

In an address to Parliament earlier, Mr Abbott reached out to the families affected by the crash.

"Our hearts go out to the families of all the dead," he said.

"We can't restore them to life but we can and will do everything to support them at this sad and bitter time, because that is the Australian way; we help in times of trouble."

Another victim was 24-year old Fatima Dyczynski, who was flying to Perth to meet her parents and begin a new life in Australia, PerthNow reports.

Starting a new life: Fatima Dyczynski. Photo: Supplied. Source: Supplied

Ms Dyczynski's parents Angela and George were waiting for their daughter at Perth Airport this afternoon and hoping against hope that she was still alive.

The couple, who have lived in Perth for the past seven years said they last spoke to their daughter via Skype moments before she boarded the aircraft.

Ms Dyczynski said it was her daughter's dream to return to Australia after spending one year as a student at Perth's John XXIII College in Year 11.

"It was all that she wanted," she said.

Ms Dyczynski, an Aerospace Engineer, was returning to Perth for an internship with IBM.

A family member cries as she receives the news of the ill fated flight MH17 on the phone. Picture: Rahman Roslan Source: Getty Images

Meanwhile, distressed family members of relatives who were on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 that was shot down in east Ukraine are expressing their anger and grief over the devastating news.

Akmar Mohd Noor wept as she explained her sister was on board the flight to visit her family.

"She was coming back from Geneva to celebrate with us for the first time in 30 years," she said.

The names of the 15 crew members on board the flight has been revealed as family members gathered in Kuala Lumpur and Amsterdam airports, growing increasingly restless waiting for official information.

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Malaysian news source Sin Chew released the names including its two Captains and Vice-Captains.

Malaysia Airlines revised the number of passengers travelling on flight MH17 from 295 to 298 people, while releasing further information of its passenger manifest.

Its latest announcement states: "As opposed to the earlier statement, the flight was carrying a total number of 298 people — comprising 283 passengers including three infants of various nationalities and 15 crew of Malaysian nationality. Some of the nationalities of the passengers are yet to be determined."

Screengrab of the crew members on MH17's passenger manifest. Source: Supplied

According to the airline's passenger list, the majority of the 283 passengers were Dutch (154), while 45 passengers were Malaysian, followed by 28 Australians.

Vision of an Australian passport found among the wreckage was aired on Russian television.

There were also 12 Indonesian, nine British, four German, four Belgian, three from the Philippines and one from Canada.

Fifteen crew members were also on board, all Malaysian nationals. It is believed all 298 passengers perished in the crash.

Three infants were on board.

Malaysia Airlines said it was in the process of notifying the relatives of passengers and crew.

"Our focus now is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilise its full support to provide all possible care to the next-of-kin," the airline said in a statement.

"Malaysia Airlines is deploying its "Go Team" to Amsterdam with a group of caregivers and volunteers to assist the family members of the passengers.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members."

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Earlier, it emerged that leading AIDS researcher Joep Lange was among more than 100 passengers who were on their way to Melbourne to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference. Mr Lange was president of the International AIDS Society.

"The International AIDS Society (IAS) today expresses its sincere sadness at receiving news that a number of colleagues and friends en route to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference taking place in Melbourne, Australia, were on board the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight that has crashed over Ukraine earlier today," the IAS said in a statement.

"At this incredibly sad and sensitive time the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy."

Joep Lange was one of a number of researchers flying to Melbourne for the International AIDS Conference. Source: Supplied

In an interview with 3AW's Neil Mitchell this morning, Mr Abbott described the incident as an "unspeakable crime".

"This is a grim, grim day," he said.

"If I could first of all offer my deepest condolences of passengers and families on this plane.

"I'll be attempting to call the Malaysian Prime Minister and Holland Prime Minister because they deserve our support. As well as expressing deepest condolences, as well as offering thoughts and prayers to Australian families, we do need to consider wider issue of this."

Devastating: a guidebook found scattered among the crash site. Source: AP

A suitcase found in the wreckage. Source: AP

DFAT MH17 24-HOUR FAMILY HOTLINE — 1300 555 135

A fireball is seen shortly after the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane was shot down. Source: Supplied

MORE: MALAYSIA AIRLINES PLANE MH17 'SHOT DOWN'

MORE: MH17 PASSENGER'S TRAGIC LAST WORDS

Authorities collecting passports at #MH17 crash site. Australian coat of arms clearly visible. Source: Supplied

Amateur video has surfaced online which claims to show a 'plane crash' near the coal mining village of Hrabovo, Ukraine. Courtesy Novorossiya Novorossiysk/YouTube

28 Australians have been confirmed to be travelling on MH17. Source: Supplied

If you are unable to contact family members and still hold concerns for their welfare, you should call DFAT's 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on + 61 2 6261 3305 from overseas, or within Australia on 1300 555 135.


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More bloodshed as Israel strengthens assault

Thousands of soldiers backed by tanks have invaded Gaza to destroy arms-smuggling tunnels and other military infrastructure. WSJs Mark Kelly reports.

ISRAEL has warned it could broaden a Gaza ground assault aimed at smashing Hamas's network of cross-border tunnels, as it intensified attacks that have killed more than 260 Palestinians.

Diplomats stepped up efforts to halt 11 days of bloodshed in and around the battered Gaza strip while Pope Francis demanded an immediate ceasefire in a phone call with Israeli President Shimon Peres and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmud Abbas.

And Mr Abbas reached out for French help to lobby Hamas allies Qatar and Turkey to pressure the Islamists into accepting a truce during talks in Cairo with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

In the face of Israel's land, sea and air offensive that has sent terrified civilians running for cover, the Islamist movement Hamas remained defiant and warned the Jewish state it would "drown in the swamp of Gaza".

Battle rages ... An Israeli army US made self-propelled howitzer 155m cannon fires a shell from the Israel-Gaza border. Source: AFP

As Gaza residents spoke of a night of terror, with fierce gunbattles in the south and all-night shelling in the north, Mr Netanyahu warned the operation could yet be widened, amid growing international calls to avoid harm to civilians.

"My instructions and those of the defence minister to the military ... is to prepare for the possibility of a significant broadening of the ground activity," he told ministers in Tel Aviv.

Immediately afterwards, he convened his security cabinet to discuss plans for a possible expansion of the campaign, which began on July 8 with the aim of stamping out cross-border rocket fire.

Israel approved the call-up of another 18,000 reservists, taking the total number approved to 65,000, the army said.

It could get worse ... An Israeli tank moves into position near Israel and Gaza border. Source: AP

FLEEING WESTWARDS

The ground operation, which began in the Gaza periphery, sent thousands of people fleeing west to escape the fighting along the Gaza border, a UN official said.

"People are fleeing from east to west, away from the border," he said indicating that so far, around 30,000 people were taking refuge in 27 UN schools and other institutions.

By midmorning Friday, the road between Gaza City and Khan Yunis was deserted with only a single minibus, packed with passengers, careering south, its windows covered with makeshift white flags, an AFP correspondent said.

During Friday prayers, imams at Gaza's 1400 mosques relayed a single message to the faithful: "Be patient and strong, victory will come." But it was little comfort for those on the ground.

"All night long they were firing shells, we tried to sleep but we couldn't ... the firing was so intense," said 39-year-old Ghada Najjar, who was seeking shelter at a UN school in the southern city of Khan Yunis.

"There is some safety here," she said.

Go west ... Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in Gaza City. Source: AP

With food supplies running desperately low, the World Food Program said had already distributed emergency food rations and food vouchers to more than 20,000 displaced people since the conflict erupted on July 8.

But with the ground operation, it was gearing up for a huge increase in the coming days, spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs told reporters in Geneva.

"In the next few days, WFP hopes to reach 85,000 people with food distributions," she said.

Gaza was also struggling with a 70 per cent power outage after electricity lines from Israel were damaged, officials said.

"We usually receive 120 MW and now it is zero," Fathi Sheikh Khalil, head of Gaza's electricity company told AFP.

"We asked the Israeli electricity company to repair some lines on their side but they said it's too dangerous. Now 70 per cent of the Gaza strip is without electricity."

By air ... An Israeli Apache attack helicopter shoots a missile over the Gaza strip. Source: AFP

TUNNEL VISION

Since midnight, 26 people have been killed across Gaza by Israeli fire, including three teenagers and a five-month-old baby, raising to 267 the total number of Palestinians killed in the past 11 days.

An Israeli civilian and a soldier have also been killed.

Israel has said the aim of the ground operation is to destroy Hamas's network of tunnels which are used for cross-border attacks on southern Israel.

On Thursday morning, 13 heavily-armed militants managed to infiltrate southern Israel before being spotted by troops, with one killed in an air strike and the rest fleeing back underground.

"It is not possible to deal with tunnels only from the air, so our soldiers are also doing that on the ground," Netanyahu said, although he admitted there was "no guarantee of 100 per cent success." Israel pulled out all of its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005, but within a year it became the de facto seat of Hamas after it won a landslide victory in Palestinian parliamentary elections.

Awaiting instruction ... Israeli soldiers gather near the border of Israel and Gaza. Source: AP

Meanwhile, as Mr Abbas headed to Turkey to further regional ceasefire efforts, Israel said it was pulling out some of its diplomatic staff following violent protests targeting the buildings of its embassy and consulate in Ankara and Istanbul.

Overnight, hundreds attacked the Israeli consulate in Istanbul in a violent show of anger, with police firing tear gas and water cannon at the protesters.

A similar number of protesters sought to break into the residence of the ambassador in Ankara, but police stood by and did nothing, another correspondent said


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