17/07/2014 World News Today


17/07/2014

The latest national and international news, exploring the day's events from a global perspective.


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This is BBC World News Today with me, Daniela Ritorto.

:00:00.:00:07.

A Malaysian Airlines plane with 295 people on board

:00:08.:00:10.

's We will build live across the world assessing the impact of this

:00:11.:00:20.

disaster. -- we will be alive. Pictures appear to show

:00:21.:00:25.

the plane after it came down Debris is seen falling from the

:00:26.:00:35.

darkened sky in the moments after the crash.

:00:36.:00:37.

Malaysia Airlines confirmed that it lost contact with flight MH17

:00:38.:00:40.

from Amsterdam which was en route to Kuala Lumpur.

:00:41.:00:53.

Hello and welcome to this special coverage.

:00:54.:00:57.

A Malaysia Airlines plane with nearly 300 people

:00:58.:00:59.

on board has crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border.

:01:00.:01:02.

There are claims it was shot down - but Ukraine

:01:03.:01:05.

and pro-Russian separatists are both denying responsibility.

:01:06.:01:07.

There has been fighting on the Ukrainian-Russian border

:01:08.:01:10.

since March, after the overthrow of the Ukrainian government.

:01:11.:01:14.

Flight MH1-7 took off from Amsterdam just after midday local time,

:01:15.:01:17.

Its flight path took it over Ukraine's Donetsk region

:01:18.:01:24.

and it came down near the village of Grabovo.

:01:25.:01:29.

Four months ago, another Malaysia Airlines plane is

:01:30.:01:31.

believed to have crashed with over 200 people on board.

:01:32.:01:36.

With the latest our correspondent Richard Galpin.

:01:37.:01:46.

A plume of smoke rising into the sky in eastern Ukraine this afternoon.

:01:47.:01:54.

Local people said it was a plain which had just crashed. There is no

:01:55.:01:59.

confirmation this was the Malaysian airline which came down with almost

:02:00.:02:04.

300 people on board. Eyewitnesses in the region say that they have seen

:02:05.:02:08.

burning wreckage and bodies on the ground. Malaysian Airlines quickly

:02:09.:02:14.

put out this message on social media.

:02:15.:02:23.

The manufacturer, Boeing, said it was investigating. Flight

:02:24.:02:29.

#ColourWhite had taken from Amsterdam and was reported to be

:02:30.:02:32.

cruising at more than 30,000 feet eastern Ukraine, and area of intense

:02:33.:02:37.

conflict between separatists and Ukrainian military. The pro-Russian

:02:38.:02:44.

separatists control parts of eastern Ukraine and have done for several

:02:45.:02:50.

months. It has shot down military planes and helicopters in the past.

:02:51.:02:54.

They are known to have short-range anti-aircraft missiles and according

:02:55.:02:58.

to some reports, have also been seen with heavy weapons. We are talking

:02:59.:03:05.

about something every significant. The secessionist have used tanks.

:03:06.:03:09.

Bigger not find those lying on the street. They have supplies of

:03:10.:03:13.

relatively sophisticated weapons. It would be damaging for them and the

:03:14.:03:17.

brush in case if they have got the weapons which can shoot down

:03:18.:03:19.

civilian aircraft, but even more damaging if it turns out that the

:03:20.:03:24.

missile, if there was one, came from the Russian side of the border.

:03:25.:03:29.

These unverified photographs apparently show some of the wreckage

:03:30.:03:33.

of the Malaysian plane. The separatists then shooting it down,

:03:34.:03:39.

blaming the Ukrainian military. But at the moment, it is still not known

:03:40.:03:42.

if it was brought down by military action.

:03:43.:03:49.

The BBC's Oleg Boldyrev joins us from Moscow.

:03:50.:03:55.

We have heard in that report, we still do not know what happened. Was

:03:56.:04:01.

it shot down? What can you tell us from Moscow? The official reaction

:04:02.:04:09.

has been muted. President Putin has expressed his condolences. The

:04:10.:04:13.

separatists are denying that they have weapons capable of doing that.

:04:14.:04:21.

One of the crucial questions is who gets to the crash site, all the

:04:22.:04:26.

experts. Initially the separatists say that they will allow

:04:27.:04:28.

investigators to come and investigate. The latest comment we

:04:29.:04:34.

see is that the local police, which are loyal to the separatist cause,

:04:35.:04:38.

will conduct initial investigations. Everyone who is familiar with the

:04:39.:04:43.

procedure is not doubt that the policemen will be capable of doing

:04:44.:04:48.

that, local policemen. The Russian ministry said it is ready to go and

:04:49.:04:53.

help with this, but they have said to the authorities in Kiev, who will

:04:54.:04:59.

go to the area of the conflict. That is the biggest question of all.

:05:00.:05:04.

Another question we are all asking, did the rail -- did the rebels have

:05:05.:05:10.

the hardware capable of bringing down a commercial jet flying at

:05:11.:05:15.

10,000 metres? There is no set in stone confirmation that they did.

:05:16.:05:19.

There have been reports which are hard to verify. The weaponry that

:05:20.:05:24.

they have sometimes surpasses even the Ukrainian capabilities. There

:05:25.:05:27.

have been so many reports of weapons from Russia, including modern

:05:28.:05:33.

shooting systems and weapon systems crossing over to the rebel side in

:05:34.:05:38.

eastern Ukraine. Speculation is that they might have this, but no one has

:05:39.:05:45.

seen it all documented it or put it on paper and presented it to the

:05:46.:05:54.

world. Anna Holligan joins us from Amsterdam, Schiphol Airport. What is

:05:55.:06:04.

this scene there? It is now an unimaginable, painful wait for

:06:05.:06:08.

relatives who are arriving at Schiphol airport. Nine hours ago,

:06:09.:06:12.

passengers travelled through these gates to board a flight

:06:13.:06:17.

#ColourWhite. Airport officials said the relatives and family members of

:06:18.:06:21.

those on board that flight have been taken to a special area inside the

:06:22.:06:24.

airport, separate from the other passengers, and we expect to hear

:06:25.:06:30.

more from them later this evening. They are planning a press conference

:06:31.:06:36.

to tell us more details. Do we know anything about the nationalities of

:06:37.:06:39.

the Passion yours yet? -- passengers. We have seen reports on

:06:40.:06:47.

Twitter that there were 23 Americans on board. It is assumed that what

:06:48.:06:52.

Dutch Passion jazz. But it is still so early, so it is still breaking

:06:53.:06:55.

news and man of those details have been confirmed. We have heard from

:06:56.:07:01.

that Dutch Prime Minister who says he is returning from Brussels

:07:02.:07:04.

immediately to deal with the situation. He is deeply shocked by

:07:05.:07:09.

what has happened. We will be hearing more from him in the coming

:07:10.:07:16.

days. We will come back to you again as well.

:07:17.:07:20.

Malaysian airlines is holding a press conference in two hours time,

:07:21.:07:30.

that is at 4am local time. That is what we understand. Local media is

:07:31.:07:35.

reporting that the Prime Minister might be holding a press conference

:07:36.:07:38.

shortly, but we cannot verify that just yet. So far, the information,

:07:39.:07:45.

the official information we have been getting, has been limited. We

:07:46.:07:50.

have seen senior ministers on twitter, expressing shock, saying

:07:51.:07:55.

that they are working closely with the relevant ministries to handle

:07:56.:08:01.

this issue. We understand that the transport Minister, who is currently

:08:02.:08:06.

in Beijing, is on his way back to Kuala Lumpur or. The transport

:08:07.:08:11.

minister was in Beijing to discuss the disappearance of the plane which

:08:12.:08:16.

disappeared in March earlier this year, which of course, we still do

:08:17.:08:21.

not know what happened to it. And it is fair to say that the reaction in

:08:22.:08:26.

Asia on social media and even among my friends in the region has been

:08:27.:08:33.

"not again" with Malaysian airlines, the cause of the memory of the

:08:34.:08:36.

disappearance of that first plane, which is very fresh. I know that you

:08:37.:08:49.

cover the disappearance of MH370. People around the world and the

:08:50.:08:54.

region must be sane, not again. The circumstances are different, MH370

:08:55.:08:58.

disappeared in March and we do not know exactly what happened. There is

:08:59.:09:02.

lots of speculation, which continues. With this one, we have

:09:03.:09:07.

seen the blame game, if you like, speaking the correspondence around

:09:08.:09:13.

the world. The Ukrainian government, the president of Ukraine, has said

:09:14.:09:17.

this is a terrorist act. In the meantime, the rebels say that they

:09:18.:09:21.

do not have any capacity to be able to shoot down such a plane. There

:09:22.:09:27.

has been a lot of speculation, but at least we have got confirmation

:09:28.:09:31.

from the Ukrainian government that the plane has crashed. And we are

:09:32.:09:36.

getting some very disturbing images of the crash site, as well. As Anna

:09:37.:09:44.

Holligan was saying from Amsterdam, there are reports of 23 US

:09:45.:09:50.

passengers on board the plane which went down. The US State Department

:09:51.:09:54.

has said that Washington could not yet confirmed those reports, but it

:09:55.:09:58.

was urgently trying to obtain that information. We have seen the same

:09:59.:10:03.

reports that you have, at this point. We do not have any confirmed

:10:04.:10:07.

information about casualties, the cause, or additional details.

:10:08.:10:13.

Thoughts and prayers go out to those on board, their families and loved

:10:14.:10:16.

ones. We are closely monitoring the situation. The Secretary of State is

:10:17.:10:21.

aware of these reports and we are seeking additional information. The

:10:22.:10:29.

embassy in Kiev is in close contact with the authorities about this

:10:30.:10:32.

incident but at the moment this is all the details that we have.

:10:33.:10:39.

President Obama is about to speak. Let's see if we can join that.

:10:40.:10:46.

Please, have a seat. It is wonderful to be back in Delaware. Before I

:10:47.:10:51.

begin, obviously the world is watching reports of a grounded

:10:52.:10:57.

passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border. It looked

:10:58.:11:03.

like it might be a terrible tragedy. We are working to determine whether

:11:04.:11:08.

American citizens were on board. That is our first priority. I have

:11:09.:11:13.

directed a national security team to stay in contact with the Ukrainian

:11:14.:11:18.

government. The United States will offer any assistance that we can to

:11:19.:11:20.

help determine what happened, and why. As a country, our thoughts and

:11:21.:11:28.

prayers are with all of the passengers and families, whoever and

:11:29.:11:33.

wherever they call home. I would like to thank Jeremy Forrest

:11:34.:11:37.

introduction. Give him a big round of applause. -- Jeremy, for his

:11:38.:11:41.

introduction. speculation. Can we talk about

:11:42.:12:25.

facts? The fact I will not there yet. That is the problem. We know

:12:26.:12:29.

the background to this. There has been rising tension, there have been

:12:30.:12:34.

a number of Ukrainian military aircraft which have been shot down.

:12:35.:12:38.

Those have been at low heights. The suspicion is that pro-Russian rebels

:12:39.:12:44.

have been using portable surface-to-air missiles, missiles

:12:45.:12:50.

they can put on their shoulder, if they see a plane or helicopter, and

:12:51.:12:54.

fire at it and shoot it down. This is different. This passenger jet was

:12:55.:13:02.

flying at 30,000 feet, ten to limit is. It would be difficult to see

:13:03.:13:06.

from the ground. You would have to have had a radar system to lock onto

:13:07.:13:11.

that. You would have to have had a medium to long range surface to air

:13:12.:13:17.

missile, of the kind that is either locked onto the ground are tracked

:13:18.:13:21.

vehicle, and indeed, someone in the Ukraine believes it was a Buk

:13:22.:13:31.

system, a Russian system, which has a radar on board. This looks

:13:32.:13:36.

different to what has happened in the past. Clearly, what has been

:13:37.:13:40.

shot down is different to what has been shot down in the past. The

:13:41.:13:44.

targets have been military aircraft and helicopters, this is a civilian

:13:45.:13:50.

airline, and it changes the situation is usually. There could be

:13:51.:13:55.

dozens of countries involved with citizens on that plane who now want

:13:56.:14:00.

answers. Watching pictures of the crash site and the aftermath. People

:14:01.:14:05.

are asking, why are commercial airlines flying over a conflict

:14:06.:14:12.

zone? Turkish airlines are now rewriting their planes. Shouldn't

:14:13.:14:16.

they have done that before? There was a big difference between a

:14:17.:14:20.

civilian aeroplane and the military aeroplane in the air, in that it is

:14:21.:14:25.

not just about the height that they travel, it is about what they are

:14:26.:14:31.

doing. Civilian passenger plane will be what is called squawking,

:14:32.:14:35.

identifying itself, letting air traffic control, that -- letting

:14:36.:14:43.

them know what height it is at, it will have an identification that is

:14:44.:14:47.

known on the ground. If it is a military aircraft it will not have

:14:48.:14:53.

that facility. It will still be identifiable to radar stations, but

:14:54.:14:56.

it is very different. You would have thought, a civilian passenger plane,

:14:57.:15:02.

it should not be a target. That is the assumption. This has clearly

:15:03.:15:07.

changed things, and now airlines are saying that they will change their

:15:08.:15:08.

ways because of this. people on board but we also have the

:15:09.:15:23.

political situation on the ground in Ukraine, what happens next? People

:15:24.:15:28.

are being very careful not to watch -- rush to judgement. It is a

:15:29.:15:35.

mystery at the moment. People are not sure what exactly happens. There

:15:36.:15:42.

is the possibility of a surface-to-air missile, speculation

:15:43.:15:46.

that a fighter jet with a missile or even a terrorist attempt. People

:15:47.:15:50.

will look at what has happened but we will be looking at the data. You

:15:51.:15:56.

will have experts looking at satellite imagery and they will be

:15:57.:16:00.

able to identify whether a surface-to-air missile was fired.

:16:01.:16:06.

There will be limited radar information because neat tool do not

:16:07.:16:12.

have radar is looking that far east. But there will be information to

:16:13.:16:16.

firm up details and give up -- give an accurate assessment. This will be

:16:17.:16:24.

very different. Civilians are involved. This does not just involve

:16:25.:16:29.

Russia and Ukraine. It involves other countries like America and

:16:30.:16:34.

other European countries as well. We will stop our analysis at the

:16:35.:16:41.

moment. We want to hear from the Ukrainian president who has

:16:42.:16:43.

described the downing of the plane as an act of terrorism and calls for

:16:44.:16:48.

an international investigation. I have just concluded a conversation

:16:49.:16:57.

with the Prime Minister of melons -- Prime Minister of the Netherlands. I

:16:58.:17:03.

offered condolences. I would like to have an investigation into this act

:17:04.:17:06.

of terrorism. We are not calling it an accident, but an act of

:17:07.:17:13.

terrorism. Those are the words of the Ukrainian president. Let us

:17:14.:17:20.

speak to an aviation specialists who joins us from our studio in

:17:21.:17:27.

Salford, your immediate thoughts? This is an incident which has filled

:17:28.:17:30.

me with a fair degree of shock and horror. The fact that a civil

:17:31.:17:40.

airliner travelling between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur or was

:17:41.:17:44.

brought down in this fashion, one can only feel a sense of shock. We

:17:45.:17:50.

jet ever have thought something like this could happen? Not in this day

:17:51.:18:00.

and age, quite frankly. 20, 30, 40 years ago, may be. We did have

:18:01.:18:05.

incidents like this long ago. But in this day and age with air traffic

:18:06.:18:11.

control systems, with the ability to monitor who is where and anything

:18:12.:18:20.

from that air traffic control system through to an iPhone for instance,

:18:21.:18:27.

it beggars belief that an aircraft such as this has been brought down

:18:28.:18:35.

in such a way. With commercial airlines have taken into account

:18:36.:18:39.

when flying over that area that it is a conflict zone? It would not

:18:40.:18:50.

have been Mr Savile on their radar. -- Nessus Adderley. They follow a

:18:51.:19:03.

great circle route, the shortest distance between one airport and the

:19:04.:19:09.

other. They would be operating along a well worn and well used YouTube --

:19:10.:19:15.

route which they had used for years. They would probably not give

:19:16.:19:18.

consideration as to what is happening on the ground because we

:19:19.:19:25.

did not know until two hours ago that the people down on the grounds

:19:26.:19:32.

might have the sort of technology to target the civil airliner in such a

:19:33.:19:40.

tragic fashion. If France, Turkish airlines, either flocked, they all

:19:41.:19:46.

say they are avoiding eastern Ukraine which is prudent bats?

:19:47.:19:55.

Present in deeds but there must be some questions to ask. -- Air

:19:56.:20:04.

France. The central control for air traffic control for instance, asking

:20:05.:20:09.

why there was zero detailed information to pass on to airlines

:20:10.:20:12.

to point them in a different direction. Perhaps taking the route

:20:13.:20:18.

further north, away from the conflict zone itself. Some of those

:20:19.:20:23.

questions will be asked over the coming days. Thank you very much for

:20:24.:20:31.

joining us. Let us recap what we are doing. It

:20:32.:20:40.

was a Malaysia flight, MH17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur or,

:20:41.:20:48.

it took off just after noon. 295 people on board. 15 crew. Ukrainian

:20:49.:20:58.

government, the President is saying that this is an act of terrorism.

:20:59.:21:05.

Nobody has been able to confirm how this plane has come down. There is

:21:06.:21:10.

speculation and finger-pointing that it was shot down. Let us speak now

:21:11.:21:16.

to another expert. I'm joined now by Charles Hayman,

:21:17.:21:20.

former editor of Jane?s World Armies and now Senior Defence

:21:21.:21:22.

Analyst with the armed forces. Your immediate thoughts? With the

:21:23.:21:32.

rebels have the necessary armoury to shoot down a commercial airliner? We

:21:33.:21:40.

have to look at the balance of probabilities first of all. It looks

:21:41.:21:49.

from the evidence so far, that are ground to air missile launcher was

:21:50.:21:56.

used. We know that these missile launchers were on the infantry of

:21:57.:22:02.

the Ukrainian government forces. It is quite possible that one or more

:22:03.:22:07.

of these missile launchers were about -- were abandoned by Ukrainian

:22:08.:22:11.

forces when they left rebel held areas. Most people are beginning to

:22:12.:22:18.

think this was fired from a rebel held area. Also, because it was a

:22:19.:22:23.

battlefield radar, as Jonathan Beale pointed out, the sophisticated air

:22:24.:22:29.

traffic radar is that the Kiev government have got and the Russian

:22:30.:22:35.

government have got, they would pick up civilian aircraft squawking all

:22:36.:22:40.

the time. But something like this missile launcher, with its own

:22:41.:22:45.

battlefield radar, which only pick up an aircraft and not the fact it

:22:46.:22:53.

was a civilian aircraft. Putting the pieces into the jigsaw puzzle, it is

:22:54.:22:58.

beginning to look as if this was fired from a separatist area and it

:22:59.:23:04.

was fired from an old air defence system which did not identify the

:23:05.:23:09.

aircraft as a civilian airliner. When the separatists denied

:23:10.:23:15.

involvement, they say they have no air defence systems of this kind,

:23:16.:23:22.

what do you say? That is right, they are denying there is but there is

:23:23.:23:27.

evidence to say there was some tweeting coming out of the

:23:28.:23:32.

separatist area saying we had just shot down another Ukrainian

:23:33.:23:37.

government aircraft. The tweet source is the same tweet sources

:23:38.:23:42.

which was boasting about shooting down a Ukrainian government aircraft

:23:43.:23:48.

last week. So the separatists are under suspicion. It is unlikely BPF

:23:49.:23:54.

government would want to do that. After the experiences with the

:23:55.:24:00.

Korean airliner 25 years ago, the Russian government would be loath to

:24:01.:24:04.

involve themselves in a crime of this magnitude. The Russians are

:24:05.:24:10.

canny political operators. They do not tend to make mistakes like this.

:24:11.:24:19.

Thank you very much indeed. Let us get the views of Simon Calder now. I

:24:20.:24:26.

presume your initial reaction was one of shock and horror? Yes, I have

:24:27.:24:33.

been looking at the warnings which were in place. Eight weeks ago the

:24:34.:24:41.

American Federal Administration put out a warning to American pilots and

:24:42.:24:46.

airlines saying exercise extreme caution in Ukraine. They were

:24:47.:24:53.

warning about the area of Crimea and other parts of Crimea and the

:24:54.:24:59.

Ukraine. They said these places were dangerous. Nobody of course was

:25:00.:25:05.

expecting anything like this. For years there have been routine long

:25:06.:25:10.

haul flights over areas of conflict. Airlines are predisposed to fly the

:25:11.:25:15.

most direct route, if that takes them over places like Iraq,

:25:16.:25:22.

Afghanistan and Libya and so on, or view is that the weaponry on the

:25:23.:25:26.

ground is not sophisticated enough to endanger passenger aviation. Can

:25:27.:25:32.

you put this in the historical conflict -- context for as? There is

:25:33.:25:39.

a history of accidental shootings of passenger jets. September the 1st

:25:40.:25:44.

1983, the Korean flight on a flight to New York Street Ofqual is over

:25:45.:25:54.

the eastern edge of the soviet union and was shot down by a Soviet

:25:55.:26:01.

fighter. -- Street of quarters. There was an Israeli aircraft on

:26:02.:26:06.

route to divide which was shot down by an American warship in the Gulf.

:26:07.:26:13.

That is held by some to be the cause of the Lockerbie attack which

:26:14.:26:23.

happened, some see as revenge. While you have weaponry capable of

:26:24.:26:26.

shooting dead aircraft, this will always be a threat. -- shooting down

:26:27.:26:33.

aircraft. Shoulder launched missiles have always been an issue for

:26:34.:26:41.

aviation experts, that has always been an issue... We have to leave it

:26:42.:26:49.

there. You have been watching a special edition. Stay with us for

:26:50.:26:57.

more. Hello there. If you have enjoyed the

:26:58.:27:04.

sunshine today, you may find tomorrow to warm. This low pressure

:27:05.:27:11.

is moving northwards through the night bringing a band of heavy,

:27:12.:27:12.

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