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Is this Abbott’s seminal moment?

Written By kom limapulan on Selasa, 22 Juli 2014 | 15.48

PM Tony Abbott says the aftermath of the MH17 disaster looks like 'evidence tampering on an industrial scale'.

Begrudging respect: Australians seem to approve of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's response to MH17. Source: News Corp Australia

FOR the first time since Tony Abbott was elected, many Australians are catching a glimpse of another side of the Prime Minister and a begrudging respect is emerging.

Mr Abbott has been praised for his handling of the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, with even his detractors impressed by his strong response.

He was the first world leader to stand up to Russian President Vladimir Putin and to express his "dissatisfaction" of the superpower's handling of the incident.

Australians seem to have noticed with many tweeting their approval.

Leaders' popularity traditionally rises after natural disasters, wars and terrorist attacks. Former US President George W. Bush managed to secure an unlikely second term after September 11.

John Howard's approval rating peaked after the Port Arthur massacre, according to chairman of Newspoll, Sol Lebovic, as well as after "the Tampa affair and the terrorist attacks of September 11, the Bali bombing, and the war in Iraq".

Former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh's handling of the 2010-11 floods turned her fortunes around, putting her ahead of the Liberal party after months of poor polling.

Associate Professor Haydon Manning of Flinders University said he couldn't think of a leader who hadn't benefited from a crisis.

"To put it in crude terms, it offers our Prime Minister every opportunity to show another side of their character," Prof Manning said.

"We have basically seen the toughness of Tony Abbott, standing up to a powerful world leader but we have also seen his softer side, he has been able to show a depth of feeling."

A softer side: Prime Minister Tony Abbott shows both strength and compassion for those impacted by the downing of MH17. Picture: Attila Szilvasi. Source: News Corp Australia

The political scientist said the handling of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and the fact that Australia was leading the United Nations Security Council response presented an image of the country that people approved of.

"They see the Australian Prime Minister immediately in contact with world leaders ... and leading the world to do the right thing," he said.

During a crisis, media coverage was also focused on the government response.

"The Opposition is sidelined, they basically have nothing to contribute."

Outpouring of grief: Flowers placed in remembrance for the victims of the MH17 plane crash at Schiphol Airport, near Amsterdam. AFP PHOTO/JOHN THYS Source: AFP

But while Prof Manning did expect to see Mr Abbott benefit from a slight improvement in the polls, he said it might not impact his election prospects.

"If the election was this year, or six months out, it may have a real impact on how people vote," he said. But at this stage there were too many other critical events ahead of the government including two more Budgets and other possible mini-Budgets.

"At this stage it doesn't have any real relevance," Prof Manning said.

Resolute: Tony Abbott speaks alongside Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, saying Russia could not "wash its hands of responsibility" for the Malaysia Airlines crash. AFP PHOTO / SAEED KHAN Source: AFP

"It puts Abbott in a strong and positive light but would probably not mean a complete recovery of the terrible opinion polls in recent months."

Prior to the downing of MH17, Mr Abbott was struggling in the polls and in the latest Fairfax-Nielsen poll published yesterday, this trend continued.

In the poll taken before the crash, Labor was well ahead of the coalition, 54 per cent to 46 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.

Tony Abbott meeting with ambassadors and representatives from the diplomatic community on the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 at Parliament House in Canberra. Source: News Corp Australia

Opposition leader Bill Shorten continued to be out in front of Mr Abbott as preferred prime minister, 46 per cent to 41 per cent. Mr Abbott's trustworthiness rating also lagged behind Mr Shorten's at a record low of 35 per cent to 45 per cent.

Prof Manning said the crisis would be a welcome circuit-breaker to the negative news cycle around Mr Abbott's unpopular Budget.

But said that suggestions that Mr Abbott was exploiting the MH17 tragedy was "ridiculous garbage".

"In the end you can't lead a political party if you are morally vacuous, you would have been found out along the way," he said.

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The book billionaires can’t get enough of

Sorry Warren. Bill Gates admitted he is yet to return Buffett's favourite book more than 20 years after he borrowed it. Source: AFP

Former Microsoft MSFT Chairman Bill Gates has made it back to the top of the Forbes billionaires list. MarketWatch's Jim Jelter tells us who else made the top five of the list. (Photo: AP)

The book dubbed a 'billionaire's bible.' Source: Supplied

IT'S more than 40 years old and is looking a little rough around the edges.

But this isn't just any old paperback: It's a business bible beloved by two of the world's richest men.

Bill Gates recently revealed his favourite book is Business Adventures, a series of essays written by journalist John Brooks which covers major turning points at some of the world's biggest companies, from Xerox to General Electric.

He told The Wall Street Journal fellow billionaire Warren Buffett loaned him a copy more than 20 years ago which he still hasn't given back and describes as "the best business book I've ever read" for its nuanced descriptions and fundamental lessons.

"Unlike a lot of today's business writers, Brooks didn't boil his work down into pat how-to lessons or simplistic explanations for success. (How many times have you read that some company is taking off because they give their employees free lunch?) You won't find any listicles in his work. Brooks wrote long articles that frame an issue, explore it in depth, introduce a few compelling characters and show how things went for them," Gates said.

Warren Buffett is renowned for his old school approach to investing. Pic: Scott Olson/Getty Images. Source: AFP

So what could a book written more than 40 years ago possibly have for one of the world's richest software moguls?

It's all about the fundamentals, according to Gates, who said that while business particulars have changed over time, the basic rules remain the same.

"Business Adventures is as much about the strengths and weaknesses of leaders in challenging circumstances as it is about the particulars of one business or another. In that sense, it is still relevant not despite its age but because of it. John Brooks's work is really about human nature, which is why it has stood the test of time," he said.

It's not just billionaires who appreciate Brooks' turn of phrase either.

Slate's Seth Stevenson said the book transforms "potentially eye-glazing topics (e.g., price-fixing scandals in the industrial electronics market) into rollicking narratives" and includes richly drawn characters as well as lessons that still apply today."

Interested? Check out a full synopsis here.

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What Facebook’s fine print really says

Have you ever bothered reading Facebook's terms and conditions? What did you get yourself into? Source: AP

SO, LIKE every other one of the world's 1.28 billion monthly active Facebook users, you blindly agreed to Facebook's Terms and Conditions without reading the fine print.

You entrusted your photo albums, private messages and relationships to a website without reading its policies. And you do the same with every other site ... sound about right?

In your defence, Carnegie Mellon researchers determined that it would take the average person 76 work days to read all the privacy policies they agreed to each year. So you're not avoiding the reading out of laziness; it's literally an act of job preservation.

So here are the Cliffs Notes of what you agreed to when you and Facebook entered into this contract. Which, by the way, began as soon as you signed up.


Privacy? Forget about it. Source: Supplied


Facebook has even begun studying messages that you type but end up deciding not to post. A recent study by a Facebook data analyst looked at habits of 3.9 million English-speaking Facebook users to analyse how different users "self-censor" on Facebook. They measured the frequency of "aborted" messages or status posts, i.e., posts that were deleted before they ever were published. They studied this because "[Facebook] loses value from the lack of content generation," and they hoped to determine how to limit this kind of self-censorship in the future.


Your Facebook footprint doesn't necessarily disappear if you deactivate your account. According to the site's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, if your videos or photos have been shared by other users, they will remain visible on the site after you deactivate your account, and are subject to that user's privacy settings.


Everything you upload onto the site is Facebook's for the taking. Source: Huffington Post

This means that Facebook is being paid for supplying your endorsement (which you indicate by liking a page) to brands or companies. You can even find out how much your data is worth to Facebook by using the FBME application from Disconnect, Inc.


This announcement came in a recent post from Facebook.

It's not just what you do on Facebook that Facebook will use. Source: Huffington Post

Facebook notes that other websites do the same thing. But that accounts for an insane amount of potential data, especially given the growth of Facebook mobile use. On average, Facebook mobile users check the site 14 times a day on their devices.


Last year, Facebook started partnering with data broker firms. Data brokers earn their money by selling information about your consumer habits and monitoring your online and offline spending. Facebook's partnership allows them to measure the relationship between the ads you see on Facebook and the purchases you make in-store — and determine whether you're actually buying in real life the things you're seeing digitally while using Facebook.

The data collection is difficult to skirt. One Time magazine reporter went to great lengths to hide her pregnancy from big data; she said her husband ended up looking like a criminal when he went to a drugstore and tried to purchase enough Amazon gift cards to buy a stroller on the website. This kind of ultra-specific marketing also can become eerie. Take the case of Mike Seay, who the LA Times reported received an OfficeMax marketing letter addressed to "Mike Seay, Daughter Killed in Car Crash." OfficeMax said that the information came from a third-party broker, but did not specify which one.


This past June, Facebook announced that it would start using data from users' web browsing history to serve targeted advertisements as such:

It knows what you're doing. Source: Huffington Post

Of course, targeting ads is hardly a new phenomenon; Nielsen started gathering information about radio audiences back in the '30s. But because Facebook has so much information on every user, the kinds of demographics they make available to advertises are more comprehensive.

These are some of the ad target categories that Facebook allows:

You can be targeted by Facebook ads under any of these subgroups. Source: Huffington Post

So who really benefits from these highly targeted ads? For one, Facebook itself. Facebook's ad revenue grew 82 per cent from 2013 to the first quarter of 2014, totalling $A2.41 billion.

If you're not very keen on helping Facebook generate more profitable ads at the price of your privacy, Facebook suggests you choose the "x" out option on individual ads. This won't change the data being gathered about your interests, but it should help prevent an influx of credit card ads from popping up on your Facebook.


Do you want to know where your friends are, and vice versa? Source: Huffington Post

What's next when it come to information gathering by Facebook? TechCrunch spotlighted Facebook's new tracking feature, "Nearby Friends," which is being pitched as an opt-in way to find out which of your friends is located within a mile of you. While you don't receive the exact location of your friends, Facebook receives your exact location. While you can clear your history and turn off the app at will, Facebook noted that it "may still receive your most recent precise location so that you can, for example, post content that's tagged with your location or find nearby places." So some amount of tracking is happening, no matter what.


Back when Facebook unveiled "Nearby Friends" in April, a company spokesman conceded to TechCrunch that "at this time [Nearby Friends] is not being used for advertising or marketing, but in the future it will be."

This technology is only going to become more sophisticated with the rise of more location-tracking apps that can follow your movements in-store.


They say so right ...

How Facebook uses the information you provide them. Source: Huffington Post

Yeah ... right there.

Despite that "research clause," you may have been surprised to learn that Facebook experimented on nearly 700,000 Facebook users for one week in the summer of 2012. The site manipulated their News Feeds to prioritise positive or negative content, attempting to determine if emotions spread contagiously through social networks.

Forbes points out that the "research" part of the User Data policy was not added until May 2012, while the research was conducted in January of 2012.


Facebook has spoken out about U.S. government information requests it considers unconstitutional.

But Facebook's second Global Government Requests Report showed that when the U.S. government asks, Facebook hands over at least some user data in more than 80 per cent of cases:

Facebook hands over some form of data to US government requests 81 per cent of the time. Source: Huffington Post


And if you actually think you know what you've agreed to, remember that Facebook maintains the right to change its mind about user conditions at any time.

Basically, if you're still using Facebook, you're agreeing.

Keep an eye out because the terms can change any time. Source: Huffington Post

It's clear that the meaning of privacy is changing drastically in the digital age. While Facebook may be one of the agents of change in drafting a new definition, it's certainly not the only one. As standards of privacy continue to morph, knowledge remains your best weapon in protecting yourself and your information. Check out the documentary Terms And Conditions May Apply for an in-depth look at privacy in the digital age. Common Sense Media also offers helpful guidelines for protecting your privacy online.

This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on The Huffington Post. To read the full version, click here.

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Latest updates: MH17 disaster

The UN has voted in favour of an Australian resolution for MH17 crash site access.

She achieved a major win for Australia at the UN this morning, but that doesn't mean Julie Bishop is a household name internationally just yet. Picture: Gary Ramage Source: News Corp Australia

PRIME Minister Tony Abbott says the MH17 crash scene has been severely tampered with and "after the crime comes the cover-up".

Mr Abbott told a media conference this afternoon an Australian military plane would be used to transport MH17 victims to the Netherlands where they would be identified — beginning a process he hoped would mean they were returned to their loved ones.

He said it would be a slow process and it was important to take care so the right remains of the victims went where they were supposed to.

"As frustrating as this is, we do have to get it right. It would be terrible to compound families' grief by risking the misidentification of their loved ones."

He was more optimistic today about, "how things might turn out" but cautioned there was still much work to be done.

Much of that depended on Russian President Vladmir Putin honouring his word to allow a full and fair investigation.

So far, the scene had been subjected to an "industrial" size tampering and "after the crime comes the cover-up", the Prime Minister said.

"This site has been trampled from the beginning ... Random individuals roaming around the site ... The more recent footage looks more like a building demolition than a forensic investigation."

Although he believed the best security for the site would be from the countries who have lost citizens, he would not commit defence force staff or AFP officers to the task — but equally didn't rule out Australian forces joining a multinational team later.

"A multinational police force or a multinational force of some kind is not something that can be just summoned up in a matter of a few hours."

He would not discuss details of his conversations with world leaders on the matter of crash scene security.

Despite the tampering and contamination he was confident there was an "enormous amount" of evidence of MH17's final moments — and the weapon that brought it down — that could still be found.

Mr Abbott said his determination, and that of the Government's, was driven by "doing the right thing" by the Australian victims and their families who were suffering "almost unimaginable grief".

Monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and members of a forensic team inspect a refrigerator wagon containing the remains of victims from Flight MH17 Source: AFP


• Bodies of MH17 victims transported to the Netherlands

• UN backs Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop

• IN PICS: Violence erupts in Donetsk

• Poor Julie Bishop can't catch a break with UN counterparts

• Black boxes finally handed over

• Pro-Russian rebels announce ceasefire within 10km of crash site

• Malaysia Airlines resumes flights from Australia

• Heartbreaking treatment of what little is left of passengers' belongings

• A message of condolence from Prime Minister Tony Abbott



The long journey home for many of the MH17 victims has begun. The train the bodies are on has almost reached Kharkov, which is in Ukraine terriority and not a rebel stronghold. The victims will then be flown to the Netherlands for identification.


In a grim but necessary move, Malaysian officials have begun collecting DNA samples from the families of the Malaysian passengers and the 15 crew members on board MH17.

The crew families and the families of the passengers were asked to meet at two Kuala Lumpur hotels for briefings about the latest in the tragic case, but also to give DNA samples.

Relatives of the Malaysian MH17 passengers have given DNA samples


Condolence books will be placed at public locations across NSW so people can pay tribute to the victims of flight MH17.

NSW Premier Mike Baird says the books will be made available at locations across NSW including Parliament House, the Sydney Opera House and NSW electorate offices.

A Condolence Book in the Marble Foyer of Parliament House, Canberra today, signed by (from top): Gov. Gen. Peter Cosgrove, PM Tony Abbott, Speaker Bronwyn Bishop, President of the Senate Stephen Parry and other MPs Source: News Corp Australia


Although Malaysia Airlines says it is totally focused on the families of MH17 victims, there is growing speculation the airline will be delisting as a publicly traded company, Bloomberg reports.


The rebel leader, self styled President of the Donetsk People's Republic, Alexander Borodai, continues to say the bodies will leave Donestk tonight, but at the moment they are still being held on the train


While Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Russian President Vladmir Putin is so far keeping his word regarding the MH17 crisis, leaders in Europe will meet to discuss possible sanctions against Moscow.


Experts say Flight MH17 was likely sheared apart from the blast wave caused by the missile. It was also showered with small pieces of shrapnel that gave it no chance, The New York Times reports.


The impact o f the MH370 and MH17 disasters is taking its toll on Malaysia Airlines staff, many of whom are reportedly too scared to fly now.

Counselling has been offered to all staff but their union say some are too unstable too fly at the moment.


In a bizarre interview, the self styled President of the Donetsk People's Republic, Alexander Borodai, rolled his eyes and sighed when discussing the MH17 tragedy with CNN.

He even compared the disaster zone to "black humour", claiming members of the OSCE said the bodies would be their responsibility once they started moving the bodies.

"It got to the point where it resembled if not a horror movie, then black humour.

Borodai also denied Russia's involvement with the catastrophe, or separatists even having the weapons used to bring down MH17.



The Russian Ambassador to Malaysia, Lyudmila G. Vorobyeva, has spoken to media with some real corkers. Here are the best quotes:

"The situation is quite unique, it's happened in a war zone so the international community should be flexible and act in a way that's acceptable to all the sides."


A grief-stricken Dutch man who lost his only child on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has sent a scathing letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying his life has been ruined.

Hans de Borst's daughter Elsemiek, 17, was killed along with her mother on the doomed plane when it was shot down over eastern Ukraine on Thursday.

Mr de Borst explained how the tragic incident had robbed his daughter of her bright future.

"I hope you are proud to have turned her young life upside down and that you can look in the mirror!" he wrote.


Analyst at the Royal United Services Institute in London, Justin Bronk, has tweeted what he says is photographic evidence that MH17 was brought down by a missile strike.



Malaysia Airlines has diverted flights from one war zone to another.

A tweet from real-time air traffic monitor Flightradar24 yesterday revealed that the airline changed the flight path of its Kuala Lumpur-to-London flight from a route over Ukraine to a route over Syria.

And here's what the airline had to say in response.

Makes you feel real safe, doesn't it?


The Dutch military plane that will transport the bodies of those who died on MH17 has landed in the Ukraine city of Kharkiv.

Members of the Netherlands forensic investigation team LTFO arrived at the government-controlled city's airport around 3am (1000 AEST) local time.

They'll work with other experts in the difficult task of transferring the remains of almost 300 victims from a Soviet-era refrigerated train to the their C130 Hercules, reports AAP.

They will repackage the bodies if necessary and take them as soon as possible to the Netherlands for identification.

The refrigerated train carrying those who perished aboard Malaysia Airlines flight 17 left the rebel town of Torez in eastern Ukraine at 7pm local time on Monday.

It was initially hoped the train could make it to Kharkiv in around six hours but it has reportedly been delayed in Donetsk which has experienced sporadic military conflict.

It's now expected to arrive later on Tuesday.

Alexander Hug (R), Deputy Chief Monitor of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine, visits a train containing the bodies of victims. Picture: Brendan Hoffman Source: Getty Images


Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has just finished a live QandA at Twitter's headquarters in San Francisco to discuss her new book, Hard Choices, and her thoughts on MH17.

According to Clinton, the proof is "in the pudding" as to Russia's involvement in MH17.

She warned Putin's goal was to have the ultimate veto over eastern Ukraine and we need to be "clever" to outsmart Putin. She added the only way to stop Putin was by "talking and opening dialogue and sanctions".


The Wall Street Journal's Jason Bellini with The Short Answer ...


A message of condolence from Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Condolence message written by the PM to open a new national condolence book for MH17 victims. Source: Supplied


Vladimir Putin has no soul.

Well, that's what U.S. Vice President Joe Biden concluded after meeting with the Russian leader at the Kremlin in 2011, according to an article in the New Yorker published online Monday.

Biden told the magazine about his 2011 visit with Putin, who at the time was prime minister, and said he found himself just inches away from the Russian leader.

"I said, 'Mr. Prime Minister, I'm looking into your eyes, and I don't think you have a soul,'" Biden told the magazine.

"He looked back at me, and he smiled, and he said, 'We understand one another.'"


Vladimir Putin motions to blow a kiss to journalists as he leaves the Itamaraty Palace after the BRICK Summit in Brasilia, Brazil. Picture: Felipe Dana Source: AP



As the bodies of MH17 victims make their long journey towards the Netherlands, the luggage — rifled and rummaged through — has stayed behind, apparently bound for the same destination on a later train. Heartbreaking to see the treatment of what little is left of passengers' belongings.

Pic Ella Pellegrini Source: News Corp Australia


Nobel prize winner Françoise Barré-Sinoussi addresses loss of AIDS researchers on flight MH17 on ABC1's Q & A last night.

"For us it's very hard, as you can imagine. We have lost colleagues and friends. To us it was really difficult for us to decide whether to go on and the answer came very easily after we were thinking about our friends and colleagues. We said to ourselves, it's really what they would like us to do. So we have to go on. We have to move forward for them," she said.

The 20th International AIDS Conference, being held in Melbourne this week, was struck with tragedy when it was revealed that six of its delegates perished when MH17 was shot down over Ukraine.


Malaysia Airlines has resumed all of its scheduled flights from Australia as normal.

The beleaguered company released a statement this morning thanking travel agents and passengers for their support since the MH17 disaster.

"The company reiterates that the Malaysian Government, the majority shareholder in Malaysia Airlines, is committed to ensuring the airline's long term future as its national carrier," the statement read.



Reports pro-Russian rebels have announced a 10km ceasefire around MH17 crash site, so investigators can begin work at the scene.


Clues are beginning to emerge about exactly how the attack on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 unfolded.

Aviation and defence experts believe bodies may contain missile shrapnel, chemical residue on the plane's wreckage could confirm definitively what type of weapon was used to shoot it down, and the crash location will illuminate the timing of the incident.

Read more about the latest theories to explain exactly what happened here.



More footage of yesterday's deadly fighting in Donetsk, close to where the bodies of MH17 victims were being held, shows the devastating affects of random shelling attacks and the difficulty international investigators face in reaching the crash site.

Smoke is still billowing from where the shell landed. Source: YouTube

Cars lay in tatters close to the scene. Source: YouTube

TITLE: Shelling in Donetsk

SIZE: 650x366px



It's been a long day ...


The pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have handed over the two black boxes from flight MH17.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said earlier today that he had reached an agreement with separatist leader Aleksander Borodai, which will also allow independent international investigators safe access to the crash site.


She may have achieved a significant win for Australia with the United Nations Security Council this morning, but that didn't stop social media from making a mockery of Julie Bishop. Or was that Judy?

The Dutch representative of the United Nations met with Australia's Foreign Minister, but made one important mistake. Awkward.


Victims of the disaster have become embroiled in a global internet scam after fraudsters created fake Facebook tribute pages linked to dodgy pop-up ads.

Each page contains a single link to a blog site, allegedly containing a video and more information on the MH17 crash — deliberately built for the purpose of profit.

Once clicked on by Facebook users, they are served a variety of pop-up ads for online gambling, dating, get-rich-quick schemes, and other products and services.

Three of the fake pages set up have targeted Australian victims Otis, Evie and Mo Maslin, the young West Australian children who perished in the plane disaster in Ukraine.

A fake Facebook page set up in the name of one of MH17's victims. Source: Facebook


More chaotic scenes from Donetsk where violence erupted overnight.


A senior Russian official has implied that the presence of a Ukrainian military jet may be linked to the tragedy of MH17.

Lieutenant-General Andrei Kartopolov said the military aircraft was flying just a few kilometres away from the Malaysian Airlines plane minutes before it was downed, The Independent reports.

Talking to the media yesterday, he also denied allegations that Russia had provided the east Ukrainian separatists with BUK missile launchers.

Russia's Army General Staff Main Operative Department head, Lt.-Gen. Andrei Kartopolov. Source: AFP


Ukraine forces shown on the move during yesterday's shelling attack in the suburban area of Donetsk.


Incredible footage shows a family escape a shelling attack at a beach near Avdeevka, north from the city of Donetsk, on Sunday. Reports state Ukrainian forces are responsible for the attack.

Pretty scary stuff.

The family run for their lives as a shell is dropped on a local beach. Source: YouTube

TITLE: Shelling at Avdiyivka

SIZE: 650x366px



Colourful London Mayor Boris Johnson has entered the debate of the MH17 disaster with some incendiary comments directed squarely at Russia.


Actor Jason Biggs has apologised AGAIN for that appalling tweet he made last week.

Soon after news broke of the MH17 tragedy, the Orange is the New Black star took to Twitter to share this thought: "Anyone wanna buy my Malaysia Airlines frequent flyer miles?"

He initially defended his comments, saying they were a joke, but he eventually apologised for the tweet.

While he tweeted an apology on Saturday, he appeared on daytime talk show The View yesterday and said he was hoping to move on from the backlash he received.

"I certainly meant no harm, there was no malice behind it, but I was stupid ... It was offensive, it was poorly timed," Biggs explained.


This local made a lucky escape during intense shelling in the suburban area of Donetsk.


The tragedy of MH17 was compounded yesterday when intense fighting broke out in the Ukrainian region where Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 went down.

Shortly after 10am (5PM AEST) local time, suburban areas of Donetsk were hit by indiscriminate mortar shelling, sending residents fleeing for their lives.

A rebel fighter told AFP that Ukrainian Government troops had attacked their positions close to the Donetsk railway station.

News Corp Australia's journalist on the scene Charles Miranda saw at least four people killed in two separate mortar attacks including an elderly woman who had been walking through a courtyard park area.

Ukrainian Government officials refused to comment on the situation citing it as an "anti-terrorist" operation.

A firefighter attends extinguishes a fire of building annexes after combat between Ukrainian forces and the pro-Russian militants in Lugansk. Picture: Alex Inoy Source: AFP


The president of Ukraine has compared the MH17 disaster to some of the worst terrorist atrocities in human history.

"I don't see any differences from the tragedy (of) 9/11, from the tragedy of Lockerbie, and the tragedy of Grabove, on Ukrainian side," Petro Poroshenko told CNN.

He insisted that the armed men in eastern Ukraine should not be referred to as "separatists". "There are no separatists there. They are terrorists," he said.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Source: AP


Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop addresses the United Nations Security Council. Picture: AP Photo/Seth Wenig Source: AP

With the backing of Russia, the UN Security Council has unanimously supported Australia for a full, independent international investigation of the Malaysia Airlines plane disaster.

Australia took the lead in drafting the strongly worded resolution, which was adopted after some changes were made to satisfy Moscow.

"We must have answers. We must have justice," Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told the 15-member council.

"It is despicable that this access is not being provided

"It is an affront to the victims and their families ... everyone must co-operate with the investigation. We will not rest until this is done. We will not rest until we bring them home."

The resolution demands that all military activities, including by armed groups, be "immediately ceased in the immediate area surrounding the crash site to allow for security and safety of the international investigation".

Moscow sought to change the term "shooting down" of the plane for "downing", arguing that it amounted to prejudging the outcome of the investigation.

Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe deputy chief monitor Alexander Hug visits a train containing the bodies of victims of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in Torez, Ukraine. Picture: Brendan Hoffman/Getty Image Source: Getty Images


The journey home for those who perished in Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 has finally begun.

The remains of about 282 bodies recovered from the crash site are finally on their way to the Netherlands after a train left Torez overnight.

The bodies will be handed over to Dutch pathologists who will inspect the remains before they are returned home.

Read more here.


Stay up to date with the latest developments in the MH17 disaster with our live blog, which will be updated throughout the morning.

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Where your flight path really goes

Written By kom limapulan on Senin, 21 Juli 2014 | 15.48

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was among many airlines flying through the eastern Ukraine airspace in recent weeks. A look at how airlines decide where to fly.

Which routes are safe to fly on? Source: AFP

PASSENGERS fly over hostile regions of the world every day to get to their chosen destinations, but most just don't realise.

While it's extremely rare that a plane flying thousands of metres high will become the target of terrorists, in the wake of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 tragedy questions are being asked about how much we really know about the flight paths we travel on.

Especially as it has emerged that while many airlines flew that exact route over Ukraine that disastrous day, others such as Qantas abandoned flights in the area several months ago.

So who decides where it is and isn't safe to venture. And how do you know where your flight will go?

Malaysia Airlines said MH17's route had been declared safe by the UN's International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and was not subject to restrictions. The ICAO develops international aviation standards which can be used by various countries when they make their regulations.

Ultimately, while air safety regulators in some parts of the world, such as the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), have the power to ban their airlines from certain air spaces, most of the flight path decisions are left to the individual airlines who conduct risk assessments.

While the FAA has banned US airlines from flying through several high-risk areas, it's a different system in Australia. Our airlines are unrestricted, according to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

"We don't restrict Australian airlines like the US do, but we do put out advice," a CASA spokesman told news.com.au. "The final decision is up to the airlines."

War zone or not, airlines will generally fly the shortest route unless it's deemed too risky, Mikael Robertsson, co-founder of flight tracking website Flight radar 24 told the BBC . That's because the shorter the route, the less fuel used and thus costs are kept down.

Patrick Smith, airline pilot and author of the book Cockpit Confidential and the website askthepilot.com said it's very common to fly over hostile areas.

"It is fairly routine for civilian jetliners to overfly areas of conflict," Mr Smith said. "Dozens of airline flights pass each day over Baghdad, for example. Many of them land there. I've personally piloted flights over eastern Ukraine, close to where the Malaysia Airlines (flight) met its fate on Friday.

MH17's flight path. Source: Supplied

"There are protocols, as you'd expect. Above restive areas, flights are restricted to particular routes, specific altitudes and airspace sectors."

What's more, David Ison, assistant professor of aeronautics and chair of the aeronautic science master's program at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the US told Newsweek : "It's not unusual to overfly areas of military activity. We used to fly over live fire."

"You don't worry about it because you're so high".

The fact is, at the end of the day you put your trust in the airline. It's clear some are thorough. For example, Qantas says it conducts frequent assessments of threats, with a spokesperson saying: "We review our flight paths regularly, including in response to world events, and make any adjustments we consider prudent."

But it's impossible to know the steps all of them are taking.

So what can you do to find out about your flight path?

While it's not information that airlines readily give out, there are ways to find out where your flight will pass over before you take to the skies.

The best way is to use flight tracking websites such as Flightradar24.com, which gives a real-time view of planes around the world.

To find out the routes your airline generally takes, click on the "planes" icon on the top left and search for your flight number, or airline code (e.g. MH20, or MH, which is the code for Malaysia Airlines and is a Kuala Lumpur to Paris flight). Then click the "show on map" option to the right.

Then you'll see exactly where the plane is, or which routes the airline is flying at that moment. For example, I searched for flight MH20 from Kuala Lumpur to Paris and saw it was passing over Turkey.

The flight path of MH20. Picture: FlightRadar24 Source: Supplied

You can check the site now and again to see where the flight route ends up, as it tracks it in real time.

You can also look at air safety sitesto find out which regions are deemed dangerous. America's FAA is a good one.

The Washington Post has pulled together a list of current flight prohibitions issued by the FAA, they include:

Ethiopia: Here flights are banned north of 12 degrees latitude, and it's warned that aircraft that cross into Ethiopian airspace while taking off or landing at Mandera Airstrip in Kenya may be fired upon.

Iraq: Flights are banned at or below 20,000 feet, except for flights departing or arriving at countries adjacent to Iraq.

Libya: Flights are banned within certain areas, such as the Tripoli Flight Information Region which encompasses small northern sections of Niger and Chad, as well as Libya.

Somalia: Flights cannot go lower than 20,000 feet over Somalia, except for flights departing or arriving at countries adjacent to Iraq.

Airlines often fly over war zones. Source: AFP

North Korea: According to a special notice: "North Korea has a history of launching short-range and medium-range ballistic missiles with no warning." Caution is advised in and around the Pyongyang Flight Information Region east of 132 degrees east longitude, while flights west of that line are prohibited.

Other air space restrictions for US flights exist over Somalia, and now, the Ukraine.

Remember, these restrictions don't apply to Australian airlines.

"Potentially hostile" regions listed by the FAA include Afghanistan, Congo, the Egypt Sinai Peninsula, Iran, Kenya, Mali, Syria and Yemen.

In terms of what other airlines are doing, Emirates recently stopped flying over parts of Syria as a civil war expanded, while some airlines have curtailed service in Iraq, where violence has escalated between the government and a jihadist militant group.

Last month, a gunman in Pakistan fired on a jetliner that was landing in Peshawar, part of the country's volatile northwest region, killing a passenger and wounding two other people. Emirates suspended flights to Peshawar, and other carriers cancelled some flights while they reviewed airport security. Two weeks before that, gunmen attacked the country's busiest airport in Karachi.

Caution is advised for airlines flying over Congo. Source: AP

Codeshare caution

Also, if you're wary about ending up on one airline in particular, say Malaysia Airlines, then beware the codeshare.

So what is a codeshare? Many airlines put their name on another airline's flight so they can say they fly to a certain destination when they actually don't.

It makes their network appear bigger, and is a mutually beneficial agreement. What it means is that usually you'll fly on the airline of your choice, until it connected to a partner's hub (during a stopover), from there you'll actually end up flying with the other airline.

For example, MH17 was a codeshare flight with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, so passengers on KLM ended up on the Malaysia Airlines flight. Their flight number KL4103 was also MH17.

Avoid this by keeping an eye out for the words "operated by" on your ticket — that means essentially that you'll be travelling on a different airline.

Also, you can try Googling your flight number for more information. When Googling "KL4103" a search result shows it's a codeshare with Malaysia Airlines.

Ultimately, remember that the chances of a similar tragedy as MH17 occurring again are minute.

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What The Voice judges won’t tell the winner

We asked your Top 5 Voice finalists to read out some mean tweets about themselves. The results are hilarious.

Kylie Minogue with Voice finalist Johnny Rollins. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

THERE'S one uncomfortable truth that probably won't be mentioned amid the hoopla of the season three Voice finale.

More than any other TV music contest, winning The Voice is no guarantee of long-term career success. In fact, given its international track record, it seems to be quite the opposite.

Signing on to The Voice is a canny business decision for the judges: following years in the pop wilderness, Ricky Martin recently used the show to announce his second Australian arena tour in as many years, while the Madden brothers currently sit atop our charts with a single they performed on the program just a couple of weeks ago.

However, the contestants are rarely quite so lucky.

Here's how The Voice Curse has played out worldwide:


Voice winner Karise Eden has been silent for more than a year now. Picture: Craig Greenhill Source: News Limited

How could you forget those opening notes of Karise Eden's blind audition? As soon as she opened her mouth to sing James Brown's It's a Man's World, a star was born.

Released in the weeks after she'd won the show, Eden's debut album was a huge success, rocketing into the charts at number one.

Then things went quiet. In June last year, she returned to The Voice to perform a brand-new single, Threads of Silence, the first taste from a touted second album. Over a year later, there's still no sign of that album — although Eden's record company insist all is well: "She hasn't been dropped and is working on new material."

Second season winner Harrison Craig has fared better, releasing his second top five covers album in under a year this April.


UK winner of The Voice, Leanne Mitchell's album missed the top 100 on the charts. Source: NewsComAu

The British version of The Voice, with judges including Jessie J, will.i.am and Tom Jones, has so far produced three winners. The first of those, Leanne Mitchell, suffered the worst fate: her supposed-to-be-triumphant winner's single Run To You scraped into the charts at a shocking no. 45, while her debut album reached the dizzying heights of 134.

In January this year, just 18 months after winning The Voice, Mitchell was quietly dropped by her record company.


US winner Javier Colon experienced arguably more success as a singer before appearing on The Voice. Source: Supplied

In just three years, the US version of The Voice has burned through six seasons.

Judges including Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Shakira and Cee-Lo Green have parlayed their stints into successful collaborations, tours and sponsorship deals.

As for the winners? First-season champion Javier Colon perhaps best sums up the poisoned chalice that is The Voice: already a recording artist for more than a decade, his post-Voice album actually fared worse on the charts than his debut, released eight years before without the hype of a hit TV show to support it.

The Voice finalists talk to news.com.au's Charlotte Willis about their upcoming tour.

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Russians beg world: forgive us

SKY News reporter Colin Brazier has come under fire after being filmed going through the luggage of dead passengers on board MH17.

On guard ... A member of a local militia guards remnants of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 during a visit by monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Source: Getty Images

Man for the job ... Former Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston has been diverted from his search for MH370 to 'seek justice' for MH17. Source: News Corp Australia

IN the wake of the MH17 disaster, it seems Russians have more empathy than Vladimir Putin, as more of them leave notes asking for the world to "forgive" them.

The Dutch Embassy is Moscow has been inundated with tributes and flowers after the plane disaster, which killed 298 people.

While Russia's leader has avoided taking any responsibility for the attack on the Malaysia Airlines aircraft so far, Russian citizens have been leaving flowers and even signs that say "forgive us."

More of these tributes have been left at the embassy over the last few days, indicating there is a proportion of the population who do believe Russia is potentially at fault and has an obligation to act against rebels who control the area where the plane was shot down in east Ukraine.


The images of these honest tributes have emerged as former Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston has been sent to Ukraine as Prime Minister Tony Abbott's "personal envoy" at the head of a 45-man team to ensure "justice is done".

The former defence force official, who also led Australia's failed search for the wreckage of missing Malaysia Airlines MH370, is already in Kiev, the Prime Minister said today.

Mr Abbott described the investigation and crash scene as "shambolic", saying the site where the plane crashed looked more like a "garden clean up than a forensic investigation".

"This is still an absolutely shambolic situation." he said.

"It is imperative that we get a properly secured site, and a proper investigation. In order to bring them home, we have to first get them out. That is what all of our energies and efforts are directed to — getting them out and getting them home."

An Australian air force transport aircraft was on standby if needed for this purpose, he said.

Mr Abbott has also begun contacting the families of the 37 Australians killed in the MH17 disaster.

He said he spoke with two families who had lost loved ones in the disaster.

"My intention is to call all of the families of victims who would like a call from their Prime Minister. Some may want calls, some may not. I do not want to intrude on anyone's grief, but I want them to know their Prime Minister is available to them in a time like this."

FLIGHT REFUNDS: Malaysia Airlines waive fees until Thursday

TRIBUTE SCAMS: Facebook frauds hit MH17 victims

'Available' PM ... Tony Abbott speaking at press conference, at Parliament House in Canberra this morning. Picture: Kym Smith Source: News Corp Australia

Mr Abbott also repeated his concerns that Russia ensures "full and unfettered: access to the site.

"The mood of the leaders I have spoken to is firmer and sterner now than it was ... and frankly it is firmer and sterner as it should be as more and more facts emerge," he said.

Mr Abbott would not say whether Russian President Vladimir Putin had expressed any responsibility for the disaster during their recent phone conversation.

However, he described their talk as "wider ranging" and "more frank" than Australian discussions with the Russian ambassador and the minister for economic development, who was in Sydney for a G20 trade ministers' gathering.

FAMILIES PLEAD: Give our loved ones back

RUSSIA: Pointing the finger at everyone else

World leaders had firmed against Russia because of mounting evidence MH17 had been shot down by pro-Russian rebels, "quite possibly supplied by the backer".

"As for my conversation with Mr Putin, I'm not going to go into details ... To Mr Putin's credit, he did say all the right things. The challenge now is to hold the President to his word."

The government has sought advice on whether it can designate the disaster an act of terrorism, therefore allowing families of the victims to access federal compensation.

"I think what's compounded that is looking at what's happened to the wreckage, what has happened on the site," Mr Abbott said.

He demanded authority for the crash site be taken from the rebels, who he said were almost certainly culpable for the tragedy.

"Having those people in control of the site is a little like leaving criminals in control of a crime scene," he said.

"Every day that goes by the bodies are deteriorating ... (and) the site is further contaminated." As long as the bodies and the crash site remained under the rebels' control, there would be "interference after interference, impediment after impediment".

Silence ended ... Russia's President Vladimir Putin has addressed the MH17 tragedy for the first time when he spoke to media today He warned against 'narrowly selfish' political exploitation of the tragedy. Source: AP

Acting Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek said Labor backed the decision to send Houston to Ukraine on behalf of Australia.

She also said it was "critical" for President Vladimir Putin to support the proposed UN Security Council resolution, and to use "every bit of its influence with rebels" to ensure investigators get full access to the crash site.


In responding for the first time about the MH17 crash and investigation, Mr Putin said: "This task force is not enough."

"We need more, we need a fully representative group of experts to be working at the site under the guidance of ICAO, the relevant international commission."

"We must do everything to provide security for the international experts on the site of the tragedy ... In the meantime, nobody should and has no right to use this tragedy to achieve their 'narrowly selfish' political goals."

PUTIN'S MH17 STATEMENT: Read the full document here (Google translate)

FINAL ROLE: Last hours of MH17's 'flying mothers'

This morning pro-Russian rebels confirmed they had what they thought were the black boxes of the doomed Malaysian Airlines flight in their self-declared capital of Donetsk in Ukraine's east.

For days it had been rumoured the Pro-Russian separatists controlling swathes of east Ukraine had removed the vital flight recorder boxes from the MH17 aircraft wreckage.

Tangled web ... The war of words between Russia and the West over the remains of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 continues. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: News Corp Australia


Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has today circulated a draft United Nations Security Council resolution demanding "full and unfettered access" to the crash site.

A vote is set for Monday at 3pm in New York which is 5am Tuesday AEST.

"Decency and justice requires that this resolution be carried by acclamation,'' Mr Abbott told media this morning.

"But as we all know these are difficult and daunting times and it is wrong to be too certain about what the future might hold.''

HELL ON EARTH: Horror of MH17's final resting place

The document condemns the shooting down of MH17 "in the strongest terms" and demands that those responsible be held to account. It also expresses serious concerns that armed groups have "impeded immediate, safe, secure and unrestricted access to the crash site and surrounding area."

The draft resolution "demands that the armed groups in control of the crash site and the surrounding area refrain from any actions that may compromise the integrity of the crash site and immediately provide safe, secure, full and unfettered access to the site and surrounding area for the appropriate investigating authorities."

PICTURES: The world mourns MH17

It "calls on all states and actors in the region to cooperate fully in relation to the international investigation of the incident, including with respect to immediate access to the crash site ... in an effort to strengthen the safety of international civil aviation and to prevent any recurrence of such use of force against civilian aircraft."

Ms Bishop called for an urgent vote on the resultion by the United Nations Security Council — a process which could take place as soon as today.

Earlier this morning Ms Bishop told media it was "imperative" that the victims of MH17 be released.

"This is not a time to use bodies as hostages or pawns in a Ukrainian-Russian conflict,'' she told reporters in Washington.

Restricted access ... Alexander Hug, right, and Michael Bociurkiw from monitoring group Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) speak to journalists after inspecting part of the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Source: Getty Images

On the ground ... Debris and objects found Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 fell from the sky in Rozsypne, Eastern Ukraine. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: News Corp Australia

The government was determined to secure an independent investigation that was ``impartial and thorough and competent and able to determine who is responsible for this so they can be brought to justice''.

"I would expect Russia to fully support any resolution that seeks to secure the site and establish an independent investigation," Ms Bishop said.

LOCALS SPEAK: 'Birds falling from the sky'

Russia, as a permanent member of the council, has the power to veto the resolution.

"Australia has a lot at stake here,'' she said.

"They have been murdered and the Australian government will not rest until we're able to bring the bodies home to the Australian families who are waiting for them.''

Ms Bishop also said she had been briefed by British and US intelligence officials.

Sifting the rubble ... Ukrainian State Emergency Service employees search for bodies among the wreckage at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Grabove, in the region of Donetsk, Ukraine. Source: AFP


The head of Australia's transport safety body has warned there will be no quick answers to the downing of MH17, saying it could take up to a year to complete an investigation.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau dispatched two senior investigators to Kiev to assist an international inquiry into the disaster.

But chief commissioner Martin Dolan dampened expectations of a speedy determination.

"We normally say as investigators it can take up to a year to get a firm result," he told reporters at Canberra airport.

"It's quite possible that there will be no quick response to this." Mr Dolan said it was "disappointing and upsetting" to see Russian-backed rebels tampering with evidence at the crash site in eastern Ukraine, which has been a target of international condemnation.


Ukrainian emergency workers have confirmed they had now retrieved 251 bodies and 86 fragments of bodies from the downed Malaysian flight MH17.

The workers, in distinctive red vans and blue overalls, worked late into the evening searching underwreckage and through the fields for the remains of the 298 passengers and crew from the flight.

Under the precarious situation in the region though, they reported their find to the government in the Ukrainian capital Kiev but also the administration of the self-styled separatist movement in the city of Donetsk known as the Donetsk People's Republic (DPR).

DPR controls the region where the aircraft went down and so the workers have had to hand the bodies over to them. The militia are storing 200 of them in four refrigerated trains in the nearby city of Torez. There are mixed reports as to where the train is to go with the government in Kiev preparing for it to go to the eastern city they control called Khirkiv but the rebels preparing to send the train to the port city of Mariupol. There are also reports the train could be sent to Kiev.

At the moment it remains at unaccessible sidings in Torez.

Recovery ... The bodies of victims of the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 await collection by the side of the road near the crash site on July 20, 2014 in Grabovo, Ukraine. Source: Getty Images

Some bodies are also reportedly being kept at one of four morgues in Donetsk.

Michael Bociurkiw, a spokesman for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said reports from the group's investigators in Ukraine suggest some bodies were incinerated without a trace.

"We're looking at the field where the engines have come down. This was the area which was exposed to the most intense heat. We do not see any bodies here. It appears that some have been vaporized," he said from the crash site.

The official from the morgue declined to say why the bodies were now being transported to the seaport.

"They will stay there for now, until the issue (of what to do with them) is resolved. We are waiting for the experts," said Sergei Kavtaradze, a senior official of the pro-Russian rebels' self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic that controls the region where the Boeing was downed.

Meanwhile, Australian experts are on the ground in Ukraine waiting to help identify victims of the MH17 crash.

A team of international forensic experts is waiting for the refrigerated train to be released from the village of Torez near the crash site.

Dutch diplomat Kees van Baar said his country would lead the expert team which would identify the bodies.

"There are Australian experts in the team — they are part of the team,'' he confirmed.

"If these bodies are being released they will be met by a team of international experts and they are going to be identified.

Mr van Baar revealed no next of kin had yet arrived in Ukraine.

"There's no question as such right now of relatives arriving (because) we don't know where the bodies will go to right now.''

It's been suggested the train could travel to the Ukrainian-controlled city of Kharkiv.

On the move ... The refrigerated train holding many bodies from MH17 is now being sent to the port of Mariupol. Source: Supplied


Rebel leader Alexander Borodai had last week said he knew nothing of the flight recorders — which could detail the moment the aircraft crashed from an altitude of 10,000m — but now he has confirmed his movement had them.

"Jet parts resembling the black boxes were discovered at the crash site," said Alexander Borodai, prime minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic overnight.

"What we have is just some components of the plane. We are not experts; we think that they may be black boxes but we're not sure."

He didn't give specifics but said they would be handed over to the International Civil Aviation Organisation once they came to the region.

He also insisted his rebels had not interfered with the site despite clear evidence to the contrary.

Crowd control ... A member of a local militia guards remnants of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 during a visit by monitors from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Source: Getty Images

Evidence ... One of the aircraft's cockpit manuals laying unattended in Ukraine. Picture: Ella Pellegrini Source: News Corp Australia

Adding to growing claims that pro-Russian rebels had done just that, Ukraine's security services yesterday released purported intercepts of phone conversations between rebel militants discussing the location of the plane's black boxes.

In one exchange, a man identified as the leader of the rebel Vostok Battalion, Alexander Khodakovsky states that two recording devices are being held by the head of intelligence of the insurgency's military commander.

The commander is then heard to order the militiaman to ensure no outsiders, including an international observation team near the crash site at the reported time of the call, get hold of any material.

Answers? ... An image believed to show a black box flight recorder being removed from the crash site. Picture: Twitter Source: Supplied

The man identified as Khodakovsky says he is seeking information about the black boxes under instructions from "our high-placed friends ... in Moscow." The security service says all the recordings were made on Friday, but the authenticity of the recordings cannot be independently verified.

The rebel's admission came as US Secretary of State John Kerry accused them of being behind the outrage.

US President Obama had earlier said the rebels could not have carried out the attack without Moscow's support but, in an interview with CNN, Mr Kerry went further, accusing Russia directly of handing over the missile system that was used to shoot down the plane.

"We know with confidence, with confidence that the Ukrainians did not have such a system anywhere near the vicinity at that point in time. So it obviously points a very clear finger at the separatists,'' Kerry told CNN.

Video shows flight data recorder being recovered from crash site of flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine. Jillian Kitchener reports.

Open for inspection ... An opened piece of luggage at the MH17 crash site. Picture; Ella Pellegrini Source: News Corp Australia

He also slammed as "grotesque'' the manner in which "drunken separatist soldiers'' were allegedly "unceremoniously piling bodies into trucks, removing both bodies, as well as evidence, from the site''.

Pro-Russian rebels reject Mr Kerry's claims.

The rebel chief explained that fighters had moved scores of bodies "out of respect for the families''.

"We couldn't wait any longer because of the heat and also because there are many dogs and wild animals in the zone,'' Borodai said.


The Prime Minister says Australia will do everything in its power to ensure the bodies of 37 Australians killed on Flight MH17 are respected and justice is done.

Mr Abbott attended a national security committee of cabinet meeting on Sunday evening after images emerged of the crash site in eastern Ukraine being "absolutely trampled".

Local emergency workers have begun using angle grinders to cut up the Malaysian Airways flight MH17 aircraft as the crash scene remains littered with personal affects and important flight log books and passports of those aboard the doomed flight.

In a scene that highlights the chaotic state of the aviation investigation and the eastern Ukrainian region in general, local emergency workers are tearing at the wreckage to look for bodies, potentially unwittingly destroying vital evidence.

Mr Abbott earlier last night told 60 Minutes that a national security meeting yesterday had been dominated by concerns to ensure the bodies were treated with respect and taken to a place where a proper investigation could be carried out.

"We owe it to the dead, all the dead, we owe it to the families, all the families to do everything in our power to respect the bodies, to find the truth and to ensure justice is done," Mr Abbott told 60 Minutes.

Obstructive ... armed pro-Russian separatists block the way to the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17. Picture: Bulent Kilic Source: AFP

Chaos ... clothing belonging to travellers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 is strewn in the grass at the crash site. Picture: Brendan Hoffman Source: Getty Images

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Meet the world’s skinniest sumo wrestler

Takanoyama Shuntaro, aka Pavel Bojar, is an incredibly rare athlete a top tier sumo in Japan who weighs in at less than 100 kilograms.

Pavel Bojar is a Czech sumo wrestler. Source: Supplied

TAKANOYAMA Shuntaro is not a stereotypical sumo wrestler.

For a start, he's not Japanese. Shuntaro, whose real name is Pavel Bojar, was born in the Czech Republic, which is strangely passionate about sumo.

He's also far thinner and lighter than his competitors, who tend to weigh about 150kg. Bojar is 98kg of pure muscle.

That's Pavel Bojar on the left. Source: Getty Images

The 31-year-old discovered sumo after practising another Japanese martial art, judo, as a teenager. In 2000, within a year of his entry into the sport, Bojar won the bronze medal at the Junior World Sumo Championships. Then he travelled to Japan to compete at the most challenging levels of the sport.

"Westerners who come to train in Japan need to know that they're going to go twice as hard on you as they normally go," Harley Flanagan, another Westerner who made the trip, tells NPR .

"No matter what they say, not getting seriously hurt when you're doing anything with super-athletic guys that weigh more than 400 pounds (181kg) is a real skill."

Bojar competes with another wrestler in Japan. Source: Getty Images

Bojar has been in Japan ever since, trying to work his way up the pecking order. In 2011, he finally broke through to Makuuchi, the highest division of sumo wrestling, becoming one of just 42 men at that level.

MORE: The push for sumo wrestling glory

Because he's so small compared to the other wrestlers, Bojar has developed a rather unique style, relying on "throws" to defeat his opponents. This clip shows him in action.

Bojar has struggled over the last two years, losing often and fluctuating between the sport's second and third divisions. In November of 2011, he was reprimanded for injecting himself with insulin, apparently in an effort to gain weight.

Regardless, he remains an extremely rare specimen in sumo wrestling — a thin, muscular foreigner.

"If the spectators are happy then that's enough for me," Bojar told The Mainichi Daily News in 2011. "Whether I win or lose, I'll just keep trying to perform good sumo."

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Tributes to Hollywood maverick Garner

Written By kom limapulan on Minggu, 20 Juli 2014 | 15.48

The Notebook - Official Trailer

HOLLYWOOD actor James Garner, star of The Rockford Files and The Notebook has died at the age of 86, according to reports.

Garner was found dead when an ambulance arrived at his Los Angeles home around 8pm on Saturday, TMZ reports.

The iconic actor — one of the first actors to excel in both film and television — starred in a long list of classics during his lengthy career.

Love story ... James Garner with Gena Rowlands in The Notebook. Source: News Limited

Class act ... actor James Garner had a long and varied Hollywood career.

He was best-known for his role as Jim Rockford in The Rockford Files detective series.

He co-starred in the 1994 big-screen version of Maverick with Mel Gibson.

He was the original Bret Maverick in the TV series Maverick from 1957 to 1960.

Garner also played the older version of Ryan Gosling's character in The Notebook.

Game changer ... James Garner was the first actor to excel in both film and television. Source: News Limited

Reports of Garner's death prompted a flurry of tributes on Twitter.

The cause of death is not yet known.

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Touching tribute brings Alex to tears

Emotions were running high at Hunter Stadium ahead of Newcastle's clash with the Gold Coast, with Knights fans filling the stadium to show their support for Alex McKinnon.

Alex McKinnon wipes away tears as he's wheeled out by Kurt Gidley. Pic: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

ALEX McKinnon was overcome by emotion as he was presented with a touching tribute in a Rise For Alex pre-game ceremony at Hunter Stadium.

Round 19 has been dedicated to raising funds to secure the future of the Newcastle forward struck down by a devastating spinal injury early this season.

Kurt Gidley wheels out Alex McKinnon. Pic: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

The Knights and Titans come out onto Hunter Stadium with Alex McKinnon. Pic: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

It's been a full and emotional week for the wheelchair-bound 22-year-old who has become an inspiration for everyone in the NRL as well as the wider community.

And it reached a moving climax on Sunday afternoon as a packed Hunter Stadium gathered to pay tribute to their injured champion as the Knights hosted the Titans.

McKinnon was wheeled out onto the field by Knights captain Kurt Gidley as both sides walked onto the field to soak up the emotionally charged atmosphere created by the crowd.

As the fans began chanting "Alex, Alex, Alex" it was all too much for McKinnon, who repeatedly wiped tears from his face as the rousing reception rose across the stadium like a tidal wave.

Alex McKinnon is cheered onto the field. Pic: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

"I didn't really know how I was going to handle it, to tell you the truth," McKinnon said at halftime after addressing the crowd.

"It was pretty full-on. I was trying to hold everything back, but at the end of the day I suppose my true self came out and there were a few tears but you can't help that can you?

"I'm very overwhelmed by the support. I'm very thankful.

"All the support from my mates at the club and Wayne (coach Wayne Bennett).

"The situation just shows that everyone comes out, that they care. Maybe they have been touched by what has been going on."

Boyd Cordner has spoken of the pride and inspiration he drew from wearing the number 16 jersey for his good mate Alex McKinnon in the Roosters' clash with the Panthers.

Four months after sustaining the spinal injury against Melbourne in round three, McKinnon was finally home.

"It's great to be back in Newcastle. I hope it helps the recovery," he said.

"Everyone's support does hit home for me.

"I'm happy to be back in Newcastle, happy to be back in the stadium.

"It feels right. It feels good to be back here.

"I suppose four months ago you go away to a game in round three and you wouldn't come back for four months.

Alex McKinnon sits between the two teams before kick off. Pic: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

Alex McKinnon lines up with the teams before kick off. Pic: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

Alex McKinnon struggles to contain his emotion. Pic: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

"That is the feeling I got when I came back into Newcastle.

"I'm very happy to be back."

NRL boss Dave Smith paid tribute to McKinnon.

"I am proud to be associated with rugby league," he said.

"What we have seen is mateship and an extraordinary young man.

"We are all here for Alex."

More than 100,000 fans have streamed thought the turnstiles for the Rise For Alex round with more than $1 million expected to be raised towards McKinnon's recovery.

There was even a song, performed by the fittingly red haired Darryl Bowen, a friend of McKinnon's who wrote the song in his honour.

Alex McKinnon leaves the field after lining up with the teams before kick off. Pic: Gregg Porteous Source: News Corp Australia

McKinnon was also presented with a cheque for $300,000 in a half-time ceremony - the massive donation raised by a promotional campaign jointly spearheaded by Fox Sports and The Daily Telegraph.

And, while Hunter Stadium captured the mood of the day perfectly, social media was also filled with tributes for McKinnon, with the #RiseForAlex hashtag trending on Twitter and the thoughts of many celebrities and the general population expressed in heartfelt tweets.

- with AAP

Originally published as Touching tribute brings Alex to tears
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