Obama urges cease-fire for crash investigation...Ukraine blames Russia...Wildfire destroys up to 100 homes

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Updated: Fri, 18 Jul 2014 01:16:07 EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says officials from the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board are on their way to Ukraine to help determine what brought down a Malaysian jetliner with 298 people aboard, including an American. And he's calling for an immediate cease-fire in the area to allow investigators to do their work. Obama says the evidence so far indicates that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile from a part of Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists.

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Ukraine's ambassador to the United Nations says the downing of the Malaysian airliner would not have happened if Russia did not provide sophisticated anti-aircraft systems to separatist rebels. The ambassador told an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council that communications and intercepts, photos and videos indicate that the rebels have at least two SA-11 missile systems. And he says that immediately after the crash yesterday, a rebel military leader boasted in social media of shooting down what he thought was a Ukrainian jet.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A sheriff estimates that up to 100 homes have been lost in a large wildfire burning in north-central Washington. Okanogan (oh-kah-NAH'-guhn) County Sheriff Frank Rogers says his team counted 30 homes and trailers destroyed in Pateros, another 40 in a community just outside the town at Alta Lake and about 25 homes destroyed elsewhere. But he says no injuries have been reported. The wind-whipped blaze has grown to about 260 square miles.

ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Eastern Seaboard is being opened to offshore oil and gas exploration for the first time in decades with the Obama administration's approval of sonic cannons that can pinpoint energy deposits deep beneath the ocean floor. Today's decision alarms environmentalists because the cannons shoot sound waves 100 times louder than a jet engine through waters shared by endangered whales and turtles.

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) — A coroner says a 5-year-old girl whose body was found in an abandoned trailer in Mississippi had been strangled. Janaya (juh-NAY-uh) Thompson was last seen by her family Wednesday night outside their apartment in Gulfport. A search dog helped find her body yesterday morning in the bathroom of a trailer that was about a five-minute walk from the apartment complex. Gulfport police say two men are being questioned as "persons of interest."

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