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Updated: Sat, 19 Jul 2014 01:16:03 EST


Seeking who shot down Malaysian plane, leaders demand credible investigation in Ukraine

ROZSYPNE, Ukraine (AP) — World leaders are demanding that pro-Russia rebels who control the eastern Ukraine crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 give immediate, unfettered access to independent investigators.

The first international investigators at the scene weren't given full access. The delegation, mostly from Europe, was allowed to make just a partial, superficial inspection, before being ordered to leave -- an order that was enforced with a warning shot from a rifle.

The monitors found the bodies of victims strewn on the ground in the crash area, which covers eight square miles between two villages near the Russian border.

U.S. officials say the plane, with 298 passengers and crew, was likely brought down by a ground-to-air missile.

The White House and the Kremlin are both calling for peace talks between Ukraine and the separatists. But heavy fighting was reported less than 60 miles from the crash site today, with an estimated 20 civilians reported killed.


US begins building case aimed at tying pro-Russian forces to plane shot down over Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States has begun building a case linking pro-Russian separatists to the downing of a passenger jet in Ukraine.

President Barack Obama says the U.S. believes the Malaysia Airlines plane was felled by a surface-to-air missile launched from an area near the Ukraine-Russia border that is controlled by Kremlin-backed separatists. Obama cautioned that the exact circumstances are still being determined, but also said the insurgents would not be capable of carrying out such an attack without Russia's support.

The president spoke shortly after the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, outlined preliminary evidence against Russia and the separatists during an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council. Samantha Power said separatists were spotted Thursday with an SA-11 anti-aircraft missile at a location close to the site where the plane came down and that they had boasted on social media sites about shooting down a plane, then later deleted those posts.

An American killed in the crash has been identified as Quinn Lucas Schansman, who had dual U.S./Dutch citizenship. Officials are still working to confirm whether any other U.S. citizens were on board the plane.


Australia: Russia must cooperate in jet inquiry

SYDNEY (AP) — Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is calling for an independent, international investigation into the downing of a Malaysian jetliner in Ukraine and demanding Russia's cooperation.

Abbott on Saturday repeated his assertion that all evidence suggests that the missile that shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 came from an area controlled by Russian-backed separatists, using equipment likely supplied by Russia.

Abbott said Australia takes "a very dim view of countries that facilitate the killing of Australians."

He warned that any party that tries to div access to or contaminate the crash site is "no friend of justice" and "no friend of peace."

Thursday's crash killed all 298 aboard, including 28 Australians.


American in Ukraine crash had lived in New Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The only American identified as a victim of the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 in Ukraine lived in New Jersey as a child and returned to the Netherlands when he was 5.

Nineteen-year-old Quinn Lucas Schansman had duel Dutch-American citizenship.

His grandfather, Ronald Schansman, tells NJ.com (http://bit.ly/1wGsIDs ) his grandson was "a big boy, very lively, and we'll all miss him." The grandfather is visiting a relative in New Jersey, where he learned of the boy's death. The newspaper says the teen's family had lived in Fort Lee, New Jersey before returning to Holland.

Schansman tells Philadelphia's WCAU-TV (http://bit.ly/1ldSjyq ) his grandson was on his way to Bali for a family vacation. The TV station says Quinn Schansman's father worked at the Dutch Embassy in New York City in the 1990s.


NEW: Officials: US drone strike kills 8 in NW Pakistan

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani intelligence officials say a U.S. drone has fired two missiles at a compound in a northwestern tribal region, killing eight militants.

Two officials say the strike happened Saturday in Datta Khel, a town in North Waziristan where the Pakistani military is carrying out a major offensive against militants since June 15.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk to media.

It was the second strike this week. On Wednesday, the U.S. drone killed 15 militants there.

North Waziristan is home to local and foreign militants suspected of attacking American and NATO troops across the border in Afghanistan.

U.S. drone strikes are a serious source of tension between Washington and Islamabad. Pakistan denounces the strikes as a violation of the country's sovereignty.


NEW: Highway collision in China kills 38

BEIJING (AP) — At least 38 people have died in a collision between a truck loaded with flammable liquid and a passenger bus on a highway in southern China.

The state-run Xinhua News Agency says the truck rear-ended the bus around 3 a.m. Saturday on the Hukun Expressway in Hunan province. Five people were also injured in the crash.

Images broadcast on Chinese state television showed both vehicles severely burned and what appeared to be passenger belongings scattered on the road.


Ground operation could last two weeks

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli officials say the ground operation that began late yesterday in the Gaza Strip could last up to two weeks. And the prime minister is telling the military to prepare for a "significantly" wider campaign.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his Cabinet today that the tunnels that are being used to infiltrate Israel can't just be dealt with from the air.

Some hard-liners in Israel want their military to completely crush Hamas and drive it from power in Gaza.

Israel's military says it's killed nearly 20 militants in exchanges of fire, while one Israeli soldier has been killed. Gaza health officials say more than 50 Palestinians have been killed since the ground operation began and 299 since Israel launched the offensive with airstrikes 11 days ago. U.N. says one-fifth of those killed are children.


Palestinians threaten legal action against Israel

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Palestinian U.N. ambassador is threatening to go to U.N. and international courts which would likely include the International Criminal Court if the Security Council doesn't act to protect Palestinian civilians from Israeli attack and end the conflict in Gaza.

Riyad Mansour told an emergency meeting of the council Friday that Israel's "savage" aggression into Gaza "cannot be justified by any means."

"It is not self-defense," he said. "It is a vengeful military aggression intentionally planned and perpetrated by the occupying power on the civilian population under its occupation."

Mansour said the Israeli campaign is designed to destroy "Palestinian unity and collapse of the national consensus government."

A U.N. official said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will leave Saturday for the Middle East to help mediate the conflict between Israel and Hamas.


Destructive Washington fire empties another town

PATEROS, Wash. (AP) — A massive wildfire that destroyed about 100 homes is forcing the residents of a second north-central Washington town to leave their homes, and a partial evacuation of a third community in the scenic Methow Valley is also underway.

Okanogan County Sheriff Frank Rogers said Friday evening that "basically ... the whole town" of Malott is being evacuated, and those living in outlying areas of Brewster are being told they should leave as well.

Malott is home to about 500 people, while the population of Brewster is about 2,400.

Rogers says no injuries have been reported.

Fire swept through the town of Pateros on Thursday, leaving its 650 residents to return to large areas of smoldering rubble.

Officials say the fire known as the Carlton Complex has blackened more than 260 square miles and continues to grow.


Flow of child immigrants at border slowing for now

WASHINGTON (AP) — The flow of children crossing the Mexican border illegally and without their parents is slowing down.

Two senior Obama administration officials say Border Patrol agents this week have found fewer than 500 young people at the border in South Texas. Last month, agents arrested as many as 2,000 child immigrants a week.

More than 57,000 children traveling alone have been caught crossing the Mexican border since Oct. 1. Most of the children are from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

The officials say it's unclear what led to the drop in arrests, but that illegal crossings along the Mexican border tend to slow during the summer.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the border arrest statistics.

Meanwhile, the White House says the presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras will come to Washington next week to discuss the surge of unaccompanied minors from their countries across the U.S border.


59 migrants deported from US arrive in Honduras

SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (AP) — A charter flight carrying 59 women and children has arrived in Honduras from New Mexico, the second group of migrants from the Central American country to be deported from the U.S. this week.

Nun Valdete Wileman welcomed the 33 children and 26 women on Friday at San Pedro Sula's airport's Center for Returned Migrants.

Wileman said there is a playground for the children and a place for their parents to clean up and get ready before continuing to their hometowns by bus. Each child received a small backpack with crayons, and their mothers about $24 for travel expenses.

She said each child that arrived was accompanied by his or her mother.

About 40 Honduran migrants detained in New Mexico were deported to their home country on Monday.

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