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NEW UPDATES Asean Affairs 23 July 2014  

PM's pledge to bring back bodies of MH17 crash victims almost a reality

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's pledge, that all the bodies of Malaysian nationals killed in the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH17 crash in Ukraine would be buried in this country, is almost becoming a reality.
This followed the agreement reached between the Prime Minister and Alexander Borodai, the individual who holds the power in the region where the aircraft had crashed last Thursday, concerning the handling of the bodies of victims and the aircraft's black boxes, and the assurance of safe access for the international investigating team to begin their probe.
At the media conference at Seri Perdana, Putrajaya early today, Najib among other things said that 282 bodies of victims of the Boeing 777 air crash would be flown to Amsterdam, Holland, accompanied by a Malaysian team.
Family members of the crash victims would certainly feel relieved at the statement made by the Prime Minister that after undergoing a forensics process, if necessary, the bodies of Malaysian victims would be flown back to this country.
Another significant development was the agreement that the black boxes of the aircraft, which was carrying 298 passengers and crew members, that crashed after it was believed to have been shot down by a guided missile, would be handed over to the Malaysian team in Donetsk.
Najib's statement had given hope to Malaysians, particularly family members of the victims who wanted the cause of the tragedy to be investigated as soon as possible, thus giving justice to the victims who had died.
Malaysia's special investigating team on the MH17 tragedy, led by Khairil Hilmi Mokhtar together with 131 members from the various government agencies have been in Kiev since Saturday.
The aircraft MH17 was shot down over Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, while flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
In Kiev, Ukraine Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk in a press conference as quoted in the Media Centre's website 'Ukraine Crisis' on Monday, said that priority would be given to efforts to gather and bring out all the bodies and to collect evidence on the crash.
Yatsenyuk said Ukraine was prepared to give a major role to Holland in the investigation besides allowing international investigators to inspect its weaponry equipment to prove that it had nothing to do with the MH17 tragedy.
Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko, meanwhile, was reported to have directed his armed forces to halt any military activity within a radius of 40km from the MH17 crash site effective immediately.
It was part of the Ukraine government's initiative to speed up efforts by the international joint investigating team to gain safe access to the crash site.
In another development, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said the emergency Parliamentary session to discuss the air crash would be aired live on TV1, on Wednesday.
In his Facebook website posting, he said the parliamentary sitting would be broadcast beginning at 10am and members of the public could also serve the website  (BERNAMA)     

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More






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