Malaysia-Russia on the radar (update 21): MH17 kin to get only RM30,000 each in new Petronas-backed deal, Aussie lawyer claims

A terrible second tragedy for Malaysia Airlines in a separate crash incident said to be caused by a Russian rebel missile in eastern Ukraine. This puts the spotlight on Malaysia-Russia ties. This will be a gradually growing blog posting as data and info come in. I'll also be keeping loose tabs on issues and sentiments I encounter in KL on an ad hoc basis.

11 October 2015: MH17 kin to get only RM30,000 each in new Petronas-backed deal, Aussie lawyer claims

MH17 kin to get only RM30,000 each in new Petronas-backed deal, Aussie lawyer claims Sunday October 11, 2015; KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 — Ahead of the Dutch Safety Board’s final report on the fatal downing of Flight MH17, an Australian lawyer representing families of passengers aboard has advised his clients against settling for a new offer from Malaysia Airlines that could see them receive only RM30,000 each from a RM10 million pool. Jerry Skinner of Sydney-based firm LHD who had previously negotiated settlements for families of the 1988 Lockerbie air disaster in the UK, branded the deal the “dirtiest thing” he has ever seen as each MH17 family would likely receive only A$10,000 (RM30,309) — or about the cost of a business-class return flight from Sydney to London — unless the fund was enlarged, Sydney Morning Herald reported today. - See more at:

28 February 2015: Russia keen to share nuke technology with Malaysia, current biotechnology efforts and suggestion to explore cooperation in aerospace, civil and defence aviation

Russia keen to share nuke tech with Malaysia – Bernama Published: 28 February 2015 3:19 PM; Russia looks forward to sharing its vast experience in advanced technology including the peaceful use of nuclear in power and for medical purpose, former Ambassador Lyudmila G Vorobyeva said. She said that Russia through its national nuclear corporation, ROSATOM, could assist Malaysia if it decided to pursue the proposal for nuclear power plant, including helping to educate the public on security issues. “In Russia, around 20% of electricity is generated by nuclear power plant even though we have very rich oil and gas reserves," she said.... A delegation from ROSATOM was in Malaysia recently and had voiced interest to establish an information centre on nuclear technology for Malaysia, said Vorobyeva, who left for home two weeks ago, after assuming the post of ambassador to Malaysia for more than four years. As for nuclear technology for medical purpose, Vorobyeva revealed that discussions for joint studies on cancer treatment for children were currently ongoing between experts from the two countries... According to Vorobyeva, experts from both countries were also working together to develop dengue vaccine using a new biotechnology method. She noted that the two countries could also explore cooperation in other areas such as aerospace, civil and defence aviation. - See more at:

26 February 2015: RT columnist decries anti-Russia propaganda for MH17 and now MH370

'True story!' MSM spins theory that Putin hijacked MH370 and landed it in Kazakhstan  Nebojsa Malic for RT  Published time: February 25, 2015 07:11; Anti-Russia propaganda over Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was bad enough. Now one CNN aviation analyst is blaming Russia for the missing MH370 plane as well – and the Western press is eating it up.... Malaysia Airlines MH370 vanished in March last year, shortly after departing from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing. Efforts to find the plane have turned up nothing so far, and the fate of the Boeing 777 and its passengers is unknown.... One of the aviation experts consulted by CNN during the MH370 coverage has now claimed that Russia hijacked the plane. In a lengthy feature for New York magazine, Jeff Wise proposed a theory that MH370 was hijacked by Vladimir Putin (who else?) and landed at the “slowly crumbling” Baikonur Spaceport.... Except Baikonur isn’t some sort of secret Area 51 facility; all manned space flights to the International Space Station (ISS) take off from there. In fact, the first part of Expedition 40 to the ISS took off from Baikonur on March 25, 2014.... However, almost the entire mainstream press in the West suffers from this when it comes to Russia – prompting several commentators to dub the phenomenon 'Putin Derangement Syndrome.' Witness the recent announcement by a “Pentagon think-tank” that Vladimir Putin is supposedly autistic, dutifully reported as fact. Now it seems Jeff Wise’s fantasy is due for the same treatment.... Nebojsa Malic is a foreign policy analyst and blogger, working in Washington, DC. A columnist for and Strategic Culture Foundation, he occasionally appears on RT....

25 February 2015: Aviation analyst speculates that MH370 was flown to Baikonur Cosmodrome (leased from Kazakhstan by Russia) but fails to see motive

MH370 secretly landed in Kazakhstan, says American author Published: 25 February 2015 12:20 PM Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, lost for nearly a year, might have secretly landed in Kazakhstan, says an American science writer. Jeff Wise, who is also CNN’s aviation analyst, said there may have been “deliberate tampering” in the search data to make the Boeing 777 appear to have gone in another direction. Wise earlier wrote an article for the New York Magazine suggesting that its navigational data had been meddled with, to leave trails of inaccurate information which convinced officials that the plane flew south. .... He also said the plane was possibly hijacked by perpetrators, who could have accessed the flight controls and flew the plane to Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is leased from Kazakhstan by Russia. Wise said his theory was established upon satellite transmissions and “pings” that the plane fed off seven hours after it was missing. Those transmissions were recorded by British company Inmarsat, whose raw data was then released by Malaysian officials in late May 2014. In the article, however, Wise said he wasn’t sure of why Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted the Malaysian passenger plane. “There’s no way to know. That’s the thing about MH370 theory-making: It’s hard to come up with a plausible motive for an act that has no apparent beneficiaries,” he said....

Our Malaysia-China blog posting has over 30,000 page views now, since being started in the wake of the MH370 air disaster:

22 February 2015: Outgoing Ambassador notes Malaysia's neutrality in MH17 tragedy

Russia cherishes Malaysia’s neutrality in MH17 tragedy, says envoy – Bernama Published: 19 February 2015 5:57 PM  Malaysia's neutrality during the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH17 tragedy last year was the pillar for continuous friendly relations between Malaysia and Russia, noted outgoing Russian ambassador to Malaysia, Lyudmila G. Vorobyeva. She said Russia cherished Malaysia's stand on the matter and reaffirmed its cooperation to help facilitate the investigation in any possible way. "We have already provided data even from our intelligence service sources, from our ministry of defence to the investigation team, and we think in this respect, Malaysia has a great role to play, especially (when) the aircraft and airline (MAS) belong to Malaysia, and Malaysian passengers were on the plane," she said. Vorobyeva was speaking to Bernama in a "farewell" interview recently. She left for home last week....

16 November 2014: Russian TV channel says photos show MH17 shot down by fighter jet

Russian TV channel says photos show MH17 shot down by fighter jet By Jason Bush; MOSCOW  Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:48pm EST; (Reuters) - "Russian state-controlled TV has broadcast what it called "sensational" photographs, which it said supported Moscow's theory that Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet.... Several commentators who have examined the photographs have described them as forgeries, however.... The photographs, said to be taken by a Western satellite, appear to show a fighter jet firing a missile at a passenger plane over eastern Ukraine where the Malaysian airliner was shot down on July 17, killing all 298 people on board.
Moscow has long said it believed the aircraft was destroyed by a Ukrainian military jet, while Western officials say evidence suggests the plane was hit by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile fired by pro-Russian separatist rebels....."

Exclusive: Russia calls U.N. agency's conflict zone risk proposals 'superficial' By Allison Lampert and Allison Martell MONTREAL/TORONTO  Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:12pm EDT; "The  International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) launched a task force in July to look at ways to better share information about risks above conflict zones. The task force has laid out 12 proposals, seen by Reuters and confirmed by sources at the Montreal-based agency... The Russian submission to the ICAO Council, which was also signed by Bolivia, says the agency "practically has lost" its role in investigating the downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17 and criticized a pilot program to share intelligence. It said the agency’s pursuit of a centralized intelligence sharing mechanism was outside its mandate, and could lead to false information being given to pilots. The Russian objections could limit ICAO’s actions on conflict zones.... Malaysia is also unhappy with the proposals, because it believes they do not go far enough, said two sources familiar with the matter... Outlined in a separate document obtained by Reuters, the proposals range from creating an information-sharing pilot program to developing "best practices" for informing the public about risks in conflict zones. They form a general plan of action for ICAO, industry and governments.... The pilot program involves the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, the European Aviation Safety Agency, Eurocontrol, Japan, the Netherlands, and the Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar, and it is open to others, the proposals document said.... Malaysia is concerned the proposals do not do enough to address states' obligations, ICAO sources told Reuters. One source, who asked not to be identified, said Malaysia had lamented that ICAO cannot force states to share relevant but sensitive intelligence...."

24 October 2014

MH17: Germany blames pro-Russian separatists, says report Updated: Sunday October 19, 2014 MYT 9:41:28 PM; "PETALING JAYA: Germany's foreign intelligence agency (BND) concluded that pro-Russian rebels are to blame for the downing of Malaysia Airlines MH17 in Ukraine in July, Der Spiegel weekly reported on Sunday, the first European agency to say so.... The crash over pro-Russian rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine on July 17 killed all 298 passengers and crew and led to a further deterioration of ties between the West and Moscow, who are in dispute over Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis... Gerhard Schindler, president of the BND, told a secret parliamentary committee on security affairs earlier this month that separatists had used a Russian Buk missile defense system from a Ukrainian base to fire a rocket that exploded directly next to the plane, Der Spiegel reported.... "It was pro-Russian separatists," the magazine quoted him as saying.

10 September 2014 - Dutch report on MH17, Malaysia Airline recovery, muted Russia response

MH17: Malaysia Airlines flight hit many times, says report by Jamie Freed;;

On the air disaster report: "Malaysia Airlines's ill-fated flight MH17 broke up in the air over eastern Ukraine after being punctured by a large number of high-energy objects that penetrated the aircraft from outside, according to a preliminary report on the accident... A 34-page report released by the Dutch Safety Board (DSB) on Tuesday... The report did not say whether the high-energy objects were released by a surface-to-air missile, as is widely speculated. Nor did the report say whether pro-separatist rebels had fired the missile.... The cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorders were both examined by experts. The cockpit voice recorder did not identify any aural warnings or alerts of systems malfunctions and the crew did not give any indication there was anything abnormal with the flight before the recording stopped..."

On Malaysia Airlines: "Malaysia Airlines on Tuesday pointed to signs of recovery in passenger demand following the MH17 tragedy, with its flights heading from Australia and New Zealand to Kuala Lumpur now averaging at least 70 per cent full.... Malaysia Airlines regional senior vice-president Lee Poh Kait said the resurgence in bookings was a result of "unrelenting support" from travel agents combined with outstanding fare deals and positive community sentiment toward the airline... "This region is our main market outside of Malaysia," he said... The 70 per cent figure was still well below the 80.7 per cent of outbound seats filled in June, before the MH17 incident, but higher than the 57.4 per cent load factor reported in May, according to Australian government statistics... Malaysia Airlines last month increased commission rates to travel agents to 11 per cent from 6 per cent for tickets booked by September 15. It is also offering "spring sensation" flights to Kuala Lumpur with return economy class tickets from as little as $798 from Melbourne and $813 from Sydney until September 21... The airline is poised to be delisted from the Malaysian bourse following an offer from its major shareholder, Khazanah National, a state-owned investment fund... Khazanah will inject $US1.9 billion of cash into the airline over three years in a restructuring plan that is also expected to lead to the loss of 6000 jobs.... Khazanah expects the airline will return to a profit by 2017 and it could relist between then and 2019..."

Russian response to MH17 report muted - Dutch investigation into Malaysia Airlines crash over Ukraine had "more questions than answers", says Russia By Tom Parfitt, Moscow; 9:44PM BST 09 Sep 2014;; "Response to the report suggesting Flight MH17 broke up in mid-air after impact by "a large number of high energy objects" was muted in Russia, where more than a third of the population believes the jet was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter aircraft...Western leaders have said the Malaysia Airlines jet was most likely struck by a Buk surface-to-air missile fired by pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine, and a preliminary report published on Tuesday by the Dutch Safety Board appeared to suggest a missile attack of that kind.... The report found the Boeing was "penetrated by a large number of high energy objects from outside the aircraft … leading to an in-flight break-up", a conclusion consistent with a strike by a Buk missile, which has a fragmenting warhead that explodes close to its target, spraying large amounts of shrapnel... It also noted that no alarm was raised by the crew..."

13 August 2014

The ailing Malaysia Airlines / MAS is being taken over in entirely and be delisted from the stock exhange, by Malaysia sovereign wealth fund Khazanah. However, Malaysia's ex-Prime Minister, Mahathir, is not optimistic about the situation for the airline under its sole ownership.

MAS 5-year price chart from

Dr Mahathir says Khazanah can’t turn around MAS Published: 12 August 2014 Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says Khazanah Nasional already owned 70% in MAS before its takeover, and as such the exercise would do little to turn around the ailing airline. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, August 12, 2014.Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has questioned Khazanah Nasional's acquisition of Malaysia Airlines, saying it would not change the fate of the loss-making national carrier. He said that prior to the privatisation exercise, Khazanah, the government's sovereign wealth fund, owned 70% of the airline, which meant that its control over MAS was "almost absolute", but it had been "bleeding profusely" all this time. "I believe prior to this privatisation, Khazanah owned 70% of MAS shares. And all this time MAS has been bleeding profusely. In 10 years, it has lost RM10 billion in terms of capital injection," Dr Mahathir said in a posting on his popular blog Chedet, today... "So why should anyone believe that with 100% control Khazanah will not keep on losing money?" he asked. Dr Mahathir warned that with no one to check on MAS, as was the case when the company had minority shareholders, MAS "could go very wrong". "I may be wrong but I think Khazanah’s 100% ownership of MAS will not be much different from its 70% ownership. "We are going to see a lot of new people who will receive huge salaries, allowances and bonuses and not much else. That I believe is how Khazanah operates," he added. - See more at:

8 August 2014

Norway Salmon Farmers Sink on Russia as Brazil Meatpacker Gains  By Denyse Godoy and Natasha Doff  Aug 8, 2014 3:53 AM GMT+0800; "Agriculture companies from Norway to Poland to Lithuania slumped on dimmed sales prospects after Russia’s ban on food imports from the U.S. and Europe while a Brazilian meatpacker and a Turkish chicken producer rallied.... Russia slapped import bans on an array of food goods from the U.S., European Union, Norway, Canada and Australia, including all cheese, fish, beef, pork, vegetables, fruit and dairy products. The curbs target nations that sanctioned or supported punitive measures against Russia amid a standoff over Ukraine as Russia’s military masses troops across the border... Retailers in Russia can replace food imports from “places like Turkey, Egypt, Argentina and Brazil,” Natalia Kolupaeva, an analyst at ZAO Raiffeisenbank in Moscow, said by telephone. “For countries like Latvia and Poland, there will be big material losses.”

Russia Bans Food Imports in Retaliation for Western Sanctions - Wider Measures Considered Against European, U.S. Airlines; Updated Aug. 7, 2014 7:00 p.m. ET; "MOSCOW—Russia banned imports of a wide range of U.S. and European foods on Thursday in response to Western sanctions, confronting Russians with a type of economic isolation largely unseen since the Soviet era.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev outlined the products subject to the one-year ban—beef, pork, poultry, fish, fruit, vegetables, cheese, milk and other dairy products from the U.S., Canada, the European Union, Norway and..."

7 August 2014

Explained: Who controls flights over war zones? Updated about 11 hours ago; Wed 6 Aug 2014, 10:42pm  Following the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, many people are wondering just how often planes fly over war zones where anti-aircraft weapons are used. The answer is, it happens quite a lot.... Passengers advised to stick to airlines who have a history of "flying safe";

31 July 2014 morning

From newsletter on 30 July 2014: "Tightening the Screws - The European Union and the U.S. adopted a new package of broader economic sanctions against Russia yesterday to punish Moscow for its uncompromising stance in the Ukraine conflict. Our story considers the impact of the sanctions, noting that Russia's leadership might be too invested in Ukraine's outcome to let the rebellion fail. The measures, which will hit banks, the oil industry and the military, could increase financial strains on Russian's already sluggish economy. But the latest package reflects what governments in Berlin, Paris, London and elsewhere were able to agree on, rather than a careful calculation of how to sway President Vladimir Putin. Meanwhile, we catalog and map the debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was scattered across three Ukrainian villages after it was brought down in a suspected missile attack by pro-Russian separatists—illustrating the challenges that crash investigators face working in a war zone..."

In a forewarning to Malaysia Airlines / MAS and other regional carriers, a troubled operating environment outlook for Singapore Airlines with a note on "demand destruction" and the cost of avoiding "contentious air space".... Singapore Airlines (SIA SP) 1QFY15: Results Below Expectations As Pax Yields Decline On Geo-political Fallout; 31 July 2014 by UOB Kay Hian..."SIA warned that the outlook has “become more challenging with continuing uncertain global economic climate, geo-political concerns in the region”. We reckon that SIA was referring to demand destruction in the wake of Thailand’s military coup and the decline in Chinese visitor arrivals in the wake of MH370.....Taking the right steps but SIA faces a difficult operating environment. The 3% reduction in opex in 1Q is commendable but there is a limit to such reductions. Costs could rise in coming quarters as SIA avoids contentious air space.....We continue to value SIA on an SOTP basis, valuing the airline business at 0.7x P/B....."

29 July 2014

Over the Hari Raya Aidilfitri at visits to friends in the KL-Selangor area, I had chance to speak to someone in insurance sales and a Malaysia military hardware specialist. The first mentioned that insurance companies would not by rights make payouts for claims for those who had flown over conflict zones, but are making ex-gratia payments to individual policy holders. Thus, it's a question if corporate policy holders such as airlines would similarly have their claims paid or rejected? On Malaysia defense issues, the specialist noted that Malaysia was considering 2015 procurement of Russian MIG or other jets. It seems likely that Malaysia public opinion would no longer be in favour of the former?

News: - Unfortunately, some travelers worry about policy questions at MAS while the carrier appears to say it does not "bear the responsibility" and cited as saying once again that it relies on international authorities to assure it of safe flight zones. Russia asks again for thorough investigation and some ask about the role of US intelligence to give warnings.
  • Malaysian Air Calls for System to Ensure Safety in Travel By Kyunghee Park  Jul 28, 2014 10:58 AM GMT+0800, July 28 (Bloomberg); "Malaysian Airline System Bhd. (MAS), whose plane was shot down over Ukraine this month, said the aviation industry must act to create a system that will guarantee safe travel for all commercial carriers. Airlines shouldn’t bear the responsibility of deeming flight paths safe or not, said Hugh Dunleavy, Malaysian Air’s director of commercial operations, said in a commentary in the U.K.’s Telegraph...."
  • MAS hit with wave of cancellations, says report; 29 July 2014; (Bloomberg) cited travel agents from Melbourne to New Delhi as saying there had been a spike in withdrawn reservations since MH17’s downing this month, with cancellations climbing above 20% in some places...Escape Travel Sdn Bhd, based in Petaling Jaya, saw a 30% cancellation of MAS bookings... Webjet Ltd in Melbourne estimated it had cancelled about 25% of MAS bookings since the MH17 disaster, it reported..., a New Delhi-based online travel agent, also reported a drop in MAS bookings and a wave of cancellations; report#sthash.d5BBJNgt.dpuf
  • MH370 families offer to counsel bereaved relatives of MH17 victims; - points out prioritization of Malaysia victims of Islamic faith. PM Najib had wished to have victims home for burial by Hari Ray Aidilfitri.
  • Russia Wants UN Investigation Into Downed Malaysia Airlines Plane; ABC News  - ‎16 hours ago‎; Russia is calling for the United Nations Security Council to approve a U.N.-led investigation into what brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. “We believe that such an inquiry must begin as quickly as possible under the U.N. aegis,” Russian Foreign ...;
  • Could Barack Obama have prevented the MH17 disaster? US intelligence would have known the separatists had captured missile-launchers, and where they were being used. President Obama was swift to blame President Putin but he glossed over what the US knew about captured missile-launchers  By  Christopher Booker, 3:26PM BST 26 Jul 2014;

Geo-politics in the international media
  • Economist has Putin on its front cover with "web of lies" heading. Economist has been among the many bellicose business and financial media keen to promote strong Western military responses in spite of questions about solid evidence in Iraq and more.  
  • Flight MH17, A wake-up call for the West; What the situation in Ukraine means for America, the Netherlands and other liberal allies; "BACK in March, when Barack Obama visited The Hague and called on Europe to treat Russian intervention in Ukraine as a threat to the international order, he got a pretty sceptical response. Like most of Europe, the Netherlands went along half-heartedly with efforts to impose retaliatory sanctions on Moscow, and among the Dutch public there was a tendency to treat the Ukrainian conflict as an ethnolinguistic clash or a Russian-American power contest..... When Ukrainians went out into the streets last year and overthrew their corrupt president, this is what they were demanding: to live in a "normal country", a law-governed democracy that belongs to that international order. At the time, many Dutch and Americans didn't understand why they needed to make sacrifices to help them. Now, perhaps, they do."|newe|28-07-2014|5356bdcd899249e1cca0fce6|
  • Russia, MH17 and the West - A web of lies, Vladimir Putin’s epic deceits have grave consequences for his people and the outside world; Jul 24th 2014, 14:58 | From the print edition;  IN 1991, when Soviet Communism collapsed, it seemed as if the Russian people might at last have the chance to become citizens of a normal Western democracy.
  • First world war: how state and press kept truth off the front page;

Malaysia news & views

25 July 2014 evening

Business news and financial analysts are delving deeper into the topic of Malaysia Airlines / MAS upcoming financial rescue and restructuring....
Malaysian Airline Needs State Rescue as Cash Falls: Asean Credit; By David Yong and Elffie Chew  Jul 25, 2014 10:56 AM GMT+0800;; "Parent company Khazanah Nasional Bhd. needs to spend at least 2 billion ringgit ($629 million) to take Malaysian Airline System Bhd. private and replenish its working capital within the next 12 months, according to estimates by Hong Leong Investment Bank Bhd. and RHB Capital Bhd. The sovereign wealth fund has spent almost 5 billion ringgit in three cash calls since its unit Penerbangan Malaysia Bhd. first rescued the carrier in November 2002.... Khazanah yesterday reiterated a July 3 statement, saying a “comprehensive review of all restructuring options is being undertaken and evaluated.” Reports about a possible merger with AirAsia X Bhd. are “unfounded and speculative,” it added....  Khazanah has less than a year to mastermind a debt relief solution for its 69.4 percent-owned airline. The carrier will run out of cash by June 2015 (MAS) if operations don’t improve, or it doesn’t obtain new financing, Bloomberg data show.... Free cash flow has been negative since 2007, with the fastest cash burn happening in the last two years. The airline called for rights-share offerings in September 2007, February 2010 and May 2013, requiring Khazanah to cough up 4.8 billion ringgit to maintain its stake.... The Malaysian government, which also guarantees 5.31 billion ringgit of Islamic bonds that have been used to help fund the carrier, will maintain its stake and a turnaround “cannot happen overnight,” Najib said last August. It won’t seek bankruptcy protection, the company said in May... A fourth state cash injection will buy time for Malaysian Air to improve its business by reducing its fleet size and headcount, according to Jerry Lee, an analyst in Kuala Lumpur at RHB Research, a unit of the nation’s fourth-largest lender, RHB Capital. The company could narrow its losses by 80 percent by 2015 if it trimmed 10 percent of its seat capacity, 20 percent of its staff costs and 10 percent of its operating costs, he said by phone yesterday...".
An interesting interview to read is this: MH17: Russian Ambassador to Malaysia speaks up - Bernama; Updated: Monday July 21, 2014 MYT 10:48:08 PM;; "Following is the transcript of the interview with Russian Ambassador to Malaysia, Lyudmila G. Vorobyeva, who appeared on the Bernama Today programme which aired on BernamaTV Monday... Vorobyeva: ... it's not the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, but it's the conflict that is going on inside Ukraine, between the government in Kiev and the part of the population of Ukraine (eastern Ukraine) that are not happy with the policy of this government. This is not only a linguistic divide, but it's a political divide as well because when the Western media called this pro-Russian rebels it implied the people came from somewhere, which is not the case. Actually, they're Ukrainian citizens who are living in Ukraine and they have been living in Ukraine for centuries (as a family). The only thing, they are ethnic-Russians.... Like in Malaysia, you do have Malays, Chinese, Indian ethnics but they're all Malaysian citizens. The same in Ukraine, when you have Ukrainians, you have Russians but they're all Ukrainian nationals, but part of them are not happy with the government in Kiev. And the government in Kiev instead of listening and initiating all-inclusive national dialogues, they are sending troops. That's the problem.... As for problems between Russia and Malaysia, I am not aware of any problem that we could have between our two countries. The relations between our two countries have been developing in a very positive way in recent decades, in all levels. I know many Malaysians are aware that there are now more than 5,000 Malaysians (close to 6,000 Malaysian students) studying in Russia and, in other areas, we have a very good trade turnover around US$3bil (RM9.5bil) and we have quite active political dialogues going on. We don't have any problems and issues with Malaysia.... Q: About the picture of a Russian aircraft which was similar in appearance, with the same stripes as the MAS airline, that is believed to be the reason why it was shot down? Vorobyeva: Indeed, even the colour of our national flags are very similar but not only Russia and Malaysia are using similar colours because many other countries are using the same colour and symbols.  I do not want to speculate if they were actually targeting the President's (Vladimir Putin's) plane. That's why Russia is calling for a transparent investigation before anyone could be blamed for it. Because all accusations against Russia, how can it be done without any evidence, yet?. They're just speculation....."

25 July 2014 morning

Ordinary Russians back Putin, Kremlin's view of Malaysian Airlines MH17 tragedy - State-run media full of conspiracy theories aimed at the West By Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber, CBC News Posted: Jul 24, 2014 5:00 AM ET| Last Updated: Jul 24, 2014 5:30 AM ET;; ".... Other Muscovites also blamed Ukraine military for the tragedy, saying the downing of the plane was part of the West's grand plan to turn Russia into a scapegoat... Channel One, the most watched channel in Russia, quoted an unidentified eyewitness who said she had seen a second plane in the area at the time of the crash, hinting that a Ukrainian fighter jet could have downed the Malaysian passenger jet from the sky.... State-owned networks have also recalled Ukraine's shooting down of a Russian civilian aircraft over the Black Sea in October 2001 during a military exercise, adding fuel to the notion that Ukrainian forces could be behind the death of the 298 civilians...."

WSJ had the article on plane routings only for subscribers initially, but soon after its was available free (so, I've added extracts in the first paragraph for 24 July 2014 evening (immediately below). Here's the vid:

24 July 2014 evening

How to Find the Route Your Plane Is Taking - WSJ by Scott McCartney - July 23, 2014 12:38 PM;; - While you won't know for sure the exact path your flight will take on a given day, you can figure out whether your airline routinely skirts certain ... Travelers, corporate travel departments and security consultants are trying to figure out ways to avoid flights that pass over war zones after the revelation that some airlines were avoiding eastern Ukraine while others, including Malaysia Airlines, were flying over areas of conflict....Governments and air-traffic control agencies are reluctant to shut down airspace, in part because airlines pay fees for airspace use. A week before MH17 crashed, a military transport plane was shot down in eastern Ukraine by a sophisticated surface-to-air missile at relatively high altitude above 20,000 feet. To some, that was a clear indication that the firepower being used in the conflict had escalated, but airspace was closed to commercial flights only below 32,000 feet. MH17 was flying at 33,000 feet when attacked.....Airlines are already under more pressure to disclose whether they are flying over war zones. FlightAware's Mr. Baker said his airline customers began calling after the MH17 tragedy asking for data and graphics on flight paths of other airlines to compare to their own. Private jet customers, too, "are asking questions and watching the maps much more closely," he said.....Mr. McIndoe of iJet calls it an "overreaction" for individuals and corporations to start evaluating flight-path security risks, and says that airlines will rebuild confidence. Large carriers have to evaluate what their code-sharing partners are doing, he noted, because they are selling tickets on flights operated by other airlines that may not make the same decisions. And large global airlines have more resources to evaluate risks than smaller airlines, he suggests...."

"No conflict zone over-flight" is a topic that seems to be getting more firmly established in the international media. Malaysia leaders and the general public have so far expressed limited concern (some in KL tell me its a "small minority" issue here, and yet there are also some who feel otherwise) - but it's early days yet. This possible divergence reminds another reader of differences in another sector - on apparent local public disinterest over corporate standards on environmental and social issues in palm oil. Nevertheless, Malaysia corporate actions moved significantly to address the Western (Europe initially) led concerns. Eyes will be on Malaysia Airlines / MAS as it starts to address its corporate and branding issues.

A manual way to check historic flight routing is to click on - select airline and flight number and you can see flights routing records for a range of dates. You can get flight number by going to individual airline booking enquiry / schedule. Example, MH16 on 18 July showed Syria overflight, but apparently not since: for 2014-07-18 Kuala Lumpur (KUL) Amsterdam (AMS) B772 (9M-MRF) 15:55 16:16 04:45 Landed 04:40. 
There ought to be some good summaries available if not already now, in the near future, given the nature of the fast evolving internet and emerging consumer concerns. This topic is gaining ground as a significant segment of travelers seem interested to understand flight routes given all the conflicts, apparent complexities and deficiencies in warnings from international agencies, apparent financially driven air traffic control practices (one contact reads that one gets paid if planes use your zone, so there is some financial incentive for air traffic control to behave in a certain way) and quite varying passenger carrier policies.

Thus, we can also anticipate (country of origin) national authorities to move on stronger "no fly" directives to their carriers in order to assuage lingering safety concerns. For example: Singapore tells airlines to review conflict zone risk assessment By Anshuman Daga and Siva Govindasamy SINGAPORE/KUALA LUMPUR, July 23  Wed Jul 23, 2014 4:44am EDT (Reuters) - "Singapore's civil aviation authority has asked airlines based in the city-state to review their risk assessment of conflict zones following the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner over Ukraine last week.... Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIA) was one of the heaviest users of the route in the week before the crash, along with other international carriers such as Lufthansa, Thai Airways, Qatar Airways and KLM.... "We note that following the MH17 incident, SIA had immediately re-routed their flights to avoid Ukrainian airspace," said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) in an emailed response to questions from Reuters. "CAAS has also since asked Singapore carriers to review their risk assessment on conflict areas."... In a response to a letter in the Straits Times newspaper on Wednesday, Singapore Airlines senior vice president of flight operations Gerard Yeap said the airline had avoided Ukrainian airspace entirely since the disaster. "There are several other parts of the world that we proactively avoid flying through, even though they are available for use," he said. "This has long been our practice, and is the result of our continual assessment of advisories from the national authorities and aviation bodies."... No single global body has overall responsibility for keeping the skies safe for civil aviation. Ultimately it is up to individual nations to decide whether a threat exists and, if necessary close their airspace, although national civil aviation authorities can ban their domestic carriers from jurisdictions they consider unsafe...";
Note: refer to 20 July update (below) to see high frequency of recent past history of Singapore Airline / SIA over-flights of Ukraine.

23 July 2014 evening

Rebels likely downed MH17 'by mistake', say US officials; July 23, 2014 - 10:53AM; Washington: "The US government believes that pro-Russian separatists most likely shot down a Malaysia Airlines jet "by mistake," not realising it was a civilian passenger flight, US intelligence officials said. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the "most plausible explanation" for why the separatists fired what the United States believes was a Russian-made SA-11 surface-to-air missile at Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was that they had mistaken it for some other kind of aircraft.... "Five days into it [following the crash] it does appear to be a mistake," one of the officials said in a briefing for reporters..."

Looking at some reports on Malaysia Parliament session on MH17....

News links:
  • Separatists didn't ask anything in return, says DPM; 5:33PM Jul 23; UPDATED 7.19PM MH17 FREE He says there were 'no extra deals whatsoever'.
  • 'No forgiveness for MH17 culprits, only justice'Ram Anand and Abdul Rahim Sabri | 10:16AM Jul 23;
  • Parliament condemns MH17 downing, 1:59PM Jul 23, 2014;; "...The prime minister assured the families of the MH17 tragedy victims that the government would continue to demand justice and would not stop searching for the truth in the face of difficulties and hardship.  "Let us walk through this difficult time together, united in grief.  "It is our hope that God will give us assistance and enlightenment for a solution," he said. The prime minister thanked Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and Gelang Patah MP and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang as well as other political party leaders for condemning the incident as genocide and demanding that the murderers be brought to justice...."

 Commentary from Wong Chen, MP for Kelana Jaya: "Today Parliamentarians are asked to debate on the issues surrounding MH17. There should be 9 speakers from BN and 9 from Pakatan. For PKR Anwar, William Leong and Sivarasa will speak.... The session has just started. The Speaker gave his condolences. Najib is now speaking, reading out the motion and his text. We have about 90% attendance.... Najib reiterates that the flight path is approved by ICAO and Ukraine authorities. He said 16 out of 17 Asia Pacific airlines use the same route. He also said the Asian Wall Street Journal reported 400 flights a day use the same route. He is defending the issue of the flight path.... Najib says if it is true that MH17 was shot down by a missile, we will condemn the heinous action. However he says we cannot point fingers at anyone. He will wait until concrete evidence first..... Najib says his people had secret meetings with the Ukrainian separatists and their leaders. This he said is necessary for national interests. And because of his efforts the bodies are now in Amsterdam. The bodies flew there with 6 Malaysian officers.... Anwar is speaking now starting with condolences to all families. He thanks Najib and his government for his efforts to bring back the bodies. He points out the Ukrainian/Russian weapons link and as such ask the PM to do more. Anwar says he has no issue and supports Najib in negotiating with the separatists to secure the bodies. However he urges Najib to take a stronger stance and lead the call at the international level for justice. He cites the tougher stance and actions taken by the Dutch PM as exemplary..... Guan Eng is now giving his views. He says we bought USD900 million of Sukhoi jets from Russia. We also have a second astronaut program with Russia costing us hundreds of millions. He urges Najib to use these positions to get better outcomes from the Russians and the separatists...." source:, accessed 8.30pm, 23 July 2014

Looking at international sources:

     From newsletter on 22 July: "Markets may be experiencing subdued volatility, but the geopolitical scene is anything but static these days. With Israel back on the offensive in Gaza and ISIS surging in Iraq and Syria, the Ukraine crisis is once threatening to boil over following the attack that brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight 14 in a zone held by pro-Russia rebels...."
     From WSJ newsletter on 22 July: "Crash Reports - With progress finally being made at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, the focus may now tighten on establishing who was responsible for bringing down the plane. We report that separatists in Ukraine released the bodies of victims and the remains of almost all of the 298 people killed began a journey that is intended to take them to the Netherlands. We note that the changes come after U.S. President Barack Obama, in comments Monday at the White House, made clear the West is losing patience with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid images of possible looting at the crash site, tampering with evidence by pro-Russian separatists and haphazard handling of the remains. Russia, meanwhile, has presented its own version of the story—multiple versions that sometimes seem to contradict each other—suggesting that a Ukrainian fighter plane or missile systems could have been involved in downing the plane. And we find that Malaysia Airlines and other major carriers are still flying over conflict zones, underscoring the complexity that flight routing presents for the industry and for governments...." and on 23 July: "...Meanwhile, the first plane carrying bodies of the victims of the Malaysia Airlines crash left Ukraine for the Netherlands this morning and the black boxes from the downed flight have been delivered to the U.K....."

23 July 2014 morning

Malaysia's parliament is in a special sitting today on the MH17 tragedy. So you can look out for news on how its lawmakers are viewing the situation. Of course, it is still early days and the victims have yet to be mourned and buried at home. The tone in Malaysia newspapers is suggestive of a "unity" approach (note Chinese daily arguing that it is an "insult to the deceased and their families" for pointing fingers at Malaysia on causal issues). A DAP (opposition) politician was also recently criticized for asking why Malaysia Airlines / MAS was flying over the conflict zone. Thus, there may be few Malaysia politicians asking questions on details on the airlines at this point in time? But the focus may be on international relations issues.

I am reminded of cultural differences recently (in another context), and this applies in many areas including how a nation / people react to a tragedy. There are many with some strong sentiments against publicly questioning hard and economic issues (also see 21 July posting "sentiment" segment). Whether this applies to the period of mourning or more remains to be understood.

In Malaysia, recent news on sentiment and blame include:
  •  Kudos to Najib for fixing MH17 issues swiftly, 8:54AM Jul 23, 2014,
  •  Hisham 'awed' by PM's courage in Donetsk deal, 8:38AM Jul 22, 2014,
  •  Voxpop: MH17 tragedy, not MAS fault, says citizens.
  • Stay together in MH17 – Sin Chew Daily Published: 23 July 2014 "Malaysia Airlines has encountered two aviation disasters in four months. It is a national martyr and an unbearable pain for Malaysians. At this very moment, what we need to do is to find out the truth as only the truth can comfort the spirits of the innocent 298 lives. We also need positive energy, unity of all Malaysians, as well as support and sympathy from around the world. We need to rely on each other to get out of grief. The MH17 tragedy has shocked the world and as the victims are of different nationalities, it is no longer simply a disaster for Malaysia, but a calamity for the world. Unfortunately, some people have pointed their fingers against Malaysia after the incident, instead of the terrorists who committed the heinous crime. It is a blind accusation, a move of conniving the killers, as well as an insult to the deceased and their families...."
  •  Hundreds swarm embassies seeking justice, 4:11PM Jul 22, 2014, MH17 Close to 500 people flooded the roads near the embassies of Russia, Ukraine and also the United Nations office in Kuala Lumpur today in a BN-organised demonstration to seek justice for the victims of the MH17 tragedy.
  • The above also in international media here: MH17: 'You killed 298 people, Russia. We demand the truth' With the tacit approval of Malaysia's leaders, hundreds of protestors gather outside the Russian embassy in Kuala Lumpur to demand justice and action from Moscow
  •  PAS leader: MAS' sins led to Allah's wrath, 7:11PM Jul 21, 2014, "MH17 Following the tragedies which have befallen the national carrier, Kedah PAS Youth wants the government and MAS to look into the aspect of Allah's wrath "in the bellies of the planes" as the airline has flouted Islamic rules...."
  •  In MH17 shootdown, a brewing blame game Published: 23 July 2014; "A top Ukrainian official is the latest to join the blame game over who is responsible for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17. Ukraine's director of informational security, Vitaly Nayda, told CNN that a Russian was behind the downing of the jetliner. "A Russian-trained, well-equipped, well-educated officer... pushed that button deliberately," he was quoted as saying....." 

In the meantime, international media (driven by a different cultural attitude and reaction to tragedy?) continue to look at the conflict zone flyover issue while also focusing on the Ukraine versus Russia blame game and calls for sanctions against Russia. The first article below was just pointed out to me by a supporter of MAS (a non-Malaysian who had felt that MH17 was not the fault of the airline) and the second is a front page story in WSJ (the US fly in ban apparently angering Israel):

War Zones Don't Deter Some Carriers, Malaysia Airlines Flies Over Conflict Areas Days After Flight 17 Is Downed in Ukraine; Updated July 21, 2014 9:14 p.m. ET; "Four days after Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was downed by a surface-to-air missile over eastern Ukraine, the carrier and other major airlines are still flying over war zones, underscoring how crucial that airspace is to the industry. Airlines have discretion to plan flight routes along airways they think are safe, but rely on governments to issue warnings if they deem airspace unsafe. The decision by some airlines to fly over war... "

U.S. Bars Flights to Israeli Airport., The U.S. barred flights to Israel's main international airport outside Tel Aviv for at least 24 hours after a rocket from Gaza landed nearby, angering Israel which said the ban was a boon to Hamas's efforts to isolate the country. 8:11 AM,

This was emailed overnight by a contact living in Europe: Ukraine reroute was to fly over Syria for one Malaysia Airline / MAS flight very recently;

22 July 2014

A range of conspiracy theories about MH17 are making the rounds in KL (with some linking it to the big powers and also Israel-Gaza). Some I talk to think it was a pure accident. Some (like Ron Paul in the US?) say it doesn't serve Russia's interest to have downed a commercial plane. Some note that USA-Australia statements seem well coordinated. Many questions about the media blitz and international relations.

Back to economic topics on which I had some reader queries for background info. Thus, more on palm oil and MAS. On the latter, also note new reports of liability costs of up to US$1 billion on MH17 and its insurer is Allianz; read this:

The Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan region is about 1 million tonne importer of palm oil. Imports are via the ports of Kaliningrad (company: Soyuz), Yuzhniy (Wilmar), Ilyichevsk (PI & EO), Odessa (Cargill), Taman (EFKO). For Russia imports of palm oil - the bulk comes from Indonesia and Netherlands, less than a quarter from Malaysia and a small percentage from Ukraine. Refer to 20 July 2014 update below for Malaysia palm oil exports to Ukraine and Russia.

I had a call from Al Jazeera yesterday, to make comment. I didn't do so, as it was on a topic I am not qualified on.. MAS financial outlook and branding. But immediately below is what I found in online news papers on these topics. Also, a friend (non-Malaysian) who frequently flies MAS said, "Malaysian Air did nothing dramatically wrong - but it was not among the super-cautious airlines, which is a bit of a surprise, given the fate of MH370."

Malaysia Air Faces Likely Delisting After Second Disaster By Elffie Chew and Kyunghee Park  Jul 22, 2014 11:03 AM GMT+0800; "Malaysian Airline System Bhd. (MAS), reeling from its second disaster in four months, is likely near the end of its days as a publicly traded company.... The company plans to present a revival plan to its state-run parent Khazanah Nasional Bhd. this week, people familiar with the matter said yesterday, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. The options range from Khazanah taking Malaysian Air private to bankruptcy, according to one of the people, with both routes involving a delisting...."

Q&A: How Malaysia Airlines can salvage its brand by Associated Press ".... "They are a victim this time, so it is very different from a situation where they have no answers," said Caroline Sapriel, managing director of CS&A, a company that specializes in reputation management in crisis situations. "The whole world is going to be sympathetic to them." A few airlines were avoiding flying over Ukraine, which involves taking a longer route, but most weren't since Ukrainian authorities had not closed the airspace above 32,000 feet (about 9,750 meters). Still, Kuniyoshi Shirai, crisis management expert at A.C.E. Consulting, said he finds the eastern Ukraine route "unthinkable" from a risk management perspective....The airline needs far reaching changes.... "You need an expert on risk management at the top, who has the power equal to a chief executive," said Shirai, the crisis management executive.... "You have to change people's consciousness. And while you're doing all that, you have to keep the whole process transparent. Otherwise, you cannot regain the trust of either consumers or investors."

How Malaysia Airlines might salvage its image by AP July 22, 2014, 12:02 am TWN;; "...Before the disasters the carrier had among the worst financial performance of any airline. An even bigger question mark now hangs over the future of Malaysia Airlines, with its brand tied to two almost unfathomable tragedies..... The airline was already losing about US$1.6 million a day and has been in the red for the past three years. The disappearance of Flight 370 with many Chinese passengers on board also caused a backlash in the crucial China market. Experts don't see any short cuts to recovery. “It cannot be a quick fix,” said Aziz. “So the second question is do they have the financial resources to survive a year, two years? And the answer is, unfortunately, no.” ......"

Le Après le crash du Boeing 777 en Ukraine, la question de la survie de Malaysia Airlines se pose; 2014/07/19 10:23:39- mis à jour le 2014/07/19 14:02:11;

21 July 2014 - evening

Some KL-based people I've been in touch with worry about an escalating Gaza conflict happening "under the cover" of the MH17 tragedy... Israel shells Gaza militants, probes Hamas claim of captured soldier.... Gaza death toll reaches 447,  An Israeli rocket is fired into the northern Gaza Strip on July 17, 2014.

A stockbroker looks at impacts on three stocks - Malaysia Airlines / Mas, Malaysia Airports /MAHB and Air Asia. "Among aviation-related stocks, Europe accounts for a substantial 10% of MAS’ capacity and there will be substantial near-term demand destruction going forward. The potential impact on MAHB and Air Asia can be at worst moderate to minor respectively...For MAHB, tourist arrivals from Europe accounted for 5% and 5.7% of visitor arrivals in 2013 and 1H14 respectively... AirAsia has no direct flights to Europe but will also be impacted by European transit/transfer travellers from Thailand and Malaysia. However, this could be partially offset by a preference for a shorter haul intra-Asia travel among Asians travellers. Over the medium term, AirAsia will gain market share at MAS’s expense...." Implications Of MH17 Tragedy, 21 July 2014, UOB Kay Hian.

Anti-Russia Sentiment Running Deep in Malaysia, Jul 21, 2014, 9:12 AM ET By SATISH CHENEY Associated Press. "Much of the Malaysian anger toward Russia stems from the inability for family members of Muslims who were aboard the plane to perform burial rites as quickly as possible, according to Islamic custom. Of the 298 people aboard the plane, 43 were from Muslim-majority Malaysia and 12 were from Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country...."Pro-Russian terrorists have not handled #MH17 victims with dignity. Putin promised PM @NajibRazak he would help. He hasn't," Malaysian Youth and Sport Minister Khairy Jamaluddin tweeted Sunday, referring to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.... Malaysia is one of Russia's main trading partners in Southeast Asia. Russia also is a key supplier for Malaysia's military, delivering 18 Sukhoi fighter jets to the Malaysian air force over the past decade....

21 July 2014 - various news articles

MH17: A complex legal case looms Boo Su-LynJuly 21, 2014 - See more at:

Geopolitics & evidence:


20 July 2014: Malaysia is a big producer and exporter of palm oil products. Ukraine was #14 ranked export destination (table below denotes tonnage) while Russia is ranked #41.

source: MPOB website

20 July 2014: First, a bit about some macro statistics about the sad tragedy, since data has emerged on this.

MH17 was among the planes plying a regular route across Ukraine, apparently tracking the shortest efficient flight path (according to maps shown on There were other long haul carriers more avidly on this route, Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Lufthansa most notably. Malaysia Airlines (MAS) only had the third highest frequency of flights during a week (let's exclude Aeroflot and Ukraine Int Airlines from this analysis for reason that this is their home or regional territory). Despite this, Malaysia Airlines / MAS (with 5.4% of flights in the week prior) was the one hit (versus SIA's 8.5% share). Thus, many Malaysians will point out that so many other international passenger carriers did the same - the aforementioned as well as Qatar Airways, KLM, Austrian, Emirates, EVA Air, United Airlines and others on long haul flights.

Bloomberg writes that "Still, 200 to 300 of the daily flights using the route had diverted elsewhere in recent months, leaving about 100 still operating, involving about 60 different carriers over a week, FlightRadar24 said. An image from 4 hours 40 minutes after the crash showed the entire region clear of aircraft." Various passenger carriers have been indicating that they had stopped plying this route and the data cited here suggests that about 100 per day were still using the route (named in the graphic below), representing a minority (25-33%) of the previous daily flights.

Malaysia representatives were heavily questioned by international journalists for the decision to remain on the route despite the escalating conflict, but the Malaysian transport minister argued that this was a route authorized by international agencies. However, one key agency said: "ICAO does not declare airspace safe or unsafe or undertake any other direct operational responsibilities with respect to civilian air services," said spokesman Anthony Philbin. "It is always the responsibility of our sovereign member states to advise other states of potential safety hazards.", "Overflights of the Donetsk region in the past seven days, ordered by airlines (Source:" - Spiegel's graphic of number of flights by carrier on similar route as MH17 across eastern Ukraine in the week before the 17 July 2014 disaster.

Note: some analysts argue that country of origin is hard to attribute given the proliferation of code sharing arrangements. For example a carrier like Qantas may codeshare with Malaysia Airlines / MAS and Emirates which both flew over the conflict zone while the main carrier claims not to do so. This of course raises question of the nature of code share relationships - whether passenger safety policy harmonization is part of the deal or not. 

Note: Watchers of ASEAN may note that the carriers of Indonesia and the Philippines were not among the long haul flights traversing the airspace above the conflict zone while those of Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand were. Refer to graphic below of flight route indicators for four carriers - Singapore Airlines / SIA, Thai, Philippines and Garuda Indonesia. 

Graphics are screenshots from

18 July update: In a separate incident to MH370, very sadly and improbably, another Malaysia Airline plane disaster last night.  MH17 is reported shot down by a rebel missile over Ukraine air space and crashed near the Ukraine-Russian border. Bloomberg says "Putin’s government in line for some of the blame for the incident..." It seems that a lot of geopolitics is tied up with the two Malaysia Airline tragedies.

News links: Downed Malaysia Airlines plane: how did it go wrong for flight MH17?; Ukraine Says Malaysian Airliner Shot Down Near Russian Border,; Malaysia Airlines plane MH17 'shot down' in Ukraine - live updates,; MH17 crash: All European MAS flights to take alternative routes,

Market reactions: Asian Stocks Slip With Ringgit on Plane While Bonds Rise,

Geopolitical views: Malaysian Airliner Crash Should End Ukraine War,; Flight MH17 and the Role of Ukraine's Rebels,; MH17 Crash: Here Are the Geopolitical Implications, (with Stratfor military analyst).

Malaysian Air Flight Took Route Avoided by Qantas, Asiana  By Kyunghee Park  Jul 18, 2014 1:13 PM GMT+0800; "Malaysian Airline System Bhd. (MAS), whose plane carrying 298 passengers was shot down over eastern Ukraine, took a route avoided by Qantas (QAN) Airways Ltd. and several other carriers as separatist fights in the region intensified...."