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Iran mistakenly shot down Ukraine jet – US media – BBC News

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Iran mistakenly shot down the Ukrainian plane that crashed on Wednesday near Tehran with 176 people on board, US media report.

US officials say they believe the Ukrainian International Airlines Boeing 737-800 was hit by a missile, CBS says.

Ukraine earlier said it was examining whether a missile strike brought down the aircraft – but Iran ruled this out.

The crash came just hours after Iran carried out missile strikes on two airbases housing US forces in Iraq.

CBS News quoted US intelligence sources as saying a satellite detected infrared “blips” of two missile launches, followed by another blip of an explosion.

Meanwhile, Newsweek quoted a Pentagon and senior US intelligence officials, as well as an Iraqi intelligence official, as saying they believed the Ukrainian plane was hit by a Russian-made Tor missile.

US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that “I have my suspicions” over the plane. “Somebody could have made a mistake,” he said.

Amid tensions heightened by the US killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani on 3 January, Iran has said it will not hand over the recovered black box flight recorders to Boeing, the plane’s manufacturer, or to the US.

Under global aviation rules Iran has the right to lead the investigation, but manufacturers are typically involved.

What does US media report?

In separate reports, CBS News and Newsweek said US and Iraqi intelligence officials were confident the Ukrainian plane was brought down by a missile fired by Iran.

CBS published a brief report on Twitter, saying the officials were confident the plane was shot down.

It said this information was based on US intelligence, which sources said picked up signals of a radar being turned on. US satellites also reportedly detected two missile launches shortly before the Ukrainian plane exploded.

Meanwhile, Newsweek quoted US and Iraqi officials as saying they believed the aircraft was hit by a Russia-built Tor M-1 surface-to-air missile system, known as Gauntlet by Nato.

Two Pentagon officials assessed that the incident was accidental, Newsweek added.

It quoted sources as saying that Iran’s anti-aircraft systems were probably active following its attacks on the US airbases.

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Meanwhile, asked at what he thought happened to the plane, President Trump said: “I have my suspicions. It’s a tragic thing when I see that, it’s a tragic thing. But somebody could have made a mistake on the other side.

“Some people say it was mechanical. I personally, I don’t think that’s even a question, personally. So we’ll see what happens.

“Something very terrible happened. Very devastating,” Mr Trump said.

Earlier on Thursday, Oleksiy Danylov, the secretary of Ukraine’s security and defence council, said in a Facebook post (in Ukrainian) that three four main possible crash causes were being considered:

  • an anti-aircraft missile strike, specifically a Tor missile, taking into account reports of a missile being found near the crash site
  • a mid-air collision with a drone or other flying object
  • engine destruction/explosion due to technical reasons
  • an explosion inside the plane as a result of a terror attack

Mr Danylov said Ukrainian investigators, who are already in Iran, wanted to search for possible debris from a missile at the site of the crash. Iran is known to have Russian missile defence systems.

The investigation would include experts who worked on the investigation into the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine, Mr Danylov added.

The UK government said it was urgently looking into reports that the Ukrainian plane may have been shot down.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said reports in media were “very concerning” and the government wanted to see a “full, transparent investigation”.

What does Iran say?

Iran’s Civil Aviation Organisation (CAOI) chief Ali Abedzadeh said: “The plane, which was initially headed west to leave the airport zone, turned right following a problem and was headed back to the airport at the moment of the crash.”

Mr Abedzadeh added that witnesses saw the plane “on fire” before the crash, and that pilots had not made any distress calls before trying to return to Imam Khomeini airport.

“Several domestic and foreign flights were flying in Iranian space at the same altitude of 8,000ft (2,400m). The issue of the missile’s impact on the aircraft cannot be true in any way,” he said.

Mr Abedzadeh said the initial findings had been sent to Ukraine and the US, where Boeing has its headquarters.

He was earlier quoted as saying that “terrorism” had played no role in the crash.

Sweden and Canada had also been sent the findings, as their nationals were on board, he added.

Who is investigating the crash?

Normally, the US National Transportation Safety Board would have a role to play in any international investigations involving US-made Boeings. But the board must act with permission and in accordance with legislation of the foreign country concerned.

In comments published by Iran’s Mehr news agency, Mr Abedzadeh, said: “We will not give the black box to the manufacturer and the Americans.

“This accident will be investigated by Iran’s aviation organisation, but the Ukrainians can also be present,” he added.

Mr Abedzadeh said it was not yet clear which country would analyse the black boxes – a cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky earlier said that “a thorough and independent investigation will be conducted in accordance with international law”, and that he would speak to Iranian leaders to step up co-operation in investigating the crash.

Ukraine is observing a day of national mourning on Thursday.

Boeing said it was “ready to assist in any way needed”, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country expected to have a role in the investigation and had offered technical assistance.

What do we know?

The Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 to Kyiv had 167 passengers and nine Ukrainian crew on board.

The majority of passengers were from Iran and Canada.

Ukraine’s Tehran embassy initially blamed engine failure but later removed the statement, saying any comment regarding the cause of the accident prior to a commission’s inquiry was not official.

There was good visibility when the plane went down near Iran’s capital, according to the Flightradar24 aviation website. Officials from the airline said the crew were experienced.

Who was on board?

Among the victims were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians including all nine crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Britons and three Germans, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said. Fifteen of the dead were children.

But the German government later said “we currently have no knowledge that German citizens are among the victims of the plane crash in Iran”.

Iran’s head of emergency operations said 147 of the victims were Iranian. That would suggest that 65 of the foreign nationals had dual nationalities. The Ukrainian airline gave a helpline number for further information about passengers: +38-044-581-50-19.

Mr Trudeau said 138 passengers on the flight were en route to Canada via Kyiv.

“All people who won’t be coming home to their parents, their friends, their colleagues or their family,” he said. “All had so much potential, so much life ahead of them.”


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Social media giants monetise anger and trolling is the result. A crackdown is welcome – The Guardian

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Social media giants monetise anger and trolling is the result. A crackdown is welcome  The Guardian



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Princeton the focus of international media – the story on the story – Penticton Western News – Pentiction Western News

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Over the past two weeks the community has been flooded…with media.

Princeton quickly became a focus for journalists across Canada and around the globe, following the devastating events that started Sunday, Nov. 14, when the Tulameen River breached its banks.

Last Thursday, correspondents working for The New York Times were trekking through muck on Fenchurch Avenue, interviewing residents who were starting the process of cleaning out their homes.

“In the town of Princeton, which was uncomfortably close to this summer’s wildfires and was hit by record heat, bands of volunteers of all ages were roving the streets and helping out,” wrote Ian Austen. “There are a lot of tears in Princeton and other communities right now, but they’re not all from grief over what’s lost. When flood victims described the kindness of those volunteers to me, some broke out in tears of gratitude.”

The U.K. based Guardian also reached out to area homeowners.

Ed Staples, from Coalmont, was interviewed.

“After a summer of staying indoors to shield his lungs from thick smoke, Staples said he’s sad to see the loss in his community so soon after the fires,” The Guardian wrote. ‘It’s heartbreaking, I get choked up thinking about it,’ said Staples. ‘These are real people who have lost everything and it’ll take months or years to get their lives in order.’”

Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne has fielded hundreds of requests for interviews, and granted many.

“I’ve done so many interviews,” he told the Spotlight, “I don’t know who all I’ve interviewed with. It’s kind of been a blur to be honest…I was doing, by lunch time, about eight interviews a day at one point.”

Coyne said this has given him the opportunity to keep Princeton’s needs top-of-mind for government officials, who hold the purse strings for emergency aid. “If I’m not out there, Abbotsford is going to be the story…It’s getting us the attention we need.”

Coyne appeared live on the CBC’s The National, and on the television program Power and Politics. He’s spoken frequently with regional affiliates of all the major networks.

While he doesn’t particularly relish the limelight, Coyne is uniquely qualified to take on the press. “At one time I was a small town reporter. I worked for Black Press, I worked for (The Similkameen News Leader.)”

Recently a journalist writing for the Globe and Mail followed the mayor for an entire day, as he made the rounds of the community.

“Shortly after 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Mr. Coyne jumped in his yellow Nissan Xterra and began driving around town, checking on crew progress and speaking to residents about their needs. His cellphone rang constantly. He made a stop at the one-runway airport where the small lounge was crammed with people bringing in dogs and cats in animal carriers,” wrote Anthony Davis.

There’s been absurdity, attached to some of Coyne’s experiences.

“One interview, I won’t say what network and what show, they began telling me what I should be wearing in the interview and what the backdrop should be…like a bookshelf.”

Coyne eventually gave that interview, via his phone, wearing a high-visibility vest, while inside the Princeton fire hall.

During an interview with the BBC, he was asked about local temperatures. When the mayor reported the temperature was hovering at about minus 3 degrees Celsius, he was asked, “And why is that?”

After requesting the question be repeated, Coyne responded, “Well, it’s November. This is when we start to turn into winter.”

Coyne said he often prefers to communicate with local media.

“Local media has been invaluable, absolutely invaluable,” he stated. “I really appreciate the efforts of the Spotlight in order to keep accurate information going out.”

Related: Princeton’s water system hanging – literally – by a fire hose

Related: Princeton ‘as ready as it can be’ for the next 24 hours

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com


 
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Local peer outreach team continuing without Northern Health, claims health authority lied to media – Energeticcity.ca

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A public outcry took place once it was announced funding was being cut. Schultz believes NH’s statement was an attempt to save face.

“Northern Health is committed to harm reduction and overdose prevention in Fort St. John, and working to improve existing services, and implement additional and expanded services. Peers play an important role in Overdose Prevention work, and Northern Health will work with peers to ensure this continues,” said Northern Health in a statement to local media.

The group was formed in April, providing harm reduction services and tackling the stigma surrounding drug addiction. In October, NH informed the team that they were restructuring the funding model.

There were 30 peers working for the outreach teams that were fired, and more than 20 with lived experience were employed by the group, said Schultz.

The peers helped offer food, hygiene kits, first aid, naloxone kits, harm reduction supplies, info on detox and treatment, and warm clothing for those in need. Afterwards, they were paid a cash honorarium, which is what NH has cut.

Schultz and another leader, Neil Bramsleven, were in contact with the health authority to work on the community mobile harm reduction program. Schultz describes the program as a mobile safe injection site.

They were the only ones contacted to continue working for the health authority due to meeting specific criteria, including being clean from drugs and alcohol, said Schultz.

“NH Leadership is in contact and discussion with the peer outreach team leaders to continue peer outreach services in Fort St. John,” said Northern Health in a statement.

Schultz has pulled her application for the mobile program following the release of NH’s statement.

“There are no outreach programs right now, and they have no plans of getting outreach programs.”

Schultz showed Energeticcity an email with an NH worker, which confirms there are no outreach programs in the city.

“They did admit that it was untrue about peer outreach continuing. They said they don’t talk with the person who deals with the media.”

Peers were previously paid by NH to go on patrol, but Schultz says they will now run on a voluntary basis.

“We will accept donations from the community, and we will get harm reduction from mental health.”

At this point, Schultz says the team doesn’t want anything to do with the health authority.

“Peers are real. Peers are honest. We have one passion, and that’s to help people. We’re not even going to work with Northern Health anymore. We will volunteer our time.”

Anyone looking to donate to the team can contact Schultz at 250-329-8374.

Eryn Collins, Regional Manager, Public Affairs & Media Relations with NH, says the health authority is aware of the pushback and is working to get clarity on concerns being raised.

With files from Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News

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