MH17 trials to be held in Netherlands
THE HAGUE • The trials of any suspects arrested in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over war-torn eastern Ukraine will be held in the Netherlands, Dutch officials announced yesterday.
All 298 people on board were killed when the plane was downed on July 17, 2014, on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.
A joint international investigation has determined that the Boeing 777 jet was hit by a Russia-made BUK missile fired from rebel-held territory, but a separate criminal probe has yet to arrest any suspects.
The countries leading the joint investigation team - Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the Netherlands and Ukraine - have "decided that the suspects should be prosecuted in the Netherlands, a process that will be rooted in ongoing international cooperation and support", Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders said.
Break-in at S. African elite police HQ
JOHANNESBURG • Thieves broke into the headquarters of South Africa's elite "Hawks" police unit in the capital Pretoria early yesterday, making off with hard drives and other computer equipment, the unit's spokesman said.
The Directorate of Priority Crime Investigation is responsible for investigating serious organised and commercial crimes, as well as corruption.
"No dockets (case files) were stolen," Hawks spokesman Hangwani Mulaudzi said, adding that the unit's human resources, finance and supply chain departments were burgled.
UK tower fire: Govt sends task force
LONDON • Britain yesterday said it was sending in a task force to help run the local authority struggling to cope with the aftermath of a deadly London tower blaze that killed at least 80 people.
Kensington and Chelsea council has been criticised by victims' relatives and survivors for its handling of the Grenfell Tower disaster on June 14, and its leader quit last week over the response to the fire.
Prime Minister Theresa May promised that all residents from the tower would be offered good temporary homes in the local area within three weeks, but with that deadline due yesterday, many still remain in emergency accommodation after rejecting as unsuitable the premises they had been offered.
Antarctic ice block poised to snap off
PARIS • A chunk of ice bigger than the US state of Delaware is hanging by a thread from the West Antarctic ice shelf, satellite images revealed yesterday.
When it finally calves from the Larsen C ice shelf, one of the biggest icebergs in recorded history will be set adrift - some 6,600 sq km in total, according to the European Space Agency.
The iceberg's depth below sea level could be as much as 210m, or about 60 storeys, the agency said.
"The crack in the ice is now around 200km long, leaving just 5km between the end of the fissure and the ocean," the agency said.
Scientists tracking the iceberg's progression expect it to break off within months.
The massive ice cube will float in water and by itself will not add to sea levels when it melts.