July 2014 Current Events: Disasters & Science News
Here are the key events in Science and Disasters news for the month of July 2014.
Passenger Jet Crashes in Eastern Ukraine (July 17): A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, crashes in eastern Ukraine near the Russian border killing all 298 passengers and crew members. The crash occurs in territory where pro-Russian separatists have been battling Ukrainian troops. President Poroshenko says the crash is an act of terror. "I would like to note that we are calling this not an incident, not a catastrophe, but a terrorist act," he says. Ukrainian and American officials say the plane is shot down by a Russian-made surface-to-air missile, citing satellite images. Poroshenko accuses the separatists of launching the missile, which they deny. Russian president Putin also denies having any role in the disaster. (July 18): A day after the crash, President Obama says he believes that the rebels shot down the plane. He calls the crash a "global tragedy" and faults Putin for continuing to arm the rebels and for not stopping the fighting. Most analysts say rebels may have thought they were targeting a military transport plane rather than a commercial jet. The rebels are criticized for denying outside access to the bodies of the victims and the crash site. The separatists transport the bodies to refrigerated train cars in Torez, another rebel-controlled city in eastern Ukraine.
Airplane Crashes in Mali, Kills 118 (July 24): An Air Algerie McDonnell Douglas MD-83 on route from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, to Algiers, Algeria, crashes in northern Mali, killing all of the 118 people on board. About half of the people on board are French. Officials believe the bad weather caused the crash.
Ebola Outbreak Hits West African Countries (July 31): According to the World Health Organization, the death toll from the Ebola virus in West Africa is 672, with the total number of confirmed, infected patients at 1,323, making this outbreak the worst since the virus was first identified almost forty years ago. U.S. health officials have issued an advisory for Americans to avoid nonessential travel to Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia because of the outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 3 warning, its most urgent travel notice. Meanwhile, West African governments are taking steps to fight the virus, such as deploying the army and police to conduct house-to-house searches.