Review Category : Top Stories

What We Know About Downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17

Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images(KIEV, Ukraine) — Two days after Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 was shot down while flying above eastern Ukraine, investigators from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) arrived at the debris field on Saturday after world leaders raised concerns about the status and safety of the wreckage.

Malaysia Airlines also released its passenger manifest Saturday, identifying the 298 people on board MH 17 who came from 11 different countries.

According to Malaysian officials, 192 of the 298 abroad were listed as Dutch. The passenger list also included 44 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, nine Britons, four Belgians, four Germans, three Filipinos, one Canadian and one New Zealander.

One of the Dutch passengers, Quinn Lucas Schansman, had dual United States citizenship. Kevin Jesurun, a Dutch passenger who graduated from Palmer School in Miami, was also on board.

Among the victims identified were the Gunawan family, relatives of an ABC News employee. Hadiono Gunawan, an employee of Malaysia Airlines, was headed to the Philippines for a family vacation. His wife, Irene, and their two children, Daryl and Sherryl, were traveling with him.

Karlijn Keijzer, a Dutch student studying in the United States, was going on vacation with her boyfriend.

“I’m just in disbelief and expecting Karlijn to pop up on Facebook and tell everybody she’s OK,” Keijzer’s friend, Rachel Weigler said in a phone interview with ABC News.

Also killed were nearly 100 scientists and researchers heading toward an AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia. Among the dead was Joep Lange, a pioneer in AIDS/HIV research. The World Health Organization confirmed Friday that WHO spokesman Glenn Thomas was also aboard.

As the wreckage recovery has been complicated by the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, President Obama called for an immediate ceasefire in the region between the two countries and Russian-backed separatists who control the area in order to conduct an investigation.

“We know [Russian separatists] have received steady support from Russia, which includes heavy weapons and training … and includes anti-aircraft weapons,” Obama said.

On Friday, U.S Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said U.S. officials could not rule out whether Russia helped launch the single surface-to-air missile that intelligence officials say brought down the plane.

“Because of the technical complexity of the SA-11, it is unlikely that the separatists could effectively operate the system without assistance from knowledgeable personnel,” she said. “We cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel in operating the systems.”

The Ukrainian government has blamed the crash on Russian-backed separatists.

In a statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin rebuffed that assumption and said “the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.”

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Boy Batting Cancer Asks for Box of Birthday Cards

iStock/Thinkstock(FOXBORO, Mass.) — A 5-year-old Massachusetts boy battling cancer said all he wants for his upcoming birthday is a box of birthday cards.

Danny Nickerson, of Foxboro, Mass., will turn six on July 25. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor this past October — one of the most chemotherapy-resistant cancers. As a result, he has since stopped going to kindergarten.

The boy gets lonely from time to time, and is always happy to get cards with his name written on them.

“He can recognize his name now,” Carley Nickerson, Danny’s mother told ABC News. “When he saw his name on the package from magical fairies on Easter, he was so happy.”

But the packages and cards stopped after Easter.

“He had 33 radiations from November through December last year,” Nickerson said. “We are now getting chemo therapy every two weeks.”

Doctors tell Nickerson that less than 10% of the children diagnosed with this type of cancer live longer than 18 months.

“I don’t really believe in that. He is doing great,” Nickerson said. “Every day is a blessing for us,”

So far, Danny has received about 40 letters.

“I gave him to key to the P.O. box,” Nickerson said. “He was so excited when he opened it.”

Nickerson said Danny loves Lego and Super Mario.

“I wish Lego makes Super Mario toys,” Nickerson chuckled. “That would really make him happy.”

Danny’s birthday is July 25. Cards can be mailed to: Danny Nickerson, P.O. Box 212, Foxboro, MA, 02035.

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What We Know About Downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 17

Alexander KHUDOTEPLY/AFP/Getty Images(KIEV, Ukraine) — Two days after Malaysia Airlines flight MH 17 was shot down while flying above eastern Ukraine, investigators from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) arrived at the debris field on Saturday after world leaders raised concerns about the status and safety of the wreckage.

Malaysia Airlines also released its passenger manifest Saturday, identifying the 298 people on board MH 17 who came from 11 different countries.

According to Malaysian officials, 192 of the 298 abroad were listed as Dutch. The passenger list also included 44 Malaysians, 27 Australians, 12 Indonesians, nine Britons, four Belgians, four Germans, three Filipinos, one Canadian and one New Zealander.

One of the Dutch passengers, Quinn Lucas Schansman, had dual United States citizenship. Kevin Jesurun, a Dutch passenger who graduated from Palmer School in Miami, was also on board.

Among the victims identified were the Gunawan family, relatives of an ABC News employee. Hadiono Gunawan, an employee of Malaysia Airlines, was headed to the Philippines for a family vacation. His wife, Irene, and their two children, Daryl and Sherryl, were traveling with him.

Karlijn Keijzer, a Dutch student studying in the United States, was going on vacation with her boyfriend.

“I’m just in disbelief and expecting Karlijn to pop up on Facebook and tell everybody she’s OK,” Keijzer’s friend, Rachel Weigler said in a phone interview with ABC News.

Also killed were nearly 100 scientists and researchers heading toward an AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia. Among the dead was Joep Lange, a pioneer in AIDS/HIV research. The World Health Organization confirmed Friday that WHO spokesman Glenn Thomas was also aboard.

As the wreckage recovery has been complicated by the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, President Obama called for an immediate ceasefire in the region between the two countries and Russian-backed separatists who control the area in order to conduct an investigation.

“We know [Russian separatists] have received steady support from Russia, which includes heavy weapons and training … and includes anti-aircraft weapons,” Obama said.

On Friday, U.S Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said U.S. officials could not rule out whether Russia helped launch the single surface-to-air missile that intelligence officials say brought down the plane.

“Because of the technical complexity of the SA-11, it is unlikely that the separatists could effectively operate the system without assistance from knowledgeable personnel,” she said. “We cannot rule out technical assistance from Russian personnel in operating the systems.”

The Ukrainian government has blamed the crash on Russian-backed separatists.

In a statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin rebuffed that assumption and said “the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.”

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Boy Batting Cancer Asks for Box of Birthday Cards

iStock/Thinkstock(FOXBORO, Mass.) — A 5-year-old Massachusetts boy battling cancer said all he wants for his upcoming birthday is a box of birthday cards.

Danny Nickerson, of Foxboro, Mass., will turn six on July 25. He was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor this past October — one of the most chemotherapy-resistant cancers. As a result, he has since stopped going to kindergarten.

The boy gets lonely from time to time, and is always happy to get cards with his name written on them.

“He can recognize his name now,” Carley Nickerson, Danny’s mother told ABC News. “When he saw his name on the package from magical fairies on Easter, he was so happy.”

But the packages and cards stopped after Easter.

“He had 33 radiations from November through December last year,” Nickerson said. “We are now getting chemo therapy every two weeks.”

Doctors tell Nickerson that less than 10% of the children diagnosed with this type of cancer live longer than 18 months.

“I don’t really believe in that. He is doing great,” Nickerson said. “Every day is a blessing for us,”

So far, Danny has received about 40 letters.

“I gave him to key to the P.O. box,” Nickerson said. “He was so excited when he opened it.”

Nickerson said Danny loves Lego and Super Mario.

“I wish Lego makes Super Mario toys,” Nickerson chuckled. “That would really make him happy.”

Danny’s birthday is July 25. Cards can be mailed to: Danny Nickerson, P.O. Box 212, Foxboro, MA, 02035.

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Bodies Remain in Malaysia Airlines Debris Field 48 Hours After Downing

Alexander Ermochenko/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images(KIEV, Ukraine) — Malaysia Airlines flight 17 remains scattered across Ukraine Saturday, 48 hours after the plane downed, killing the 298 people on board.

The crash site has been described as the biggest crime scene in the world. International inspectors say they’ve been given some access, but Ukraine has accused pro-Russian separatists who control the fields where the plane went down of trying to destroy evidence.

Ukraine’s intelligence chief said the attack was supported and organized by Russia, and claimed to have the proof. But Russia has denied involvement and said Ukraine is responsible for breeding tension in its war-torn eastern countryside.

ABC’s Kirit Radio says investigators have arrived at the scene to begin removing the bodies.

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Credit Card Thieves Target Gas Pumps, ATMs, Restaurants With ‘Skimmers’

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — More cases of credit card thieves using “skimming” devices to steal unsuspecting customers’ credit card information are popping up across the country, not just at gas stations, but also ATMs and even restaurants.

When a credit card is run through a skimmer, the small device stores the cardholder’s data. Once the credit information is obtained, the thief can then sell the information or clone the credit card.

Authorities say thieves have installed skimmers inside credit card slots on gas pumps and in fake card slots placed on ATMs. Recently, an employee at a McDonald’s in Boca Raton, Florida, was caught on camera swiping customers’ cards through a handheld skimmer.

Richard Norris never thought much about his morning ritual of stopping by the McDonald’s for a sweet iced tea, until he noticed mysterious charges popping up on all three of his credit cards. Knowing that McDonald’s was the only place he had used all three cards, Norris turned his credit card receipts, showing dates and times of the purchases, over to police, who then checked the franchise location’s surveillance footage.

Sure enough, the footage showed the drive-thru window attendant swiping Norris’ card twice, first to charge for the iced tea, and again through the skimmer, kept out of sight from drivers. Police say Norris was just one of up to 70 customers who were skimmed during the attendant’s shifts.

“I was lucky, the money was, you know, it was found early on,” Norris said. “In other people’s situations, they might not be so lucky. They might have more money taken from them, and it might be their car payment, their mortgage payment, whatever.”

Norris said it wasn’t just the fraudulent charges that got to him, but also the deception.

“He actually made it a point to [say], ‘How are you doing, good afternoon, good morning,’ whatever the case might be, seemed to always be smiling,” Norris said. “He seemed like one of the nicer guys… he actually did his job. So for him to be on the back end doing something like he was, it was definitely, I don’t know, disheartening.”

The McDonald’s employee ended up pleading guilty to fraud charges and was sentenced to two years’probation. The Boca Raton McDonald’s did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

But authorities say this sort of brazen theft appears to be common. Detective Jeffrey Marshall of the Nassau County Police Department in New York said three different businesses within a two minute drive from the station had cases of employees skimming cards.

Electronic skimmers are so advanced that they don’t even need a human to operate. Marshall said there was a case where a thief installed a skimmer inside a fake card slot and placed it over the real one on an ATM inside a convenience store. The thief also installed a tiny camera to capture unsuspecting customers’ pin numbers so he could withdrawal cash.

The U.S. Secret Service, which investigates skimming fraud cases across the country, gets help from local police departments, gas station owners and guys like Dan DeFelippi, a reformed credit card hacker.

DeFelippi was caught by the Secret Service, but instead of going to prison, he spent two years training Secret Service agents in the art of skimming. “ATM cashing was the easiest and best way to make money,” DeFelippi said. “I was making thousands of dollars a day in cash doing that.”

His favorite target, he said, were gas pumps.

“[The skimmer is] hidden, the person using it will never see it, it’s simple to add, it’s simple to modify it. It only takes seconds to open it up and put it in there,”” DeFelippi said. “They’re ubiquitous. There are gas pumps everywhere. You can easily find a gas station to do it at and go back and gather.”

Authorities say there are ways for customers to protect themselves from skimming fraud.

Marshall advised checking your credit card statements regularly. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, once you report loss or theft, you have no additional responsibility for charges you didn’t make.

Second, if you’re at a gas station, choose a pump near the convenience store part of the station, close to the attendants. Experts say skimmers prefer to target pumps in the shadows. Finally, there is always the option of paying in cash.

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“American Ninja Warrior” Finalist Kacy Catanzaro Is Shocked By Fame

Peter Larsen/NBC(NEW YORK) — After becoming the first woman to make the finals of American Ninja Warrior, Kacy Catanzaro became a celebrity almost overnight.

Nobody was more surprised than she was.

“I had no idea how many people would care so much about it,” she told People. “I’m getting messages from my friends saying telling me that I am trending on Facebook and Twitter and that my video has 4 million views. It’s amazing. My followers have skyrocketed 30,000 plus more in just a couple of days.”

Catanzaro, who appeared on the show once before, blew away viewers by mastering each obstacle of the show’s grueling course. Though she doesn’t know what the finals have in store, she feels ready for whatever comes her way.

“The ring toss was something new this year and it was definitely a challenge, but I just took it slow and tried to stay calm,” she explained of her strategy. “I just kept going and tried to stay calm and it was really helpful. I believed in myself and went for it.”

No matter what happens in the future, the lifelong gymnast is happy to have inspired so many fans with her performance thus far.

“Being able to get the opportunity to be in that spotlight and put such a positive message out has been so amazing,” she said. “It was a surreal moment.”

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Obama Reveals First Family’s Favorite Junk Foods at Kids’ State Dinner

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(WASHINGTON) — Want to drive the president crazy? Just show him a bowl of guacamole he can’t eat.

Obama “lose[s] his mind” over chips and guac, he told guests at the annual Kids’ State Dinner Friday.

The dinner (technically a lunch, Obama pointed out) honors the 54 kid winners of the first lady’s “Healthy Lunchtime Challenge” recipe contest.

But the rather than focusing on nutrition, a particularly chipper Obama went a little off-script, instead divulging the first family’s junk food soft spots.

“One thing – maybe I shouldn’t say this – but it’s not like our family, including me, don’t have, you know, some snacks once in a while that may not be, you know, on the perfect nutrition chart,” the president said.

Sixteen-year-old Malia’s weakness is ice cream, and 13-year-old Sasha’s is sushi (and pie), he said.

“The first lady? French fries,” the president revealed — prompting her to publicly swear off fries.

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“American Ninja Warrior” Finalist Kacy Catanzaro Is Shocked By Fame

Peter Larsen/NBC(NEW YORK) — After becoming the first woman to make the finals of American Ninja Warrior, Kacy Catanzaro became a celebrity almost overnight.

Nobody was more surprised than she was.

“I had no idea how many people would care so much about it,” she told People. “I’m getting messages from my friends saying telling me that I am trending on Facebook and Twitter and that my video has 4 million views. It’s amazing. My followers have skyrocketed 30,000 plus more in just a couple of days.”

Catanzaro, who appeared on the show once before, blew away viewers by mastering each obstacle of the show’s grueling course. Though she doesn’t know what the finals have in store, she feels ready for whatever comes her way.

“The ring toss was something new this year and it was definitely a challenge, but I just took it slow and tried to stay calm,” she explained of her strategy. “I just kept going and tried to stay calm and it was really helpful. I believed in myself and went for it.”

No matter what happens in the future, the lifelong gymnast is happy to have inspired so many fans with her performance thus far.

“Being able to get the opportunity to be in that spotlight and put such a positive message out has been so amazing,” she said. “It was a surreal moment.”

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Astros Can’t Strike Deal With Top Pick

Rich Schultz/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — For just the third time in history, the top pick in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft goes unsigned. The Houston Astros failed to reach a deal with left-handed pitcher Brady Aiken before Friday’s deadline.

The high school southpaw was originally offered a $6.5 million signing bonus, but sources say that offer was lowered when concerns about Aiken’s elbow ligament rose. Aiken was the third high school pitcher ever to be taken number one overall and was the first high school lefty to go in the top five since 2002.

The MLB players association has said the union is working with Aiken to explore all possible options, as well as looking into the way Houston handled negotiations with fifth-round pick Jacob Nix.

“Today, two young men should be one step closer to realizing their dreams of becoming Major League ballplayers,” Tony Clark, head of the MLBPA said in a statement. “Because of the actions of the Houston Astros, they are not. The MLBPA, the players and their advisers are exploring all legal options.”

The Astros have maintained that no wrongdoing occurred in the negotiations and that Aiken’s deal was “extremely fair considering all the factors involved in this case.”

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