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Sunday, July 27, 2014

50 Shades of Grey

'Fifty Shades of Grey' trailer takes boring, cliché-filled book and makes it worse 

The film starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan would more accurately be titled ‘Fifty Shades of Beige.’ Yet somehow, the trailer racked up close to 12 million hits in only two days.

'50 Shades of Grey' Trailer Doesn't Play Rough Enough

The ridiculously anticipated "50 Shades of Grey" trailer finally came out, and some fans are losing their minds over leading man Jamie Dornan ... claiming he comes up short in one key department.

The ladies (and one guy) here at TMZ just don't see the, umm ... tie-me-down-chain-me-up-and-whip-the-hell-out-of-me-with-cat-o-nine-tails appeal they're seeking in a man.

Most of us are trying not to judge them for that. 

The first look at 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' with Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson, is trailer trash.

Does your inner goddess sway to a victorious samba after a sexual assault in an elevator?
Can you hear a sphinx-like smile through the phone, (as opposed to — what? — hearing a sphinx-like smile in person?)?
Do you bite your lip every time you want to be cute?
Have you ever signed a contract promising not to defecate, engage in threesomes with big animals or small children, or use electric current and/or OB/GYN instruments while having sex with your guy?
Christian Grey (played by Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) stare a steamy kiss in an elevator in a scene from the trailer.

Was the birth mother of your rippling muscled, mogul of a boyfriend a crack ’ho?
Have you ever had sex in a Red Room of Pain where you were handcuffed, hung from chains and smacked with a riding crop while pressed against a wooden cross?
Is your inner goddess, (yes, her again) victorious (yes, that again) because you didn’t gag during oral sex with said muscled mogul?

Jamie Dornan shows off his physique in a peek at the flick.

Do you roll your eyes so often that trained dogs think you’re about to have a seizure?
Do you use colors to signal danger (other than the Homeland Security terror-alert chart)?
No? Good.

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson star in the film adaptation of the E.L. James book.

Do you know what the hell I’m talking about?
Yes? Then you, my friend, are one of more than 100 million females (OK, supposedly 20 percent are male), who have plunked down good money for the book or e-book “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which is so bad you should be more ashamed of having paid for it than for answering “yes” to all of the above questions.
OK, I too am one of the 100 million shame-faced losers who paid for it. The download I mean. (That sounds bad.)


Why? Because some of my friends, albeit lonely friends, recommended it, that’s why. I should have kept my word and fixed them up with the fat guy from the deli because clearly you have to not have had good sex in 20 years to get a rush out of this thing.
And just when it was safe to return to the bookstore, three days ago the trailer of the movie hit, complete with a terrific, sexed-up version of “Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé. If the book was a cliché-riddled bore, the trailer is worse. It should be called “Fifty Shades of Beige.”
In it, Dakota Johnson (playing Anastasia Steele) and Jamie Dornan (Christian Grey) attempt to steam up the lift. The whole thing falls flatter and faster than a broken elevator from the 50th floor.
Right? No. I’m wrong, because in the first two days the trailer got close to 12 million hits.
So who is the audience for this rom-dumb? Mostly women over 50, and housewives home with the kids. And that 20% of men who must be even less sexually satisfied than the bored housewives and women over 50.
“Fifty Shades” author E. L. James knows her audience since she herself is a 51-year-old lady from England who looks like she would enjoy a nice beating from “Poor, f-ed up, kinky, philanthropic Christian.” Or any sex actually.
What is the top advice James dispenses on her website to all those lonely ladies out there? “Life is not a dress rehearsal — seize the day and follow your dreams.”
She should be in handcuffs just for writing that! There should be mandatory prison time for anyone who dares to include more than two clichés in one incomprehensible sentence.
Failing that, my inner goddess prefers handcuffs to be on criminals — you know, the kind that assault women in elevators.

Monday, July 21, 2014

The U.N. Security Council votes unanimously to condemn the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crash site.

 'What exactly are they trying to hide?' Obama says of Russia, Ukrainian rebels

Hrabove, Ukraine (CNN) -- Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and U.S. President Barack Obama lashed out Monday at Russia over conditions at the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, saying Russian-backed rebels still are impeding efforts to find out exactly what happened.

Poroshenko, speaking to CNN's Christiane Amanpour, pleaded for international solidarity against the pro-Russian rebels believed by many international officials to be responsible for firing the missile that downed the plane Thursday, killing all 298 aboard.

"I don't see any differences" between 9/11, the Lockerbie bombing and the attack on Flight 17, Poroshenko said, referring to the 2001 terror attacks on the United States and the bombing of a Pan Am flight over Scotland in 1988.

Obama called on Russia to rein in the rebel fighters, who he said had treated remains poorly and removed evidence from the site.

"What exactly are they trying to hide?" he said.

Obama said it was time for Russia to exert what he called its "enormous influence" over the rebel fighters -- who U.S. and other officials have say are armed, trained and backed by Russia -- to persuade them to better cooperate with the international investigation.

"It's the least they can do," he said.

Despite the stern tone of the Ukrainian and U.S. leaders, the spokesman for a team of European monitors at the site said conditions have improved since a chilly reception immediately after Flight 17 fell from the sky.

"Today we have three Dutch forensics experts with us, and they're getting pretty much unfettered access," Michael Bociurkiw, the spokesman for monitors from the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, told CNN's Chris Cuomo.

Dutch forensic experts and a handful of Ukrainian aviation experts worked the scene Monday, Bociurkiw said separately in a briefing for reporters hosted by the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center.

In another development, pro-Russian officials also were expected to hand over the aircraft's black boxes Monday night, according to Sergei Kavtaradze, special representative to the self-declared rebel Prime Minister in Donetsk, Alexander Borodai.

Handling the remains
The remains of 16 people were still missing Monday, four days after Flight 17 fell out of the sky, Poroshenko told Amanpour.

Earlier, the Ukrainian government issued a statement saying that 282 bodies and 87 "body fragments" had been recovered from the sprawling crash site.

A train carrying the remains of 251 passengers was expected to arrive in the eastern city of Kharkiv by midnight, Ukrainian officials said Monday. It will first have to pass through Donetsk, the scene of fighting earlier in the day between rebels and government forces.

Obama and Poroshenko both deplored how the bodies had been treated, echoing complaints that the remains had been left exposed to the elements for days and that rebels had stripped personal belongings from some of the bodies and their effects.

Poroshenko said the rebels' conduct was "barbaric." Obama called the handling of remains an "insult" that has "no place in the community of nations."

Dutch forensics experts who inspected the train Monday were "more or less" satisfied with how the bodies were being stored," Bociurkiw said.

Ukrainian government officials have said the bodies will eventually be taken to Amsterdam. Most of those who died in the crash were Dutch.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte met with relatives and friends of victims Monday, calling the session filled with sadness and "very touching."

"All of the Netherlands is feeling their fury. All of the Netherlands is sharing their deep sadness, and all of the Netherlands is just gathering around all the next of kin," he said.

Bociurkiw had no information about the status of a team of international crash experts staging in Kharkiv to inspect the debris. Earlier, the Ukrainian government issued a news release saying the experts had reviewed photos of the crash scene.

Another team from the Netherlands remains in Kiev, according to the Dutch Foreign Ministry, and some Malaysian investigators flew to the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Saturday. But Malaysia's official news agency said they were still negotiating with rebels over access for their team.

The United States has sent two FBI agents, according to a senior U.S. law enforcement source. An investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board as also in Kiev. Law enforcement officials from the Netherlandsand Australia were also expected.

'An outrage made in Moscow'
The U.N. Security Council voted unanimously Monday to adopt a resolution demanding full access to the crash site and condemning the downing of the plane. The resolution did not specify who was responsible for the crash.

U.S. and other officials have said it appears the plane was shot down by a sophisticated surface-to-air missile located within rebel-held territory. Evidence supporting that conclusion includes telephone intercepts purporting to be pro-Russian rebels discussing the shootdown and video of a Buk missile launcher traveling into Russia with at least one missile missing.

While they have stopped short of putting the responsibility squarely on Russia, Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron and others have said the pro-Russian rebels could not have shot such a high-flying jet down without weapons and training from Russia.

In an op-ed in The Sunday Times, British Prime Minister David Cameron called the plane crash and its aftermath "an outrage made in Moscow."

But officials said Monday that U.S. intelligence analysts are examining phone intercepts, social media posts and information gathered on the ground to see if Russian officials played a direct role in the shootdown, according to two U.S. officials directly familiar with the latest assessment. The officials declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation.
"We are trying to determine if they manned it, advised, or pulled the trigger," one of the officials told CNN.

Russian blame Ukraine
Moscow has strongly denied the claim, and on Monday, a Russian general suggested that it may instead have been a Ukrainian jet fighter that shot the plane down.

Russian monitoring showed a Ukrainian Su-25 fighter jet flying along the same route and within 3 kilometers to 5 kilometers (1.9 miles to 3.1 miles) of Flight 17, Lt. Gen. Andrei Kartapolov of the Russian Army General Staff said at a news conference, Russian state media reported.

"We would like to know why the Ukrainian plane was flying along a civilian route on the same flight path as the Malaysian Boeing," Kartapolov said, according to the reports.

In his interview with Amanpour, Poroshenko rejected the Russian suggestion, saying all Ukrainian aircraft were on the ground at the time.

Pro-Russian rebels have also denied responsibility for the shootdown.

In an interview with Cuomo broadcast Monday on CNN's "New Day," Borodai said he believed Ukrainian forces either shot the plane down with a surface-to-air missile or, as the Russian general suggested, one of its own fighter jets.

"We didn't have motives and desire to do that, and it is obvious that Ukrainians have them," he said. "I can't say about desire, but motive is obvious that the crash of this plane was beneficial to them."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

James Garner dies at 86

James Garner dies at 86; TV antihero of 'Maverick,' 
'Rockford Files'

James Garner, a master of light comedy who shot to fame in the 1950s as the charming and dry-witted gambler on the hit TV western "Maverick" and later won an Emmy Award as the unconventional L.A. private eye on "The Rockford Files," has died. He was 86.

Garner died Saturday at his Los Angeles home, his publicist Jennifer Allen told The Times. Garner, who underwent quintuple bypass heart surgery in 1988 and suffered a stroke in 2008, had been in poor health for some time but the cause of his death was not immediately known.

Once described by Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales as having "embodied the crusty, sardonic and self-effacing strain of American masculinity" in his iconic roles as Maverick and Rockford, the Oklahoma-born Garner amassed more than 80 movie and TV-movie credits during his more than 50-year career.

An off-screen Hollywood maverick who successfully battled two studios in court, Garner easily moved between small screen and big screen in roles ranging from light comedy to drama.

"I have long thought that Jim Garner was one of the best actors around," filmmaker Robert Altman, who directed him in the 1980 comedy "Health," told Esquire magazine in 1979.

"He is often overlooked because he makes it look so easy, and that is not easy to do," Altman said. "I don't know anyone in the business with his charm and charisma who can act so well."

Garner was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as a widowed small-town pharmacist opposite Sally Field's much younger single mother in the 1985 romantic comedy "Murphy's Romance."

His films include "The Children's Hour," "The Great Escape," "The Americanization of Emily," "The Thrill of It All," "Move Over, Darling," "Grand Prix," "Support Your Local Sheriff," "Marlowe," "Victor/Victoria," "Space Cowboys" and "The Notebook."
But it was television that made Garner a household name, and once he returned to series TV in the early 1970s after a decade starring in films, he remained a welcome presence on the small screen.
That included stints as a celebrity pitchman for such entities as the Beef Industry Council, Mazda, Chevy Tahoe and, most famously, Polaroid cameras.
Indeed, the humorous series of Polaroid spots Garner made with actress Mariette Hartley in the late '70s and early '80s only burnished Garner's status as a TV icon.
Garner's seemingly effortless flair for delivering humorous dialogue — and delivering straight dialogue humorously — made him one of television's biggest stars.

"Television is a close-up, intimate medium: The audience falls in love with Jim as a friend," Brandon Stoddard, then a senior vice president of ABC, told Esquire magazine in 1979.
Signed as a contract player at Warner Bros. in the mid-1950s, Garner — a handsome, 6-foot-3, black-haired Korean War veteran — launched his Hollywood career with guest shots on TV shows such as "Cheyenne" and small parts in a few films.
He was on location in Japan playing the supporting role of Marlon Brando's Marine Corps captain buddy in the 1957 romantic drama "Sayonara" when he learned that Warner television wanted to test him for a new series called "Maverick."

The hourlong western-adventure series made its debut on ABC in September 1957. Arriving at a time when a slew of westerns such as "Gunsmoke" and "Have Gun Will Travel" dominated the airwaves, "Maverick" stood out.
Although the show began as a relatively straight western, the writers quickly began injecting humor into the scripts, a development Garner handled with aplomb.

As Bret Maverick, the dapper roving gambler, Garner was anything but a traditional western hero: He was, as Garner later put it, a reluctant hero.

"Maverick" began with Garner as the sole star. But when first-season filming fell behind, Jack Kelly was brought in as Maverick's brother, Bart. Two companies then began filming Garner and Kelly in separate episodes and sometimes together.

The series' tongue-in-cheek formula worked: Within two months of its premiere, the upstart "Maverick" had passed the rival Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen shows in the Sunday-night ratings.

"Maverick" brought Garner an Emmy nomination for best actor in 1959, the same year the show won an Emmy for best western series. "Maverick" ran until 1962, but Garner left the show in 1960.

He had been unhappy with Warner Bros. over his relatively low salary and the studio's control over his career. And when the studio suspended him without pay during a writers strike, he successfully sued and got out of his contract.

Garner turned his attention to movies and soon formed his own company, Cherokee Productions.

Clint Eastwood, who played a heavy in a "Maverick" episode before landing his own TV series, "Rawhide," in 1959, later said it "didn't take long for producers to realize that Jim would make a great movie star."

"Nowadays, television actors become movie stars all the time, but back then, in the late '50s, it wasn't easy," Eastwood said in the 2001 tribute "Clint Eastwood on James Garner" that aired on Turner Classic Movies.

"There was a sort of prejudice at that time for guys who were on television, the theory being that if you saw him every week on television for free, why pay to see him in a movie?" said Eastwood, who directed and co-starred with Garner in the 2000 film "Space Cowboys." "But Jim proved that wasn't the case, which opened the door for people like Steve McQueen and myself."

Garner starred in 21 films from 1961 through 1971, the year he returned to television as the star of "Nichols," an NBC western set in 1914 Arizona. The show lasted a year.

But then came "The Rockford Files," which ran on NBC from 1974 to 1980 and starred Garner as private eye Jim Rockford.

The action-drama was devoid of private-eye cliches. Instead of a secretary, Rockford had an answering machine, and instead of an office, he worked out of the weather-beaten house trailer that he lived in at the beach. And though Rockford could be daring when confronting the bad guys, he was not above admitting to them that he was "scared to death."

"If you look at it, he's not a hell of a lot different from Maverick," Garner told Daily Variety in 2005. "They're antiheroes, both of them, and, for an actor, that's probably the most fun kind of leading man to play."

The series earned Garner an Emmy in 1977.

But the show abruptly ended in 1980. Under doctors' orders to take time off because of a bleeding ulcer, Garner could not continue working and NBC announced a replacement series.

James Garner film and TV rolesIn 1983, Garner filed a lawsuit against Universal alleging that the studio had used so-called creative accounting to cheat him out of his 37.5% share of the profits for "The Rockford Files" from syndication and foreign sales.
In his 2011 memoir "The Garner Files," Garner said the case was settled "on the courthouse steps" in 1989. He had sued Universal for $22.5 million — $7.5 million in compensatory damages and $15 million in punitive damages. Although he had promised not to reveal the amount that Universal paid him, he wrote, his wife had to keep telling him to wipe the grin off his face.

After leaving "Rockford," Garner devoted the majority of his professional life over the next three decades to television. Some of his best roles were in TV movies and miniseries.

He received Emmy nominations for "Heartsounds," "Promise" (a special for which he shared an Emmy for producing), "My Name Is Bill W.," "Decoration Day," "Barbarians at the Gate" and "Breathing Lessons."

He also returned to his role as Rockford in eight "Rockford Files" TV movies in the '90s and also co-starred that decade with Mel Gibson in the 1994 film "Maverick."

In 2005, Garner received a life achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild.
The youngest of three sons, he was born James Scott Bumgarner on April 7, 1928, in Norman, Okla. His mother died when he was 4 and his father, who ran a country store, later remarried.

It was not a happy home for Garner and his brothers, Charles and Jack. Their stepmother, Garner later recalled, regularly beat them "with anything she could get hold of."

Near the end of World War II, the 16-year-old Garner dropped out of high school and joined the merchant marine. A victim of chronic seasickness, he soon quit and moved to Los Angeles, where his father lived.

While briefly attending Hollywood High, Garner was recommended by his football coach for a $20-an-hour job modeling Jantzen swimsuits for magazine ads.

After working in oil fields in Oklahoma and Texas and holding various odd jobs, Garner was drafted into the Army in 1950 during the Korean War. He served in the infantry and was wounded twice.

After his discharge, he briefly attended the University of Oklahoma, then returned to California and worked with his father as a carpet layer.

At a loss for what to do with his life, he fell into acting.

Paul Gregory, a friend who years earlier had encouraged Garner to become an actor, by then was a producer and agent. He took Garner on as a client.

Gregory soon put Garner in the Broadway-bound play he was producing: "The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial," directed by Charles Laughton and featuring a cast that included Henry Fonda, John Hodiak and Lloyd Nolan.

As one of six judges in the court-martial, Garner had a nonspeaking part. The play opened on Broadway in 1954 and ran for a year. A national tour followed, with Garner playing Lt. Stephen Maryk, a role originated by Hodiak.

Within a year, Garner was at Warner Bros.

While making the 1966 film "Grand Prix," Garner developed a fascination with auto racing and owned the American International Racing team in the late 1960s. He participated in both on-road and off-road racing and drove the pace car three times at the Indianapolis 500.
McLellan is a former staff writer.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Malaysia Airlines plane Filght 17 Shot Down (Video)

CREEPY: Before boarding took a picture of the crashed plane and put it on Facebook "just misses"

A Dutch passenger who boarded the plane which then crashed after being shot down, took a picture of the MH-17 flight, before boarding the aircraft

Cor Pan "on the plane was shot down over Ukrainian territory, but moments before boarding their social networks rose to a photo from the hall of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, with the words" if the plane is lost, and looked

WARNING -- Disturbing Video

(CNN) -- [Breaking news update at 4:53 p.m. ET Thursday]
The United States has concluded the Malaysian airline was shot down, a senior U.S. official told CNN's Barbara Starr. One radar system saw a surface-to-air missile system turn on and track an aircraft right before the plane went down Thursday, according to the official. A second system saw a heat signature at the time the airliner was hit, the official said. 

The United States is analyzing the trajectory of the missile to try to learn where the attack came from.

In other developments:
- "We must and we will find out precisely what happened to this flight. No stone will be left unturned," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters. He called for an international team to have full access to the crash site. "If it transpires that the plane was indeed shot down, we insist that the perpetrators must swiftly be brought to justice," he said.
- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that Ukraine's president accepted an offer of U.S. experts to investigate the crash of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner there, adding "they will be on their way rapidly to see if we can get to the bottom of this."

Malaysia Airlines jet crashes in Ukraine; official says 295 people 'shot down'
(CNN) -- A Malaysia Airlines passenger jet crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, prompting swift accusations from Ukrainian officials that "terrorists" shot down the aircraft.
The Boeing 777 carrying 295 people went down near the town of Torez in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, according to a Facebook post from a top Ukrainian official, as it flew at about 10,000 meters (nearly 33,000 feet) on the way from Amsterdam to Malaysia.
Anton Gerashchenko, adviser to the Ukrainian Interior Ministry, said in a Facebook post that "terrorists" fired on the plane operating a Buk surface-to-air missile system.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko described the crash as a "terrorist action."
"We do not exclude that the plane was shot down and confirm that the Ukraine Armed Forces did not fire at any targets in the sky," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said, according to his website.
The crash sent emergency crews scrambling to what witnesses described as a staggering scene.
"People said the plane kind of exploded in the air, and that everything rained down in bits and pieces, the plane itself, the people inside," said Noah Sneider, an American freelance journalist who interviewed witnesses at the scene.
Now, charred wreckage stretches for kilometers, he said. Stunned rescue workers and rebel fighters are combing the area, Sneider said, planting sticks with white cotton ribbons where they find bodies in the fields.
"As you walk through the fields, you see a man with his cracked iPhone sticking out of his pocket. You see sort of people's clothing everywhere. Most of it's kind of ripped off by the air. There's some suitcases and stuff in a pile by the road," Sneider said.
There are many bodies left to be found, he said, but night is falling, and people are trying to figure out what to do next.
Locals in the rural area trying to help were overwhelmed, he said. Firemen who rushed to put out the flames found they had a hose with holes in it, spraying water everywhere, he said.
"One man said to me, 'Nothing's happened in this village for 30 years, and now this,'" Sneider said.
Malaysia Airlines: We've lost contact with plane
Details are quickly pouring in about Thursday's crash which comes the same week that Ukrainian officials said a Russian fighter shot down a Ukrainian military transport plane while the aircraft was in Ukrainian airspace.
As news broke of the crash, Malaysia Airlines confirmed in a tweet that it lost contact with Flight 17 and that the jet's last known position was over Ukrainian airspace.
CNN's Richard Quest, an aviation expert, said that it would be "extremely unusual" for an airliner at 32,000 feet to be shot down. From the ground, one could simply look up and tell whether a plane was a commercial aircraft.
"It looks like a commercial aircraft, it squawks a commercial aircraft. So something is absolutely appalling that's gone on here," he said.
Reports are still coming in about who may have been on board and where they're from.
But Laurent Fabius, France's Minister of Foreign Affairs, confirmed to CNN that there were at least four French victims on the plane.
FlightRadar24 showed the plane disappearing near Kremenchuk, Ukraine.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak tweeted that an investigation will be launched immediately. "I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed," he posted.
And Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk ordered that a government commission investigate the crash, a statement from his office said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin "expressed deep condolences" to Malaysia's Prime Minister over the crash, a post Thursday on the Kremlin's website said. He "asked to pass the most sincere word of condolences and support to families and relatives of (the crash) victims," the post said.
Near the end of a phone call Thursday morning with President Obama, Putin noted to the President the early reports of a downed passenger jet near the Russia-Ukraine border, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said.
Obama directed his staff to be in touch with senior Ukrainian officials, Earnest said.
Later Thursday, Obama said the crash "looks like it may be a terrible tragedy" and he said efforts were underway to determine if any Americans were aboard.
Vice President Joe Biden, who was traveling in Detroit Thursday, talked on the phone with President Poroshenko, Earnest said, adding that Biden offered U.S. assistance to help determine why the crash occurred.
Poroshenko said he has expressed condolences to Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte about the crash.
Russia-Ukraine dispute
The route the Malaysian plane was on, between Kuala Lumpur and the Netherlands, is a common one, CNN aviation safety consultant Mary Schiavo said Thursday. She said that the plane was flying over a troubled area and that close communication with air traffic controllers would be a key necessity.
Torez is in a rebel-held area.
In hostile or disputed areas, "any alteration from your course, and you can have a problem," Schiavo said.
Map: Approximate route of MH17Map: Approximate route of MH17

Tensions have been high between Ukraine and Russia since street protests forced former pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych from power in February. Russia subsequently annexed Ukraine's southeastern Crimea region, and a pro-Russian separatist rebellion has been raging in Ukraine's eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions.
Ukrainian forces have been struggling to quell the separatist unrest. Ukraine's government has accused Russia of allowing weapons and military equipment, including tanks, to cross the border illegally into the hands of pro-Russian separatists.
The Pentagon said Wednesday that Russia now has 12,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, as well as some heavy weapons. The troop numbers had fallen to about 1,000 previously from a high of an estimated 40,000 forces earlier this year.

Malaysia Airlines Plane Crashes in Ukraine

Malaysia Airlines lost contact with Boeing 777

(CNN) -- A Malaysia Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has crashed in eastern Ukraine, Russian news agency Interfax reported Thursday.

Malaysia Airlines confirmed that it lost contact with Flight 17 and that the plane's last known position was over Ukrainian airspace, the airline said on Twitter.

The jet is a Boeing 777, according to Interfax. The plane reportedly went down near the border between Russia and Ukraine.

"We are aware of reports on MH17. We're gathering more information," Boeing said on Twitter.

Map: Ukraine and Russia border"I am shocked by reports that an MH plane crashed. We are launching an immediate investigation," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in another tweet.

Map: Ukraine and Russia border

News of the Malaysian plane comes in the same week that Ukrainian officials said a Russian fighter shot down a Ukrainian jet while the jet was in in Ukrainian airspace.

The route the Malaysian plane was on, between Kuala Lumpur and the Netherlands, is a common one, CNN aviation safety consultant Mary Schiavo said Thursday. She said that the plane was flying over a troubled area and that close communication with air traffic controllers would be a key necessity.

In hostile or disputed areas, "any alteration from your course, and you can have a problem," she said.

Russia-Ukraine dispute

Tensions have been high between Ukraine and Russia since street protests forced former pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovych from power in February. Russia subsequently annexed Ukraine's southeastern Crimea region, and a pro-Russian separatist rebellion has been raging in Ukraine's eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions..

Ukrainian forces have been struggling to quell the separatist unrest. Ukraine's government has accused Russia of allowing weapons and military equipment, including tanks, to cross the border illegally into the hands of pro-Russian separatists.

The Pentagon said Wednesday that Russia now has 12,000 troops on the border with Ukraine, as well as some heavy weapons. The troop numbers had fallen to about 1,000 previously from a high of an estimated 40,000 forces earlier this year.

On Thursday, CNN reported that Ukrainian officials said a Russian fighter shot down a Ukrainian jet Wednesday as the jet flew in Ukrainian airspace.

Tensions are high over that incident, separate from the breaking news of the Malaysian flight Thursday.

Malaysian Plane with 295 people crashes in Ukraine (Photos) avionmalasiaestrella

At least 295 people were on the plane that crashed in the Ukrainian region of Donetsk, the scene of fighting between government forces and pro-Russian Ukrainian rebels, as reported by the Ukrainian authorities cited by the Interfax news agency.

Dozens of bodies were strewn around the smoldering remains of an airliner that crashed in eastern Ukraine on Thursday, said a Reuters reporter who was at the scene.

A rescue worker from emergency services said at least 100 bodies had been found so far at the site, near the village of Grabovo, and that the remains of the aircraft were scattered around an area of about 15 km in diameter .

Broken pieces of the wings were marked with blue and red paint, the same color as the emblem of Malaysian Airlines, which lost track of the flight was from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and carrying nearly 300 people, Reuters reported.

 "They killed 280 passengers and 15 crew members," wrote Anton Gueráshenko, adviser of the Ukrainian Interior Minister, in his Facebook page.

Gueráshenko added that the Boeing-777 was shot down by a missile in Donetsk area that is under the control of separatist militants.

In this regard, representatives of the self-proclaimed People's Republic of Donetsk refused to have weapons to shoot down a plane flying at 10,000 feet.

Military spokesman of the antiterrorist operation in eastern Ukraine, Vladislav Seleznev, told the Russian news agency RIA-Novosti the air crash near the town of Shakhtiorsk. EFE

Airline's troubles

On top of that, the report of a downed Malaysian flight marks the second time this year that Malaysia Airlines has faced an incident involving a plane.

On March 8, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared. That plane had 239 people on board. Searchers have found no trace of 370 or its passengers, despite extensive search efforts.

Flight 370 probably flew into the southern Indian Ocean on autopilot with an unresponsive crew, Australian authorities said last month.

During the early phase of the search for Flight 370, aircraft and ships scoured vast stretches of the surface of the southern Indian Ocean but found no debris.

Pings initially thought to be from the missing plane's flight recorders led to a concentrated underwater search that turned up nothing.

A new underwater search, farther south, will be broadly in an area where planes and vessels had already looked for debris on the surface of the water. It is expected to begin in August.