Here are five of the top stories making headlines this afternoon:
Canadian killed in Ukrainian plane crash identified. Canadian Andrei Anghel, 24, was on his way to Bali for a vacation, travelling on the Malaysia Airlines plane that was shot down in eastern Ukraine yesterday. He perished, along with 287 others on the plane. Anghel was from Ajax, Ont., where his parents still live, but had returned to Romania to study medicine. His girlfriend, a Romanian woman, also died in the crash, according to Anghel’s father. The majority of the victims were Dutch, among them researchers who were travelling to an AIDS conference in Melbourne, Australia. U.S. intelligence officials confirmed that a surface-to-air missile, likely fired from the Russian-controlled portion of eastern Ukraine, took down the plane yesterday. Ukraine blames Russian separatists for downing the plane, while U.S. President Barack Obama is calling for a fair investigation and world leaders are calling for a ceasefire to allow this investigation to proceed in the region.
Israeli troops push into Gaza during ground campaign. The Israeli government says its official mission in Gaza is to destroy underground tunnels used by militants, something Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says isn’t possible through air strikes alone. The question, now, is whether Israel will expand its operation once the tunnels are secured. On Friday, Netanyahu said the military should be ready for a “significant expansion” of its ground operation. In this most recent escalation of violence, at least 274 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza so far, with one-fifth of the victims estimated to be children.
Mike Duffy speaks, kind of. A freelance photojournalist tracked down Mike Duffy today and got him to say a few words—his first public comments since the RCMP announced 31 criminal charges against him yesterday. “I’m looking forward to appearing in court under oath and telling my story so Canadians will know the truth,” Duffy said outside his cottage in PEI. The charges against Duffy include fraud, breach of trust and bribery, related to Senate expenses. He will appear in court in September.
West Kelowna evacuation order continues as wildfires blaze in B.C. About 2,500 people have been ordered out of their homes in West Kelowna as a wildfire estimated to be 2.5-square kilometres burns near Smith Creek. There are also concerns about power outages in parts of the Okanagan Valley, as the blaze approached a main B.C. Hydro line. According to B.C.’s Wildfire Management Branch, more than 160 fires are burning across province, with 17 of those considered major fires and about a dozen threatening homes or other buildings. Smoke from the fires has also prompted air-quality warnings in parts of the B.C. interior.
Prince George turns one on Tuesday. Perhaps the world’s most watched baby is set to celebrate his first birthday next week. Expect many magazine covers, documentaries and lists of what to buy for baby George as the big day approaches. For real royal fans, three official new photos of Prince George will be released to help him celebrate his first birthday: One on Saturday and two on Monday evening. All in all, its quite a lot of coverage for a royal baby who has actually spent most of his first year of life out of the public eye.