This just in
July 18, 2014
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Despite questions over why Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was above Ukraine, Malaysia's transportation minister said the plane took an "approved" and "safe" route.

At a press conference Friday, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai denied suspicion that Malaysia Airlines had ignored security warnings. His announcement came amid accusations that the plane had taken a shortcut over conflict zones to save time and fuel.

"This was an approved route, and approved routes are safe routes," Lai said. He emphasized that 15 out of 16 airlines in the Asia-Pacific region fly over Ukraine.

Lai denied that the Flight 17 pilots sent ground controllers a mayday call prior to its crash in Ukraine. Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak also denied Friday that the plane made a distress call.

"This is a tragic day in what has already been a tragic year for Malaysia," Najib said. Meghan DeMaria

taste the rainbow
11:31 a.m. ET

It's finally September, which means the real NFL action is just over a week away. But if the Sept. 10 season opener still seems out of reach, here's a treat to fill the football-shaped void: Marshawn Lynch appeared on a TV shopping network to hawk — what else? — Skittles.

Yes, the man behind "Beast Mode" took to the small screen Tuesday morning to espouse the myriad merits of his much-beloved candy. When EVINE Live hostess Allison Waggoner asked Lynch about the nature of his relationship with Skittles, the star running back was not shy:

Lynch's Seattle Seahawks open the season against the St. Louis Rams in Missouri on Sunday, Sept. 13. Don't forget to buy Skittles for your watch party. Kimberly Alters

police shootings
10:32 a.m. ET

Cell phone footage from Bexar County, Texas, appears to show two sheriff's deputies shooting and killing a man as he stands, still and shirtless, with his hands raised in the air.

The incident occurred after officers responded to a domestic violence report, arriving on the scene to find an injured woman and baby. They said that the suspect, Gilbert Flores, was brandishing a knife. While the police report said that Flores was resisting arrest and endangering the officers' lives, the video appears to contradict their story. "He put his hands in the air, and they just shot him twice," said Michael Thomas, who filmed the shooting.

The two officers involved have been placed on administrative leave pending investigation of the circumstances surrounding Flores' death. The Bexar County Sheriff's Office has criticized the local news affiliate that released the shooting footage, saying on Facebook that the decision to share the video was "unethical and sad" and "sensational." Bonnie Kristian

a peak in the campaign season
10:11 a.m. ET

Republican braggadocio Donald Trump has made his campaign all immigration policy, all the time — until now. Following Sunday's news that President Obama officially directed the federal government to refer to the tallest peak in North America as Mt. Denali instead of Mt. McKinley, Trump pledged via Twitter to change the name back once he gets to the White House:

Ohio, where President McKinley was born, also happens to be a key swing state in the presidential election.

Many native Alaskans — who have far fewer votes in the Electoral College — have used the name Denali for generations, and the state government has been attempting to get Washington to recognize the traditional name since the 1970s. Bonnie Kristian

This just in
10:01 a.m. ET
Andrew Burton/Getty Images

The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened to yet another bad day, falling 400 points, or 2.4 percent, shortly after Tuesday's opening bell. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 index dropped 48 points, or 2.5 percent, and futures for the Nasdaq 100 index lost 108 points, or 2.6 percent.

The plunge in U.S. stocks followed the release of weak economic data from China that deepened fears over the health of the world's second largest economy. Markets around the world had rebounded somewhat over the last several trading days, only to take a dive on Tuesday. A senior managing partner at Meridian Equity commented to The Wall Street Journal, "Clearly this is showing us we're not out of the woods by any means." Becca Stanek

faith in humanity restored
9:55 a.m. ET

Europe is buckling under the weight of hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern refugees trying to get into the EU. The Keleti train station in Budapest shut down Tuesday due to the number of migrants trying to get from Hungary to Germany; in late August, 71 refugees were found dead after suffocating in a refrigerated truck in Austria. Germany, meanwhile, is expecting 800,000 refugee arrivals this year.

In response to the crisis, the tiny island nation of Iceland has only offered the smallest amount of aid, agreeing to take in a mere 50 Syrian refugees. That wasn't nearly enough for popular Icelandic children's book author Bryndís Björgvinsdóttir. She launched a Facebook campaign that asked her fellow countrymen and women to open up their homes and urge the government to do more, The Telegraph reports. In 24 hours, more than 10,000 Icelanders had offered their homes for refugees to stay in. Keep in mind that Iceland's entire population is less than 330,000.

"I think people have had enough of seeing news stories from the Mediterranean and refugee camps of dying people and they want something done now," Björgvinsdóttir told Icelandic public television RUV in response to the overwhelming support.

That seems to be true. "I'm a single mother with a 6-year-old son...We can take a child in need. I'm a teacher and would teach the child to speak, read and write Icelandic, and adjust to Icelandic society," one Facebook user wrote. "We have clothes, a bed, toys, and everything a child needs. I would of course pay for the airplane ticket."

The Icelandic government is now looking into how to accept more refugees. Whatever they decide, this much is for sure: The migrants they take in will have a warm welcome waiting for them. Jeva Lange

Crime stats
9:49 a.m. ET

The summer isn't even over yet, and already Milwaukee has surpassed the total homicide count for the entire year of 2014 by 18 homicides. But this troubling stat isn't an outlier: More than 30 other cities across the U.S. are reporting similar trends, The New York Times reports. With months still left in the year, homicides in U.S. cities including New Orleans, Baltimore, and St. Louis have already hit triple digits, far outpacing the number of murders in the same period of the previous year. In Baltimore, for example, there have so far been 215 homicides in 2015; at this time last year, there were 138.

The reason for this surprising uptick remains yet to be determined. According to law enforcement experts, "disparate factors are at play in different cities," including rivalries among street gangs and the availability of guns. One theory posits that "intense national scrutiny of the use of force by the police has made officers less aggressive and emboldened criminals," The New York Times reports. Police officials also noted they're seeing a shift in attitudes about the willingness to use violence to settle disagreements, particularly among "disenchanted young men in poor neighborhoods."

The Justice Department is expected to launch an initiative this month to deal with the increased homicide rates. Becca Stanek

bond james bond
9:17 a.m. ET
Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

The rumor mill has been churning for months now with speculation that Idris Elba will be the next James Bond. But that theory isn't sitting well with some, including the current 007 author. Anthony Horowitz, who took over the job of writing the James Bond novels from the Ian Fleming estate, is none too pleased that Elba is being considered, although he claims it isn't "a color issue."

"I think he is probably too street for Bond," Horowitz told The Daily Mail. "Is it a question of being suave? Yeah."

Horowitz added that while Elba is "a terrific actor," he can think of other black actors who could better play the role, and suggested Adrian Lester.

Last December, Rush Limbaugh also weighed in, saying James Bond ought to be "white and Scottish."

Elba, for his part, has in the past been reluctant to praise the history-making implications of his potential casting. "I just don't want to be the black James Bond," Elba told NPR in 2011. "Sean Connery wasn't the Scottish James Bond and Daniel Craig wasn't the blue-eyed James Bond, so if I played him, I don't want to be called the black James Bond." Jeva Lange

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