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Big plume of black smoke. A Boeing 777 with 295 people aboard, the world's safest airliner, they keep saying. Gone. Now a smoking hole in the ground in Ukraine. Was it shot-down? A missile? Some expression of the war between Russia and Ukraine, a war that had appeared quietly stalled?

Malaysian Airlines Plane

The Ukrainian says it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile system. Russian military action? Ukrainian separatists? Mistaken identity? Retribution for yesterday's downing of a military jet? Denials, all around.

The US Federal Aviation Administration had previously banned American-flagged air carriers from flying over the Crimea region, and that remains in effect.

This crash? It's Malaysia Airlines (again). Flight 17, from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur. Full.

Richard Engel, chief foreign correspondent for NBC, is offering background and informed speculation from his current post in Gaza. He's interrupted.

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Big plume of black smoke. A smoking hole in the ground. Another one, that just appeared behind him. In Gaza.

Today is eleven days short of 100 years since World War I began.

"No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

-- John Donne,
first published in 1624.

Larry Wines