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You've likely heard by now about the HIV/AIDS contingent on their way to a Melbourne conference that were on that shot down Malaysia flight. Obama mentioned it in his presser yesterday. But sourcing on that "up to 100" figure is shaky.

This is from WaPo:

At least some of the people killed when Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 were AIDS researchers and activists heading to a conference in Australia. That much is confirmed. Beyond that, much is unknown.

News reports have estimated that more than 100 people on the plane — nearly a third of the 298 passengers killed in the crash — were heading to the conference, a number cited by President Obama during remarks on Friday. But conference organizers said that they had only been able to confirm the names of seven people so far, cautioning that the number of people on the plane heading to the conference may be lower than the figures that have been reported. (About 14,000 people are expected at the conference.)

“We have been working hard to try and confirm how many people were on the flight,” Chris Beyrer, who will take over the presidency of the International AIDS Society next week, told The Washington Post. “We’ve been speaking to a number of different authorities, and we think the actual number is much smaller.”

President Obama, speaking at the White House, called the deaths of nearly 300 people an “outrage of unspeakable proportions.” He highlighted the passengers heading to the AIDS conference during his remarks, praising these passengers as people focused on helping others.

“On board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17 there were apparently near 100 researchers and advocates traveling to an international conference in Australia dedicated to combating AIDS/HIV,” he said. “These were men and women who had dedicated their own lives to saving the lives of others, and they were taken from us in a senseless act of violence.”

When asked where President Obama got the “near 100 researchers and advocates” figure, the National Security Council told The Washington Post that the figure was used in remarks by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

In fact, I checked with Australia news media on that:
@DemFromCT Greg, confirmation will likely take days so not official - but our Premier (like a US Governor) is using same estimate to media
I was also in contact with Jon Cohen and Martin Enserink, who have a great summary of their efforts to verify the number:
Media reports today speculated that as many as 100 HIV researchers may have been aboard the downed jet, which was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur—a number repeated by President Barack Obama in his remarks today on the tragedy. But at what was supposed to be a celebratory dinner tonight for select delegates, Sharon Lewin, co-chair of the meeting, said that so far, six people expected to come to the meeting were known to have boarded the flight: Lange, his partner Jacqueline van Tongeren, three others working in the HIV/AIDS field in the Netherlands, and World Health Organization (WHO) spokesman Glenn Thomas. “We actually don’t know the full story,” said Lewin, a researcher here at the Burnet Institute. (A Washington Post story says the meeting has now confirmed seven names.)
This, despite headlines and news stories citing 100 or so deaths in the Guardian, HuffPost, Sydney Morning Herald, and Obama's own news conference.

More politics and policy below the fold.

Timothy Garton Ash/NY Times:

Once upon a time, there was the Brezhnev Doctrine, which justified as “fraternal help” such actions as the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. Mikhail S. Gorbachev replaced it with the Sinatra Doctrine —You do it your way, as Gennadi I. Gerasimov, the Foreign Ministry spokesman, put it — toward Eastern Europe. Now we have the Putin Doctrine.

It is impossible to overstate the degree to which this is a threat not just to Russia’s Eastern European and Eurasian neighbors but to the whole post-1945 international order. Across the world, countries see men and women living in other countries whom they regard as in some sense “their people.” What if, as has happened in the past, Chinese minorities in Southeast Asian countries were to be the targets of discrimination and popular anger, and China (where, on a visit this spring, I heard admiration expressed for Mr. Putin’s actions) decided to take up the mother country’s burden, exercising its völkisch responsibility to protect?

TO make clear why such actions are totally unacceptable, and a grave threat to world peace, we also have to agree on the legitimate rights and responsibilities of a mother country. My British passport still carries the resonant old formula that Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State “requests and requires” foreign powers to let me pass “without let or hindrance,” and if I got into a spot of local difficulty in, say, Transnistria, I would hope (though not necessarily trust) that he would very earnestly require it. More relevant, Poland has expressed concern for the position of Polish speakers in Lithuania. Hungary has handed out both passports and voting rights in national elections to citizens of neighboring countries whom it deems to be members of the Hungarian people. To pin down what is illegitimate, we have to explain more clearly what is legitimate.

Michael Calderone:
NBC has been under fire for two days since pulling [Ayman] Mohyeldin shortly after his moving, first-hand reporting on an Israeli strike that killed four Palestinian children.

The network would not comment on the decision, thereby fueling speculation that the removal had to do with Mohyeldin's coverage of the civilian casualties or a couple of deleted posts on social media.

Statement from an NBC News spokesperson:

"Ayman Mohyeldin has done extraordinary reporting throughout the escalation of the conflict in Gaza, filing 25+ reports over the past 17 days, including his invaluable and well-documented contribution to the story on the deaths of the four Palestinian children on Wednesday. As with any news team in conflict zones, deployments are constantly reassessed. We've carefully considered our deployment decisions and we will be sending Ayman back to Gaza over the weekend. We look forward to his contributions in the coming days."

Wow, after much protest, NBC announces it is sending the stellar Ayman Mohyeldin back to Gaza.
Thanks for all the support. Im returning to #Gaza to report. Proud of NBC's continued commitment to cover the #Palestinian side of the story
(My read of NBC's statement: an about-face that comes close to saying "we made a mistake." Much more about this on @CNNReliable on Sunday.)
Why is this news? Because the way NBC handled this gives the appearance of censoring the Palestinian side of the story. For those interested in more, see media critic Brian Stelter's tweet.

Jonathan Capehart:

With the world seeming to come apart at the seams over the past 24 hours, I want to point to some good news here at home. The fourth annual State of Relationship Recognition report will be released on Monday by the centrist think tank Third Way with this key joyful nugget: “44 percent of Americans now live in states where gay couples can marry; 54 percent live in a jurisdiction that legally recognizes gay couples’ relationships.” According to Sarah Trumble and Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, authors of the report, 2014 is “the very first year an American is more likely to live in a place with relationship recognition than in a place without it.”
Nate Cohn with a fascinating piece:
Southern black voters don’t usually play a decisive role in national elections. They were systematically disenfranchised for 100 years after the end of the Civil War. Since the days of Jim Crow, a fairly unified white Southern vote has often determined the outcome of elections.

This November could be different. Nearly five decades after the passage of the Voting Rights Act, black voters in the South are poised to play a pivotal role in this year’s midterm elections. If Democrats win the South and hold the Senate, they will do so because of Southern black voters.

The timing — 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act and 49 years after the passage of the Voting Rights Act — is not entirely coincidental. The trends increasing the clout of black voters reflect a complete cycle of generational replacement in the post-Jim Crow era. White voters who came of age as loyal Democrats have largely died off, while the vast majority of black voters have been able to vote for their entire adult lives — and many have developed the habit of doing so.

This year’s closest contests include North Carolina, Louisiana and Georgia. Black voters will most likely represent more than half of all Democratic voters in Louisiana and Georgia, and nearly half in North Carolina. Arkansas, another state with a large black population, is also among the competitive states.

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