Stacey Solomon asks fans for help as she details awkward wardrobe issue ‘What do you do?’

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While Loose Women panellist Stacey Solomon, 31, prepared for a photoshoot today, she decided to open up about an issue she often faces when deciding what shoes to wear for the occasion. The Instagram sensation took the opportunity to ask her fans if they have experienced the same problem.

Does anyone else have wide feet?

Stacey Solomon

Stacey first gave her fans a sneak peek of her light purple dress with shoes to match as she captioned the post: “Welcome to wide feet problems with me and my creepy toes,” which was followed by a laughing face emoji.

The presenter went on to tell her 3.8 million followers: “I have size 4 feet but they’re so wide they don’t fit into any blimming shoes!”

Stacey said she can never find any shoes that will fit her size four feet which aren’t flip flops, slippers or trainers.

She then asked her followers: “Does anyone else have wide feet?

READ MORE: Stacey Solomon opens up about dealing with ‘mean’ comments

“What do you do?”

The mother-of-three is well known for her honest social media posts about body positivity, tips and her family life.

Stacey recently discussed how she deals with online trolling and “mean people”.

The singer made an appearance in her pyjamas on her Instagram story to address how she copes with negative comments towards her.

She captioned the video by writing: “Just got into bed and landed on this message and it’s something you guys ask me all the time.”

The message from a fan read: “How do I deal with the trolls when they get really bad…

“Do you have any tips to combat trolls?”

They went on to ask: “What do you do when times get hard on this platform?”

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Stacey responded to their question by referring to the 2001 film Shallow Hal, starring Jack Black and Gwyneth Paltrow.

In the film, Jack’s character Hal is hypnotised to only see people’s inner beauty.

“I live my life inside my head like Shallow Hal where I just think everything is great,” she shared.

“And I see all horrible stuff and sometimes it does get to me, but most of the time I honestly just think ‘Are you talking about me? You can’t be, I’m great.’”

The X Factor favourite then told her followers she feels doesn’t waste a second of her time thinking about the trolls.

“I just try to live my life in my own little world and let mean people live in their own world,” she added.

“I feel bad for them if I’m honest.

“I’d be devastated if my own happiness in life was from trying to bring someone’s down.”

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‘Just like a freight train’: cicadas’ song hints at bushfire bounceback

By Peter Hannam

Wander in many parts of the Blue Mountains during the daytime and it's likely your ears will soon be ringing with the sound of countless cicadas singing for a mate.

Most will likely be cicadas of the greengrocer species known for their large size, or perhaps Double Drummers – both of which can produce noise exceeding 120 decibels that is painful to the human ear.

A recently emerged greengrocer cicada – also known as a masked devil or yellow Monday – rests on a white Waratah flower near Mt Wilson in the Blue Mountains.Credit:Wolter Peeters

That life cycle, which varies across the 246 described cicada species in Australia, does leave some varieties vulnerable to wildfires.

Some adult cicadas survive only a matter of weeks until they mate. Females then lay eggs that can be destroyed by flames if they haven't developed into nymphs capable of burrowing to safety in the soil.

This year's crop of greengrocers likely dates from 2013, a spring that included big fires in the Blue Mountains, but they were earlier in the spring. "These cicadas were lucky," Dr Moulds said.

A cicada emerges from the soil at Burralow Creek, near Bilpin.Credit:Nick Moir

Males are responsible for the cicada din, the noise created by the flexing and relaxing of internal muscles that cause ribbed membranes, known as tymbals, to buckle inwards and outwards.

Those males wisely close off other membranes, known as tympana, that serve as ears so they won't be deafened by their own song.

Research suggests the cicada chorus both wards off predators, such as birds, and also helps conceal individuals.

Cicadas leave their shells at Burralow Creek near Bilpin.Credit:Nick Moir

Dr Moulds estimates he has probably named about 40-50 of the 246 described species of cicadas in Australia, many of which are only found in this country.

That still leaves at least 70 per cent – or perhaps 500 or more Australian cicada species – to be named, he said.

Adding to the challenges for cicada watchers is that the same species can come in a variety of colours.

In the case of greengrocers, for instance, different hues can make them blacker, as in the masked devil variety. Yellow Monday is the moniker for those that are more orange, while there is also a blue moon version that is quite rare, as the name suggests.

Cyclochila australasiae, more commonly known as the greengrocer cicada, sheds its nymph exoskeleton. Credit:Wolter Peeters

The cicadas shed their skins multiple times during their lengthy lives as nymphs, living underground and sucking the sap of trees. Bushfires that kill trees, as was the case in many parts of NSW after the Black Summer last year, would likely have killed the nymphs feeding off them too, Dr Moulds said.

Once they emerge, the final shedding of their skins marks their arrival as adults, ready to mate and to fly.

Professor Cassis said now is "an important opportunity" to see if the bushfires have caused major changes to the biota, with some species faring better than others.

UNSW this week received more than $1 million in federal support to fund two projects aimed at assisting the recovery of wildlife after the bushfires.

A cicada in a tree in Sydney's northern beaches.Credit:Nick Moir

The larger of the two grants will study how the fires affected invertebrates, from beetles to snails and bees, many of which provide essential services to the forests from pollination to nutrient recycling, UNSW's Professor Shawn Laffan said.

Much of this area was previously surveyed for invertebrates by UNSW and the Australian Museum, including a study of the North East Forests in 1993, giving researchers a baseline for comparison.

The other study will examine how the fires affected reptiles in the sandstone landscapes around Sydney.

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TV and Movies

Paramount Players Hires 20th Century's Jeremy Kramer as President

Studio also promotes Ashley Brucks to Senior EVP of the revived label

Jeremy Kramer/Ashley Brucks

Paramount Pictures Motion Picture Group President Emma Watts is reviving the studio’s production shingle Paramount Players and has hired Jeremy Kramer, former production EVP at 20th Century Studios, as its president.

In addition, the studio has promoted Ashley Brucker, who has overseen “A Quiet Place” and other Paramount hits, as Senior EVP of Paramount Players.

“Jeremy has a proven track record of nurturing talent, both established and new, supporting their vision and helping them execute at the highest level — from ‘Let’s Be Cops’ to ‘Kingsman’ to ‘Deadpool’,” says Watts, who previously worked with Kramer at 20th Century Fox.“There’s isn’t a movie that he’s worked on that he hasn’t made better.The challenges of ensuring that Paramount Players grows and addresses the demands of our various audiences are formidable and we know that Jeremy is up to this task and we welcome him to our team.”

More to come…

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Did The Beatles Really Smoke Marijuana Before Receiving An Honor From Queen Elizabeth?

The Beatles are one of the greatest musical acts of all time, an original boy band that is responsible for crafting some of the world’s most influential songs. Comprised of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, the Beatles remain hugely popular with fans of all ages, even though the group disbanded more than four decades ago.

Rumors have swirled around the Beatles ever since the group first formed, many of them that persist to this day. One of the most enduring rumors is an urban legend that still makes the rounds today, even though George Harrison personally debunked it several decades ago. 

How did the Beatles become so famous?

In 1957, Lennon joined forces with a young McCartney for the first time. They formed a band, going through several name variations and welcoming a variety of different members before establishing the final lineup, with George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

Over the next several years, the group finalized a band name, and as The Beatles, they steadily grew in popularity around their hometown of Liverpool.

By early 1963, The Beatles had begun recording songs, impressing record producers with their unique sound. Their debut LP, Please Please Me, made waves around the world, and the phenomenon now known as “Beatlemania” was born.

Fans loved their hilarious approach to fame, their style, and, of course, their incredible music. Their first visit to the United States in 1964 only intensified the mania, and by the end of the year, the Beatles were known as worldwide superstars. 

The Beatles received a slew of awards and honors

After the British Invasion in 1964, The Beatles continued to sell records worldwide, releasing hit songs like “Help!” “A Hard Day’s Night” and “She Loves You.” In addition to the incredible amount of records sold, the Beatles garnered many other awards and accolades.

Over the years that the band was together, the Beatles won seven Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, and fifteen Ivor Novello Awards. 

In 1970, only six years after their historic trip to the United States, the Beatles broke up, each one going their separate ways in order to pursue their own individual musical interests. They had all grown apart, but even though they wouldn’t make music together anymore, they would continue to make waves in their own way.

These days, fans still turn to the music of the Beatles when they want to feel inspired, enriched, and encouraged.

Did the Beatles smoke marijuana before meeting Queen Elizabeth II?

In addition to their multiple Grammys and other awards, The Beatles received one of the highest honors that England has to offer. In 1965, Queen Elizabeth II appointed all four members of the Beatles as Members of the Order of the British Empire.

Over the years, a rumor about the grand occasion emerged — one that was in line with the Beatles’ reputation as mischief-makers. The rumor claimed that when the four musicians met the queen to receive the honor, all four of them were high on marijuana. Lennon reportedly started the rumor, but as Harrison later clarified, Lennon’s remarks were misinterpreted.

“We never smoked marijuana at the investiture,” Harrison stated. “We were so nervous that we went to the toilet. And in there we smoked a cigarette. … Years later, I’m sure John was thinking back and remembering, ‘Oh yes, we went in the toilet and smoked,’ and it turned into a reefer. Because what could be the worst thing you could do before you meet the Queen? Smoke a reefer! But we never did.”

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The Battle of the Hollywood Chrises Continues: Find Out Which Chris Is Winning Now

Over the weekend, Twitter was buzzing about who the best Chris was in Hollywood. From Chris Evans to Chris Hemsworth to Chris Pine, find out who made the cut.

It's beginning to feel a lot like Chris-mas.

Over the weekend, Twitter was buzzing about who the best Chris in Hollywood was. Here's how it all began: Screenwriter and television producer Amy Berg shared headshots of Chris Evans, Chris Pine, Chris Pratt and Chris Hemsworth.

"One has to go," she simply captioned her now-viral post on Saturday, Oct. 17. Shortly after her tweet, the hot topic spread like wildfire with many wanting to give the Guardians of the Galaxy star the boot.

One Twitter user joked that Pratt "was banished from Chris Island years ago." Another commenter replied, "Y'all know the answer is always Pratt," with someone else chimed in, "Pratt can suck it."

In fact, Chris Messina and Chris Pang have been inducted into the Chris Hall of Fame to replace Pratt. "chris pratt is out, chris messina is in for a 16 month trial run," another Twitter user quipped. With someone else adding, "Get rid of Pratt and put in Chris Pang. Then it's a real contest."

Of course, there are plenty of Chrises in Hollywood who could easily be at the top of the list, including Chris Rock, Chris Tucker, Chris O'Dowd and more.

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Now, it's your turn to weigh in on this battle in our poll below. Cast your vote and decide for yourself who the best Chris is in Hollywood.

The Hollywood Chrises

At this time, none of the Chrises mentioned on Twitter have yet commented on the viral posts.

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World News

Where they stand: lord mayor candidates pitch for the top job

The Age is today hosting a live virtual event for subscribers with four of the candidates vying to become lord mayor of the City of Melbourne.

An empty Federation Square in central Melbourne.Credit:Penny Stephens

Joining us will be current lord mayor Sally Capp, deputy lord mayor Arron Wood, Labor candidate Phil Reed and Jennifer Yang from Back to Business. Greens candidate Apsara Sabaratnam is an apology.

We thought having all nine candidates would be unwieldy in an hour-long forum, but those not participating have been given the opportunity to write their pitch to voters.

Below are the responses we received from some of the remaining candidates. More information about the other candidates can be found here:

Social inclusion: Greens candidate Apsara Sabaratnam says housing must be for all.Credit:Joe Armao

Apsara Sabaratnam, Greens

In 2020, conventional notions of what’s possible have been shaken up. We need to come together, knowing that this is a moment we can change society for the better.

Local government can facilitate a more liveable, affordable, sustainable future. We are committed to setting our economy on a path that is fair.

Our plan is for homes for everyone: we’ll build 256 social housing units on council land next term, amend the Arden Structure Plan to build 938 public housing units by 2025, and introduce ‘inclusionary zoning’ to facilitate over 3000 affordable units in the private sector by 2035. It’s time government built housing again, for economic stimulus and as a public good in its own right.

Our plan is for parks for everyone: COVID-19 has taught us the value of public open space and community health. Southbank and North Melbourne are the areas of our municipality with the worst public space ratios, so we have a costed plan for three new major parks, including by decking over CityLink.

Our plan is for fair rates for everyone: unlike others who are proposing a ‘rates freeze’, starving the council of revenue in the long-term, we want to keep expenditure high in a recession. So we will change our ratings system to apply equitable differential rates. We can halve rates (not just freeze them) on cafes, bars, restaurants, live music venues, theatres; everywhere hit hardest by the recession. And we can freeze them for residents, while doubling them for five years for those with the capacity to pay, like gambling venues. We want Melbourne’s hospitality, cultural venues and small businesses to survive the recession.

We never take donations from developers or the gambling industry: we’ll keep council honest and always focused on the public good.

Victorian Socialists candidate Kath Larkin says the City of Melbourne is dominated by the rich, and must better represent the people.

Kath Larkin, Victorian Socialists

Victorian Socialists are shaking up the race for the City of Melbourne this year, challenging the power of big business and fighting to give the loudest voice to the people who make our city run. The council is currently dominated by the rich, with businesses receiving two votes in municipal elections, while the current lord mayor has an advisory committee made up of “captains of industry”. We want to uproot this arrangement by getting working-class trade unionists and activists elected.

We will tackle the housing affordability crisis by campaigning for a five-year rent freeze, mandatory inclusionary zoning and a revolution in public housing policy to clear the 100,000-person waiting list.

We will fight to reverse the privatisation of aged care facilities, which have been at the centre of Victoria’s COVID-19 outbreak. We will demand an economic recovery that prioritises workers’ rights over the profits of business, opening employers to union scrutiny and enforcing safety standards. We will use council as a platform for social justice movements, supporting the demands of Black Lives Matter and tearing down the monuments to genocide which litter our CBD.

I am a rail worker and proud trade unionist, with a record of fighting for safety and respect for frontline workers on the job. If elected, I will forgo the exorbitant salary of over $200,000 that Sally Capp currently enjoys, taking the wage of an average worker and giving what’s left to community campaigns. Our deputy lord mayoral candidate, Daniel Dadich, is a youth worker assisting refugees. Our lead council candidate, Chris di Pasquale, is an English teacher and leading anti-racist campaigner.

For a capital city for all, not a city for capital, Vote 1 Victorian Socialists for the City of Melbourne.

Wayne Tseng from Team Zorin

Wayne Tseng, Team Zorin

The Spanish flu shaped the 20th century, COVID-19 is changing our 21st. Melbourne must adopt COVID-19 lessons and reform. To ride over the imminent storms that may follow, Team Zorin advocate keys reforms to have Melbourne well-paced for the post COVID world:

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Khabib vows to fight Michael Chandler after Gaethje as long as UFC new boy beats his training partner Islam Makhachev

KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV has vowed to fight Michael Chandlder next – as long as the UFC new boy beats his training partner Islam Makhachev.

Russian Khabib defends his lightweight crown in a unification against interim champion Justin Gaethje next weekend.

Former Bellator champion Chandler – signed to the UFC as a free agent – is on Fight Island as a replacement for the title headliners.

But Nurmagomedov told the contender he will be next in line for the title should he beat his American Kickboxing Academy team-mate Makhachev.

Retired fighter Chael Sonnen revealed: “(Khabib) said, ‘Chael, I watch your videos, I need to tell you something. I want to make this very clear.

“He said, ‘There’s no one I’m closer to than Islam.’

"And he said, ‘I’m telling you right now, if Michael Chandler beats Islam, I will view Michael Chandler (as) the number one contender, and I want you to get the message out.’

"I said, ‘OK, Khabib, when I get the message out, I’m gonna say you called me, you told me this.’

"He goes, ‘That’s what I’m doing. Get that message out.’”

Makhachev was due to feature on Nurmagomedov's undercard in Abu Dhabi facing former champion Rafael dos Anjos.

But Brazilian Dos Anjos was withdrawn from the pay-per-view event after testing positive for coronavirus.

Ali Abdelaziz, Makhachev and Khabib's manager, challenged Chandler to fill in for the feature lightweight bout.

But UFC president Dana White shot down the idea.

He said: "Michael Chandler is here for the other fight, that's what he's here to do, that's what he's focussed on.

"If anything bad were to happen, he will fight Gaethje or Khabib. That's it, that's all that kid has to worry about.

"We'll get him a fight once this is over and we're working on a fight for Islam too."

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Peacocks and Jaegar owner to close 50 shops and cut 600 jobs

PEACOCKS and Jaeger owner Edinburgh Woollen Mill is preparing to shut 50 stores with the loss of 600 jobs as it teeters on the brink of administration.

Last week the group, which owns brands including Bonmarché and Jaeger, signalled its intention to appoint administrators unless buyers came forward.

EWM, which employs 21,000, also owns Jane Norman, Ponden Home and suitmaker Austin Reed.

A leaked restructuring plan showed that 50 stores are set to be shuttered imminently. 

The retailer declined to comment.

It is continuing to talk to unnamed parties who may be interested in buying some of its brands. 

Woes follow poor trading in lockdown coupled with a credit insurance problem.

The firm has already warned that heavy job cuts and many store closures lie ahead.

But the firm's administration proposals have reportedly been condemned by the British Property Federation (BPF).

In a letter from representatives of the group, EWM said administrators are reviewing its lease portfolio with a view to determining which stores – if any – may be “retained and/or potentially transferred by the company”.

The letter also said that a “rationalisation plan has been formulated, which will result in the closure of over 50 stores within the next few days”.

The troubles are despite the chain being owned by a billionaire Philip Day.

Bosses claimed allegations the retailer and rivals failed to pay some Bangladeshi suppliers during lockdown also caused harm. EWM denies the allegations.

The reduction of credit insurance can scare off suppliers and helped kill off Woolworths ten years ago.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill is among others on the high street that have been forced to close or cut jobs since the coronavirus.

So far the crisis has already seen women's fashion retailers Oasis and Warehouse disappear from the high street in a move that saw 1,800 jobs lost.

Laura Ashley also closed all of its 150 stores putting 2,700 jobs at risk.

While suit shop TM Lewin shut all 66 outlets putting 600 jobs at risk.

Even high street stalwart M&S has confirmed it will ditch 7,000 shop floor worker roles.

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Monty Don: Gardeners’ World star’s guilty habit leads to important milestone discovery

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Monty Don, 65, rose to fame as lead presenter on Gardeners’ World after he took over from Alan Titchmarsh in 2003. Since then, he’s written and produced several garden series of his own and he’s racked up quite the fanbase who all appreciate his horticultural expertise.

We shouldn’t, but we all do count our followers and I am flattered and grateful to have touched the 200k mark

Monty Don

And although he admits he shouldn’t do it, he was really pleased with the fact he’d reached 200,000 followers on Twitter, and took a moment to thank each and every one of them for their support over the years.

“We shouldn’t, but we all do count our followers and I am flattered and grateful to have touched the 200k mark,” he wrote.

“Twitter is a strange place but one I am (mostly) glad to be part of.

“Thanks to all of you for your interest and support.”

Fans were quick to send their love to the TV gardener, some of who praised him for getting them through lockdown.

“We love you Monty, my family has been watching gardeners world since the early 90s when we still had a black and white TV, you are a bit of a household name,” one said.

“And now, having made a home (and garden) of my own, the tradition continues, in colour, keep on digging.”

Another gushed: “Monty you are very inspiring, love seeing your tweets and photos of your garden at longmeadow , as always look forward to be watching Gardeners World every Friday night until the season is over stay safe and well.”

A third labelled him a beacon of hope: “You sir are an incredible beacon of hope and peace during uncertain times.

“Despite the pressures of life, the long winter months, gardening has always brought me a solace like no other. Thank you for being you.”

Someone else said: “Long may you continue Monty. Look forward to your programme each week and you and the dogs offer some serenity in this mad world at the moment. Thank you.”

Monty has been filming the popular gardening show from his home in Herefordshire, with only his dogs and the local wildlife for company.

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The coronavirus pandemic has allowed the open-air program to continue from the comfort of the presenter’s own homes, and the TV star updated fans to let them know he was “still entirely on his own” filming the show with remotely operated cameras.

“A moment during filming this morning (still entirely on my own in the garden) when the garden was lit by a lovely autumnal glow,” he wrote on Twitter.

He also shared the image on Instagram with a different caption, writing alongside his social media snap: “A moment of autumnal sun during today’s filming for GW.”

Pointing out the lack of production crew, he added: “Note the absence of crew – still working remotely.”

Social media followers took to the comments sections of both posts to thank Monty for his dedication throughout the pandemic and congratulated him for adapting to the new way of working.

He was asked by one fan: “Have the GW programmes been extended, in terms of dates, or did you always planned to go on this late?”

Monty replied: “The schedule is fixed (not by the production team) almost a year ahead.”

Gardeners’ World continues on Friday at 9pm on BBC Two.

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World News

Russia to withdraw from MH17 consultations

Russia to withdraw from MH17 consultations with the Netherlands and Australia citing ‘vicious’ attempts to pin blame on Moscow

  • Russia announced on Thursday it will withdraw from MH17 consultations
  • Moscow complained of ‘vicious’ attempts to pin blame for the crash on them
  • In response, the Dutch government urged Russia to return to the negotiations 
  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was ‘disappointed’ and ‘surprised’
  • Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down in July 2014 killing all 298 on board

Russia will withdraw from consultations with the Netherlands and Australia over the MH17 flight shot down over Ukraine in 2014, complaining of ‘vicious’ attempts to pin blame on Moscow.

‘Hostile acts by the Netherlands have made any continuation of the trilateral consultations and our participation senseless,’ Russia’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

In response, the Dutch government urged Russia to return to the negotiating table.

Pictured: People ride bicycles past a cross near the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that was shot down ver territory held by pro-Russian separatists in 2014, outside the village of Hrabove in Donetsk region of Ukraine. Russia has today withdrawn from consultations with the Netherlands and Australia over the downing of the plane

Pictured: A protest sign stands in front of a row of chairs as family members of victims of the MH17 crash lined up empty chairs for each seat on the plane during a protest outside the Russian Embassy in The Hague, Netherlands March 8, 2020

MH17 – a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 on its way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur – was hit by a Soviet-designed BUK missile on July 17 2014, killing all 298 people aboard. 

On board as the plane was shot down over territory controlled by Russia-backed separatists were 196 Dutch citizens and 38 Australians – 80 of which were children.

Since 2018, the three countries have held discussions aimed at uncovering the cause of the disaster. 

Speaking to reporters at an EU summit in Brussels, Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was ‘disappointed’ and ‘surprised’ by Russia’s decision, adding that it was ‘especially painful’ for the victims’ families.

Meanwhile Foreign Minister Stef Blok told lawmakers he had summoned the Russian ambassador to tell him of his ‘deep regrets’ over the move.

‘It is a disappointment and also a surprise,’ Blok said in response to Moscow’s decision.

‘It must especially be a disappointment for the relatives to hear that this venue towards truth and justice for now has been blocked.’

‘I cannot exclude any actions (against Russia) for now, but first and foremost is my invitation to the Russians to come back to the negotiating table,’ Blok said.

Toys are placed near the cross in memory of victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 plane crash in the village of Rozsypne in the Donetsk region, Ukraine

Pictured: The reconstructed wreckage of the MH17 airplane is seen after the presentation of the final report into the crash

After years of collecting evidence, a Dutch-led international Joint Investigation team (JIT) last year said the missile launcher used to hit the civilian airplane came from a Russian army base just across the border.

The Netherlands holds Russia responsible and has started legal proceedings at the European Court of Human Rights. It is prosecuting four individuals – three Russians and a Ukrainian – for shooting down the aircraft and killing everyone on board.

Moscow complained that The Hague is bringing a case against it ‘for its role in the destruction of flight MH17’ before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ‘after just three rounds of talks’.

The Netherlands ‘thereby demonstrate their firm intention to take the vicious path… of unilaterally assigning responsibility to Russia for what happened,’ it added.

Dutch leaders have openly accused Russia of standing behind the deaths of its citizens. But Moscow has always forcefully denied it was involved in the crash and blamed Ukraine.

298 people, including 80 children, were killed when the Boeing 777 was shot down. Pictured: Debris of the Boeing 777, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on 17 July, 2014

In this file photo taken on November 11, 2014 pro-Russian gunmen stand guard as Dutch investigators (unseen) arrive near parts of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

The Russian foreign ministry called the Dutch-led investigation into the crash ‘biased, superficial and politicised’. 

‘Australia and the Netherlands have obviously not tried to understand what really happened in summer 2014, but rather just wanted to secure a confession from Russia and compensation for the victims’ relatives,’ the foreign ministry said.

Russia will ‘continue its cooperation’ with The Hague in the inquiry, but ‘in a different format’, it added.

Dutch courts in March began hearing a case against the four suspects, three of them Russian and one Ukrainian, accused of having caused the crash.    

Prosecutors said the suspects helped arrange the Russian missile system used to shoot down the civilian aircraft over territory held by pro-Moscow rebels fighting government forces in eastern Ukraine. 

Pictured: Judge Hendrik Steenhuis (centre) attends the hearing in the trial of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in the high-security courtroom of the Schiphol Judicial Complex, in The Netherlands, 28 September 2020

The defendants, Russians Sergey Dubinsky, Oleg Pulatov and Igor Girkin and Ukrainian Leonid Kharchenko, each held senior positions in the pro-Russian militias a at the time. 

The suspects, all of whom are still at large, are believed to be in Russia, and all waived their right to attend the hearings.

The aircraft’s downing led to sanctions against Russia by the European Union. It also heightened tension between Russia and Western powers who blame it for the disaster, which killed 196 Dutch, 43 Malaysian and 27 Australian nationals, among others. 

Wilbert Paulissen, national Police chief of the Netherlands, announces murder charges against three Russians and one Ukrainian over the shoot-down of MH17

All four men were fighting for Moscow-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine when MH17 was shot down, investigators say, despite Russia insisting the missile was fired by Ukrainian forces (pictured, a pro-Russia separatist near a part of the plane) 

Chairman of the MH17 Disaster Foundation, Piet Ploeg (left), arrives on March 9, 2020 in Schiphol, for the opening of the trial of four men accused of murder

Moscow slammed the ‘absolutely groundless accusations’ last year, claiming the international community had frozen them out of investigations to discredit Russia. 

Prosecutors said Girkin was a former colonel in Russia’s FSB intelligence agency who was the self-declared minister of defence in the separatist administration in eastern Ukraine. 

Dubinskiy was a former minister from the Russian military intelligence agency GRU, Pulatov was an ex-soldier in Russia’s Spetznaz special forces unit and Kharchenko a Ukrainian separatist.  

The lost children of Flight MH17: Youngest victims of 2014 tragedy are seen smiling in family snapshots

When Flight MH17 was shot down, 298 people lost their lives – 80 of them were children.

Their lives ended as they were heading off on holidays or returning home from breaks, when the plane was downed in July 2014.  

A Malaysian family of six – including four children aged 13 to 19 – were killed as they journeyed home together. 

Evie Maslin, 10, from Perth in Australia, was flying with her brothers and grandfather to get back for school

Nick Norris was bringing grandsons Mo Maslin (left), 12, and Otis, eight, home after a holiday in Amsterdam

Victims: Marnix van den Hende (left), 12, and his elder brother Piers (right), 15, were killed aboard Flight MH17

Tragic: Their younger sister Margaux van den Hende, eight, also died in the horrific crash

The three Maslin children from Perth; Mo, 12, Evie, ten, and Otis, eight, died with their grandfather as they were returning home after family holiday in Europe.

Their parents had decided to stay in Amsterdam for a few extra days and survived their children. 

The Van Den Hende siblings Piers, 15, Marnix, 12 and Margaux, eight, were travelling back to Australia with their parents. 

Also among the dead were the sons of British banker Andrew Hoare; Friso, 12, and Jasper, 15, who were heading to a holiday in  Borneo. 

Malaysian victim Afruz Jiee, 13 (left), died alongside his brothers and sister including Afzal, 17 (right)

Tragic: Afif Jiee, 19 (left), and his younger sister Marsha Jiee, 15 (right) were flying home to Malaysia

Sisters: Jinte Wals (left) and her sister Amel (right) died alongside their two brothers and parents

Kaela Goes, 21 months, died with her parents flying home to Malaysia after visiting relatives in Holland

Flying out for a holiday: Dutch sisters Tess and Liv Trugg were en-route to a holiday in Bali with their parents

Another British father John Allen, 44, died with his Dutch wife Sandra and their three sons Ian, Julian and Christopher, aged eight to 16, as they travelled to Indonesia. 

Three babies were among the dead, including 21-month-old Kaela Goes, killed with her parents as they flew home to Malaysia after visiting relatives in Holland.

Two families from the same street in the Netherlands were also killed.

Tess and Liv Trugg, aged ten and eight, and their neighbour Sem Wels, ten, died with their parents en route to a holiday in Bali.

Five-year-old Martin Paulissen and his sister Sri, three, died with their parents as they travelled to visit their grandmother’s grave in Indonesia.

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