The first plane carrying bodies from downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on Wednesday left eastern Ukraine for the Netherlands following a sombre ceremony, an AFP journalist at the scene said. The Dutch military aircraft took off from the airport in the government-controlled city of Kharkiv bound for Eindhoven after the first group of victims' remains were loaded onto the plane in wooden coffins. Grieving families and Dutch royals are due to receive the bodies as flags fly at half mast on a day of mourning across the nation, which lost 193 citizens in the flight that was allegedly blown out of the sky by a missile, turning civilians from a dozen nations into casualties of a remote conflict raging in eastern Ukraine.
Italy's Costa Concordia will set sail on its final voyage Wednesday as survivors look on, two-and-a-half years after the luxury cruise ship crashed and sank in a nighttime disaster that left 32 people dead. The rusting liner, which has been floated from its watery grave in the biggest salvage operation of a passenger ship ever performed, will be towed away to the port of Genoa in northwest Italy to be dismantled and scrapped. Surviving passengers who have returned to Tuscany's Giglio island will gather with locals and holidaymakers to bid a final farewell to the once-magnificent cruise ship.