The Pulse: France's PR Campaign, Microsoft Layoffs, & an Update on the Malaysian Airplane Crash

By Laine Baker | lbaker@knwa.com

Published 07/17 2014 08:30PM

Updated 07/18 2014 12:43AM

One European country wants you to come by for a visit; a broadway legend and "30 Rock" favorite dies; and many questions tonight after a Malaysian Airlines plane crashes in Eastern Ukraine.

U.S. officials are working to determine who brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over hostile territory in Ukraine. The commercial passenger plane was headed from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur when it fell from the sky. The 280 passengers and a crew of 15 on board are all presumed dead. The U.S. and Ukrainian governments say a missile shot the plane out of the sky.
"The families need consolation and our prayers," U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said. "And there many questions that need to be answered. And we'll get those answers and we'll take the next steps accordingly."
U.S. officials have still not confirmed whether there were any Americans on board.
The Malaysian prime minister calling for full access to the crash site, in a region that has seen heavy fighting between Ukrainian government forces and separatists.
"Malaysia is unable to verify the cause of this tragedy, but we must and we will find out precisely what happened to this flight," Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia said.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Airlines have all voluntarily stopped flying through the region as the investigation continues.

The Israeli military launched a ground operation into Gaza late Thursday following some of the most intense fighting in the 10-day face-off between Israel and Hamas. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the ground action to destroy tunnels from Gaza into Israeli territory. The adviser said Hamas terrorists used such a tunnel to infiltrate Israel on Thursday morning to launch an attack, but that the Israel defense forces thwarted the action.
A Hamas spokesman told CNN that, "The beginning of the Israeli ground invasion of Gaza is a dangerous step with unknown consequences. Israel will pay a heavy price for it."
The long-awaited ground operation follows one of the worst nights of fighting since the war began. That fighting began after a temporary cease-fire ended earlier in the day.

Clouds had been on the horizon in recent days for Microsoft and on Thursday, the storm arrived.
Massive layoffs for the tech giant. For the company synonymous with Windows and Office software, the job cuts are the biggest in its history -- up to 18,000 over the next year. That's about 14 percent of microsoft's workforce. Only on the job five months, new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella had previously warned about the job cuts.

Broadway legend Elaine Stritch has died. A friend tells CNN she died at her home in Birmingham, Michigan. She's known to TV audiences as Jack Donaghy's mother on "30 Rock." Stritch had been on Broadway since the 1950s in shows like "Pal Joey," "Company" and "The Ladies Who Lunch." She was 89.

Are you still thinking about going on a summer vacation? Well, France is pulling out all the stops to get you there. In an effort to boost its tourism industry and the stalling economy, the European nation is throwing out a proposed hotel tax hike, while trying to sell itself to countries overseas. It doesn't look like France's tourism industry is doing too badly, though. United Nations figures set France as the world's top tourist destination. Some 83 million visitors headed there in 2012. The second top tourist destination is the U.S.!

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