Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 carrying 298 people from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur crashed late on July 17, 2014 in strife-torn east Ukraine, with US officials saying it was shot down by a surface-to-air missile. (AFP/FILES/Mohd Rasfan)
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A large number of world-renowned AIDS researchers and activists heading to an international AIDS conference in Australia were on board a Malaysian jetliner that was shot down over Ukraine, officials said Friday, as news of their deaths sparked an outpouring of grief across the global scientific community.There have been unconfirmed reports that up to 100 people on board the Boeing 777 were en route to the Victoria state capital of Melbourne to attend the 20th International AIDS conference, which starts Sunday, Victoria Premier Denis Napthine said, though he hastened to add that reports were conflicting and it was far too premature to give a precise figure.Among the passengers was former president of the International AIDS Society Joep Lange, a well-known HIV researcher from the Netherlands, opposition leader Bill Shorten said in parliament.Former U.S. President Bill Clinton will deliver an address at next week's AIDS conference, which brings together thousands of scientists and activists from around the world to discuss the latest developments in HIV and AIDS research.
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