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NEWSFLASH: Need-to-Know Stories 3/21 – 3/27


Is Malaysia Airlines flight MH370’s story drawing to a close? That seemed to be the case on Monday when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak stated that the aircraft and all aboard were officially “lost,” drawing grief and denial from passengers’ relatives. Elsewhere, a mudslide near the town of Oso, Washington claimed at least 25 lives as rescuers found themselves hampered by heavy rain. In Turkey, the government has barred access to Twitter and YouTube following leaks that uncovered possible Turkish intentions for a war against Syria.

Welcome back to NEWSFLASH, giving you the week’s biggest stories!

Malaysian Prime Minister Announces MH370’s End

Weeks of fruitless searching prompted Malaysia’s Prime Minister to officially declare flight MH370 as “lost.”

Najib Razak held a press conference on Monday to announce that MH370’s journey terminated in the Indian Ocean.

“This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites,” said Razak.“It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

For relatives of the plane’s passengers, the announcement should have delivered closure after weeks plagued with questions and contradictions. Instead, the statement angered many, leading to accusations that the Malaysian government was lying and covering up the truth.

Relatives of MH370’s Chinese passengers issued their own counter-statement declaring that Malaysian officials have “continually and extremely delayed, hidden and covered the facts, and attempted to deceive the passengers’ relatives, and people all over the world.”

International search crews still roamed the waters following the Malaysian government’s announcement. No more leads have appeared that would explain why the aircraft was intentionally diverted from its Kuala Lumpur to Beijing route.

Deadly Mudslide Takes 25 Lives In Washington State

A massive wall of mud thundered and ploughed through houses near Oso, Washington last weekend, resulting in fatalities as rescue crews struggled to sift through the wreckage for survivors.

Last weekend’s mudslide claimed at least 25 victims with 90 others still reported missing. A month of heavy rain leading up to the mudslide saturated the ground, causing mud and rock to loosen and gradually dislodge.

Rescuers now face a mass of mud, rain and ice in their attempts to find survivors. The bad weather and quicksand-like mud have prevented teams from reaching people still stuck in the quagmire.

The number of missing people was initially as high as 220, though the figure was lowered as officials found survivors and reported having miscounted some of the missing. At least 90, however, are still thought to be trapped in the mud.

A vigil was held Thursday for the 25 people who were lost in this tragedy.

Turkey Cracks Down On Twitter, YouTube

Rumors of war between Turkey and Syria drove the Turkish government to initiate a Twitter blackout and nationwide YouTube ban.

Turkish citizens are no longer able to access either site, the consequence of a month-long series of social media leaks exposing conversations that took place in the top echelons of Turkey’s government.

The string of recordings taken by an unknown source reveal discussions among Turkey’s top military and intelligence officials about the possibility of war with neighboring Syria.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and foreign ministry officials have condemned the leaks.

"Monitoring such a meeting of a highly confidential nature which was held at a location such as the office of the Foreign Minister, where the most sensitive security issues of the State are discussed and releasing these conversations to the public are a despicable attack, an act of espionage and a very serious crime against the national security of Turkey," declared Turkey's Foreign Ministry in a statement.

While the Turkish government claims that some of the conversations have been edited, Erdogan has confirmed the authenticity of some exchanges.

Turkish television and radio stations are banned from airing the recorded discussions.

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