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NEWSFLASH: Need-To-Know Stories 03/02 – 03/08


Why did a Malaysia Airlines plane suddenly disappear with 239 people on board? Is Dorian Nakamoto really the founder of Bitcoin? And will South African runner Oscar Pistorius be found guilty in his girlfriend's murder? These are all the unanswered questions that crept up in international news this week, with details that have yet to be uncovered.

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

Malaysia Airlines Planes Disappears With 239 On Board

A Malaysia Airlines commercial plane mysteriously vanished on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, leaving crews and government officials in a frenzy over the fate of 239 passengers on board the aircraft.

Flight MH370 fell off the radar on Saturday after departing from Kuala Lumpur. More than half the passengers were Chinese nationals with many foreigners as well based on a released passenger list.

Two of the passengers, however, reported that they did not board the plane because their passports were stolen. Police are reviewing footage of two passengers that could have possibly taken the passports, leading to fears that terrorism could have played a role in MH370’s disappearance.

A multinational team that includes the U.S. began searching the waters near South Vietnam. A Vietnamese crew reported seeing two oil slicks that are characteristic of a plane crash over water, though they have not linked the discovery to MH370.

There are suspicions that the plane may have turned back towards Kuala Lumpur, but no developments in the MH370 case have confirmed the theory.

Bitcoin Inventor Supposedly Revealed

A Newsweek article published this Thursday incited a flurry of Internet activity as L.A. area resident Dorian Nakamoto was unmasked as the supposed founder of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto.

Leah McGrath Goodman’s feature pulled from interviews with Nakamoto’s family members and government databases to identify the 64-year-old Japanese American as Bitcoin’s founder. While Nakamoto himself refused to speak to Goodman, the Newsweek reporter laid out her research so thoroughly that there was almost no doubt in many people’s eyes that Nakamoto truly launched Bitcoin.

Bitcoin was invented in 2009 as a digital, peer-to-peer currency to be used online. It gained newfound popularity in 2013 when the Silk Road website was shut down, an event that made millions more aware of Bitcoin’s existence and function.

Nakamoto denied that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, claiming that he is “no longer involved in that and [he] cannot discuss it.” He claimed to the L.A. Times and the Associated Press that Goodman misconstrued his words, and that he is not the true founder of Bitcoin.

The Bitcoin community was far from thrilled with the Newsweek reveal. Many questioned Goodman’s decision to publish the exposé on Nakamoto’s life when he clearly refused to be identified. Others believe that Goodman has put Nakamoto in a position where his life may be threatened, given the hazy legality of Bitcoin and its lucrative moneymaking potential.

Nakamoto has not followed up with any more statements.

South African Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’ Murder Trial Begins

South African “Blade Runner” Oscar Pistorius appeared in court this week to fight a murder charge that sprang from last year’s death of his then-girlfriend.

Pistorius’ neighbors and a former girlfriend were called in to testify and piece together what truly occurred that fateful Valentine’s Day night. Witnesses who lived in Pistorius’ neighborhood claimed that they heard “blood-curling screams” from a woman followed by deliberate gunshots, leaving Pistorius, 27, sobbing and covering his face.

Other witnesses, including Pistorius’ former ex-girlfriend and friend, uncovered the athlete’s love for firearms and his carelessness when in possession of them. Notable incidents included the friend’s testimony that Pistorius accidentally fired off a gun in a restaurant, and then proceeded to blame a family friend for the incident.

Pistorius was arrested last February after an altercation that left his model girlfriend, 29-year-old Reeva Steenkamp, dead. The Paralympian admitted to shooting Steenkamp, who was hit with four bullets, but claimed that her death was an accident.

The trial is expected to last several weeks, as less than 10 percent of witnesses have been called to take the stand.

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