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Crisis In Ukraine; Day Five Of Oscar Pistorius Trial; Who Is The Man Behind Bitcoin; Drought In Northeastern Australia

Aired March 7, 2014 - 08:00   ET


KRISTIE LU STOUT, HOST: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. And welcome to News Stream where news and technology meet.

Now Ukraine's interim prime minister says Crimea's planned referendum on whether to join Russia is illegal.

Is this man the mysterious creator of the digital currency Bitcoin? We speak to the Newsweek reporter who claims to have found him.

And a rare shot from space -- Hubble snaps pictures of an asteroid as it breaks up.

As world leaders try to find a way out of the crisis in Ukraine, Russia's parliament is showing support for a controversial referendum in Crimea. A delegation from the autonomous region is in Moscow a day after lawmakers there voted to join Russia.

Now Ukraine's interim prime minister insists a Crimean referendum planned for March 16 is illegal.


ARESENIY YASTENYUK, INTERIM UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I want to warn separatists and other traitors of the Ukrainian state who are trying to work against Ukraine, any of your decisions are unlawful, unconstitutional and nobody in the civilized world is going to recognize the results of the so-called referendum and as a so- called Crimean authorities.


LU STOUT: Now Russia has refused to recognize the new Ukrainian authorities. U.S. President Barack Obama is urging Moscow to hold direct talks with Kiev. Now he spoke with the Russian President Vladimir Putin for an hour on Thursday.

And Mr. Putin is expected in Sochi today to attend the opening ceremony of the Paralympics. Now many nations are refusing to send official government delegations to protest Russia's actions in Crimea.

Now as we reported on Thursday, several Ukrainian ships are being blocked in their port. And now a second Russian vessel has been scuttled or deliberately sunk at the entrance of Lake Donuzlav. It is the home of a Ukrainian naval base.

Now meanwhile, a U.S. Navy destroyer is steaming toward the Black Sea. It will take part in previously planned exercises with Romania and Bulgaria.

Now the USS Truxtun is due to pass through the Bosphorus Strait. Our Ivan Watson is there. he joins me now live. And Ivan, what we have here is a U.S. navy destroyer, it's been heading there into the Black Sea. Why? What's the plan here?

IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, the U.S. navy says that the -- this guided missile destroyer, the Truxtun, that its trip is a routine previously scheduled voyage to the Black Sea to conduct joint naval exercises with the navies of Bulgaria and Romania, which are also countries on the coast of the Black Sea.

But given the crisis that's underway in the Crimean peninsula, which also sticks out into the Black Sea. And given how much this is related to naval power -- recall that Crimea is a home of Russia's Black Sea fleet, its headquarters, and that's part of why it's so important to Russia strategically and militarily and why it has been so important to Russia for more than a century as a critical warm water port, that's part of why we're on the lookout right now for this U.S. navy destroyer. All of the moves that any navy or military makes at this time of crisis is incredibly important to monitor.

We've seen Russian warships steam through the Bosphorus Strait here at this natural geographic choke point that is the only way in and out of the Black Sea earlier this week. We also saw a Ukrainian navy frigate come through here. And now this American vessel on its way at a time when the governments are at odds and engaging in diplomacy, at a time when the U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has announced that the U.S. would step up joint air patrols over the Baltic peninsula in clearly a show of support for U.S. allies Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia as well as Poland, all former Soviet satellites, all clearly very concerned about Russian military moves in recent weeks into the Ukraine -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: We have a number of vessels maneuvering around the Black Sea. And separately there has been this ongoing standoff at sea between Russian ships and Ukrainian ships. What is the latest on that?

WATSON: Well, clearly our colleagues in Crimea have been reporting that it appears that the Russian military has taken a number of measures to prevent Ukrainian navy vessels from actually being able to move out of Ukraine's own ports. And that is part of why the Ukrainian government was clearly making a show out of the passage of its frigate earlier this week through the Black -- through the Bosphorus Strait, where I am right now, towards the Black Sea, because the Ukrainians wanted to show to the world and to Russia and to Ukrainians that their navy is still intact, that the flagship of their fleet is still following the orders of the interim government in Kiev.

However, that frigate that we saw steam through here a couple of days ago could not return to its normal base in the Crimea, of course, because of the Russian military occupation there, it had to move towards another Ukrainian Naval base closer to the port city of Odessa for the west along the coast.

So we do see these movements. We do see that the Ukrainian military itself is being restricted in its movements by the Russian military presence certainly in the Crimea. And countries like Ukraine are going to be looking towards the U.S. to see how the U.S. is going to be engaging militarily, how it will be behaving in the region amid these Russian military moves.

Again, why we're keeping an eye out for the U.S. navy destroyer that is expected to come steaming up through here through this channel through Turkey's largest city in the near future -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Ivan Watson reporting live from the Bosphorus Strait awaiting that U.S. navy destroyer. Ivan, thank you.

Now let's go live to the Ukrainian capital. Michael Holmes joins me from Kiev. And Michael, let's get more now on Ukraine's interim prime minister. What has he been saying about the crisis? What has he been saying about the way forward?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kristie, Areseniy Yastenyuk spoke yesterday in Brussels. He also had a news conference today. And in both of those occasions he said what is universally said here in the political sphere and also on the street and that is that this idea of a referendum in Crimea is just quite simply unconstitutional making the point that in the constitution no region can have its own referendum on anything, let alone territorial matters and that any vote that does take place would be considered illegal.

We've also heard that from the acting president. We've also heard that, of course, from the Europeans and the Americans and elsewhere.

The Russians on the other hand, well they say the government, the interim government here is itself illegal, because it was, in their words, a coup that took place here. So they have no right to rule on what happens in Crimea.

So obviously a very murky situation, very delicate sort of balance. The key problem here is the wording of this referendum. It had been sort of supposed or rumored for awhile that there would be perhaps a vote on increased autonomy for Crimea that would allow it to remain in the Ukraine and perhaps have more powers, more independence within its own borders.

But this referendum is very black and white -- stay in Ukraine, go to the Russian Federation. And that's what has people here worried the most - - Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, a lot of concerns about that referendum internationally inside Ukraine, also in Crimea among the Tatar community there.

Now Michael, I just found out that you have new video of a Bulgarian journalist being roughed up? Tell us about it.

HOLMES: Yeah, this is video that's come from a security camera. We can roll it for you. This was in Simferapol in Crimea.

Now this is a Bulgarian freelance journalist and his assistant who say they were filming masked men removing TV equipment from another television outfit and basically stealing it, taking it away from them when they spotted the Bulgarian journalist. They run across the street, a couple of them, they wrestle him to the ground. They take their equipment. And at one point this journalist said that they had a gun pointed at his head.

No idea who these assailants were, but obviously just one example of some of the tensions and unrest in that part of this increasingly troubled country, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Yeah, we have a journalist being roughed up there, rising tensions, this pro-Russian referendum coming up. We've seen pro-Russian rallies elsewhere in Ukraine outside of Crimea. What is the level of concern there in Kiev about the challenges confronting the new Ukraine?

HOLMES: Well, everybody is very concerned. We've actually just this afternoon been down in independence square talking to a lot of people down there. They say -- in fact, one man who is Ukrainian, but lives in London had flown him here specifically to come and lay flowers and honor those who have died in these protests. He put it this way, he said "how can Crimea have a referendum at the end of a Russian gun?" And basically saying that whatever vote took place there would not be free and fair and should not happen.

The overriding sort of sentiment here is one that this country should remain whole, that there is unity, that what is happening in Crimea is really being pushed by the Russians and of course, you know, elements of the Russian ethnic majority in Crimea, that they say that here, certainly in Kiev everybody says that Ukraine should remain one and that this should not happen, the notion of Crimea going back to the Russian Federation is to them abhorrent, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right. And a question there about national sentiment and also sport. Is Ukraine taking part in the Sochi Olympics -- the Paralympics rather?

HOLMES: Yeah, well that was -- yeah, the sports minister here actually, he personally decided to boycott the Paralympics, not going. The team has gone. The team will be there at the Paralympics, but they're still discussing how they might make protest, if you like, at some point, maybe it's on a medal ceremony or whatever. They will be making their points, they say, that they don't approve of what's going on in Crimea.

But, yeah, there's the irony, isn't it? You've got a Ukrainian Paralympic team there in Russia competing at those games, but they're not boycotting the games and that's the important thing to note there -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Michael Holmes joining me live from Kiev. Thank you so much for that update.

Now international monitors, they are trying to gain access to Crimea after being turned away by armed men on Thursday.

Now the team is from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. It's this regional security bloc.

Now CNN's Matthew Chance is the only reporter traveling with them. He is currently -- he's been filming a standoff between inspectors and many in balaclavas there. He joins me on the line from southern Ukraine near the city of (inaudible). And Matthew, what are you seeing right now?


I don't know whether you can hear this -- the noise behind me -- but we're at a checkpoint which has been set up by these pro-Russian militias, Russian controlled forces, whatever you want to call them, blocking the entrance to the Crimean peninsula to these -- for these monitors that have been deployed by the OSC, the security organization in Europe.

43 of them have come here by coach. We've been following them down from the Ukrainian mainland. There's a pretty civil meeting going on between officers from the OSCE and masked men carrying Kalashnikov rifles wearing camouflage uniforms.

The OSCE is saying, look, we've been asked to come here by the government of Ukraine to check on the security situation. The masked man replying something along the lines of, in Russian, I've been ordered by the government of Crimea not to let anybody in.

When that exchange took place, the whole crowd of people that had been following this OSCE convoy appeared at the checkpoint as well waving Ukrainian flags, chanting "Crimea is part of Ukraine."

So a lot of public anger, at least here on the sort of Ukrainian mainland, the side of the equation if you will, about the fact that Crimea has been blocked off by these -- these Crimean pro-Russian militia here at this checkpoint, Kristie.

LU STOUT: So what you're seeing, what you've been reporting on, is these masked pro-Russian militia preventing this monitoring group from being able to access Crimea. But Matthew, please clarify something for us, because in the last hour or two here on CNN we've been reporting that the regional government of Crimea says it now welcomes international monitors. So why is this happening?

CHANCE: We've been on the road for the past several hours and so I haven't seen those reports. I was aware that the Crimean government had said that there would be a referendum on the invitation of international monitors so long as those monitors were Russian. And so they seem to be skirting around the key issue here, because the big demand was the big demand of the United States and other western powers as well is that international monitors from a host of countries deployed inside Crimea as a way of de-escalating the situation, as a way of sort of guaranteeing the security of the situation on the ground in Crimea and sort of forging some common ground between Ukraine and Russia over this issue.

But the fact is that these are international monitors. They were invited in to Ukraine by the Ukrainian government. They represent a whole host of countries from Britain, Denmark, Sweden Germany, the United States, Canada, other countries as well -- France -- they've all got representatives here as part of this OSCE delegation. And the situation at the moment is that they're all being blocked from entering Crimea by these masked gunmen who are patrolling the road and preventing anybody, frankly, at this point from getting through.

LU STOUT: Yes, indeed, their task is very important if they can access Crimea to help pave the way to much needed mediation, negotiation to provide some sort of off-ramp to this escalating crisis.

Matthew Chance joining me live on the line offering some very significant reporting -- again despite those reports that we've seen earlier of the Crimean regional government saying that it welcome international monitors, you heard just then live from our Matthew Chance at the border of Crimea saying that these international monitors are not being allowed in. In fact, they are encountering resistance from these masked pro-Russian militia.

Coming up, you're watching CNN. We turn to another story that's been making headlines all week -- the Oscar Pistorius trial. A former girlfriend takes that stand and talks about the Bladerunner's past behavior. We'll have a live report from South Africa.

Also, elections in North Korea, the first under Kim Jong un. And it turns out you can vote against the ruling party's candidate. But one analyst says the consequences could be fatal.

And millions of viewers captivated by the fear in her eyes. We'll tell you more about the viral video that's hoping to raise awareness by bringing remote conflicts closer to home.


LU STOUT: You're watching CNN News Stream. You're looking at a visual version of all the stories we've got in the show today. That we started with the latest out of Ukraine this morning. A little bit later, we'll go back to Ukraine to look at the state of Crimea's Tatar minority.

But first, let's go to day five of the Oscar Pistorius trial today. Now we heard dramatic revelations about the South African athlete's past.

Now Samantha Taylor, Pistorius former girlfriend, she took the stand. And she recounted an incident in court, one where Pistorius had joked about shooting a traffic light, or robot as they call it in South Africa, and then actually shot a bullet through the car's roof.

Now remember, the prosecution has been trying to paint Pistorius as a gun toting hothead. And this testimony could play into their argument. Let's take a listen.


SAMANTHA TAYLOR, PISTORIUS'S FORMER GIRLFRIEND: I (inaudible) down were pretty anxious and a little bit irritated with the policeman and so they laughed and they say that they wanted to shoot a robot. And then Oscar shot a bullet out the sunroof.


LU STOUT: Now Oscar Pistorius is charged with the premeditated murder of Reeva Steenkamp, but he has pleaded not guilty.

Now Nic Robertson joins me now from outside the court in Pretoria. Nic, the court has been hearing not just from the ex-girlfriend, but also from a security guard as well. What have you heard today?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, the security worked at the gate to the estate where Oscar Pistorius lived. And the state prosecutor has been with this witness laying out a timetable of when things happened, how many people were on duty with him, how they kept records at that guardhouse.

But what it came down to was the issue of when Oscar Pistorius called -- or when he talked to Oscar Pistorius on the telephone, rather, and what Oscar Pistorius said to him. He says that Oscar Pistorius told him everything was OK. But he says when he went along a few minutes later with a group of other guards to Oscar Pistorius's house, he said he saw Oscar Pistorius carrying Reeva Steenkamp down -- his girlfriend -- down the stairs at the property. And he said I was staring at Oscar. I was shocked. He told me everything was OK, indicating that clearly everything was not OK because of the condition of Reeva Steenkamp.

But then we've had cross-examination on that. And this was quite interesting here. The defense attorney for Oscar Pistorius, Barry Roux, saying well did he say everything is OK, or did he say -- he said I'm OK?

No, the witness, the witness said. No, he said everything is OK.

Well, it -- could it have been Oscar Pistorius said I'm -- no, he said no everything is OK. So that was a little contentious moment there.

But the earlier witness, the ex-girlfriend breaking down, giving testimony a couple of times breaking down in tears, because she said that Oscar Pistorius had cheated on her and the reason they had broken up was because he took up with Reeva Steenkamp.

But what she did go on to say was that at all times Oscar Pistorius always carried a gun with him. This is what she said.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you know that he owned a gun during your relationship?

TAYLOR: Yes, my lady (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you know that?

TAYLOR: He kept it on him all the time, my lady (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did he say he kept it on him on the time?

TAYLOR: He carried it around with him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he would go to friends, what would he do? When he visited friends, would he carry the gun?

TAYLOR: Yes, he would, my lady (ph).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, at night you know what he did with his firearm at night?

TAYLOR: He placed his firearm next to his bedside on the bedside table, or next to his legs on the floor.


ROBERTSON: Well, she also went on to say that there were several occasions when Oscar Pistorius thought he was threatened, once in his house when something he thought -- heard a sound hit the window, another time when he thought a car was following him where he literally jumped up, she says, grabs his pistol and then in the case of the car points the pistol directly at the window of the car to make it go away. And then in the case of -- in his house, goes on patrol around his house with the pistol.

So painting a picture of Mr. Pistorius sort of going towards danger, if you will, with a pistol when he thinks he's threatened, Kristie.

LU STOUT: That's right. The ex-girlfriend's testimony today gripping, emotional but very, very crucial in the state's case against Oscar Pistorius.

Nic Robertson reporting live from Pretoria, thank you.

Now still to come, it is one of the biggest mysteries in technology. Now he denies that he is a secretive creator of Bitcoin. And I'll be speaking to a Newsweek reporter who claims this man is indeed the digital currencies founder.


LU STOUT: Coming to you live from Hong Kong, you're back watching News Stream.

Now the three-year-old Syrian civil war has left many people there desperate for international aid, but donations are drying up. And now international charities are trying a new approach with campaigns that reframe the victim to grab the attention of western donors. Hala Gorani shows us some powerful examples.



HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORREDSPONDENT: This new viral video begins innocently enough with a young girl's birthday celebration, but through quick one second per day clips, we see her life change as she's forced to leave home, dodging bombs on the street and eventually ending up at a refugee camp.

The video from Save the Children UK generated more than 4 million views on YouTube in just its first day.

The ad asks viewers to imagine a war torn London, reminding them that violence happening thousands of miles away in Syria is very real.

JACK LUNDIE, SAVE THE CHILDREN: It's easy to forget what's going on elsewhere in the world, but just because it's not at the front of our minds doesn't mean that it's not happening, hence the tagline at the end of the film.

GORANI: Another recent ad from a Norwegian nonprofit features passersby offering their coats and scarves to a shivering boy at a bus stop in Oslo. It has racked up more than 13 million views so far, reminding people that children are suffering through Syria's winter.

Both of these charities use ads that feature white European children to reframe the Syrian conflict for a weary western audience.

LUNDIE: We know it's not Gangnam Style, but it's a really important story that we should all remember and it's nice that it's been shared a little more than some of the Oscar shorts or the Brits here in the UK, the music industry shorts.

GORANI: With a three-year anniversary of the war approaching, we continue to see devastating scenes like this from Syria, families, young children, many hopeless and starving.

More than 11,000 children have been killed in the conflict and more than 1 million more have become refugees, according to UNICEF.

And charities say these powerful videos maybe the best way to reach a donor fatigued public and ultimately bring much needed aid to the children of Syria.

Hala Gorani, CNN.


LU STOUT: You're watching News Stream. And still to come, we have more on the crisis in Ukraine and a minority group in Crimea that is deeply fearful of a planned referendum on whether to become a part of Russia. We take a look at what is at stake for them.

And the identity of the founder of the digital currency Bitcoin has been a mystery for years. And now one magazine claims they have found him, but did they get it wrong? I'll be speaking to the journalist who broke the story.


LU STOUT: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. You're watching News Stream. And these are your world headlines.

There will be no war with Ukraine, that is the statement from the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament. Now Russian lawmakers are also backing a Crimea secession vote despite the threat of international sanctions. Now the government in Kiev and other world leaders, meanwhile, have called the planned referendum illegitimate.

One of Oscar Pistorius's ex-girlfriends testified at his murder trial on Friday. Samantha Taylor said he always slept with a gun near his bed and once fired a weapon through the sunroof of his car after getting upset at a traffic light. Now the court also heard from a security guard at the complex where Pistorius lives who says the athlete initially told him everything was OK, but then saw Pistorius carrying Reeva Steenkamp's body down the stairs only a few minutes later.

Now the keenly awaited U.S. jobs report has just been released and the U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in February. That is more than predicted. Now economists originally added 150,000 jobs in the month. Now the unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.7 percent from 6.6. We'll have a lot more on that on the jobs report on World Business Today in the next hour.

Now this week has seen rapid developments in Ukraine. Now pro-Russian protests have spread from Crimea to Odessa and Donetsk. Now demonstrators in the eastern city of Donetsk are calling for a referendum on the region's status and greater autonomy.

Now Crimea's parliament has already scheduled such a vote. On Thursday, lawmakers unanimously decided to split from Ukraine. And they scheduled that public referendum for March 16.

Now Ukraine's interim government in Kiev, meanwhile, says that the referendum would be illegal.

And speaking earlier on Friday, Areseniy Yastenyuk, the interim prime minister, warned that he called separatists that their actions would be unconstitutional.

But Russia says it will recognize the results, despite the threat of sanctions from the international community.

Now several countries have also refused to send delegations to the Paralympic games in Sochi, Russia. President Vladimir Putin is set to attend the opening ceremony today.

Meanwhile, INTERPOL is assessing a request to issue an arrest warrant for the ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych who was last seen in Rostov-on-Don.

Now Yanukovych spoke to the media last Friday and said then that he wanted Crimea to remain a part of Ukraine.

Now armed men continued to surround key government buildings, military buildings in Crimea and Russian navy vessels are also in the area.

Now today, a majority of the peninsula's people are ethnic Russians, more than 58 percent of the population, that's according to the latest national census. Now about a quarter are Ukrainians, 12 percent are Crimean Tatar. And many are anti-Russian, because they remember life under the Soviet Union.

And as Diana Magnay reports, they are living in fear once again.


DIANA MAGNAY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPNODENT: This is an emergency meeting of Crimean Tatars from the town of Bachasaray (ph) anxiety, forboding, heavy in the air. 90 minutes earlier, a house of one of their own was broken into. Ethnic hate, or simple theft, they don't know. They must step up security with around the clock patrols.

"The thing that happened today, thank god, had no victims," the head of the local (inaudible) council tells the crowd. "We cannot even let the smallest threat into the place where the Tatars live."

Suffering is etched onto these people's history. Only the young don't remember exile, lives lived in Kazakhstan or Uzbekistan, or other Soviet republics after Stalin deporting the Tatars from their homeland for supposedly collaborating with Hitler.

Some remember deportation, which has its own word, sergun (ph), the Tatar equivalent of the holocaust.

But since the end of the Soviet Union, many have returned to Crimea, living peacefully alongside a jumble of other ethnicities, other religions.

Now men who have lived through it all are being asked to choose between Russia and Ukraine.

"It is not legal. We are the original nation of Crimea. Our state was here. Russia left us with no rights. We don't want to be with Russia, we want to be with Ukraine."

He thinks there will be war.

"Russia will not retreat," he says.

We visit the house where the attack happened. A brazen intrusion in broad daylight trashing the family home. It's a first for this tight-knit community, and on a day when their political future is thrown into chaos.

Even if this was just a burglary, the reaction amongst the community shows you just how tense these times are that they'll patrol these streets 24/7, taking security into their own hands having lost faith in the apparatus of the state.

As darkness falls over the mosque, there are prayers and consultations, looking for answers from one another before the nighttime patrols begin.

Diana Magnay, CNN, Bastiasiray (ph), Ukraine.


LU STOUT: Now North Koreans head to the polls this weekend, but there will only be one candidate per district, all pre-approved by the country's leader Kim Jong un. And since the outcome is predetermined, you may wonder why they bother to have an election at all.

Paula Hancocks reports.


PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There are no campaign favorites like shaking hands or kissing babies, North Korean leader Kim Jong un instead watches an artillery shooting contest, afterall this weekend's election is a foregone conclusion: one candidate per district, nominated by the regime, approved by the leader.

PRO. ANDREI LANKOV, KOOKMIN UNIVERSITY: It's a way to legitimized, to show, you know 99.9 percent of all registered voters came to vote and all of them, 100.0 percent voted for my regime. So they are the world's most popular government.

HANCOCKS: The election of deputies to the Supreme People's Assembly usually happens every five years. This will be Kim Jong un's first as leader.

Defector Cho Myung-chul described the process to me two years ago while running in South Korean elections.

"In North Korean elections," he says, "there's a piece of paper and a pencil. If you don't like the candidate you can pick up the pencil and cross the name out. But if you do that, you could die. There is always someone watching. And of course there's only one candidate."

Paying lip service to Democracy, Kim Jong un did write an open letter to his people through state media saying, "I feel very grateful for their expression of deep trust in me and extent warm thanks to them from the bottom of my heart."

This will be a chance to see who is in and who is out, key after Kim Jong un ordered the execution of his uncle and second in command Jang Sung- taek.

North Korea watchers will be looking for new names and any signs that the recent purge is coming to an end.

Experts say that this election can also been seen as a census, a nationwide check that everyone is where they should be and also that no one has defected without authorities knowing. What the election can not be seen as is free and fair.

Paula Hancocks, CNN, Seoul.


LU STOUT: All right. That was Paula Hancocks reporting.

You're watching News Stream. We'll be back right after the break.


LU STOUT: A beautifully clear Friday night here in Hong Kong. Welcome back. You're watching News Stream. And time now for your global weather forecast with news of an expanding drought in Australia. Let's get the latest on the crisis there with Mari Ramos. She joins me from the world weather center -- Mari.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, yeah, this is a continuing problem in Australia. It seems like they were just starting to make some progress from the drought that had been crippling portions of the south. And now we have expanding drought in areas of the north, particularly the state of Queensland.

Now, before we go to the pictures I want to show you the area that we're talking about. Queensland is a huge state, over 1.9 million square kilometers. And 80 percent of the state now is considered to be in drought. So all of the areas that you see here in red are considered to be in drought.

It doesn't include the city of Brisbane, which is the most densely populated area of the state, or areas here to the north where they tend to get some tropical rains. But the areas in red that you see there, drought declared, and then the pink right here behind it, those are areas under partial drought.

Want to see what this looks like on the ground? Well, take a look at these pictures. Parched areas, completely dry. It is a continuing problem, as I was saying, particularly for farmers, because they do not have enough water, in many cases, to grow the grass that they need to get, or the feed for the animals or enough water to even be able to raise proper -- or properly raise their livestock.

It's a serious situation, because this is an area that is very active in farming and very active in agriculture as well and it does take a toll in the economic things of the country, including prices for food, or example, that could tend to go up if we see a continued crisis here when it comes to the lack of water or the lack of rain.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is saying that even though there has been some improvement in some areas, overall you can see the drought expanding and the rain that has fallen in these dry areas has not been enough to really make any kind of significant progress.

So pretty serious stuff there when you think about it.

We do have a little bit of moisture, again across the northern portions of Queensland, but the rest of the region remains quite dry.

And it's really kind of ironic, because remember that so many of these areas before, Kristie, were in a drought.

Right now we have two tropical cyclones that are kind of flanking areas here of northern Australia, one over here with a medium chance of development, another one with a high chance of development over toward the east. Both of these cyclones are actually moving in that direction, so we could see this one making landfall across the York peninsula and this one possibly farther south from Cairns. Even if, even if they do become a tropical cyclones.

Either way, they're going to bring rain, but not the areas that need it the most, which is pretty ironic, indeed.

I want to kind of switch gears and take you to Space. Kristie, I think you're going to like this story, because I know you're a fan of the Hubble telescope.

I want to go ahead and show you these pictures. This is from the Hubble. There you see it. They look like fuzzy little things in the sky, right, but it took the Hubble actually a few months to be able to capture these images, an exploding asteroid. You can really -- it looks like an exploding star, really. Those pieces that you see there, some of them were the size of two football fields.

The interesting thing about this is that we have never been able to see images like this inside of our solar system, or this close, I should say, inside the asteroid belt. Most of the pieces, NASA says, will probably break up and smash into the sun eventually, but one day we could see some of those leftover pieces streak over -- or right across -- our own skies here on Earth in the form of meteoroids.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: You know, and you're right, Mari, I am a fan of Hubble photography. But, you know, I was expecting exploding asteroids. It's a little bit anti-climactic, you know, beautiful scintillating blue lights. Still it's a marvel that those images could be captured at all. Thank you so much for sharing them with us. Mari Ramos there, thank you. Have a great weekend.

You are watching News Stream. And still to come, a professional prankster gives a homeless man $1,000 and this good deed is for real. We'll see the man's priceless reaction and this very touching story coming up.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now there is no shortage of epic prank videos on the internet, but this next one involving a fake lotto ticket may surprise you. Now Jeanne Moos tells us about a popular prankster who gave money to a homeless man, but ended up receiving a lot more in return.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the story of a homeless man who got pranked with a losing lottery ticket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So today I'm going to make him think that he just won the lottery.

MOOS: But don't worry, he's still a winner. It is, indeed, a "good- deed prank" and this is the prankster.

Normally, Rahat's is doing things like dressing up in a car seat costume so he can scare fast-food workers as the invisible driver.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yo, oh my god. Really?

MOOS: But instead of a laugh, expect a tear when Rahat pranks a homeless man with a good reputation who'd been hanging around a Virginia shopping center.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE; I don't really have any money to give you, but I do have this winning lottery ticket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's cool, my friend.

MOOS: They head for a nearby deli to cash in the ticket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ad the store clerk is in on it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Guess what? You got $1,000.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're kidding me, right?

MOOS: As the clerk counts out 10 hundreds, the man stares at the cash stunned into silence and then...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to share it, my friend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Aw, come on. That's all yours, man.

I was really thrown off because I did not really expect somebody to do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to share it with you, big guy.

MOOS: When Rahat insists Eric keep all of the money, the camera mounted on Rahat's sunglasses the eyes of the homeless guy welling up.


MOOS: And when they were done hugging, it wasn't just the homeless man who had to wipe his eyes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, let's get out of here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I never, never had a friend had somebody do what you just did back there.

MOOS: He was not aware that Rahat was recording everything. Eric, the homeless guy now knows that there's a video. But what he still doesn't know is that the lottery ticket wasn't really a winner, either.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't want to really ruin the moment of him winning the lottery ticket. I wanted him to capture that moment, that memory.

MOOS: Rahat says he's going to break it to him soon, though most think the video is touching, some have qualms.

Good deeds on camera, or exploiting people as props was the headline.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not just going to give him $1,000 and just walk away and say, Have a great day.

MOOS: Rahat set up a fundraising site for Eric. In less than a day, it totaled more over $6,000 and counting. Eric didn't win the lotto, but he did hit the jackpot.

Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


LU STOUT: Now we've heard a lot about Bitcoin in the last few months as the price of the digital currency has soared and scandal surrounds the bankruptcy of a major Bitcoin exchange. But there's one many thing that's been a mystery for years, who created Bitcoin?

Well, this is the original paper that first proposed Bitcoin. It is credited to Satoshi Nakamoto. But nobody knew who that was or whether it was a pseudonym.

And then on Thursday came a big breakthrough. Newsweek magazine says it found Satoshi Nakamoto. It says he's actually called Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. A 64-year-old Japanese-American engineer living in California.

And that revelation, it sent reporters on a car chase through Los Angeles in an effort to learn the truth. But the man they were chasing later denied that he's the man behind Bitcoin.


DORIAN SATOSHI NAKAMOTO, ALLEGED BITCOIN CREATOR; I have nothing to do with Bitcoin. I never worked for the company. I don't know any people there. I never had a contract there or anything like that. I don't even - - I wasn't even aware of the product.


LU STOUT: Now Leah McGrath Goodman was the journalist who broke that story in Newsweek magazine. She joins me now live from New York. Lea, thank you so much for joining us. What a blockbuster story. And you heard it just then. Mr. Nakamoto on camera he denies any link to Bitcoin, so is he truly the creator of Bitcoin?

LEAH MCGRATH GOODMAN, NEWSWEEK REPORTER: Well, I saw that too. It was a very different conversation than the one I had outside of his house with police officers there. So the question is, is how do we reconcile what he said to me and what he said to them.

LU STOUT: Yeah, and how do you reconcile that?

GOODMAN: I would like to reconcile that. I was talking to the west coast journalists yesterday and they were giving me a very different story than the one that I experienced when I spoke to him.

LU STOUT: And can you back up a little bit and tell us how did you manage to track him down?

GOODMAN: Well, I ended up working with a team of forensic researchers, analysts. And we went through all the trends that we could possibly find from pseudonyms to ciphers to someone whose name might really be Satoshi and we narrowed down those leads over the course of two months and yesterday one of the west coast reporters said to me we're puzzling because we don't know how to prove it's not him. And I said, join the boat. I have been trying to find a reason to think that it is not this man since I began. And, you know, it's all about eliminating candidates when you do this kind of research. It's not about looking for things to support it, it's looking for things that will cancel people out.

When I confronted him, his acknowledgment of Bitcoin and saying that he was no longer connected and that he had turned it over to other people that to me was sort of the final step. You know, we talked very specifically about only Bitcoin. There was no miscommunication, there was no confusion.

LU STOUT: You went through this lengthy process of elimination. He eventually revealed to you that he is in fact the brains behind Bitcoin, but many in the Bitcoin community, they are still skeptical about your report. They're skeptical about your evidence, saying that it's circumstantial. So how do you respond to them?

GOODMAN: I think asking all the questions we can is a good thing. I have a lot of questions. If I had been able to do a full interview with him at that time and he had not been so nervous there were many things I would have asked him. And I did try to ask. So I think we should just continue asking these questions, I will be. And I have assurances from many of the reporters on the west coast they will be as well.

LU STOUT: Should we expect a follow-up piece from you?

GOODMAN: I think right now we're talking about how we want to put something together. So I will say tentatively yes.

LU STOUT: OK. Good to hear.

Now the piece, the first one that came out, the cover story of Newsweek out this week, it was also criticized for showing the photographs of Mr. Nakamoto's home. Do you think that was the correct thing to do? Do you think that was a mistake?

GOODMAN: I have not talked to the graphics team yet about the decision making on this. But I trust very much Newsweek has those conversations and considers that very carefully.

I think when we heard some of the feedback, I think that there were some things that were corrected, like for example I think the license plate. I think the intention was to blur it, is my understanding. And I think they went ahead and did that afterward.

LU STOUT: Yeah, and there was that feedback out there about the details of his personal life being shown through the imagery to the graphics department, because of just how volatile Bitcoin is right now. And of course Bitcoin valuation, you know, billions of dollars at stake here. Do you think Mr. Nakamoto could be in danger? Does he have reason to fear for his life? Would people want to hunt him down?

GOODMAN: Well, as you know, or I think at this point it's been established. I'm a finance editor for Newsweek and so I cover Wall Street. And the people that I write about who buy penthouses and who make a great deal more money than what we're talking about with Satoshi I think, you know, we know the addresses of many very wealthy people as part of, you know, working in the finance sector and writing about it. The idea that that just immediately means danger to me is -- I don't want to say naive because I don't want to insult anyone, but that would be to go so far as to say that everyone who either invents something important or is potentially wealthy to a certain degree is in danger of being -- I saw the word murdered on Twitter yesterday too many times to not feel queasy about it.

LU STOUT: Of course, of course.

At the end of the day your profile, it really is a profile about a man, a very ordinary person who as Newsweek in this report claims to be behind this amazing phenomenon, this global phenomenon known as Bitcoin. Could you tell me more about him, Dorian S. Nakamoto? Because when I see the photographs and the videos of him, he strikes me as a very simple and eccentric person. What is he really like in person?

GOODMAN: Well, simple, definitely not. Eccentric, it does seem that those who are closest to Dorian have that impression of him. And, you know, some of the intelligence -- or of getting sort of behind the scenes on what happened yesterday on the west coast it was very much the same thing. I think he struck a number of the journalists as, you know, a real individual. He definitely has -- he has very strong interests, according to those close to him.

It was clear when I was looking online, while he's very private about his work, very private, he has hobbies that he's quite open about and one of them was the train modeling. He's very interested in live steam locomotives. And, you know, he will collect them and rebuild them and modify them and upgrade them and he is quite focused on things like wonderful engineering. He loves technology and there's many pictures online that he's taken of nature. You know, he seems to be a great lover of the mountains and the sea.

LU STOUT: A true individual, a complex individual too. Leah McGrath Goodman of Newsweek, thank you so much for joining me. I look forward to reading your followup work. It was quite a scoop. Thank you and take care.

That is News Stream, but the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.