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Exploring Sochi; Philip Seymour Hoffman Dies At 46; A Look At All- Male Swan Lake; Anti-Government Protesters In Thailand Halt Elections; Russian Student Holds High School Hostage; Mount Sinabung Eruption Kills 15 In Indonesia

Aired February 3, 2014 - 8:00   ET


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

A rare school shooting shocks Russia. What motivated a student in Moscow to hold classmates hostage?

Plus, Hollywood mourns an acting legend. We'll look at the life of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the Oscar winning actor found dead from an apparent drug overdose.

Also ahead, digging in -- anti-government protesters in Thailand vow to carry on after disrupting Sunday's snap election.

A bloody standoff at a Moscow high school has ended with the deaths of two people. Now police say an armed student stormed into the school firing on a teacher who later died. Now the shooter then held a biology class hostage and opened fire on police, killing one officer and injuring another. Now police say the gunman is now in custody and the students have been released.

Now we are just getting word of a possible motive behind the attack. Let's get more now from CNN's Phil Black. He joins me live from Moscow. And Phil, this was a rare school shooting taking place there in Russia. Tell us more about how it unfolded and this possible motive.

PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You're right, Kristie, rare. Gun laws are pretty strict here and these sorts of shootings -- I've not known of another one quite like this before, but it appears this person has been identified as a student of the school, entered the school this morning with a rifle, threatened a security guard there who was making his way through the halls. He met and shot a teacher who was injured, but who later died.

He then made his way into a classroom with about 20 students, a biology class.

Now while he was in there, other students in the school evacuated. The alarm was triggered. Police responded. There was some sort of shootout. One police officer was injured, another was killed.

The police say that he fired 11 or more shots using a weapons that was registered, a rifle registered in his father's name. And in the end, they say, it was his father who spoke to him on the phone and then later at the scene and persuaded him, talked him down, talked him into releasing the students, that is what happened, that student is now in custody.

Now as for the motive, police admit they are a little baffled. They say that all the information they've had on him so far is positive. They describe him as a straight A student. They say it appears that he was motivated by a grudge against a teacher, not other students.

They are now investigating. They are searching his home. They say he will undergo a mental health examination, all part of an effort to try and determine just why he did in this Moscow classroom this morning, Kristie.

LU STOUT: So, from what we're knowing and hearing about so far, it appears that today's school shooting there in Moscow does not have a link to terrorism, but nonetheless, is it raising more concerns about security in Russia ahead of the games?

BLACK: Well, security in Moscow schools already, they have announced the review of all security in schools across the city to try and prevent something like this from happening again.

Russians have reason to be nervous about school shootings. Although - - and particular in the context of terrorism -- although, they don't happen very often, perhaps the worst terror attack to happen in this country in modern history was at a high school -- of a school in Beslan in the south of the country back in 2004.

In that large-scale terror attack, more than 350 people were killed. But in this case, despite the great international focus on this country and security and its anti-terror efforts in the lead up to the Sochi Winter Olympics, which kick off this Friday.

The facts as they stand certainly indicate there is no suggestion of terrorism in this case, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Phil Black reporting live from Moscow, thank you.

And we'll be taking you live to Sochi in Russia a bit later in the show for a check on the security situation and other preparations for the winter games. Find out why authorities have ordered some people to stay home for the duration of the games.

Turning now to Thailand where anti-government protesters are back on the streets one day after a troubled national election. Now the demonstrators are calling on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to step down.

Now the protest leader Sutep Thaugsuban says until that happens the protesters won't be going anywhere. On Sunday, demonstrators disrupted polling in nearly one-fifth of districts.

Now the main opposition party boycotted the election. For now, the results have not been announced.

Now Vladimir Duthiers is in Bangkok with more. He joins me now live - - Vlad.

VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Independent electoral commission, Kristie, is telling us that they probably will have to do a bye voting method, which will effect take a couple of weeks, could be a couple of months, but the deputy prime minister that we spoke to has told us constitutionally and by law this should actually happen in seven days. In other words, the people who are not able to vote during the election, and that's about -- the protesters succeeded in shutting down voting in 11 percent of the polling places across Thailand and that meant that only 45.5 percent of people eligible to vote in this country were able to cast a ballot.

And so what the deputy prime minister has told is by law that this bye election should take place within seven days.

Now the independent electoral commission says that they will probably have to do this bye election, but it's not very clear it's exactly when it will happen.

Now to give you just some contrasting numbers, as I said about 45.5 percent of the people in Thailand who were eligible to vote were able to vote in this election yesterday. Contrast that with July 2011, the last time that Thailand had an election 75 percent of the population who were eligible to vote were able to cast their ballots, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Vladimir Duthiers joining us live from Bangkok with the very latest on political crisis there. Thank you.

Now our producer in Bangkok, she witnessed a shooting this weekend. And she wrote about the experience of crawling past six pistol wielding gunmen who were mingling with anti-government protesters.

You can also find this article explaining what is behind these ongoing demonstrations. It's all at

Now Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych is back at work today after falling ill in the middle of an unfolding political crisis. Now his office says the president was treated for a respiratory disease. Now demonstrators staged huge rallies in Kiev over the weekend demanding that he step down. Now that is despite the repeal of a highly controversial anti-protest law last week.

Now the president's next challenge will be finding a replacement for the Prime Minister Mikola Azarov who has resigned.

Now still ahead here on News Stream this hour, friends, family and colleagues all stunned by the sudden death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. We'll get the latest on the investigation in New York.

And a deadly eruption in Indonesia, at least 15 people killed as Mount Sinabung sends plumes of ash into the air.

And celebration in Seattle and despair in Denver. We'll wrap up a decidedly one-sided Super Bowl XLVIII. Stick around.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now rescue workers in Indonesia are hunting for survivors after huge eruptions from a volcano killed at least 15 people. It all happened on the island of Sumatra on Saturday. Now Mount Sinabung sent ash more than 1.5 kilometers into the sky.

Now the ash and the lava tore down the mountain slopes in just a matter of minutes, engulfing at least one village.

Now rescue workers have ventured back into the affected area earlier today after volcanic activity forced them to call off earlier attempts.

Now let's get more now on the deadly volcanic activity there in Indonesia. Mari Ramos joins us from the world weather center with that -- Kristie.

MARI RAMOS, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, this has had literally hundreds of eruptions as it came back to life back in 2010. It is an area that is populated there of north Sumatra. And I wanted to give you a quick update again today they've had those deadly eruptions you talked about. Those were all on -- about 24 hours ago. But now they've had another one, two very large eruptions just in the last few hours. And this is a picture of just one of them. This is from a town called Karo in Indonesia and there you see it again those huge just clouds of pyroclastic flows, that's what they're called. It's the ash and the gases and the rocks and everything else that's coming out of the volcano.

Here's another image taken just earlier today. Again, people fleeing from that area.

Now, I do want to tell you that this area is in what's called a code red for volcanic activity, so of course they're asking people not to get close to the area closest to the volcano.

Vulcanologist in this area feel that the volcano, of course very active right now, and they're thinking that the areas that will be most affected are the areas immediately around the volcano. Of course they're not expecting a massive eruption that would engulf the entire region, for example, but that ash cloud from Saturday was a 280 square kilometer ash cloud that went far, far beyond that area that they're asking people not to get close to.

That 3 kilometer radius is the area that is the most dangerous where you see those huge -- where you saw those deaths from over the weekend.

The closest town is about 10 kilometers from the base of the mountain and most of the areas around here have actually -- are doing fairly well considering how close they are to the mountain.

The other thing that we've been getting question on is flights. The volcanic ash advisory center that manages this area is in Darwin, Australia. And they're saying that, yes, there is a problem for anyone that would be flying in this area at about 12,000 feet. But fortunately this is not a highly trafficked area when it comes to aircraft.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: Yeah, Mari, this is just such a tragic event. I mean, there were evacuations in place, warnings in place and yet that eruption proved to be very, very fatal.

Now separately, you're monitoring pretty severe flooding that has hit the UK and Ireland. What can you tell us?

RAMOS: Unfortunately, that's something that continues as well. Over the weekend they had huge waves that were pounding this area with the storm system that was coming in.

You look at a picture like this and it actually looks quite pretty, right. You think a beautiful lake, maybe a nice river, no this farmland that has been completely flooding, inundated. And some of this farm that has been inundated for weeks. It hasn't even been able to drain. But a lot of problems going on here, not only are they talking about a very wet winter so far across the UK and Ireland, but this weekend was particularly bad with very large waves that were moving in. This backed up the rivers even more. Some of those waves were as high as 12 meters that were pounding the coastline.

Portions of northern Spain and Portugal were also affected. And it's not entirely over yet.

Now even though the waves are coming down and the winds are calming down, you can still see that weather system affecting this areas with more rain. And rain is precisely what we do not need places like Cork in Ireland have some significant flooding. As we head back over into portions of the southern UK still some severe flood warnings in those areas as well.

Western France reporting strong winds and also across parts of northern Spain. It was even snowing in Madrid earlier today.

Kristie, back to you.

LU STOUT: All right, Mari Ramos there, thank you.

Now sleepless in Seattle, Seahawks fans, they partied late into the night after their team won the Super Bowl for the first time ever.

Now the Seattle Seahawks, they pushed aside the Denver Broncos with a crushing 43-8 victory in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Now Denver boasted the NFL's best offense, but they were never able to get it going. And the Seahawks, they cruised to their first ever Super Bowl title.

Now the game is the biggest sporting event in the U.S. CNN's Nischelle Turner joins me now live from the stadium in East Rutherford in New Jersey. And Nischelle, this was a very, very big win for the Seattle Seahawks.

NISCHELLE TURNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, a huge win for the Seattle Seahawks, a young team, a feisty team. And they really put it on the Denver Broncos last night like you were just saying.

Now this Super Bowl, I'm calling it the 12 second Super Bowl, because it took 12 seconds at the beginning of the game for Seattle to take control, 12 seconds coming out half-time for them to virtually seal the victory and probably 12 seconds or less for the Seattle Seahawks fans to completely flip out.


TURNER (voice-over): Super-sized celebrations in Seattle after a Super Bowl blow-out. Bonfires and fireworks as the city relishes in its first world championship ever.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Greatest thing ever. Yes. Thought it would never come. We've had such bad deal of luck, but it's all turned now.

TURNER: Back on the field, the Seahawks are also in disbelief.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't feel, it hasn't hit me yet. But I know when I go home and I leave and I see that ring, it's going to be indescribable.

Everything lit up. I mean, all the emotions came out. I was hugging everybody. Everybody was hugging me. Slapping me and everything. It was an amazing feeling.

TURNER: The game was pretty much over as soon as it began, with the Seahawks defense overpowering the Denver Broncos.

Just 12 seconds into the game, Peyton Manning slips up on a bad snap, giving the Seahawks the fastest score in Super Bowl history.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Seahawks! Seahawks!

TURNER: Second quarter for the Seahawks, same song, different verse.

Beast mode putting in work. Once again, the Legion of Boom spells doom for number 18.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Malcolm Smith all alone! No flags. Touchdown, Seattle.

TURNER: Like a broken record for Denver fans, Seattle scoring touchdown...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's going to go. Touchdown, Seattle.

TURNER: ...after touchdown...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Touchdown, unbelievable.

TURNER: ...after touchdown.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For all practical purpose, this game is over.

TURNER: The hawks got a scare when cornerback Richard Sherman injured his ankle and was carried off the field in the fourth quarter.

Sherman known for talking trash took the high road after the game tweeting, "Peyton is the classiest person player I've ever met. I can learn so much from him. Thank you for being a great competitor and person."


TURNER: And that is so true. Peyton Manning, one of the best ever to play the game.

Now, can we talk -- I mean, can we talk about the half-time show? Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. You know, I'm not really sure how it translated on television, because I was inside the stadium watching, but the light show itself was just beautiful. I mean they gave everyone these black caps with these red LED lights on it and it was just pitch black in he stadium and all you saw were these red lights flashing everywhere and Bruno Mars and the Red Hot Chili Peppers rocking out on stage. It was a really good performance.

Although I'm a little bit biased, because I'm a huge Bruno Mars fans and it doesn't get much better than him.

Back to you.

LU STOUT: I saw the chatter online. A lot of the -- especially the Seattle Seahawks fans are commenting on the ironic choice of Give it Away by the Red Hot Chili Peppers given that this was just such a one-sided game.

We'll have to leave it at that, but Nischelle Turner, thank you for giving us all the highlights. Take care. Stay warm.

They were taking it away, exactly.

Nischelle Turner there, thank you.

Now 43-8, again it is one of the biggest winning margins in Super Bowl history. And the Broncos had been on the wrong end of a rout before.

Now the biggest blowout, as they say in the U.S., it came in 1990 when the Broncos were thumped by 45 points by the San Francisco 49ers.

But it's not all about the game, now the ads they're always a big talking point and a big time filler as well. Now you've got to check this our, 90 commercials took up more than 54 minutes, or more than a quarter of the total air time. And the game itself 2 hours and 12 minutes, that's less than two-thirds of the show.

Now, for all the sports stat fans out there, we've got that, we've got plenty more online. Just check out our Super Bowl coverage

Now, time now for a break here on News Stream. We'll be back right after this.


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

Now he is being remembered as one of the most gifted actors of his generation. And an autopsy will be performed later today on the body of 46-year-old Philip Seymour Hoffman. The Academy Award winner, he was found dead in his New York City apartment on Sunday of what police say was an apparent drug overdose.

Now law enforcement sources say his body was on the bathroom floor with a syringe in his left arm.

And that two bags of what is believed to be heroin were also found.

Now in a statement, his family calls his death a tragic and sudden loss. And Hoffman leaves behind his long-time partner and three children.

Now CNN's Alexandra Field is covering the story from New York and joins me now live. And Alexandra, the world has lost truly a major talent.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Kristie. This is a man whose name was known worldwide. He was greatly admired for his career. But right here in Greenwich Village where he lived his neighbors say he just seemed to want to blend in. He never quite blended in. He was always a famous face in the crowd. You can see a lot of people have left flowers and candles at the doorstep of the apartment building where his body was found, a tribute to the man whose talent was so deeply admired.


FIELD (voice-over): A flurry of flash bulbs as actor, Philip Seymour Hoffman's body was carried out of his New York City home. The Academy Award-winning actor was found dead Sunday morning on his bathroom floor of an apparent overdose. Law enforcement sources say Hoffman was found with a needle in his left arm and at least two baggies that they believed contained heroin, several other envelopes were found empty.

Police says Hoffman hadn't been seen since 8:00 the night before. Playwright, David Katz, called police after finding his body at this apartment.

Hoffman's family released a statement that reads in part, "We are devastated by the loss of our beloved Phil and appreciate the outpouring of love and support we have received from everyone."

This was the Philip Seymour Hoffman that was known in this star- studded neighborhood regarded as a great father and neighbor, one who is concerned about issues in his community.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel so horrified in a way and it's bad also to know how he died. He must have been in a lot of pain.

FIELD: Friends say Hoffman moved here last year not far from his family after revealing he was in rehab for abusing prescription pills. Hoffman acknowledged his battle with addiction on "60 Minutes" in 2006.

PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, ACTOR: You get panicked. I was 22 and I got panicked for my life. It was really bad. I always think, God, I have so much empathy for these young actors, they're 19, and all of a sudden they're beautiful, famous and rich and I'm like, my God, dead.

FIELD: Hoffman's death, a profound loss for the Hollywood community. Mia Farrow tweeted, "Sad and mad" #PhilipSH #brilliant, beloved, needles, drugs, loss, waste. Alec Baldwin says, "I worked on two films with Phil Hoffman. He was a consummate stage and film actor and a true gentleman."

Sure, he was Truman Capote on the big screen, an Oscar winner, but to his neighbors a regular guy involved in community politics who rode his bike and walked his three young children to school, the children he had planned to see Sunday morning.


FIELD: So many fans now feeling this deep grief. Investigators, who are working from the theory that he died of a drug overdose will now be trying to determine where Philip Seymour Hoffman spent his last few days and hours, who he may have been with in those days and hours, or who he may have spoken to -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: And do we have a time frame on when we will be able to find out just the precise circumstances of his death?

FIELD: The medical examiner spent a number of hours on scene here in Greenwich Village yesterday after the body was discovered doing a preliminary investigation. The NYPD crime scene unit was also on scene here.

Now any sort of outcome or results will have to wait until have the autopsy is completed. That's scheduled for later today. But as of when some of those results could be made public, that could be hours, days, weeks, unclear at this point, Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Alexandra Field joining us live from New York, many thanks indeed for that.

And you're watching News Stream. And still ahead on the program, just four days to go, but will Sochi be ready for the games and the fans? We check in on the progress as Russia prepares for the Winter Olympics.

But not all the attention is on Sochi, we'll tell you about the extreme measures Russian authorities are taking in the turbulent region of Dagestan.


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

Now authorities in New York plan to perform an autopsy later today on the body of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. The Oscar Winner was found dead in his apartment on Sunday. And police believe the 46-year-old died of a drug overdose.

In Thailand, anti-government demonstrators say that they won't stop their protests until Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra resigns. Now they were back on the streets of Bangkok today following Sunday's national election. Now protesters disrupted voting in nearly one-fifth of the country's electoral districts. But authorities insist nearly half of the voters took part in the election.

Now dozens of people were said to be killed in barrel bomb attacks in Syria over the weekend. Activists say government forces dropped the bombs from helicopters over a suburb of Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo. Now this bombardment, it began a day after the first round of Syrian peace talks wrapped up in Geneva. CNN cannot independently confirm the authenticity of these images posted to YouTube.

Hostages have been released and a gunman detained following a deadly siege at a high school in Moscow. Now police say the armed student held a class hostage and killed one teacher and a police officer.

Now Sochi is rolling out the welcome mat for competitors and spectators to the 2014 Winter Games. Athletes, visitors and media have already started to arrive. But now with just four days to go and workers scrambling to finish accommodation buildings, some people are asking will it all be ready in time?

Now another concern is, of course, security. And Russia is taking some extra measures to keep the game safe. Now authorities, they are particularly worried about suicide bombers from Dagestan, the center of the Islamic insurgency in Russia. And for more, we're joined by our senior international correspondent Nick Paton Walsh live from Sochi.

And Nick, first, let's focus on where you are now. Just how safe is Sochi?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, as Barack Obama said on Friday, he thinks it will be safe for people to attend the games here. The United States has put in a lot of precautions to whisk people away if that's not the case, but just around me the roads hard to come down all times, you need special permits. 37,000 Russian police being brought in to try and lock this area down. Their corruption and inefficiency is well known, but the sheer volume of resources Russia is throwing at it just keeping this area here on the Black Sea coast safe in the weeks ahead will probably get some kind of success. The issue, really, though is the rest of the North Caucuses, southern Russia, a vast area, volatile for over a decade.

The focuses here where there hasn't been a problem with the insurgency in the past, the real issue is areas like Dagestan where there has been a serious amount of violence in the past few years. Will they be safe throughout the games, Kristie?

LU STOUT: And tell us more about what are Russian authorities doing in Dagestan to safeguard the games?

WALSH: Well, we did see a number of towns, a lot of them in the hills, one Burnatsk (ph), which is where the two suicide bombers attacked the Volgogorad station came from. I spoke to a number of woman in some strict Salafi Muslims. She said police want to keep tabs on their movements, very specifically forbidding someone to leave the towns where they live until the end of the games.


WALSH (voice-over): Far from the grandeur of Sochi's games, deep in the hills of Dagestan, Russia is desperately trying to keep a lid on something. This is the town of Burnatsk (ph), home to the suicide bombers who hit Volgograd twice last year. Many militants hailed from here and also left widows. One is Burliyat Bagavutdinova, both whose husband and son-in- law police shot dead. These widows say police, in a bid to control those they fear of future suicide bombers, have ordered them not to leave town until the Olympics are over.

BURLIYAT BAGAVUTDINOVA (through translator): It will be like house arrest. Three times a week, they will check us and ask where we are. And then, after the Olympics, it will end. They think that we will make an explosion like our sisters who have blown themselves up for one reason or another. I don't know. I am not ready to do that. There is no point. It's just their fantasy.

WALSH: She shows us her son-in-law and says nearly 100 women had similar orders. We spoke to five of them off camera. Burliyat has this to say to Olympic tourists.

BAGAVUTDINOVA: If they need to be entertained, they should come here and be entertained. But for that, we are suffering.

WALSH: The threats to Sochi emanate from Dagestan, the hot bed of Russian's Islamist insurgency, where even local mosques take heavy security measures. Here, moderate Muslims worship with state approval. But just across town, strict Salafi Muslims, a different sect of more austere values, who police sometimes accuse of radicalism, worship too.

Yet Salafi Muslims often claim of police abuse, particularly in another town we visited.

(on camera): This is Gufdan (ph), where locals have given us a list of 64 people who they say have been forced by police to sign a declaration promising not to leave the region for the duration of the Sochi games.

(voice-over): Police decline to comment. There is great anger at them here.

This man tells me how he was tortured. Wires tied to his thumb and toe. And electricity passed through him.

Many say these abuses, which rose in the crackdown ahead of the Olympics, have fueled the insurgency. But in limiting ahead of Sochi's games, the movements of potentially hundreds of women and men it sees as a threat, Russia is perhaps admitting the scale of their problem.


WALSH: And I should point out the police themselves have not confirmed. They put these people under observation. They wouldn't comment at all. But really it makes total sense that they would, given how openly many of the women we spoke to said they had links to militants who died. And of course the broader concern they voice openly themselves that the police believe they could go on to take violent action here, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Now this security sweep logistically is a huge task for officials there. they have to keep the militants and so-called militants away from Sochi and then in Sochi secure a major international event.

I mean, on a practical level, Nick, what is required in terms of man power, in terms of resources. And can it be done?

WALSH: Well, they seem to have put in a lot of electronic surveillance here. Simply walking along the post line behind me there cameras everywhere, a large camera mounted on a hot air balloon overlooking the whole coastal cluster as it's called here. So there is some high tech surveillance. The Russians have for years now have really going intensely against Dagestan and much of the area where the insurgency is based, causing some of those criticisms you saw of human rights abuses there as well.

But the question really is, with the sheer volume of police here and the often officious nature and corrupt behavior you see from them, how exactly are tourists going to find the experience of being here in Sochi. The police certainly putting on their best manners when we've seen them for the time so far, but quite how you can combine that maximum security approach towards the games here and the joy that they're supposed to basically inspire anyway, that's what we have to look at for the weeks ahead. And of course whether that ring of steel remains solid here for the games.

Most hope and think it will. The question is, the rest of southern Russia, that's been volatile for years. It's going to have a difficult couple of weeks ahead -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: Indeed. Nick Paton Walsh reporting live from Sochi for us. Thank you very much indeed for that.

Now Sochi is not too far from Dagestan, but the Olympic city it is even closer to another area of turbulence. Now the contested Abkhazia was the site of fierce battles between Russian and Georgian forces back in 2008.

Now Ivan Watson reports on the region at the center of an international dispute just around the corner from the Olympic Park.


IVAN WATSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a pretty dreary rainy day here in Sochi, but listen there's music being piped out of the loud speakers here at the gates of the Olympic Park. You can see the stadium right over there over my shoulder. I'm going to take us on a drive to get a sense of the lay of the land around here. Let's go.

So right now we're leaving the Olympic Park behind us. This is the headquarters of the Russian Olympic organizing committee over here. And we're taking this brand new highway that's been built just for these Olympics.

So, we're coming to some kind of a checkpoint. We're about I'd say five minutes drive from the Olympic Park.


This is the kind of mistake visitors could very easily make while exploring outside the Olympic Park. The police officers tell me the road is closed. And after checking my documents, they send me on my way.

We've just been turned around, because five minutes' drive away from the Olympic Park in Sochi is an international border between Russia and Abkhazia. And you define Abkhazia really depends on who you talk to.

Abkhazia is the focus of a territorial dispute stemming from a war fought there 20 years ago. To this day, Georgia claims Abkhazia as its own while Russia recognizes is as an independent country. Moscow still has more than 1,000 peacekeepers stationed there.

And that's part of why the security fears, the terrorism fears are so big, because five minutes drive away from the Olympic Park is this frozen conflict, one of several frozen conflicts in one of the most complicated, conflict prone and politically charged regions in the world.

Ivan Watson, CNN, on the Russia-Abkhazian border.


LU STOUT: Now the U.S. Olympic Committee, it says that it's sending the largest team in the history of the Winter Olympics to Sochi, some 230 athletes.

Amanda Davies has some more on eye-opening Sochi numbers.


AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Sochi in numbers -- 6,000 athletes and team members from 85 countries will gather for 17 days of action. There will be 1,650 paralympians from 45 countries. 89 events will be split between the venues, some coastal, others in the mountains. 98 sets of medals will be awarded to successful athletes in seven Olympic sports in 15 disciplines.

In February, the average temperature in Sochi is 8.3 Centigrad, making this the warmest venue ever to host the games.

75,000 people can fit into the Olympic Park and they should all be able to call each other, because 700 kilometers of fiber optic cables will be laid to improve telecommunications.

25,000 volunteers will be working at the games.

And all of this will be witnessed by an estimated television audience of 3 billion.


LU STOUT: Sochi in numbers there.

And you're watching News Stream. And still to come, Swan Lake perhaps unlike you've ever seen before. We'll talk to the choreographer behind a male version of the famous ballet.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now this month in our Art of Movement feature, we are delving into dance, ballet to be precise, but not the familiar world of tutus and point shoes. Our Nick Glass met the acclaimed choreographer Matthew Bourne, whose male version of Swan Lake has become one of the most successful dance productions ever.


NICK GLASS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Ask anyone in the dance world about Matthew Bourne and they'll quickly tell you in a sentence, he's the English guy who put male swans into Swan Lake.

MATTHEW BOURNE, CHOREOGRAPHER: What used to be a bit (inaudible) in the sort of late 80s, early 80s and I used to watch it a lot, you know, used to see different casts doing it at the royal opera house and...

GLASS: Was this you up in the (inaudible)...

BOURNE: Yes, but right up at the top, yeah.

GLASS: Well, one could have fallen.

BOURNE: All you can still sometimes.

And I -- you know, I'd see it so many times you start to ask yourself questions. As for me it was like oh, what if, you know, the swans were male. What would that do to the story.


GLASS: The short answer is quite a lot. Bourne's reimagined Swan Lake was premiered at Sadler's Worlds in London in 1995. The same Tchaikovsky score, but with entirely different choreography.

Bourne went and studied how real swans move in St. James' park just by Buckingham Palace.

BOURNE: I felt there were other sides to a swan that weren't represented in the ballet. And I felt the ballet represents maybe the swan on the water, you know, the beautiful line and the gliding.

To me, when I looked at a swan outside of the water its legs were a bit turned in, a bit waddly. It had some -- it did a very ungainly thing coming into land, it sort of flapped its wings backwards and sort of pedaled at the front, it was a bit like this. We do that in the choreography.

I felt they were -- you know, it was a mixture of the sort of the beautiful and the ugly in some ways and the sublime and the -- the sublime, the sort of beautiful and this sort of innate power and a bit of menace as well, they sort of hiss at you if you get too close. They're quite scary.

JONATHAN OLLIVIER, THE SWAN: It's not sweet and pretty, that's for sure. I mean, we try and make it as real as possible and as masculine as possible.

We are barechested and we have swan legs on like pants they look like feathered legs. And we have this like quite striking beak down our face. And it's masculine. And we're all pumped up, all the guys, and it's very serious.

GLASS: That radical decision 19 years ago putting the male dancers centerstage didn't just change the story...

BOURNE: There's a whole audience of people who only know this version now, you know, who have been brought up on male swans and find it very difficult to imagine women playing swans, you know, which is extraordinary, really, I would never have guessed that could happen.

GLASS: What would the great French ballet master, the fastidious and prolific Marius Petipa have made of it?

BOURNE: He'd probably be pretty shocked by everything about it, I should imagine, not just the dance -- the choreography, but the lights and the costumes and everything.

I think he used to speak of Tchaikovsky, for example, I think he would love it. I think he was an adventurous composure and I think he was someone who would have applauded someone doing something different.

GLASS: Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake propelled the boys to the front not just to entertain, but to surprise and move audiences. They've done so triumphantly. Theatrical dance has never been quite the same again.


LU STOUT: Wow, mesmerizing performance there.

Now up next here on News Stream, he was an actor's actor and a chameleon on camera, up next as Hollywood mourns a much loved star, we take a look back at the many performances of Philip Seymour Hoffman.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now a private and contentious family dispute has gone public. Now through his representative director Woody Allen says allegations that he sexually assaulted his adopted daughter are, quote, "untrue and disgraceful." Now Dylan Farrow says Allen assaulted her in 1992 when she was seven years old in the home of her adopted mother Mia Farrow. No charges were ever filed. And Allen has always denied it.

But the allegations resurfaced over the weekend when an open letter written by Dylan Farrow appeared in the New York Times. It was Allen getting a lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes that set it off.

Now CNN's Deborah Feyerick has more.


DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dylan Farrow, the adopted daughter of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow, speaking out, and renewing allegations of sexual abuse by the Hollywood filmmaker.

In an open letter published in the "New York Times" blog, she gives a graphic account of what she says happened in their Connecticut home. Quote, "When I was 7 years old, Woody Allen took me by the hand and led me into a dim closet-like attic. He told me to lay on my stomach and play with my brother's electric train set. Then, he sexually assaulted me."

Quote, "He talked to me while he did it, whispering that I was a good girl and this was our secret, promising we'd go to Paris and I'd be a star in his movies."

Late Sunday, Allen's representative responded. Quote, "Mr. Allen has read the article and found it untrue and disgraceful. At the time, a thorough investigation was conducted by court appointed independent experts. The experts concluded there was no credible evidence of molestation. That Dylan Farrow had an inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality and that Dylan Farrow had likely been coached by her mother Mia Farrow. No charges were ever filed."

The allegations first came to light 1992. But the letter and recent tweets are putting them back in the spotlight and back in the court of public opinion.

Mia Farrow displayed her contempt for her ex in January as the 70- year-old Allen was being honored by his peers at the Golden Globes Awards, tweeting, "A woman who's publicly detailed Woody Allen's molestation of her at age 7. Golden Globe tribute showed contempt for her and all abuse survivors."

Farrow's son Ronan followed suit, making no effort to veil disgust for his father. "Missed the Woody Allen tribute, did they put the part where a woman publicly confirmed he molested her at age 7, before or after Annie Hall".

It's all part of the complicated story that is Woody Allen's personal life. The couple separated after 12 years when Mia Farrow discovered that Allen was having an affair with their other adopted daughter Soon Yi, who is now Allen's wife, the same year Dylan told her mother Allen had allegedly touched her inappropriately.

Allen has consistently denied claims and was never charged. But the allegations have tainted his image for two decades.

Now, Dylan breaking her silence and admonishing some of Hollywood's most celebrated by name for, in her words, "turning a blind eye" by continuing to work with Allen. Quote, "Others are still scared, vulnerable and struggling for the courage to tell the truth. The message Hollywood sends matters for them." She goes on to write, "Woody Allen is a living testament to the way our society fails the survivors of sexual assault and abuse."

Allen's lawyer reportedly responding, quote, "It is tragic that after 20 years, a story engineered by a vengeful lover resurfaces, after it was fully vetted and rejected by independent authorities."


LU STOUT: And that was CNN's Deborah Feyerick reporting.

Now let's return to the legacy of the celebrated actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. Now he was found dead in his apartment on Sunday. And friends say off camera Hoffman was a private and unassuming person. But over two decades he lit up the screen playing a diverse array of characters.

Now Stephanie Elam takes a look at some of his most memorable performances.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Philip Seymour Hoffman was an actor's actor, a chameleon who transformed effortlessly into every character he played. It was Hoffman's lead role in this 2005 film, "Capote," that won him an Academy Award.

HOFFMAN: One day he stood up and went out the back door while I went out the front.

ELAM: A sizable man, Hoffman transformed on screen into the slam, high voice author, Truman Capote. He called the role intimidating.

HOFFMAN: I did everything I could.

ELAM: His breakout role in film came in 1992 with a small bit in "Scent of A Woman."

HOFFMAN: When I was 24 years old and the cast director ran out of the office and grabbed me in the hallway and said you got the part, I don't think I've been more joyful since that moment.

ELAM: Hoffman landed his first professional stage role before graduating from high school. He then studied acting at New York University and enjoyed a career on stage and on screen. The versatile-intent Hoffman garnered three Tony nominations and three other Oscar nominations for "Charlie Wilson's War" as a nonconforming CIA agent.

HOFFMAN: My loyalty? For 24 years, people have been trying to kill me.

ELAM: For "Doubt" as a priest suspected of inappropriate behavior.

HOFFMAN: You have no right to go rummaging through my past!

ELAM: And for "The Master" as a charismatic sect leader.

HOFFMAN: I am a writer, a doctor, a nuclear physicist and philosopher but above all, I am a man.

ELAM: A private man, Hoffman will be remembered for roles in more than 50 movies, including The Talented Mr. Ripley and the Hunger Games, roles that cemented him as one of the best actors of his generation.

HOFFMAN: It doesn't get any better than when you do -- you go to work, you get a job as an actor, first off, and when that happens you think that that's like it. When you're an actor and all of a sudden someone gives you a good job you literally think -- you're more high than you'll ever be for the rest of your life.

ELAM: Hoffman is survived by his long-time girlfriend Mimi O'Donnell and their three young children.

Philip Seymour Hoffman was 46 years old.


LU STOUT: And that is News Stream. But the news continues at CNN. World Business Today is next.