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Dutch Dominance In Speed Skating; Rebel Factions View ISIS, Assas As Equal Threats; Protests in Thailand Turn Violent; Protests in Ukraine Turn Violent; Unexpected Turbulence Causes Several Injured On United Airlines Flight; Who Were The Real Monument Men

Aired February 18, 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.

Now weeks of protest in Bangkok turned violent as the prime minister is facing charges from an anti-graft (inaudible).

We speak to a member of the recordbreaking Dutch speed skating team about why they are so dominant on the ice.

And several passengers and crew are injured on a United Airlines flight due to severe turbulence.

Long simmering tensions are coming to a boil in the Thai capital Bangkok. Now protesters clash with police as an anti-corruption probe increased the pressure on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Now the police were trying to clear the demonstrators from the streets of Bangkok when people among the protesters opened fire on security forces. They responded with rubber bullets and live ammunition. Four people were killed in the firefight, 64 wounded.

Now protesters have been campaigning against the prime minister for months in central Bangkok. And Tuesday's violence there, it took place right here. It's close to an area popular with backpackers.

Now tourists, they are urged to stay away from the protest areas. And these are some of the main rally sites on the map here.

Now other demonstrators are blocking government buildings.

Now Thailand's national security chief has said it is time for the protesters to leave. Saima Mohsin has more.


SAIMA MOHSIN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The street protests that turned into a street battle: this was a confrontation months in the making.

A grenade exploding during a firefight in Bangkok between Thai police and anti-government protesters.

Police had first unleashed tear gas in an attempt to break up the crowds of demonstrators camped out in the city center for months.

But people in the crowd responded with gunfire. The police, clearly taken by surprise, not expecting the resistance.

Some police officers fired back with rubber bullets and live ammunition.

20 minutes of chaos followed. When this battle was over, at least four people were dead, one a police officer who officials say was shot in the head, the others three civilians. Dozens have been injured.

Tuesday's bloody clashes reflect the bitter divide that is Thailand's political crisis. Since November, protesters have camped out in several key areas of the capital, demanding Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra step down.

After an inconclusive election earlier this month, demonstrators vowed to keep up the pressure. Until recently, authorities had mostly avoided confronting the demonstrators directly. They say they moved in because the protesters are blocking public access to government services.

But despite the attempts by police to break up the protests, large crowds remain on the streets.

Tensions in Thailand have boiled over, but neither side is willing to concede.

Saima Mohsin, CNN, Hong Kong.


LU STOUT: Now this man is at the center of the unrest. Former prime minister Takhsin Shinawatra was ousted in a bloodless military coup back in 2006. And some analysts say demonstrators are trying to provoke another to remove the current prime minister, Takhsin's sister Yingluck.

Now this round of protests, it started in November when Yingluck's government attempted to pass an amnesty bill that, among other things, would have paved the way for Takhsin's return to Thailand. And amid the demonstrations, Ms. Yingluck survived a no confidence vote, but called a snap election anyway.

But the main opposition party boycotted the vote, which took place on February 2 and failed to ease tensions.

Now the protesters claim that change is needed before going to the ballet box. They want Yingluck's government replaced by an unelected people's council, which would oversee electoral and political changes.

Now Takhsin or his allies have won every election since 2001. And they have been boosted by populous policies.

But now one of them, a rice subsidy that guarantees farmers 40 percent above market price for their crops is creating problems for Prime Minister Yingluck. Farmers aren't happy because they haven't been paid. And an anti-corruption commission has called her to face charges next week. They could lead her -- or to her suspension from all political positions.

Now, meanwhile, more violence in Ukraine has left at least seven police officers and multiple protesters injured. Now thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in fresh clashes, setting fire to government headquarters and throwing stones at police.

Well, let's get more now from Kiev. Journalist Victoria Butenko joins me now from there.

Victoria, all out violence has returned there to Kiev. What happened? What was the trigger?

VICTORIA BUTENKO, JOURNALIST: The trigger was the police (inaudible) previous violence cases as well. The police blocked all the access to the parliamentary building where the opposition has announced they would have a rally outside the parliament when the parliament was hoped -- the opposition at least hoped they would pass some kind of legislative add that would limit the rights to the president, a lot of the protesters they are for.

LU STOUT: We are looking at live pictures of the scene there in Kiev. Riot police out in force with helmets and shields there. Fires burning where the protests are taking place.

What kind of damage have you seen as a result of today's clashes. And have there been reports of injuries?

BUTENKO: Well, (inaudible) the major damage is always the people. And the opposition has just minutes ago reported of three protesters -- protesters dead and seven has been heavily injured.

We have reports of seven policemen being injured. Otherwise, the protesters try to take over the headquarters of the ruling party, the party of (inaudible) the heavy smoke you see, the smoke from the tires. And the protesters so that the police is not able to see them and that way shoot bullets directly into them.

But of course the whole government quarter is blocked. And some of the buildings are on fire, some of the MPs' cars have been basically beaten by the protesters. And a lot of the MPs from the ruling party have just fled the parliament.

LU STOUT: And as we look at these dramatic scenes there from Kiev of the clashes that have really flared up in violence earlier today, what's happening behind the scenes, politically? I mean, have there been any talks, any negotiations between both sides to reach some sort of political resolution?

BUTENKO: Well, unfortunately, political measures have proved not to be working. And as I've said, the MPs from the party had just left the parliament. According to the opposition, the speaker wouldn't even let them register any kind of amendments and take them to the floor (inaudible).

And we had a little hope Sunday would end this civil war was (inaudible) and the protesters unblocked the streets of the center of the city. Unfortunately, the police did not do the same, which caused the violence today.

LU STOUT: And give us sense of just how widespread these protests are. They're taking place outside Kiev as well. And how much momentum is behind the protest movement?

BUTENKO: Well, at certain point, the protest movement was all over the Ukraine. Some of the local state administrations were taken over by the protesters. Before (inaudible) protest kind of situation is in the west and central Ukraine, which is traditionally for European rather than the central and southern Ukraine which is pro-ruling party or region.

But the actual violence and the clashes are happening where the government were three blocks in the center of the city and the protesters have been occupying the main square and the main city for about three months now.

LU STOUT: All right, Victoria, thank you so much for that update. Victoria Butenko joining us live, reporting on these protests across Ukraine and this flare up in violence there on the streets of Kiev. We thank you.

Now, Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharref, has made his first appearance in Islamabad court to face accusations of treason.

Now the charges stem from his decision to declare a state of emergency and suspend Pakistan's constitution back in 2007.

Now a guilty verdict could mean life in prison or the death penalty for the former military chief.

You're watching News Stream. And still ahead, reports that two former members of the punk band Pussy Riot are in hot water with Russian authorities again. We will take you to the Olympic city of Sochi for more.

And a nightmare trip for passengers on one U.S. flight. Several people on board were injured. We'll take a look at what went wrong.

And an exclusive report on one radical rebel group whose brutal tactics have ignited a war within a war in Syria.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

To Sochi, Russia now where two former members of the punk protest band Pussy Riot have been detained. But they were only recently released from prison. Ivan Watson filed this report from outside the church where the two were picked up.


IVAN WATSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're a couple of days before the end of the Olympic games here in Sochi. And here downtowin in Sochi by this Russian Orthordox church is where the members of the band Pussy Riot and a number of other journalists and activists were detained by Russian police.

Now in an interview with Radio Free Europe, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova says that they were put into a small paddy wagon basically. And during that detentions process while actually speaking on the phone she alleges that a police officer, a security kicks her in the mouth.

Further on in that interview, she says that the police say that they are being accused of stealing from the hotel where they were staying and that this was the third time that the former members of Pussy Riot had been detained in just three days of a visit here in the Olympic city.

We've since spoken with the wife of Simon Simonov (ph). He is a prominent human rights activist here in Sochi with the Russian human rights group Memorial (ph). She's at the police station now. She says her husband was detained along with the members of Pussy Riot. And this is coming, again, just days before the conclusion of the winter games here in Sochi, a suggestion that this city is not a welcome place for people who criticize the Russian government or the Winter Games.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Sochi.


LU STOUT: Now lets turn to the games themselves now. The weather is still a top concern for the athletes. You've got thick fog, heavy snow and torrential rain all continuing to cause problems on the slopes. Still, the conditions today allowed some of the events canceled amid yesterday's bad weather to actually go ahead.

Now today, winter Olympians are battling it out for seven gold medals. So, let's take a look at the latest medal tally.

And Germany is leading the stakes with eight golds. Norway close behind with seven. And host country Russia is coming in a close third to tie with the Netherlands with five gold medals.

Now Dutch speed skaters are ruling the rink at Sochi. They have swept up a record 16 speed skating medals out of a possible 24. Amanda Davies caught up with gold medalist Stefan Groothuis and asked him about his team's secret to success.


STEFAN GROOTHUIS, DUTCH SPEED SKATING GOLD MEDALIST: What is the secret? Everybody is asking. I think there is not one particular secret, but maybe the competitive model in Holland is really high. It's really hard to qualify for the Olympics. We've got some more amazing sportsman, one of our teammates. There's some more of our teammates who stayed at home who didn't quality and it's really everybody is pushing up the level, I think, that way.

It's also a kind of a coincidence I think that everything is coming together at the right moment at these games. In the world cups we weren't that dominating. But in these games everybody seems to be in a really, really great shape. And everybody is doing it here. And that's awesome.

And in the past the other Olympics, it wasn't certainly not the case that the Dutch were always this dominating, but now these games everything tends to be -- to get together at this moment.

AMANDA DAVIES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: How much competition is there within you, within the athletes' village. If you go home without a medal it can't be a very good feeling at the moment.

GROOTHUIS: Oh, no, I guess there's some guys maybe who stay at home with no medal and they probably pretty sad about that. And, yes, that's true. There's -- but it's also a great feeling that the whole Dutch team, so many people are doing great, so that's a really nice environment in the village.

DAVIES: From the outside, people around Europe would know about the Dutch football team, the likes of Arjen Robben, but within the Netherlands there is an obsession with this sport, isn't there?

GROOTHUIS: Yeah, this is -- football is still the biggest sport in Holland, but I think speed skating is second one already and there are some other big sports, of course, which are also cycling and tennis, but speed skating is really important in Holland and that's great. And we love speed skating is going that well.


LU STOUT: Dutch speed skater Stefan Groothuis looking very happy there after clinching a gold medal last week.

But it hasn't always been smooth sailing for the 32 year old. He has battled depression. He even contemplated suicide on his journey to the top.

And as part of our special online coverage, we're bringing you the personal stories of several athletes at Sochi as well as giving you a sneak peak behind the scenes at the games. Just head on over to for in depth coverage and the latest on this year's Winter Olympics.

Now, a frightening and bumpy ride for passengers on one plane in the United States. The turbulence got so bad some people had to be rushed to the hospital. We'll have a live report.


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

Now United Airlines is trying to figure out what went wrong on Flight 1676. The plane was flying over the U.S. State of Montana on Monday night when it hit turbulence so severe, several passengers and crew members had to be taken to the hospital.

Now CNN's aviation correspondent Rene Marsh is tracking the latest developments from our Washington bureau and she joins me now live.

And Rene, apparently, this severe turbulence, it just came out of nowhere.

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, without any warning, Kristie. And I can tell you this morning at last check one person remains in the hospital because of that severe turbulence as this plane came in for a landing. We're talking about three flight attendance and two passengers who were injured and everyone else on board got the scare of their life.



MARSH: In a split second, without warning, United Airlines flight 1676 with more than 100 people on board was violently tossed in midair.

BILL DAHLIN, PASSENGER, UNITED FLIGHT 1676: There was a lot of screaming and a lot of hollering and things like that going on.

MARSH: The incident, so jarring, passengers say one woman hit the ceiling so hard, it cracked the panel above her head.

Severe turbulence rattled everyone onboard the flight from Denver to Billings, Montana, forcing the captain to declare a medical emergency.

On CNN's "New Day," another passenger described what it was like on board. MULLINS: In a split second, we were tilting to the far right, and plunging.

It was just instantaneous. Everything that everybody had in their hands were flying through the air.

People were screaming. There was a lady behind me that was yelling, "My baby, my baby," so I can just assume she had an infant in her arms and let go of it. We didn't hear anything over the intercom. We spent probably the next 10 minutes or so handing items back to each other.

My cell phone and my tablet ended up a couple rows ahead of me across the aisle. The man next to me had lost his wallet. His credit cards and I.D. were all over the floor of the plane.

MARSH: Three flight attendants and two passengers were rushed to local hospitals. One remains in intensive care. The others treated and released.

One passenger says the turbulence appeared to have even take the flight crew by surprise.

DAHLIN: I think they were trying to assess things themselves, so, you know, they just didn't really offer any explanation because of what happened so quickly.


MARSH: All right, and one passenger says that a woman called out for her baby, which he took as an indication that she had lost control of her infant. So very, very scary, tense moments in the skies there.

We did a little digging and the FAA has 2009 as a pretty bumpy year. They saw 64 people get injured as a result of turbulence. Back to you, Kristie.

LU STOUT: You know, there's so many questions here. I mean, one major question is could there have been a warning ahead of that severe turbulence? We know the investigation is happening now. What will they be looking out for?

MARSH: Well, they're going to talk to the crew as well as the pilot to find out, you know, they have equipment on board that kind of tells them exactly when and where to expect weather. So they're going to ask all questions of both the flight crew as well as the pilots to find out what did they know, when did they become aware that weather was going to be ahead and create this turbulence and just kind of lay out the line of events and see if everything was done properly, because the bottom line is most of the people there on board said they got no warning. So the airline is going to want to know why not.

LU STOUT: And you mentioned those harrowing details of what happpened on board the plane, including a mother being separated from her infant for a moment there. I'm assuming that the infant is OK and also the passenger who remains in intensive care. What do we know about the nature of his or her injuries?

MARSH: At this point, we don't know much. We don't know names. We don't know the nature of the injuries. Of course we are working to get that information from rescue crews who appeared on the scene.

As far as that infant goes, that are all based on passenger accounts, but of course as we get more information about how these people are doing following just what was just a very, very tough, scary moment in the sky. Of course we'll get that to you as soon as possible, Krisite.

LU STOUT: Yeah, a very tough, very scary. Rene Marsh reporting. It's a reminder for -- at least I'm going to take it as a reminder to keep my seatbelt on whenever I can. Rene Marsh, thank you so much. Take care.

Now right here on News Stream, we like to keep an eye, also on the issue of press freedom, particularly in China. And it's also the subject of my other show out this month On China. And I had the chance to sit down with some of the top journalists working in the country. Here is a preview of our conversation.


YING CHAN, JOURNALISM PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: As China becomes more integrated, more open in this economy there is more information available. If you are listed companies in Hong Kong or in New York, company records are available, affiliations to some of these entities are available. So there's a new phenomenon now is interviewing data, getting at the data. And do mine information.

And the Chinese government, they cannot have it either -- both ways. You know, you have a more open economy and you shut down the information. You can't have it.

PETER FORD, PRESIDENT, FOREIGN CORRESPONDENTS CLUB OF CHINA: Well, I think this illustrates a broader question that there is a huge mismatch between China's increasing role in the world and its interest in getting its message out and being part of the world globally economically and other fashion, and its inability as an official and a state to talk to the rest of the world openly.

I mean, we find it almost impossible sometimes to get ministerial spokespeople to give the simplest confirmation of a thing. Or just even to talk to us, just to answer our telephones. I mean, I think you were there, Charles, a number of bureau chiefs were invited by the State Council of Information Office to talk about ways in which they could help us work, ways in which they could facilitate our work. And they were talking about their websites and blogs and this stuff and the other. And we said, what we'd really like are the mobile telephone numbers of the ministry spokespeople and a commitment that they will answer those phone numbers. And we were given to understand that was an unrealistic request.

CHARLES HUTZLER, CHINA BREAU CHIEF, THE WALL STREET JOUNRAL: And this is a basic request. And it's a point that I have made repeatedly to officials in the foreign ministry and the state council information office that the more information they give us, the better we'll be able to do our job and that actually the Chinese government's position will be better represented around the world. People will understand the government's position better.

And mostly the response is we know that, but -- and we're trying to change that, but change comes slowly.


LU STOUT: Change comes slowly. So how much longer can Beijing control the story? Well, be sure to tune in for a discussion on press freedom in China. It debuts Wednesday 6:30 pm in Hong Kong and Beijing right here on CNN.

Now still ahead right here on News Stream, at first Syrian rebels welcomed help from these jihadi fighters. And now some say defeating ISIS is as important as defeating the Assad regime. Hear from an ISIS defector in our exclusive report.

And we'll examine the diplomatic options left to end Syria's civil war. Where are the negotiations going now.


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

Authorities in Thailand say at least four people were killed during clashes between anti-government protesters and police on Tuesday. That includes a police officer who was shot in the head. At the same time, Thailand's anti-corruption body says it is charging Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra over a controversial rice subsidy program.

Now a member of Ukraine's opposition claims three people have been killed in new clashes between anti-government protesters and police. Now police fired stun grenades with activists after they began throwing stones near the parliament. The protesters also set fire to the party headquarters of President Victor Yanukovych.

Now two former members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been detained in Sochi where the Winter Games are being held. Now the two were only released from jail in December. They were serving sentences for a protest at a cathedral, but were freed in an amnesty program.

Now on Monday, we brought you startling stories of brutality in Syria committed by a radical group known as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria now one of Syria's major rebel groups.

Now it moved into opposition held areas in the north last year. But now ISIS is battling both Syrian troops and other rebels.

Arwa Damon has this exclusive report on how ISIS managed to gain a foothold in Syria.


ARWA DAMON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: When ISIS fighters, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, first arrived in Addana they were welcomed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Actually, they didn't come as warriors, they came as simply people who want to help people, educate people religiously.

DAMON: ISIS initially appealed to Syria's deeply conservative rebel units who entrusted protecting the town to them.

"We were all on the front lines fighting," Abu Jamel tells us. "And then we realized that with the situation in the town under ISIS, they were exerting their control through terrorism and punishment."

A tactic ISIS repeated in an effort to entrench itself.

Abu Amara (ph), not this man's real name, is a Syrian who wants his face and voice concealed. He defected from ISIS in Raqaa (ph), their main stronghold in the east. They think he's dead.

"The Syrian mujahideen who were with ISIS thought that they were the purest organization currently around," he says. "Their jihadi principles matched ours."

But, he says, they were manipulated and deceived. Initially, ISIS fighters and suicide bombers were a battlefield asset, but then suspicions began to grow. ISIS would organize missions by suicide bombers who thought they were attacking the regime only to realize their target was another rebel unit.

"When one of the martyrs pulled out," Abu Amara (ph) tells us, "he was executed in front of everyone just because it was said about him that he was disloyal. He disobeyed the amir, so he was killed."

ISIS has one goal, to establish an Islamic state. And many Syrian opposition members are now accusing them of collaborating with the Assad regime.

"They have a lot of experience. They know what they are doing," Abu Amara (ph) says. "There were a lot of regime locations we could have taken without sustaining losses of our fighters. And we would receive orders to retreat."

In early January, Islamist and moderate rebels banded together to drive ISIS out of Syria. Abu Amara (ph) says he and his group have sleeper cells within ISIS to bring the organization down from inside.

Defeating ISIS now is crucial as defeating the regime.


LU STOUT: Incredible report there.

Arwa Damon is now in Lebanon. She joins me from CNN Beirut.

And Arwa, extraordinary insight into ISIS from a defector of the group, but what is the state of play in the battlefield? Who has the upper hand now? Is it anti-government rebels or is it ISIS?

DAMON: Well, if you look at it in terms of territory that they control, there is more territory in the hands of the other rebel factions. That being said, ISIS still remains an incredibly formidable force. There are an estimated 7,000 to 11,000 fighters that make up ISIS. They most certainly are the most battle hardened and the most willing to really go out there, carry out these suicide bombing attacks and so while they may not necessarily have that much territory and they are being driven out of increasing numbers of areas by these other rebel forces, they are still able to hold ground in Syria and they still are able to pose quite the challenge when it comes to the other rebel fighting factions as well.

LU STOUT: Yet, they can hold territory. No doubt that they are well equipped, well resourced. Who is backing ISIS? How did it become a power in rebel held parts of northern Syria?

DAMON: Well, ISIS is basically an extension of the Islamic State of Iraq, basically al Qaeda in Iraq, managing to take advantage of the chaos, the killing that was happening in Syria, establishing itself a little over a year ago and becoming quite the magnet for jihadis from not just the middle east and Arab nations, but from Europe as well.

ISIS, in fact, becoming an even bigger magnet when it comes to the Syrian battlefield than al Qaeda in Iraq itself ever was. In terms of finances, that defector was telling us that some of the money that they are able to get their hands on coming from individuals in the gulf, but a lot of the weapons are coming into their hands, because of the battlefield gains that they're able to make. They are one of the best fighting forces on the ground and when they are able to take control over territory, they're taking control over the weapons in that territory as well, Kristie.

LU STOUT: The money is coming in. Foreign fighters coming in to fuel ISIS, but it's up against Damascus and the rebels. So what are the prospects for ISIS?

DAMON: Well, and that's where we get into a bit of gray area, because the rebels are in fact accusing ISIS of not necessarily launching that many offensive operations against regime targets and focusing a lot more on trying to hold the territory that they already have and set up this Islamic state.

It's more the other rebel factions that have banded together, both moderate and Islamists that are really struggling to fight on both fronts, trying to kick ISIS out of the country, but also trying to continue to defeat the Syrian government itself. They're stretched thin. And that is why we're hearing increasing appeals from them for more weapons and more support from the international community, because at this stage it most certainly is the non-ISIS rebels that are really suffering because of the fighting on multiple fronts, Kristie.

LU STOUT: Arwa Damon, we thank you for your reporting.

Now, diplomatic efforts to end Syria's three year civil war have made little progress. And CNN's Jim Sciutto looks at the remaining options.


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is one victim on one day of Syria's brutal civil war. A child crying, "They died. My siblings died. My sisters." After his home was destroyed by a barrel bomb dropped by regime forces. This is another victim, four-year-old Marwan (ph) separated from his family as they fled the fighting. And now, diplomatic efforts already crippled after peace talks in Geneva broke up with no progress are descending in the recriminations.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE: The talks themselves are taking a recess --

SCIUTTO: Today, secretary of state, John Kerry, blamed Russia, until now a partner on the peace talks and the deal to destroy Syria's chemical weapons.

KERRY: Russia needs to be a part of the solution and not be distributing so many more weapons and so much more aid that they're, in fact, enabling Assad to double down.

SCIUTTO: His Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, level the very same charge right back, saying it is the U.S. betting everything on a military solution. The Obama administration, its strategy until now, largely dependent on the Geneva talks is left looking for new policy options.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, (R) ARIZONA: None of us want the boots on the ground, but to revisit other options which are viable, then I think is the only thing that we can do. This is shameful.

SCIUTTO: That leaves a broad range of alternatives which the White House is, so far rejected, from arming and training the opposition to covert operations to targeting regime forces with air strikes.

JON ALTERMAN, CENTER FOR STRATEGIC & INTERNATIONAL STUDIES: If you're not willing to put any lives at risk under any circumstances, at any risk, then people think you simply don't care. And because so many others are willing to put lives at risk, they're going to be the ones to determine the outcome of the battles that unfold in Syria.

SCIUTTO: The lost refugee, Marwan (ph), was eventually reunited with his family, one small dose of relief for a country desperate for peace.

(on camera): Senior administration officials say the U.S. is now pushing for a new U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the atrocities in Syria and also improving the humanitarian situation on the ground, but that resolution will not likely include the threat of sanctions or miliary force. And it is not clear whether the Russians would consider even a resolution without such a threat.

Jim Sciutto, CNN, Washington.


LU STOUT: Malala Yousafzai, the young school girl who, well the Pakistan shot her -- Pakistan Taliban shot her in 2012 -- she is providing support to Syrian refugees along the border between Jordan and Syria. And she spoke just a short time ago.


MALALA YOUSAFZAI, WOMAN'S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: And today this is my promise to myself and to these children whom I saw here that I was (inaudible) struggle to speak for them and spoeak for their rights and to speak for peace and equality.


LU STOUT: And that was Malala Yousafzai at the Syrian border speaking.

Now we've got some new information on the two former Pussy Riot members who were detained in Sochi. And for more, I'm joined now by Nick Paton Walsh live from Sochi.

And Nick, what have you learned?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kristie, a lot of new information coming out in the last hour. We're hearing from our state media from the police who confirm that these two girls are being questioned as a result of a theft. Local media report the name of the hotel -- I've spoken to a woman at the hotel who says she works there, who says yes there was theft of money at that hotel. Of course, none of this is any suggestion that the two girls from Pussy Riot themselves were in any way connected to that.

I spoke to Nadezhda Tolonnikova. And she said to me that they were simply walking down the street when a group of civilian clothes men approached them. I also spoke to another anonymous activist part of the Pussy Riot group called Tank. And she explained how they'd simply been in the streets. They're accused of this theft, then taken to a police station.

I should also point out they both say that in the past few days they've been arrested repeatedly for a total of 20 hours, they say, the security services and police have cause them trouble in the past few days.

And the more most recent disturbing tweets we've heard from Nadezhda herself is she claims to have been physically manhandled, almost beaten perhaps. And while she's been in police custody.

Now nothing from Russian police apart from through state media, the claim and the statement that they are taking these women for questioning as a result of people that were reporting the theft at that hotel. But Kristie, this is exactly what Vladimir Putin was hoping to avoid during these games. Just ahead, he released these women from jail as an amnesty (inaudible) tolerance. And now it seems that window, which I think activists and critics would say that he tried to shut on daily life in Russia, on how the police often treat people here. It has suddenly burst open and people are getting a glimpse on what particularly these two provocative women are experiencing in the past few days -- Kristie.

LU STOUT: All right, Nick Paton Walsh with very new details on the arrest in Sochi. Thank you very much indeed for that update.

And you're watching News Stream. And still to come, this castle nestled in the Bavarian Alps, it once housed art looted by the Nazis. We've got the story of the men who breached the walls to bring it back to its rightful home. Stay with us.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Now this week on Leading Women, she is the chair of a multibillion dollar company. And our Becky Anderson sat down with Margarita Louis- Dreyfus and found out how an unexpected tragedy put her in the driver's seat at one of the world's top commodities traders.


BECKY ANDERSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: She is chairperson of the board at Louis Dreyfus holdings, a global commodities trader. In her role, Margarita Louis-Dreyfus oversees a company of close to 40,000 people.

Here, she's visiting one of the company's plants in Brazil.

MARGARITA LOUIS-DREYFUS, CHAIRPERSON, LOUIS DREYFUS HOLDING; ...relationship between the people, this is the most important even in the deals about hundreds and millions. I would say if you're producing the main part of our business is in South America and Brazil. And in Brazil we are existence more than 100 years.

Orange business for us it's not so big as corn and soy. It is much stronger.

So good.

ANDERSON: Louis Dreyfus has led the company since 2011. She took over after he husband, Robert, died of leukemia. She says his long illness, interestingly enough, taught her some business lessons.

Some might say that that is an extremely powerful position for someone with no background in commodities trading. And an extremely difficult position for a woman in what is a man's world -- commodities trading. How difficult has this transition period been?

LOUIS-DREYFUS: I have to say that I don't know how it would be without this three years of fighting for Roberts life, because the medical ward is also a man's world. This was my school with his doctor. And (inaudible) it will be useful. But later when I came to the man's world, as you say, the commodities, all those big egos, I used this experience that first nobody knows everything. So the main thing is to work together.

ANDERSON: Louis-Dreyfus holdings was founded in 1851, handed down from one male heir to another until Margarita.

Do you think people disrespected you -- if there were moments of disrespect, because you were a woman?

LOUIS-DREYFUS: Surely because of woman, because of being blond, and because of being without, of course, as you said experience, everything. But because I don't have ambitions and I don't have this ego it is disarming, you know, looked at me this way.

At first I don't make (inaudible) between me as a woman and a man. I think being woman is advantages. For being (inaudible) on the same table.


LU STOUT: And there you have it, a Leading Woman in a man's world.

You're watching News Stream. And still to come after the break, we follow the trail of the men given the task of tracking down priceless art looted by the Nazis in World War II.


LU STOUT: Welcome back.

Well, the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is well known for combining art and protest. But this time his artwork was on the receiving end of a protest. Just take a look at this video shot at a museum in Miami, Florida. A man grabs a vase from the display, he drops it to the floor.

Now police say that he is an artist protesting the galleries lack of local art. And he's been charged with criminal mischief.

Now Ai Weiwei had modified the several thousand year old vase with house paint for the exhibit. It was worth $1 million.

Now you may have noticed these photos in the background of Ai Weiwei himself smashing an antique urn. He says that was different than the American artist's action, because the vase belonged to him.

Ai Weiwei told CNN, quote, "the protest itself may be valid, but to damage somebody work to do that is questionable."

Now, another crime in the art world is the subject of a new film. The Monument's Men was inspired by the U.S. forces who were charged with taking back art stolen by the Nazis. Now Fred Pleitgen headed to Germany to trace the steps of the real Monument's Men.


GEORGE CLOONEY, ACTOR: The Nazis are on the run, taking everything with them, so we have to get as close to the front as we can.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): "Monuments Men" is an action-packed movie based on a true story. But what was the work of the real monuments men like? We went to their former headquarters in Munich, Germany.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And they arrived here outside of this entrance door. They were brought in this way, straight ahead.

PLEITGEN: Today, the building is an institute for art history and Iris Lauterbach is one of those in charge. The recovered art was first brought into this atrium, where it was catalogued and photographed. Lauterbach says more than battlefield adventures, documentation work was the monuments men's daily routine and their greatest achievement, especially with all the shortages in post-World War II Germany.

IRIS LAUTERBACH, CENTRAL INSTITUTE FOR ART HISTORY: They complained about not getting bicycles, not having typewriters, and not having paper or these normal things, of not getting gas in order to go by jeep somewhere and to take things.

PLEITGEN: The monuments men managed to get tens of thousands of pieces back to their rightful owners. But even today, not all lost art has been returned. More than 1,400 missing paintings were spectacularly discovered with a German collector named Cornelius Golic. And just recently, 60 additional master pieces surfaced in this apartment in Austria. Lawyers are now trying to determine if any of them might be art looted by the Nazis. One of the places the German stashed a lot of works was this castle in the Bavarian Alps. Part of the movie is also set here.

(on camera): This is the front gate of the castle. The inside area is absolutely massive, but, still, it didn't take the monuments men long to find the artworks that were stashed here and to bring them to Munich.

(voice-over): That's because the master pieces were hidden in plain sight. Hans Schneidberger worked at the castle as a young carpenter when the Germans moved the art there in 1943. It was all on the second floor and in the kitchen, he says. There was nothing on the floors above. Anyone who says the whole building was full of art, that's not true.

But, then again, George Clooney admits that the movie is only loosely based on the real monuments men. They were heroes, whose greatest feat was saving much of the cultural heritage of Europe.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Schweingau (ph), Germany.


LU STOUT: All right, time for a check of the global weather forecast. With reports of snow in northern parts of Asia, let's get more with Samantha Moore. She joins me from the world weather center -- Samantha.

SAMANTHA MOORE, CNN WEATHER CORRESPONDENT: Kristie, record snow has been falling across parts of Asia, specifically Korea and Japan, things improving right now, thank goodness, because what a weekend it was and it followed another incredible storm. So two storms within the course of a week really left a mark here in southeastern Korea where a roof collapsed on a building, which had many students visiting for a welcome ceremony.

You can see light snow was along the coast here. This is about 23 kilometers southeast of Gyeonzhou (ph) where they saw incredible snow, likely about a meter of snow, which had accumulated on the top of a roof of a building.

You can see it's right at the foothills. So that about, that's about 500 meters, the foothills here, just southeast of Gyeonzhou (ph). And this is Buson (ph) University. And they were having a welcome ceremony for many students here. There were some 560 students inside of this building, inside this auditorium. And the weight of the snow on the roof most likely caused its collapse. It looks to me like it was a flat roof.

Look at all the snow around here on the slopes, like we said about a meter, that is an incredible amount of weight for that structure to support. And it gave way trapping hundreds of students and thank goodness this girl was all right. But there have been fatalities and there have been over 100 injuries due to this terrible incident.

And, you know, the snowfall here has been incredible, over a meter here in Kofu and Nagano some 49 centimeters of snow, so almost half a meter there.

And look how it looked in the photographs. This sent in by our iReporter Carl Anderson. And it ended up being the snowiest month ever, in fact, the snowiest year ever so far in Kofu. So it's going to top the record books now. And this was mainly from the Friday/Saturday system that brought in that incredible snowfall.

And this followed another big storm just a week earlier. It was the second biggest storm ever. And of course that left many of the shelves here empty. They haven't been able to get supplies in, so there is a fresh food shortage here. This is in Nagano, Japan. But similar pictures coming in all across the region here.

So you can see the latest forecast showing that there is another system moving across East Asia and in and across parts of the Korean peninsula and Japan. But the good news here is it's not going to be as great of a snow maker, because I think they have just about had enough there. What do you think, Kristie?

LU STOUT: All right. Samantha Moore there, thank you.

And finally, do you remember the musician Vanessa Mae? Well, you're actually looking at a picture of her right now, because she has competed at the winter games in Sochi. She took part in the giant slalom for Thailand under the name Vanessa Vanakorn. And she finished dead last, now almost a minute behind the gold medalist.

But the important thing was that she finished. In fact, several of her competitors didn't make it to the end of their runs.

Now we have one more update for you before we go. The two former members of Pussy Riot who were detained in Sochi have reportedly been released, that is according to the Twitter feed of the husband of one of the two women. We'll have much more on that story in the hours ahead right here on CNN. But that for now is News Stream. World Business Today is next.