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NEWSFLASH: Need-to-Know Stories 2/2 - 2/8

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The Winter Olympics are off to a start in Sochi, Russia, where athletes were greeted with a plethora of Russian cultural references and stunning visuals on Friday at the opening ceremonies! Yet despite the joyous occasion, much discussion still continued throughout the week surrounding actor Philip Seymour Hoffman's death last Sunday, which occurred from a suspected drug overdose though no official autopsy report has been released.

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

Winter Olympics Begin In Sochi

The 2014 Winter Olympics opened in Sochi on Friday after years of preparation marked by both admiration and criticism from the international community.

The Games kicked off with a spectacular opening ceremony featuring key elements of Russian culture, including an opening sequence featuring a young girl whose dreams of the Russian alphabet gave way to memories of historically significant artists, writers and locations from the country.

But as predicted, warnings of security threats appeared almost immediately. Turkish authorities reportedly took a suspect into custody after a passenger on a flight said a bomb was on board and demanded that the crew direct the plane to Sochi. Athletes have also received threats, including two Austrian competitors who were warned that they could become possible targets for kidnappers.

The U.S. has already won two gold medals and one bronze, putting it in third place overall behind Norway and the Netherlands.

Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman Found Dead In Manhattan Apartment

Award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was discovered dead in his Manhattan apartment on Sunday, sending shockwaves around the world with the unexpected news.

Hoffman, 46, was declared dead at the scene after being found that morning by friend and screenwriter David Bar Katz.

While an official autopsy is still pending, Hoffman seemingly died of a suspected drug overdose. The actor was found with a hypodermic needle still stuck in his arm and 70 small bags of heroin. Hoffman had previously gone through a rehabilitation program for drug addiction.

Hoffman’s funeral took place on Friday at the Church of St. Ignatius Loyola, attended by his family and closest friends, including actresses Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep.

Philip Seymour Hoffman has long been considered one of his generation’s leading actors. He won an Academy Award in 2005 for his portrayal of Truman Capote in “Capote,” which served as only one of many major honors awarded to the actor.


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