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Feb 6, 2014

UN chief condemns homophobia before Sochi Games

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon condemned sexual discrimination and attacks on homosexuals on Thursday in comments that turned the spotlight on concerns over Russia’s “gay propaganda” law at the Winter Olympics.

Ban made no direct reference to gay rights in Russia in a speech to Olympic officials in Sochi, the Black Sea city which is staging the Games, but his remarks underlined the intense scrutiny President Vladimir Putin is under because of the issue.

Feb 6, 2014

Olympics-UN chief condemns homophobia before Sochi Games

SOCHI, Russia, Feb 6 (Reuters) – U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon condemned sexual discrimination and attacks on homosexuals on Thursday in comments that turned the spotlight on concerns over Russia’s “gay propaganda” law at the Winter Olympics.

Ban made no direct reference to gay rights in Russia in a speech to Olympic officials in Sochi, the Black Sea city which is staging the Games, but his remarks underlined the intense scrutiny President Vladimir Putin is under because of the issue.

Feb 5, 2014

IOC says no ‘healthy’ dogs being killed in Sochi

SOCHI, Russia Feb 5 (Reuters) – Olympic chiefs tried to ease concern about the fate of stray dogs in Sochi on Wednesday, saying only sick and dying animals were being destroyed before the city hosts the Winter Games.

In the latest problem to mar President Vladimir Putin’s preparations for the Olympics, animal rights activists have protested to him over reports that stray dogs are being culled to clear them off the streets before the Games begin on Friday.

Feb 5, 2014

Games unlikely to boost Russian economy: Moody’s

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – Hosting the Winter Olympics at great cost in Sochi is unlikely to give the Russian economy a big boost, ratings agency Moody’s said on Wednesday, undermining one of President Vladimir Putin’s main goals at the Games.

Putin has staked his personal and political prestige on hosting a successful Games, and promised the vast sums spent on Sochi would turn the Black Sea resort into an attractive tourism destination and give the Krasnodar region around it a lift.

Feb 5, 2014

Olympics-Games unlikely to boost Russian economy – Moody’s

SOCHI, Russia, Feb 5 (Reuters) – Hosting the Winter Olympics at great cost in Sochi is unlikely to give the Russian economy a big boost, ratings agency Moody’s said on Wednesday, undermining one of President Vladimir Putin’s main goals at the Games.

Putin has staked his personal and political prestige on hosting a successful Games, and promised the vast sums spent on Sochi would turn the Black Sea resort into an attractive tourism destination and give the Krasnodar region around it a lift.

Feb 3, 2014

Russian environmental campaigner detained near Sochi

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – A Russian campaigner who says Olympic construction work has damaged the environment was detained on Monday in what rights groups say is growing harassment of civil rights activists before the Games.

President Vladimir Putin has staked his political and personal prestige on the Winter Olympics, which open in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Friday, and any sign of a clampdown on opponents could damage those efforts.

Feb 3, 2014

Olympics-Russian environmental campaigner detained near Sochi

SOCHI, Russia, Feb 3 (Reuters) – A Russian campaigner who says Olympic construction work has damaged the environment was detained on Monday in what rights groups say is growing harassment of civil rights activists before the Games.

President Vladimir Putin has staked his political and personal prestige on the Winter Olympics, which open in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Friday, and any sign of a clampdown on opponents could damage those efforts.

Feb 3, 2014

Russia scrambles to get hotels ready for Games

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – Large crates of equipment stand unopened outside the entrance to the plush new Swissotel above Sochi as it scrambles to be ready for the start of the Winter Olympics.

A bricklayer in a woolen hat puts the finishing touches to a nearby wall, workers in white helmets fix cables and others clear snow with shovels. Inside the hotel, new chairs are piled on top of each other in the lobby.

Feb 3, 2014

Olympics-Russia scrambles to get hotels ready for Games

SOCHI, Russia, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Large crates of equipment stand unopened outside the entrance to the plush new Swissotel above Sochi as it scrambles to be ready for the start of the Winter Olympics.

A bricklayer in a woollen hat puts the finishing touches to a nearby wall, workers in white helmets fix cables and others clear snow with shovels. Inside the hotel, new chairs are piled on top of each other in the lobby.

Jan 26, 2014

High stakes for Putin at costly Sochi Games

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Sochi Winter Olympics are meant to be Vladimir Putin’s crowning achievement as Russian leader but are in danger of becoming a symbol of his country’s problems.

When the Games open with great fanfare on February 7, the president will be there to revel in the unlikely feat of turning an ageing sub-tropical resort on the Black Sea into a glittering modern hub for a Winter Games in seven years.

    • About Timothy

      "Timothy Heritage is Brussels Bureau Chief and European Affairs Editor, responsible for coverage of the European Union. He has previously been based in Moscow, Jerusalem, Paris, London, Warsaw and Belgrade, covering events ranging from the fall of Communism and conflict in the Balkans and Middle East to the euro zone debt crisis."
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