Ashfaq Kayani in a country that balances military, civilian leadership. Deadly violence in Egypt as nation celebrates its military Abigail Hauslohner At least 50 people are killed and hundreds injured in violence across the country, most of them in Cairo. Russia welcomes Olympic flame Will Englund President Vladimir Putin helps roll out the red carpet for the flame, but Kremlin winds are not so kind. Loveday Morris Personnel took blowtorches and high-speed saws to Syrias chemical weapons equipment Sunday. Organizers had built an enormous stage that obscured Lenins tomb and stretched nearly the entire north-south length of the square that defines the heart of Russia. They packed it with cheerleaders in white, blue and red, two military bands, choirs in maroon ponchos, drummers, a bugle corps and traditional dancers, all to welcome the flame and the president. With a pale autumnal sun making its first appearance here in days behind him, Putin at last began the public celebrations in the run-up to Februarys Olympics. He had lobbied relentlessly to land them, has been closely involved in supervising their preparation and has gambled on their success as an affirmation of Russias return to greatness. As Putin walked to the stage before an assembled crowd of 1,000 or so, he appeared to be in an uncharacteristically sunny frame of mind. He smiled and waved genially, if not with any excessive enthusiasm, to the crowd. Russians have a talent for spectacle, and though the ceremony lasted just 22 minutes, it went full-bore all the way.
From its overnight perch on the ancient Acropolis, the flame traveled through Athens’ streets before being carried into the stadium, built in 330 BC, by Greek figure skating champion Panagiotis Markouzios. As he lit the golden cauldron encircled by priestesses in long, cream-colored, pleated robes, the crowd erupted in cheers of Russia! Russia! We are especially emotional, Hellenic Olympic Committee head Spyros Capralos said. The flame, for us Greeks, is a piece of our country, a part of our history and a tight bond to our ancestors. The flame will be flown in special safety lanterns from Athens to Moscow on Sunday and it will then begin the longest torch relay in the history of the Winter Games from the Red Square. It will travel more than 65,000 km, looping around Russia’s 83 regions on foot, in sleighs, hot air balloons and even on a trip to space, as Russia prepares to showcase its modern post-Soviet face. More than 90 percent of the Russian population will have been within one hour of the flame before the lighting of the Olympic cauldron takes place at the stadium at the Black Sea resort of Sochi on February 7. Great honor For me it is a great honor, responsibility and pleasure to be here tonight, on the land that gave birth to the European civilization and presented the world with the Olympic Games, Kozak said. On this momentous day I am telling you with certainty that our country … will succeed in fulfilling its commitment to the Olympic movement, Kozak added. Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to deliver a brilliant Games to show how far Russia has come since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. But Russia has come under mounting international criticism over a new anti-gay propaganda law, which critics believe is repressive, and preparations for the Games will not be plain sailing for the Russian hosts. Earlier in the day, a group of Greek gay activists raised the rainbow flag outside Greece’s Acropolis museum in Athens.
Russia Stops Adoptions To Sweden, Seeks Agreement Barring Gay Couples From Adopting
The prohibition is part of a recent court decision that disallows any foreign country that recognizes same-sex unions , or affords adoption rights to gay couples, from taking in a Russian child. Russia will now seek legal agreements with each of these countries to ensure that only heterosexual couples are allowed to adopt. As Sveriges Television notes, negotiations between Russia and Sweden began Thursday. The gay adoption ban, signed into law by President Vladimir Putin in July, aims to guarantee a “harmonious and full upbringing for children in adoptive families,” the Kremlin said in statement released at the time. However, the ban instead feeds into Russia’s recent push for anti-gay legislation. Last month, a Russian lawmaker proposed a law that would deny gay parents in Russia custody of their children. The draft bill follows Russia’s highly publicized ban on gay propaganda that may affect athletes and spectators during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Also on HuffPost: Loading Slideshow Netherlands The Netherlands was the first country to recognize gay marriage in 2001. Pictured: Jan van Breda and Thijs Timmermans. Belgium Belgium legalized same-sex marriages in 2003. Pictured: Marion Huibrecht and Christel Verswyvelen. Spain Spain legalized gay marriage in 2005. Canada Canada followed Spain and approved gay marriage in 2005. South Africa South Africa legalized same sex marriage in 2006. Pictured: Vernon Gibbs and Tony Hall.
US, Russia set for first high-level talks since Syria chemical weapons deal, Iran warming
“Relatives and friends of the murdered Libyan decided to avenge his death with an attack on the Russian diplomatic mission,” the statement said. The decision to evacuate staff was taken after Libyan Foreign Minister Mohammed Abdelaziz visited the embassy. The ministry said he had told the Russian ambassador that Libya was “not in a state to guarantee the security of the Russian embassy and recommended his employees leave the diplomatic mission”. The statement said that staff and their families had taken refuge in safe rooms during the attack. They were evacuated to Tunisia on Thursday and expected to return to Russia on Friday. The attack demonstrated the volatility in oil-producing Libya two years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, and the problems faced by his former ally Russia as it tries to put billions of dollars’ worth of energy and arms deals back on track. The Foreign Ministry and the Kremlin were keen to play down political angles of the attack, citing the murder as the cause. The Russian woman, who also wounded the officer’s mother, had been arrested, the statement said. Diplomatic sources in Libya said security guards fired shots to disperse a group of about 60 people who tried to storm the embassy on Wednesday. Russian agencies said the gunmen arrived in two vehicles before opening fire. The statement sought to underline cooperation by the two countries to reestablish Russia’s full diplomatic presence in Libya and reduce any long-term impact. CLAN DIVISIONS Clan and tribal rivalries, as well as Islamist groups, have flourished in the absence of strong central government in Libya. Security services have struggled to maintain order. Militant groups have staged a number of attacks on Western diplomats.
US, Russia in first high-level talks since Syria chemical weapons deal, Iran warming
Security Council resolution calling for the elimination of the weapons. Kerry said Assad was not off the hook, but needs to continue to comply with U.N. demands. Tim Craig President will choose a successor to Gen. Ashfaq Kayani in a country that balances military, civilian leadership. Deadly violence in Egypt as nation celebrates its military Abigail Hauslohner At least 50 people are killed and hundreds injured in violence across the country, most of them in Cairo. Russia welcomes Olympic flame Will Englund President Vladimir Putin helps roll out the red carpet for the flame, but Kremlin winds are not so kind. Loveday Morris Personnel took blowtorches and high-speed saws to Syrias chemical weapons equipment Sunday. He said it was extremely significant that the first weapons were destroyed Sunday, just a few weeks after the resolution passed the U.N. It is a good beginning, and we should welcome a good beginning, Kerry said. Kerry and Lavrov met Monday on the sidelines of an economic summit on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
Russia says embassy staff in Libya evacuated after attack
Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to officials during a visit to a tuna packaging factory in Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013. Kerry said Sunday that a pair of U.S. military raids against militants in North Africa sends the message that terrorists “can run but they can’t hide.” Kerry, in Bali for an economic summit, was the highest-level administration to speak about the operations yet. (AP Photo)The Associated Press BALI, Indonesia The U.S. and Russia are set to hold their first high-level talks since sealing a deal to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons and the onset of an apparent warming between Iran and the West. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are to meet on Monday to discuss both issues on the sidelines of an economic summit in Indonesia. They will be comparing notes on progress made since they negotiated the Syria agreement. They will also be talking about Iran and efforts to get it to come clean about its nuclear program. The same day the U.N. Security Council approved the Syria resolution, President Barack Obama and Iran’s new president spoke by phone in the first leader-to-leader contact between the two nations since 1979.