Winter Olympics 2014: Sochi protesters arrested over banner citing Olympic Charter’s words against discrimination

Prominent LGBT activist among group censured for highlighting perceived conflict with Games’ rules
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Fireworks go off over the Olympic Park at the end of the Opening Ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games at the Fisht Olympic Stadium
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By Lewis Smith

Friday 07 February 2014

One of Russia’s leading gay activists was arrested on Friday while taking part in a protest shortly before the opening ceremony of the £30bn Winter Olympics.

Anastasia Smirnova was one of four activists detained in St Petersburg on the opening day of the Sochi Games as the group photographed a banner citing the Olympic Charter’s words against discrimination. Further arrests were later made in Moscow where 10 people were arrested, two of them believed to be Swedish.

The arrests came amid international concern at Russia’s treatment of gays, especially newly enacted laws which make gay “propaganda” among minors and offence.

Calls to boycott the Games have largely been ignored but some athletes are understood to be planning to hold up six fingers when the cameras are on them to bring attention to the Olympic Charter’s Principle 6, which describes discrimination as “incompatible with the Olympic movement”.

The four protestors arrested in St Petersburg, one of them a pregnant woman, were on Vasilyevsky Island with the banner which they planned to hang from the Belinskiy Bridge when they were arrested by police.

Ms Smirnova, who last year accused the authorities of conducting a pogrom against the lesbian, gas and transsexual communities, expressed derision at her arrest.

Writing on her Facebook page while in detention she said: “Can’t write much as phones are not permitted, and they are now calling us to sign papers. Cosmic hugs to you from our police station! PS. Detention for a photo with a banner – isn’t it an amazing way to celebrate the Opening of the Games?”

The Russian LGBT network said in a post: “The activists were making photos with a banner “Discrimination is incompatible with the Olympic Movement. Principle 6. Olympic Charter” to support the company held today all over the world.”

Ms Smirnova was later released from custody and said: “Everyone is feeling right and strong, and the support that we have is truly heartwarming.”

President Vladimir Putin defended Russia’s stance last month when he said: “We aren’t banning anything, we aren’t rounding up anyone, we have no criminal punishment for such relations unlike many other countries. We have a ban on propaganda of homosexuality and paedophilia, I want to underline that, on propaganda among minors.”

The International Olympic Committee’s decision to award the Games to Russia has been widely questioned but it has insisted it has received assurances that gays will not be subjected to discrimination.

Later Turkish special forces seized an airline passenger suspected of making a bomb threat and trying to hijack a passenger plane, while demanding to go to the Winter Olympics venue of Sochi.

They said the suspect was taken away for questioning after the Pegasus Airlines plane from the Ukrainian city of Kharkov arrived in Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Google takes a swipe at Russia’s ‘anti-gay’ law with rainbow-coloured doodle

Story by Sam Adams
Alongside the doodle Google ran a passage from the Olympic Charter stating that every individual should be able to practice sport “without discrimination”
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Sports: Sochi Winter Olympics Google Doodle

Google has celebrated the launch of the Sochi Winter Olympics with a special doodle which takes a swipe at Russia’s controversial laws on homosexuality.

The doodle – in rainbow colours – features figures taking part in some of the Winter Games’ most high profile sports, including skiing, ice hockey, bobsleigh, and ice skating.

The rainbow flag has become a symbol of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities in many countries across the world.

Underneath the search box is a quote from the Olympic Charter reading: “”The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

The Sochi Games are being held under unprecedentedly tight security in the Russian resort – while President Vladimir Putin has come under fire ahead of the opening ceremony for the country’s controversial laws on homosexuality.

Russia has banned the promotion of “non-traditional” sexuality – widely seen as an attack on gay rights.

Protesters have called on politicians and athletes to boycott the Sochi Games.

Russian security services are already on high alert for radical Islamic terrorists who have launched a campaign of suicide bombings in the area in recent weeks.

America’s Department of Homeland Security has even issued a warning to all US airlines with direct flights to Russia that bombs could be hidden in toothpaste and make-up carried by passengers.

The department did not say what had triggered the alert but the warning is believed to have been issued based on new information ahead of the start of the Olympics.
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/olympic-charter-google-takes-swipe-3120055

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Person in Custody After Trying to Climb White House Fence

By Kristen Welker

According to an official with the United States Secret Service, an individual attempted to climb the White House fence Friday afternoon, prompting a lockdown.

The person was taken into custody by Park Police and Secret Service Officers.

An all-clear has been issued.

The Secret Service official said the climber had two bags in his possession. Officers on scene declared the bags “suspicious” and called the Metro Police Deptartment’s Explosive Ordinance Division to screen them.

The security official tells NBC News that there is nothing that suggested the bags were dangerous but that this process is normal protocol.

President Barack Obama is traveling today in Michigan, where he signed the new farm bill.
First published February 7th 2014, 12:18 pm

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Google makes statement about Russian anti-gay law

Associated Press 1:35pst February 7, 2014

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — With the Winter Games underway in Sochi, Google Inc. quietly but vibrantly added its voice Thursday to the chorus of U.S. companies speaking out against Russia’s law restricting gay-rights activities by updating its iconic search page logo to depict illustrations of athletes skiing, sledding, curling and skating against a rainbow-colored backdrop.

The company declined to comment on the new Google Doodle that appeared on its home pages worldwide, saying it wanted the illustration to speak for itself. But the logo clearly was meant as a show of support for gay rights and a rebuke of the law that bans pro-gay “propaganda” that could be accessible to minors: below the updated logo appears a two-sentence section of the Olympic charter that reads, in part, “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind.”

“Google has made a clear and unequivocal statement that Russia’s anti-LGBT discrimination is indefensible,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, whose Washington-based group has been lobbying American corporations, especially those sponsoring the Games in Sochi, to condemn the law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in July. “Now it’s time for each and every remaining Olympic sponsor to follow their lead. The clock is ticking, and the world is watching.”

Although Google is not an Olympics sponsor, its action came a day after three sponsors of the U.S. Olympic Committee — AT&T, DeVry University and yogurt maker Chobani — issued statements explicitly speaking out against the Russian law.

Google typically updates its themed daily Doodles at midnight Eastern time, but the Olympics-gay pride version made its debut in the late afternoon. While Google is not as popular in Russia as it is in the U.S., the timing meant it would be seen in Russia on Friday, when the Games’ opening ceremonies will be held. The local time in Sochi is 12 hours ahead of California, where Google is headquartered.

Google and its founders have been outspoken supporters of gay rights since 2008, when the company got involved in the campaign to defeat a gay marriage ban on the California ballot. In 2012 it launched a global workplace safety campaign, called “Legalise Love,” that it described as a call to decriminalize homosexuality and eliminate homophobia around the world. The company also recognizes gay pride season each year by customizing search boxes to turn rainbow-colored when terms like “gay” and “gay pride” are entered.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Hispanics helping Texas become more Democratic State

Texas remains a Republican-leaning state because its white residents are becoming increasingly Republican and its large Hispanic population, though solidly Democratic, is less so than Hispanics nationally.
Read more at GALLUP.com.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Obama: No ‘Icy’ Relationship With Putin

By Andrew Rafferty

President Barack Obama on Thursday denied having an “icy” relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and said the leader’s tough guy demeanor is likely just part of his “shtick.”

“I wouldn’t call it icy. The truth of the matter is that when we are in meetings there are a lot of exchanges, there’s a surprising amount of humor, and a lot of give and take,” Obama said, according to a transcript of the interview with NBC’s Bob Costas set to air Friday.
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“He does have a public style where he likes to sit back and look a little bored during the course of joint interviews. I think that’s where some of these perceptions come up,” Obama added.

New Restrictions for US Flights to Russia
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Putin, Obama said, understands the importance of working with the U.S. on areas of mutual concern.

Obama added that Putin’s public efforts to come off as a hard-nosed negotiator are likely “part of his shtick back home politically as wanting to look like the tough guy.”

The president was also asked about the message intended by picking openly gay former athletes as official U.S. delegates to the Winter Olympics. “There is no doubt we wanted to make it very clear that we do not abide by discrimination in anything, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” Obama said.

And when it comes to security, the president added that the Russians have “an enormous stake” in making sure the Olympics are safe, and that the U.S. has been working closely with the host country to identify and thwart any potential threats.
First published February 6th 2014, 3:34 pm

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Would-be burglar apparently scared by singing fish

Associated Press Feb 5, 2014 6:37 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) — Big Mouth Billy Bass apparently got the best of a would-be burglar in Minnesota.

Authorities in Rochester say the motion-activated singing fish apparently scared off an intruder who tried to break into the Hooked on Fishing bait and tackle shop.

The novelty bass had been hung near the door and would start singing “Take Me to the River” whenever someone entered the shop.

The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office says the fish was found on the floor after the intruder knocked it down while breaking the door to get in late Sunday or early Monday.

Sgt. Tom Claymon tells the Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/1itbp3W) the would-be burglar left without stealing anything, including cash that had been left in “a very visible spot.”

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

McMorris Rogers Could Face House Ethics Probe

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/mcmorris-rogers-could-face-house-ethics-probe-n23801
Each time either party is in office for a long time Chagers start  mounting on the members of Congress of that party. It seems that absolute power does corrupt absolutely.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Boehner splashes cold water on immigration reform

IN this article Speaker of the House Boehner says that the immigration reform bill is dead in his mind because of the lack of trust between he and the White House. If there is a lack of trust it should be on the side of the White House who has tried olive branch after olive branch until the tree  is practically bare. Please call your representative in Congress and tell them it’s not fair to hold 12 million people hostage because of the winds of politics.
http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/boehner-immigration-reform-difficult-move-year-n23671

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil