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October 9, 2013 | By David Wharton
Olympic officials have doused a social media campaign by the maker of Zippo lighters, the American company playing off a miscue in the torch relay. The trouble began earlier this week as the relay for the 2014 Sochi Games traveled through the streets of Moscow. The torch flickered out and a man in the crowd helped reignite it with a silver cigarette lighter . Zippo quickly published a photograph of the incident on Facebook and began a Twitter campaign with the hashtag: #ZippoSavesOlympics.
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WORLD
February 27, 2014 | By Carol J. Williams and Sergei L. Loiko, This post has been updated. See the notes below for details.
MOSCOW -- Ukraine's fugitive former president, Viktor Yanukovich, announced Thursday that he has turned to Russia for protection out of concern for his personal security and declared in a statement carried by Kremlin-influenced media that he remains the legitimate leader of Ukraine. Russia's RIA Novosti news agency quoted “anonymous government sources” as saying Yanukovich's appeal for asylum had been granted by Moscow and that he was “ currently on Russian territory .” Yanukovich said in the statement that he was forced to flee his homeland because of dangers posed by "extremists" who have taken power in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, Interfax, Itar-Tass and RIA Novosti reported.
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WORLD
October 17, 2013 | By Sergei L. Loiko, This post has been corrected and updated. See below for details.
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- Ukrainian astronomers say an asteroid might collide with Earth in a couple of decades, a Russian news service reported Thursday. Space watchers from the observatory in the Crimean peninsula said they discovered an asteroid about 1,345 feet in diameter, which they call 2013 TV135, that is approaching Earth at a potentially dangerous trajectory, RIA Novosti said. The astronomers calculated the date of a potential collision as Aug. 26, 2032, the news service said, but they acknowledged the odds of an impact as 1 in 63,000.
SPORTS
February 5, 2014 | By David Wharton
SOCHI, Russia - With the opening ceremony scheduled for Friday, it seems that Russians have mixed feelings about hosting the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The RIA Novosti news agency reported that only 53% of the people polled by the Levada Center in Moscow believe their country did the right thing by bidding for the Games. Those in favor of the idea believe the massive sports competition will help unite the populace and improve the country's image. But 26% did not want the Games here. "Opportunity for graft" was the most common reason given.
SPORTS
February 5, 2014 | By David Wharton
SOCHI, Russia - With the opening ceremony scheduled for Friday, it seems that Russians have mixed feelings about hosting the 2014 Sochi Olympics. The RIA Novosti news agency reported that only 53% of the people polled by the Levada Center in Moscow believe their country did the right thing by bidding for the Games. Those in favor of the idea believe the massive sports competition will help unite the populace and improve the country's image. But 26% did not want the Games here. "Opportunity for graft" was the most common reason given.
WORLD
November 21, 2013 | By Sergei L. Loiko
MOSCOW -- A supermarket roof collapsed and killed at least four people Thursday night in Riga, the capital of Latvia, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. Three bodies of customers were discovered by rescue workers, one of whom was also killed, authorities said. At least 30 people are injured, and as many as 70 more people may be under the debris, according to the mayor of Riga, Nil Ushakov. The BBC reported that the dead rescue worker was a firefighter. The store, Maxima XX, collapsed "like a house of cards," said Deputy Mayor Andris Ameriks.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 18, 2013 | By Todd Martens
Jailed members of Pussy Riot are expected be freed months ahead of when their prison terms are due to end. Russian lawmakers on Wednesday approved an amnesty law that would clear an immediate path of freedom for Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina. Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports that the amnesty bill, floated in early December to mark the 20th anniversary of the nation's constitution, "will be applied to thousands of Russian prisoners -- primarily retirees, invalids, women with children and pregnant women, and victims of the Chernobyl disaster.
SPORTS
January 10, 2014 | By David Wharton
Less than a month before the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Russian officials say that a new power grid for the Black Sea resort has yet to be completed. Workers have built generators and other facilities but do not expect the grid to come online until later this month, about two weeks before the Games begin. “We're planning to finish all the work by Jan. 20 and to get permission to move the grid into use by Jan. 25,” Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency . Russian President Vladimir Putin has toured Sochi to check on progress several times.
SPORTS
October 17, 2013 | By David Wharton
The Olympic torch relay for the 2014 Sochi Winter Games has begun a long, strange side trip. While the official relay continues through Russia, a version of the torch is traveling by nuclear-powered icebreaker to the North Pole. It is expected to arrive at the top of the world -- where it will be used to light a cauldron -- in late October.  “I believe it is extremely symbolic to light the Olympic torch there, since Olympic values have remained unchanged for centuries,” Arthur Chilingarov, a Russian polar explorer, told the RIA Novosti news service.
SPORTS
December 10, 2013 | By David Wharton
If Russian officials are concerned about having enough snow at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the last few weeks might be easing their worries. Rosa Khutor, the mountain site for numerous events, has received enough snowfall to open for skiing next weekend. The government also issued an avalanche warning Tuesday for mountain areas around Sochi. “There is a likelihood of problems with energy supplies, communications, housing services and transport routes,” said a statement from the Emergencies Ministry's Krasnodar region, according to a report in the RIA Novosti news service . The forecast is calling for continued cold weather, with a warming trend to begin next week.
SPORTS
January 10, 2014 | By David Wharton
Less than a month before the 2014 Sochi Olympics, Russian officials say that a new power grid for the Black Sea resort has yet to be completed. Workers have built generators and other facilities but do not expect the grid to come online until later this month, about two weeks before the Games begin. “We're planning to finish all the work by Jan. 20 and to get permission to move the grid into use by Jan. 25,” Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency . Russian President Vladimir Putin has toured Sochi to check on progress several times.
SPORTS
January 7, 2014 | By David Wharton
A month before the 2014 Sochi Games, Russian officials have flooded the area with security personnel. Tens of thousands of army troops, police and security agents were being deployed to the Black Sea resort, according to a report from the RIA Novosti news service. Only vehicles registered in Sochi - or those with Olympic passes - were being allowed on the streets. Recent bombings in Volgograd, about 400 miles away, have heightened fears of terrorism. Sochi is considered vulnerable because of its relative proximity to the North Caucasus, where Islamic militants have waged a violent insurgency.
WORLD
December 26, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died of natural causes nine years ago, not from poisoning by a radioactive substance as alleged by his widow, a Russian forensic investigation has concluded. The Russian findings conflict with those of Swiss scientists, who said in November that they had found sufficient traces of polonium-210 in Arafat's exhumed remains to conclude with relative certainty that he died of poisoning. "The tests were comprehensive and there's no need for re-examination.
SPORTS
December 24, 2013 | By David Wharton
A top Russian political and sports official said Tuesday that President Obama's decision not to attend the 2014 Sochi Olympics will have no real effect on the competition. "Obama can't come? Well, he hasn't been to a single Games during his time in the presidency," Alexander Zhukov was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news service . "It doesn't reflect on the quality of the Games in any way. " In addition to Obama, the presidents of France and Germany are also expected to skip the Olympics.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 18, 2013 | By Todd Martens
Jailed members of Pussy Riot are expected be freed months ahead of when their prison terms are due to end. Russian lawmakers on Wednesday approved an amnesty law that would clear an immediate path of freedom for Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina. Russian news agency RIA Novosti reports that the amnesty bill, floated in early December to mark the 20th anniversary of the nation's constitution, "will be applied to thousands of Russian prisoners -- primarily retirees, invalids, women with children and pregnant women, and victims of the Chernobyl disaster.
SPORTS
December 12, 2013 | By David Wharton
President Obama has never tried to hide the fact he is a big sports fan, throwing Super Bowl parties at the White House and filling out his NCAA Tournament bracket each March, but it seems he is not as enthusiastic about the Olympics. Obama has yet to attend the Games during his tenure in office and probably will skip the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics. Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, says he expects a "presidential delegation" to make the trip on Obama's behalf.
SPORTS
January 7, 2014 | By David Wharton
A month before the 2014 Sochi Games, Russian officials have flooded the area with security personnel. Tens of thousands of army troops, police and security agents were being deployed to the Black Sea resort, according to a report from the RIA Novosti news service. Only vehicles registered in Sochi - or those with Olympic passes - were being allowed on the streets. Recent bombings in Volgograd, about 400 miles away, have heightened fears of terrorism. Sochi is considered vulnerable because of its relative proximity to the North Caucasus, where Islamic militants have waged a violent insurgency.
SPORTS
December 12, 2013 | By David Wharton
President Obama has never tried to hide the fact he is a big sports fan, throwing Super Bowl parties at the White House and filling out his NCAA Tournament bracket each March, but it seems he is not as enthusiastic about the Olympics. Obama has yet to attend the Games during his tenure in office and probably will skip the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics. Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, says he expects a "presidential delegation" to make the trip on Obama's behalf.
SPORTS
December 10, 2013 | By David Wharton
If Russian officials are concerned about having enough snow at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, the last few weeks might be easing their worries. Rosa Khutor, the mountain site for numerous events, has received enough snowfall to open for skiing next weekend. The government also issued an avalanche warning Tuesday for mountain areas around Sochi. “There is a likelihood of problems with energy supplies, communications, housing services and transport routes,” said a statement from the Emergencies Ministry's Krasnodar region, according to a report in the RIA Novosti news service . The forecast is calling for continued cold weather, with a warming trend to begin next week.
WORLD
November 21, 2013 | By Sergei L. Loiko
MOSCOW -- A supermarket roof collapsed and killed at least four people Thursday night in Riga, the capital of Latvia, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. Three bodies of customers were discovered by rescue workers, one of whom was also killed, authorities said. At least 30 people are injured, and as many as 70 more people may be under the debris, according to the mayor of Riga, Nil Ushakov. The BBC reported that the dead rescue worker was a firefighter. The store, Maxima XX, collapsed "like a house of cards," said Deputy Mayor Andris Ameriks.
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