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Bob Costas: Russian Government 'Is Hostile To Gay Rights'

Costas
Bob Costas took a moment during NBC's coverage last night to comment on the state of human rights in Russia, one the first times during the Sochi Olympics wherein the network has acknowledged the issue on air.

Said the newscaster:

The Sochi games have gone much better than many feared and predicted. So far security has held fast, venues have been praised, athletes and spectators have almost unanimously cited the warmth and hospitality of their hosts. All of which is truly wonderful but should not serve to obscure a larger and more lasting truth.

While in many significant ways, Russian citizens have better lives than Soviet citizens of a generation ago, there’s is still a government which imprisons dissidents, is hostile to gay rights, sponsors and supports a vicious regime in Syria - and that’s just a partial list.

The Sochi games are Vladimir Putin's games, from their inception to their conclusion, and all points in between. And if they are successful on their own terms, as appears to be the case, then at least in some corners it will help to burnish the image of a regime with which much of the world takes significant issue. No amount of Olympic glory can mask those realities any more than a biathlon gold medal, though hard-earned and deeply satisfying as it is, can put out the fires in Kiev.

 Watch the full clip here.


Jimmy Kimmel Reveals it Was His Sochi 'Wolf in the Hall' Hoax: VIDEO

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Jimmy Kimmel enlisted U.S. Olympic luger Kate Hansen for his latest hoax, the Epic #SochiFail 'Wolf in the Hall' report which news organizations around the world eagerly slurped up after Hansen posted it on her Twitter account.

And yes, it was a real wolf.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "Jimmy Kimmel Reveals it Was His Sochi 'Wolf in the Hall' Hoax: VIDEO" »


Pussy Riot Arrested in Sochi Under Pretext of Theft: VIDEO

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Nadezhda Tolokonnikova Maria Alyokhina, two members of Pussy Riot who were recently in the U.S. (you saw them here for their hilarious appearance on The Colbert Report) were detained by police while walking around Sochi, they said via Twitter, accused of an unspecified crime.

Photos taken by Tolokonnikova (above and below) from the police van were posted to Twitter. "Masha Alekhine, and I another participant Pussy Riot go to the police department," says one.

The NYT reports:

In a series of messages on Twitter, Ms. Tolokonnikova said that the two women had been also been detained on Sunday and Monday. On Monday, she said they were held by the Federal Security Service, known as the F.S.B.

“On the 16th we were detained for seven hours,” she wrote. “On the 17th, we spent 10 hours with the F.S.B. and today we are in a police wagon, accused of theft.”

Ms. Tolokonnikova wrote that they had come to Sochi intended to carry out a protest.

“We are in Sochi to hold a Pussy Riot action,” she wrote. “The song is called, ‘Putin Will Teach You to Love the Motherland.” However, she said they had not yet carried out any protest and were merely walking in Sochi when they were stopped by the authorities on Tuesday.

Eight people altogether were arrested with the women as they walked to the Sochi seaport, a local activist reported.

Watch a Euronews report on the detention, AFTER THE JUMP...

The arrests come just a day after trans Italian activist and former MP Vladimir Luxuria was harassed and detained for a second time after she appeared at the Olympic village in a rainbow outfit. Luxuria was scheduled to be escorted to the airport and asked to leave today, according to Italian media.

The Sochi authorities seem very eager to suppress anyone they think might engage in political protest within sight of the Olympic village.

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Continue reading "Pussy Riot Arrested in Sochi Under Pretext of Theft: VIDEO" »


Vladimir Luxuria Detained Again in Sochi Wearing Rainbow Outfit, Dumped in Rural Area: VIDEO

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Vladimir Luxuria, a transgender former Italian MP who was detained for several hours on Sunday by Russian police, appeared at the Olympic Village in Sochi on Monday wearing a rainbow-colored outfit and headdress and was being detained again. Luxuria was driven away by authorities in a car with Olympic markings (photo here), according to the AP.

Luxuria was hustled away from the hockey arena by four men not wearing identification who abandoned her in a rural area:

"I was very, very afraid this time because the first time they said, 'It's OK for the first time, don't do it again for the second time.' So, this time I was a little bit afraid," Luxuria said. "But they just left me outside, in the country, there, outside and that's it."

...

Luxuria had been walking around the Olympic Park in Sochi for about two hours. She was shouting "Gay is OK" and "It's OK to be gay" in both English and Russian.

As she was being led away from Shayba Arena, she was shouting "I have a ticket."

She spoke to RT about her detention on Sunday before the incident on Monday:

"I was kept to take information for a couple of hours and then at last a person talking English came and said I shouldn't show Russian writings about LGBT rights."

She also had a message for Putin:

"I would say to Mr. Putin that he should show modernity not only with these beautiful buildings. You have to be modern and open in your mind."

Watch her interview with RT, AFTER THE JUMP...

Luxuria arrived in Sochi with Pio and Amedeo, a comedy duo who star in the Italian television program called Reservoir Dogs and call themselves the Hyenas. The Hyenas were also taken by authorities and abandoned in the countryside.

According to Italian media reports, Luxuria and the two men have been asked to leave the country and will be escorted to the airport tomorrow morning at 11:30 am by the Russia Foreign Ministry.

Continue reading "Vladimir Luxuria Detained Again in Sochi Wearing Rainbow Outfit, Dumped in Rural Area: VIDEO" »


Former Italian MP Vladimir Luxuria After Release from Sochi Jail: PHOTO

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A photo posted to the Facebook of Pio and Amedeo, a comedy duo who star in the Italian television program Reservoir Dogs, showed Vladimir Luxuria, who was detained by Sochi police yesterday for carrying a "Gay is OK" banner, after her release, with the caption, "everything is ok... good night #freeluxuria".


NBC Reporter Hit with Criticism for Interview That Reduced Bode Miller to Tears: VIDEO

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NBC reporter Christin Cooper was hit with a barrage of criticism after a line of questioning to U.S. skier Bode Miller about his brother Chelone, who died of a seizure in April. Cooper's questions seemed to intensify once she saw Miller was getting emotional.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times said the interview lacked sensitivity, Linda Holmes of NPR called it "disgusting," and a number of viewers voiced their outrage on Twitter.

Miller later tweeted:

"I appreciate everyone sticking up for me. Please be gentle w christin cooper, it was crazy emotional and not all her fault. #heatofthemoment ... My emotions were very raw, she asked the questions that every interviewer would have, pushing is part of it, she wasnt trying to cause pain."

Watch the interview, AFTER THE JUMP...

UPDATE: Miller continued to defend Cooper on the Today show:

"I feel terrible that she's taking the heat for that because it really was just a heat-of-the-moment kind of circumstance,'' Miller said. "I don't think there was any harm intended. It was just a lot of emotion for me. It's been a lot over the past year. You sometimes don't realize how much you can contain that stuff until the dam breaks, and then it's just a real outpouring."

Continue reading "NBC Reporter Hit with Criticism for Interview That Reduced Bode Miller to Tears: VIDEO" »


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