Russia Dismisses Dutch Legal Action Over Greenpeace Activists

Russia Blames USA for Middle East Chaos

Since early last month, Russian officials have rounded up the workers for alleged violations of migration or employment rules, the New York-based human rights group said today in an e-mailed statement. Many have been kept in arbitrary and inhuman conditions and some expelled from Russia, it said. Its outrageous for the migrant workers who helped to build Sochis shiny new Olympic venues to be herded into detention and deported, said Jane Buchanan, associate director for Europe and Central Asia. Ilya Djous, a spokesman for Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, whos in charge of Olympic preparations, said by phone that there havent been any mass violations of labor or migration rules. Russia stages the competition in February and has spent about $50 billion, making these the most expensive Winter Games . The project has included road building and a train service to connect the coastal hub to be used for the opening ceremony and ice skating events and the mountains that will host the skiing and downhill competitions. Construction workers are being exploited and cheated out of their wages, Human Rights Watch said in February. Some employers demanded 12-hour shifts with few days off, withheld passports and work permits and refused to pay promised salaries, the group said. President Vladimir Putin has sought to attract large international events, including the 2018 soccer World Cup and last years Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. To contact the reporters on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at ; Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at More News:

‘US, Russia ask Norway to help destroy Syria’s chemical weapons’

FIVB: Uberlandia, Brazil, October 4, 2013 -Russia start their inaugural Men’s U23 World Championship campaign in Uberlandia, Brazil looking to complete an impressive unique hat-trick of underage titles. After their U19 and U21 teams claimed victories earlier in 2013 at their respective world championships, Russia’s U23 group can now complete a dominant sweep with another win in Brazil. Russia’s squad in Uberlandia is well-stocked with the experience of players, including captain Dmitry Kovalev, that claimed the 2011 U21 world title, also on Brazilian soil, in Rio de Janeiro. Home team Brazil will be one of Russia’s main obstacles, led by star wing spiker Lucarelli who was named of the best players in this year’s World League Finals tournament in Mar del Plata, Argentina, and setter Thiago who captained Brazil’s U21 team to silver beind Russia earlier this year. In the pool stage Russia’s biggest challenge is likely to come from Serbia who can count on the inclusion of opposite Aleksandar Atanasijevic, who was Serbia’s top scorer in the Intercontinental Round of this year’s World League with 200 points. Both representatives from Asia, Australia and Iran, are in pool B alongside Russia and Serbia and provide upset potential. Australia, in particular, will take confidence into the championship from a warm-up tournament win against Argentina. The final pool B representatives are Venezuela, who are making a re-appearance at underage world championship level after 10 years, and Mexico who will start the tournament, taking on hot favourites Russia in the opening match on Sunday morning. The other pool boasts the classic South American match-up between hosts Brazil and Argentina, who will be looking for strong performances from recent senior debutants wing spikers Agustin Ramonda and Ezequiel Palacios, and opposite Pablo Kukartsev. Bulgaria could provide tough competition for both South American countries, with key players setter Dobromir Dimitrov and captain Nikolay Penchev both able to boast game time in this year’s World League. African representatives Egypt and Tunisia will try to improve on their last visit to Brazil for an underage world championship, when they were among the final positions at the 2011 U21 tournament in Rio de Janeiro. The final team in pool A, the Dominican Republic, are appearing at an underage world championship for the first time since finishing 13th at both the U19 and U21 competitions 14 years ago in 1999. Each team will play five pool matches before the final stage, where the pool winners and runners-up will meet in the semifinals, while the teams in pool positions third and fourth will play off against each other for final positions fifth to eighth.

Greenpeace activists hold portraits of those detained on the boat Arctic Sunrise during a protest in Moscow October 5, 2013. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Therefore, we have far more questions for the Dutch side than they can have for us,” RIA quoted Meshkov as saying. “Everything that happened with the Arctic Sunrise was pure provocation.” Russian authorities have pressed piracy charges, which could result in prison sentences of 15 years. DEMONSTRATIONS Greenpeace said it was holding up to 100 protests in about 48 countries on Saturday to call for the detainees to be freed. In London up to 700 people demonstrated outside the Russian Embassy with six Britons among those arrested by Russia. Actor Jude Law, who knows one of the arrested Britons through his children’s school, was among the protesters calling for Russia to release the detainees and condemning the charges of piracy as “ludicrous”. “They go into these situations often expecting arrest and the arrests draw more attention which is a positive but … the possibility of a 15-year prison stretch is beyond reason,” Law told the BBC. Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague has raised the case with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. Officials said Britain’s concerns were based on “consular” issues of welfare. The Dutch government contests the “unlawful manner” in which the ship was intercepted and is seeking the release of all its passengers, who include 28 activists and two freelance journalists. Greenpeace says the activists had been engaged in a peaceful protest in international waters to highlight the environmental risks posed by drilling in Arctic waters. The group says Russian officials boarded its icebreaker and detained activists at gunpoint after the group piloted motorboats toward an exploration vessel working for Russia’s top oil producer, the state-controlled Rosneft, and global major ExxonMobil. Two activists also scaled the side of the Gazprom-owned Prirazlomnaya platform, actions Russia’s Foreign Ministry said threatened security.

Russia on course for unique volleyball world hat-trick

A UN chemical weapons expert, inspects the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria. Photo: REUTERS The US and Russia have requested Norway to help alongside UN efforts to dismantle Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile, AFP cited a Norwegian new site as reporting on Saturday. According to Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, Washington and Moscow both consider the Scandinavian country a suitable location for the dangerous task of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons. Related: Syria takes further step toward dismantling chemical weapons arsenal The two countries have reportedly pointed to Norway’s political stability and its possession of large amounts of water, which is vital for dismantling the toxic weapons, as key components to the country’s viability for the request, according to NRK. The request for Norweigin assistance in the task came last week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York and has been repeated on several levels, NRK reported. Norway’s foreign ministry had not immediately confirmed specifications of the report, but said the nation was prepared to assist, AFP reported. I can confirm that Norway is looking into implementing the resolution of the UN Security Council, ministry spokeswoman Ragnhild Imerslund told AFP. Exactly how it will be done is too early to say. We dont know what contribution we are going to make, but we are looking into various options, she added. Norway has until mid-November to reply to the reported request, NRK said. According to NRK, Norway does not currently have the necessary equipment for destroying such weapons of mass destruction, but the US may provide mobile facilities to assist with its implementation. On Thursday, the United Nations said the chemical experts have made “encouraging initial progress” and hoped to begin disabling equipment involved in Syria’s chemical weapon process next week. Oppositions forces and the Syrian government blame each other for the deadly August 21 attack on a Damascus suburb. The United States and other Western countries say a report by UN investigators indirectly implicates government-allied forces.

Although General Officer Commanding of the Army’s 15 Corps Lt Gen Gurmit Singh had said it will be premature to say whether the Pakistan Army was involved in infiltration of militants, he said there were definite indications that some special troops were part of it. “I can only say, analyzing the methodology of this infiltration, it was not a pure infiltration. It was a BAT [Border Action Team]-cum-infiltration. The number of militants who attempted this infiltration was rather large. In fact, Wednesday night 10 to 12 militants tried to sneak into the cordoned off area from across (the Line of Control).” Pakistani authorities deny that an infiltration occurred. Comment: A Border Action Team is a mixed unit of Pakistan Army special forces commandos and irregular forces including terrorists or Kashmiri militants. Allmost every time the top political leaders have a cordial meeting, a shooting incident occurs along the Line of Control. Pakistan: A faction of the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan [TTP] said today that no ceasefire has yet been reached and that the initiative for talks should not be taken as a sign of weakness, according to the TTP Mohmand Agency chief, Omar Khalid Khorasani. Khorasani also accused the government of continuing to torture prisoners and of killing them. He named three of his colleagues whom he claimed were killed recently in Karachi. He said that talks cannot succeed in the prevailing situation. One group also called for the withdrawal of government forces from the tribal agencies as a condition for talks.