Russia offers to guard Syria arms destruction
Killy said the IOC commission was pleased with the ongoing construction ahead of the games, which with a total cost of $51 billion will be the most expensive Olympics in history. Much of the city still looks like an enormous building site, with unfinished hotels and debris from construction scattered across the Black Sea coast, but the Olympic venues are impressive. The coastal venues, where the skating events will take place, are sprawled like beached metallic whales across what used to be a residential coastline. The structures themselves are both sleekly elegant and intimate, providing for a close proximity between athletes and spectators. The mountain venues, about an hour by car or train from the coast, are similarly spectacular. A network of gondolas, like pulsing veins up the mountainside, whisk visitors up to 2,320 meters (7,650 feet), while the smooth wood of the bobsleigh track zigzags across the lush forest. A blizzard on Wednesday coated the mountain peaks in snow, helping to ease worries of a repeat of last year’s warm winter. The IOC visit coincided with major storms, unusual for Sochi in September. Down the mountain, heavy rain caused flooding and mudslides, leading authorities to introduce a state of emergency. Killy said that despite the rainfall there had been “no damage anywhere whatsoever” and he was confident that any weather problems “would not stop the games.” He recalled the IOC commission’s first visit in September 2011 and the “unprecedented challenge” Russia faced to put in the necessary infrastructure and build most of the venues from scratch. “In Europe you would probably spend 15 years on that, and here they did it in seven,” Killy said. Russia was awarded the 2014 Olympics in 2007.
Iran has been suffering under severe economic sanctions because of its nuclear ambitions. Kerry was specific about what the United States wants to see to make sure the Iranians are not building a bomb. PELLEY: Give me an example, one concrete step, one thing that they can do to assure the world that they’re giving up their ambitions. KERRY: They could immediately open up the inspection of the Fordo facility — a secret facility and underground in the mountains, fortified and unquestionably not something that a peaceful program would be doing. They could immediately sign the protocols, the additional protocols of the international community regarding inspections. They could offer to cease voluntarily to take enrichment above a certain level, keep it at a very low level, because there’s no need to have it at a higher level for a peaceful program. There are any number of things they could do, Scott. Watch: Iranian president says Iran must be able to assert its legal rights on nukes, below. PELLEY: What bold step could the United States take right now to answer this apparent opening by the Iranians? KERRY: Well, providing that the Iranians take concrete steps, I’m confident they would have an expectation that the United States is going to respond by perhaps adjusting the sanctions regime that we have today, by setting up a process that shows them how they can have this peaceful program without disturbing our efforts to– to make sure that no country is now going to build nuclear weapons. PELLEY: But the United States would look favorably on relaxing or eliminating the sanctions if the Iranians were serious about abandoning their nuclear weapon. KERRY: Well, the United States is not going to lift the sanctions until it is clear that a very verifiable, accountable, transparent process is in place, whereby we know exactly what Iran is going to be doing with its program. Shortly after that interview, Secretary Kerry met with the Iranian foreign minister in the highest-level talks on Iran’s nuclear program in 33 years, and they announced Thursday evening that negotiations will continue in Geneva next month.
Russia and Italy battle for EuroVolley crown
Security Council appeared to have reached agreement on a resolution requiring Syria to dismantle its chemical weapons stockpiles. Russia’s deputy foreign minister had said negotiators had overcome a major hurdle and agreed that the text of the resolution would include a reference to Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter, which allows for military and nonmilitary actions to promote security. The U.S. and Russia have been at odds on how to enforce the resolution. Meanwhile, a team of U.N. inspectors was back in Syria to investigate three alleged incidents of chemical weapons use earlier this year. They will also seek information on three other attacks last month that allegedly included chemical agents. The inspectors were seen leaving their Damascus hotel in a vehicle convoy on Thursday afternoon, but there was no immediate indication where they were going. A Free Syrian Army fighter holds his son outside their home in Habit village, the Syrian central pro The U.N. inspectors first came to Damascus last month to probe a March 19 attack and two other incidents in the north when an alleged chemical attack occurred outside the Syrian capital. They returned to Syria on Wednesday. The Aug. 21 incident in the eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus became their focus after the United States and its allies said Assad’s troops were responsible for the chemical attack that killed hundreds.
The two teams face off in the playoffs at the Ergo Arena on Tuesday. Poland, which won the European title in 2009, finished second to France in Pool B with six points. They beat Turkey (252… David Moyes bemoans lack of creativity after Manchester United defeat Manchester United lacked “spark” against West Brom according to David Moyes but the Scot believes that he will be able to introduce some more creativity into the team. Manchester United suffered their worst defeat for several years on Saturday when West Brom won 2-1 at Old Trafford and the Red Devi… Manchester City FC still Premier League title favourites despite defeat Manchester City’s 3-2 defeat to Aston Villa on Saturday hasn’t had much of an effect on their title odds with the Citizens still the 23/10 favourites to win the Premier League. It was a bad day for all of the major Premier League title challengers on Saturday with Arsenal the only one of the top si… Handball Bundesliga – Hamburg out to extend winning run The Handball Bundesliga regular season continues today. HSV Hamburg is seeking its fourth win in a row when it takes on HBW Balingen/Weilstetten. The former Bundesliga champions posted wins over HSG Wetzlar (35-26), MT Melsungen (35-33) and VfL Gummersbach (34-29) after dropping their first two mat… Nevezis, TU Rock clash in BBL Cup final Nevezis Kedainiai and Tartu Rock duel in the final of the Baltic Basketball League (BBL) Cup at the Kedainiai Arena today. Nevezis blasted Tonybet Prienai 85-72 in an all-Lithuanian showdown yesterday. Arvydas Siksnius led five Nevezis players in double digits with 17 points and six rebounds….