Russia Receives Sochi Olympics Flame

Kyrgyzstan has requested the mens extradition to stand trial for various charges related to the June 2010 ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan. Russias prosecutor general has granted the extradition orders and the five men have lodged separate appeals. Four of their appeals will be heard in the next three weeks, the first on October 8, 2013. Ethnic Uzbeks wanted for charges related to the June 2010 violence face a real risk of being tortured in Kyrgyzstan, said Mihra Rittmann , Central Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. The Russian authorities have an absolute obligation to protect these men from torture, whatever the allegations against them. On October 8, the St. Petersburg City Court is scheduled to hear an appeal of the prosecutor generals decision to extradite Botir Turgunov, 35, and on October 9, the Tatarstan Supreme Court will consider 25-year-old Vokhid Alievs appeal. The Primorskii Kraevoi Court is to consider 52-year-old Nabid Abdullaevs appeal on October 18, and the St. Petersburg City Court will hear the appeal by Mirodil Tojibaev, 25, on October 23. Each appeal cites the risk of torture. Abdilaziz Khamrakulov, 19, has filed a second appeal, to Russias Supreme Court, after the Moscow City Court upheld the prosecutor generals extradition order in a September 9 hearing. Each of the men is wanted on one or more criminal charges stemming from the June 2010 violence, including participation in mass riots, intentional infliction of grievous bodily harm, intentional destruction of property, unlawful possession of weapons, and kidnapping. The ethnic violence that engulfed southern Kyrgyzstan claimed hundreds of lives and resulted in massive destruction of property.

It will travel more than 65,000 km, looping around Russia’s 83 regions on foot, in sleighs, hot air balloons and even on a trip to space, as Russia prepares to showcase its modern post-Soviet face. More than 90 percent of the Russian population will have been within one hour of the flame before the lighting of the Olympic cauldron takes place at the stadium at the Black Sea resort of Sochi on February 7. Great honor For me it is a great honor, responsibility and pleasure to be here tonight, on the land that gave birth to the European civilization and presented the world with the Olympic Games, Kozak said. On this momentous day I am telling you with certainty that our country … will succeed in fulfilling its commitment to the Olympic movement, Kozak added. Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to deliver a brilliant Games to show how far Russia has come since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. But Russia has come under mounting international criticism over a new anti-gay propaganda law, which critics believe is repressive, and preparations for the Games will not be plain sailing for the Russian hosts. Earlier in the day, a group of Greek gay activists raised the rainbow flag outside Greece’s Acropolis museum in Athens. Russia receives the Olympic flame, a globally recognized symbol of humanitarian ideals, the Athens-based gay rights group Color Youth said in a statement. Yet the laws in Russia are far from the ideals of human rights when it comes to LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans-gender, queer) people, who are tortured, abused and discriminated against. We choose not to be silent this day, it said. Pentagon confirms U.S. forces captured an al-Qaida leader indicted for 1998 bombings of American embassies in Africa More Featured Videos Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe’s Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player .

Sonny Weems’ plan to make it back to NBA from Russia

(Photo: Michael Dwyer, AP) Veteran shooting guard Sonny Weems wants back in NBA after leaving during 2011 lockout High-flying dunker now stars for CSKA Moscow, which plays exhibitions vs. two NBA teams Former Arkansas standout says playing in Europe has broadened life perspective and game SHARE 5 CONNECT 13 TWEET COMMENTEMAILMORE One-time NBA guard Sonny Weems never had the travel bug, never had the itch to take pictures of the places he visited. Then his pro basketball career took him to Europe. He now loves traveling Athens is his favorite city and often sends photos to his family. Weems, 27, returns to the USA as a key member of Russia’s CSKA Moscow and will play against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday and San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday in exhibition games with his mind set on returning to the NBA, potentially as soon as next season. “These two games won’t dictate whether I make my comeback to the NBA or whether I stay in Europe,” Weems said. “This season, that’s what will determine my future. But my resume so far has let coaches and GMs know that I’m ready to play in the NBA again.” WATCHABILITY: Why you can’t take eyes off LeBron Weems, who was drafted by the Denver Nuggets and played for the Toronto Raptors in 2009-10 and 2010-11, was one of the first players to sign in Europe during the 2011 NBA lockout. A restricted free agent that summer, Weems wanted a guarantee and Europe offered it. He signed with BC Zalgiris in Kaunas, Lithuania, but having never spent considerable time outside of North America, Weems struggled at first, both on and off the court. He didn’t know the language, and the European game is different. “In the NBA, it’s up and down, up and down,” Weems said.