‘Leave children alone’ – Putin on gay rights in Russia
Published time: January 18, 2014 13:38
President Vladimir Putin explained to Sochi-2014 Olympic Games volunteers the difference between the ban on gay propaganda among underage minors in Russia and criminal prosecution of homosexuals in some countries.
“There is no ban for homosexual relations in Russia, yet propaganda of homosexuality among minors – and pedophilia in particular – are prohibited,” Putin said during a Q&A session with volunteers at the Sochi Winter Olympics.
The president stressed that a ban on certain kind of relations and an interdiction on propaganda of such relations are “totally different things.”
“We neither disallow anything [homosexual] nor bust anybody [who’s gay], we have no criminal liability for such relations – as opposed to many other countries of the world,” the president emphasized.
“So you can feel calm and relaxed – but leave the children alone, please,” Putin demanded, recalling that in some countries the issue of legalizing pedophilia has been discussed openly.
“We’re not going to take up that lead towards unknown consequences like weak-willed underlings,” the Russian president stated. “We have our own traditions and our own culture. We treat with respect all of our partners and we anticipate that our traditions and culture are respected.”
The so-called “gay propaganda” law introduces fines for propaganda of non-traditional sex relations to minors, including in the media, on the internet and via viral adverts. The law stipulates fines for giving children propaganda about homosexuality.
Earlier in January, a group of 27 Nobel laureates wrote an open letter to President Putin urging him to repeal the so-called “gay propaganda law” as it “inhibits the freedom of local and foreign” LGBT communities.
But the International Olympic Committee says that Russia’s legislation doesn't violate the Olympic movement’s rules.
Moreover, on Friday a senior Italian member of the International Olympic Committee has urged “not to let politics interfere with the Olympics” and slammed the US for its decision to include openly gay athletes in its official Sochi delegation just to “demonstrate” that in their country gay rights have been established.
Army of international volunteers
Once a contest for volunteer positions of the Sochi-2014 Winter Olympics was announced, nearly 200,000 applications were filed from all regions of Russia and nearly 60 countries.
As a result, 25,000 young people were chosen to work at the Sochi Olympics as volunteers. This makes up over 35 percent of all the personnel at the Games.

 “We rely on you very much. Volunteers create the atmosphere of the Games,” Putin told the volunteers in the Sochi’s Krasnaya Polyana winter sports center. He added that the festive atmosphere at the sporting event and the holiday spirit of sportsmen and guests greatly depends on the volunteers.
“A sports tournament is a festival. Sporting competitions are always associated with emotions, with the inner turmoil of its participants, which one way or another is projected on staff and on you. You need to be aware of this, have a good sense of humor to balance all this within yourself and your soul, to show externally only positive emotions,” the president said.
Russia’s Black Sea resort city of Sochi hosts the Winter Olympics on February 7-23, with the Paralympics to follow on March 7-16.


Fish testing at 124 times over radiation limit caught off Fukushima

Fish with deadly levels of radioactive cesium have been caught just off the coast of Fukushima prefecture, as scientists continue to assess the damage caused to the marine food chain by the 2011 nuclear disaster.
Fukushima's radioactive waste continues to harm ocean life. Credit: Nicolas Raymond via Flickr
Fukushima’s radioactive waste continues to harm ocean life. Credit: Nicolas Raymond via Flickr
One of the samples of the 37 black sea bream specimens caught some 37 kilometers south of the crippled power plant tested at 12,400 becquerels per kilogram of radioactive cesium, making it 124 times deadlier than the threshold considered safe for human consumption, Japan’s Fisheries Research Agency announced.
The samples were caught at the mouth of the Niidagawa river in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on November 17. Two other fish caught there also tested non-safe for human consumption, showing radiations levels of 426 and 197 becquerels per kilogram. The rest of the fish were reportedly within safety limits.
Black sea bream are currently restricted from being fished in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures and sold for human consumption, as scientists from the Fisheries Research Agency say they plan to investigate the source of the contamination further.
After the Fukushima disaster, Japan lowered its threshold for cesium levels in food from 500 becquerels per kg to 100 becquerels per kilo, making the country’s regulations six times stricter than European Union standards. The record cesium reading was recorded last year when a fish caught near the plant carried 740,000 becquerels of cesium per kilogram.
Professor Chris Busby from the Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk and a member of the UK Department of Health Committee Examining Radiation Risk for Internal Emitters (CERRIE), says that despite a high level of radiation in the marine food chain, Japan so far is the only one dealing with a direct threat.
“The concentrations of radionuclides, which are going to the Pacific or have been injected to the Pacific, by the time they get to the US, and to China and to South East Korea and so on will not be enormously high,” Busby told Voice of Russia.
Yet the scientist warned that nuclear contamination of Japan could result in 400-800 extra cancer cases in Japan in the next fifty years.
“We’ve already seen some effects in infant mortality and thyroid cancer in Japan,” Busby said. “So I think this is just going to get worse. I think we are going to see a major effect on the general health of the Japanese population in Northern Japan. There’s going to be a decrease in the birth rate and an increase in the death rate.”
In the meantime, TEPCO, the operator of the Fukushima nuclear site, reported radiation levels 8 times government safety guidelines. TEPCO told press that the predominant reason behind the sharp increase in radiation at the plant was X-rays coming from storage tanks holding radioactive water that has been leaking from the Fukushima facility.
This article was posted: Monday, January 13, 2014 at 6:21 pm