Posts Tagged ‘ Winter Olympics ’

Sochi 2014: 10 Facts About The Most Expensive Winter Olympics Ever

sochi

The Winter Olympic Games are set to unfold in the Russian beach resort town of Sochi , which has been plagued by controversy right from the start.

When organizers struck down a request by NGO Pride House to set up shop in Sochi, Russia’s policies on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights came under close scrutiny. Then there were widespread allegations over corruption in the provisions of services and facilities. Critics accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of cronyism in awarding contracts and mismanagement of funds. Continue reading

Suicide Bomber Brings Terror To Russian Airport

A suicide bomber killed at least 35 people at Russia’s busiest airport on Monday, state TV said, in an attack on the capital that bore the hallmarks of militants fighting for an Islamist state in the North Caucasus region.

President Dmitry Medvedev vowed to track down and punish those behind the bombing, which also injured over 150 people, during the busy late afternoon at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport. The dead included some foreigners.

Islamist rebels have vowed to take their bombing campaign from the North Caucasus to the Russian heartland in the year before presidential elections, hitting transport and economic targets. They have also leveled threats at the 2014 Winter Olympic, scheduled for the Black Sea resort town of Sochi, a region some militants consider “occupied.”

Dense smoke filled Domodedovo’s international arrivals hall and a fire burned along one wall.

“Taxi drivers lined up in the arrivals hall were blown up. Pieces of their bodies covered us and my left ear doesn’t hear very well at all,” Artyom Zhilenkov, 30, told Reuters as he pointed to pieces of human flesh on his coat.

Thick drops of blood were scattered across the snow-covered tarmac outside the arrivals hall, where Interfax news agency said traces of shrapnel were found.

Two Britons were among the dead, media cited investigative committee spokesman Vladimir Markin as saying, and French, Italians, and Germans were in hospitals, though this could not be immediately confirmed with their embassies. Planes from across Europe had landed in the half hour leading up to the attack.

“I heard a loud boom… we thought someone had just dropped something. But then I saw casualties being carried away,” a check-in attendant who gave her name as Elena told Reuters at Domodedovo, which is some 22 km (14 miles) southeast of Moscow.

The prosecutor’s office said the bomb had been classified as a terrorist attack — the largest since twin suicide bombings on the Moscow metro rocked the Russian heartland in March.

“The blast was most likely carried out by a suicide bomber.”

State television said the blast was the work of a “smertnik,” or suicide bomber. State-run RIA, quoting Markin, said the bomber most likely had a belt laden with explosives.

U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the “outrageous act of terrorism” and offered Moscow help. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was shocked, state TV said.

A decade after federal forces drove separatists from power in Chechnya in the second of two wars, the mainly Muslim North Caucasus is wracked by violence.

Medvedev, who has called the Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus the biggest threat to Russian security, wrote on Twitter: “Security will be strengthened at large transport hubs.”

“We mourn the victims of the terrorist attack at Domodedovo airport. The organizers will be tracked down and punished.”