Russia Protester Gets Forced Psychiatric Treatment

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (on the sidelines of an economic summit in Indonesia) that Iran likely wants “more clarity” about the way forward. “Iran probably wants more clarity,” Lavrov said. “More specific steps to be spelled out on the road to the result which we all want to achieve. And I think this will be discussed next week in Geneva, a meeting to which Iran agreed. And to which Iran and three plus three are getting ready in a very constructive mood, as our contacts in New York show.” Kerry said the United States is encouraged by Iran’s recent outreach efforts, but that actions, and not words, are what will make a difference. “So what we need are a set of proposals from Iran that fully disclose how they will show the world that their program is peaceful,” Kerry said. “And we have made it clear that if there are those indicators, the United States and our allies are absolutely prepared to move in appropriate ways to meet their actions. Kerry said Iran has not responded to an offer the P5+1 group made earlier this year, which called for Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent and halt enrichment at one of its nuclear facilities. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Sunday that offer was no longer valid, and that the P5+1 should come to next week’s negotiations with a “new point of view.” Iran says its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes and wants the international community to lift a range of sanctions imposed for its refusal to halt enrichment activity. The possible threat of a ballistic missile strike from countries like Iran has led the United States to plan a missile shield in Europe. Russia disagrees with the move, saying the system could neutralize its own strategic missile force and leave it vulnerable to the West. Kerry said Monday it is too early to make determinations about the system as long as the Iranian threat continues.

Russia’s Olympic flame under fire after failures

One of the Olympic torches rises in front of a poster with the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic logo just outside the Red Square in Moscow, on October 7, 2013

The prosecution, however, said a psychiatric evaluation found that Kosenko was unable to realize the “public danger of his actions” due to a “chronic mental disorder.” Human Rights Watch not only objected to the use of forced psychiatric treatment but also questioned the charges brought against Kosenko. “The majority of the evidence, including from the police officer himself, indicates that Kosenko never touched him,” Tanya Lokshina , the rights group’s Russia program director, said in the statement. Kosenko was among tens of thousands who took part in the protest on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow on May 6, 2012. He was arrested in July 2012 and has remained in custody ever since. The court refused his appeals for release, including denying his request to attend his mother’s funeral last month. Since returning to the presidency, Putin has cracked down on street protests and other demonstrations of dissent. Some of the defendants in what has become known as the Bolotnaya case face up to 10 years in prison if convicted. The only two other defendants in the case to have received a court ruling were sent to prison on lighter sentences after they cooperated with the prosecution. Judge Lyudmila Moskalenko found Kosenko guilty of mass rioting and using force against an official. But she said the court would release him from criminal responsibility “for insanely conducting actions forbidden by law” and impose “compulsory medical measures in the form of forced treatment in a general psychiatric facility.” Rights activists compared it to the Soviet practice of locking up dissidents in psychiatric institutions. “It’s definitely a revival of punitive medicine,” said Olga Romanova , a journalist and rights activist.

US, Russia Want Clarity on Iran Nuclear Issue

Torchbearers ‘kiss’ with their torches to pass the Olympic flame during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympi “Any normal person has a few questions: why were there 16,000 torches made? How much does each one cost? Is the price adequate? Finally, why don’t they work?” a group member and pro-Kremlin deputy Mikhail Starshinov asked. A spokesman for KRASMASH, a manufacturer in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk that produced the torches confirmed that 16,000 torches were made. “According to the agreement with the (Sochi) Organising Committee we don’t have the right to give out any information about the torches besides the confirmation that we made them,” he told AFP. The factory is known as the maker of ballistic missiles for Russian submarines as well as parts for the Proton rocket used in the country’s space programme. There was no tender process for the torch-making contract and it’s not clear why the factory was picked for the job. Some of the torches made for the relay have already been put up for sale on various Russian websites. One seller in the Siberian city of Chita, where the relay is set to pass through, offered a torch on the website Molotok.Ru, the Russian version of Ebay. So far only one bidder has made an offer of 40,000 rubles (about $1,200/900 euros). The nearly metre-long torch is made of aluminium and weighs 1.8 kilogrammes, with the weight also having caused some complaints. “The construction of the torch ensures that the flame burns reliably in difficult conditions, such as strong winds, heavy frosts, or any surprises that a Russian winter can throw up,” the Sochi Organising Committee website says. Olympic torches COMMENTARY | As he perfects his tan aboard a $300,000 boat off Florida’s shores, I can’t help but wonder if Alex Rodriguez has fallen off the deep end or is merely borrowing a page from his girlfriend’s playbook. Yahoo Contributor Network More like this Remove Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning…