Vladimir Putin Says There’s No Discrimination Of Gays In Russia

Russia makes new threats over Ukraine’s pro-Europe policy

Funeral bombing, other attacks in Iraq kill 92 Adam Schreck and Sameer N. Yacoub Two suicide bombers hit funeral tents packed with mourners in Baghdad, the deadliest in a string of attacks. Will Englund A momentous choice between East and West faces Ukraine in its pending trade agreement with the E.U. Krishan Francis Ethnic Tamils in Sri Lankas war-ravaged north voted Saturday to form a provincial government. Who will pay for Ukraines default, which will become inevitable? Glazyev asked. One has to be ready to pay for that. Russia is opposing Kievs plans to sign a free-trade and political association agreement with the 28-member bloc in November, seeking instead to lure Kiev into a Moscow-led economic union. It upped the pressure on Ukraine over the summer by banning the products of a major confectionary maker in Russia and by temporarily halting some Ukrainian imports at its border, dealing a painful blow to Ukrainian business. Former Economy Minister and confectionary magnate Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Russia for banning his products from Russian stores in order to exert political pressure on Ukraine, saying Moscow had previously resorted to similar tactics when dealing with other dissenting former Soviet republics. I am 100 percent sure that nobody either in this forum, nor in the world, would strongly believe that Georgian mineral water or Moldovan wine or Ukrainian chocolate or Lithuanian cheese or Belarusian milk products are really harmful for the health of the Russian consumer. This is simply not true, Poroshenko said. EU officials have urged Kiev to implement key reforms and sign the EU deal in November, saying Ukraine belongs with the West. The key obstacle to the deal is the incarceration of former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, whose verdict the West has condemned as politically motivated and is pressing hard for her to be released in order for the deal to be signed. Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski exhorted Ukraine to resist the Kremlin pressure and sign the agreement in November, citing Polands success in joining the bloc. Weve done it, so can you, Sikorski said. Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Putin on Thursday maintained that the law bans only “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations among minors.” He argued that it is “no infringement on the rights of sexual minorities” and insisted that European laws allowing gay marriage contribute to population declines. The Russian law has prompted calls for boycotts of the 2014 Winter Olympics hosted by Russia in Sochi. Putin said while some European nations have allowed gay marriages, “the Europeans are dying out … and gay marriages don’t produce children.” “Do you want to survive by accepting immigrants?” Putin said. “Society can’t absorb such a number of immigrants. Let us make our own choice, as we see it for our country.” The new Russian law imposes fines of up to 5,000 rubles ($150) for individuals and 1 million rubles ($30,000) for organizations, plus stiffer penalties for propaganda on the Web or in the media. Foreigners who violate the law are also subject to fines, plus prison sentences of up to 15 days, deportation and denial of re-entry into Russia. The law does not outlaw gay sex or explicitly ban participation in gay pride parades or promotion of LGBT equality online. However, the definition of “propaganda” is vague and wearing a rainbow flag on the street or writing in a certain way about gay relationships on Facebook could be interpreted as propaganda. Putin made the comment at a conference of Russia experts in Valdai in northwestern Russia. He also made a joking reference to his friend, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who was convicted in June of paying for sex with a minor and pressuring public officials to cover it up. “Berlusconi has faced a trial for living with women.

epa03871453 A rescue worker climbs across a line to help trapped people in Chailpanchingo, Mexico, 17 September 2013. According to media reports, Hurricane Ingrid was downgraded to a tropical storm but continued to pour heavy rain over eastern Mexico, where it killed at least 34 people.  EPA/LENIN OCAMPO TORRES

“We are convinced that the signing (of the agreements with the EU) does not hold any risks (for Russia),” he said, adding that he would give personal assurances of this to Russia and its trade allies in the Moscow-led Customs Union. He also expressed frustration at Russia’s refusal to cut the price of the gas it sells to Ukraine and said Kiev may have to reduce further the volume of its gas imports. Ukraine’s pro-Europe drive has already drawn threats of counter-measures from Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as pressure on Kiev to join the Customs Union. Speaking after Azarov on Saturday, Sergei Glazyev, an aide to Putin, returned to the attack, saying that Russia might be obliged to impose duties on any goods arriving from Ukrainian territory, at a huge financial cost to Ukraine. Saying 40 percent of Ukrainians had doubts over the agreements with the EU, Glazyev, who has made hawkish comments before about Ukraine’s pro-Europe policy, urged the Kiev government to ballot its people. “Let us … ask the Ukrainian people what choice they prefer,” he said. TYMOSHENKO RELEASE Azarov had sharp words for Russia over its refusal to cut the price of its gas, which hangs heavy on Ukraine’s cash-strapped economy. Ukraine pays what it sees as an exorbitant $400 per thousand cubic meters under a 2009 contract, which Russia has refused to redraw. In a bid to break away from reliance on Russia, Ukraine hopes to find alternative energy sources through shale gas exploration and imports from other sources. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich on Friday reiterated that Kiev was committed to signing the agreements with the EU at a November 28 summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, marking a pivotal shift away from Russia.