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  • Putin Talks Olympics, World Cup; Coca-Cola, Dow Investigate Protestors


    Putin Flags Olympics, World Cup in Presidential Campaign

    Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has referenced the Sochi 2014 Olympics and 2018 FIFA World Cup in his campaign to regain the presidency of Russia.
    FIFA president Sepp Blatter with Vladimir Putin in January 2011. (Getty Images)

    In an article written by Putin and published in the Moscow News, he spells out the challenges ahead for Russia and his objectives for a third term, which include using culture and sport to enhance the country's image internationally.

    "We must work to expand Russia's educational and cultural presence in the world, especially in those countries where a substantial part of the population speaks or understands Russian," he wrote in the article published Monday.

    "We must discuss how we can derive the maximum benefit for Russia's image from hosting large international events, including the APEC Leaders' Meeting in 2012, the G20 summit in 2013 and the G8 summit in 2014, the Universiade in Kazan in 2013, the Winter Olympic Games in 2014, the IIHF World Championships in 2016, and the FIFA World Cup in 2018," he added.

    Putin, who was Russia's president from 2000 to 2008, is standing for another term in elections on March 4. Under new regulations, the new president will serve six years in office.

    Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical Investigate Protestors

    A recent WikiLeaks release shows that Olympic sponsors Coca-Cola and Dow Chemical had an intelligence agency monitor activists.
    Coca-Cola advertising at the Vancouver Olympics. (Getty Images)

    The whistleblower website released Monday a series of internal emails from the Texas-based Stratfor, highlighting Coca-Cola’s interests in the activities of the nonprofit People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals during the Vancouver Olympics.
    According to the emails, the beverage manufacturer wanted information on PETA’s protest plans. PETA had attacked Coca-Cola for claims that the company conducted animal experiments, and criticized 2010 Olympic organizers over animal welfare concerns.

    A Coca-Cola spokesperson told Around the Rings in a statement that the company “consider(s) it a good business practice to monitor for protest activities at any major event we sponsor, as such activities may affect our partners, customers, consumers or employees.”

    The release also claims that Dow Chemical used Stratfor to monitor Bhopal activists.

    The emails show the agency following the activities of the National Wildlife Federation, the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, Bhopal Medical Appeal and the Yes Men, which have linked Dow to the industrial disaster in 1984 in Bhopal where a pesticide plant leaked gas, killing thousands.

    In 2001, Dow Chemical bought the Union Carbide Corporation, the majority stakeholder in the responsible company at the time of the incident.

    At the time of publishing, Dow did not respond to ATR’s request for comment.

    While the research illustrates a definite interest in the protestors, it did not appear to involve any illegal activity and used information that was public domain.

    Stratfor CEO and founder George Friedman confirmed that internal emails were stolen and called the actions “a deplorable, unfortunate – and illegal – breach of privacy.”

    “Some of the emails may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies. Some may be authentic. We will not validate either, nor will we explain the thinking that went into them. Having had our property stolen, we will not be victimized twice by submitting to questions about them,” he said in a statement.

    Click here to view the latest batch of WikiLeaks releases.

    Argentina Won’t Boycott London

    Despite increased tension with Great Britain over the disputed Falklands Islands, Argentina will not boycott the London Olympics.
    Prince William and crew begin their deployment on the Falklands Islands as part of their six-week exercise with the Royal Air Force. (MoD via Getty Images)

    "We will go to the Olympics with our flag up high," Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez was quoted by Britain’s SkyNews in comments made Monday to supporters.

    "There are still 16 colonial enclaves in the world. One of them is right here in our country, in our Malvinas Islands.

    "This is a shameful condition for the world precisely when we are celebrating 200 years of our flag.

    "That is why remembering the Malvinas here and ratifying this regional and global cause once more is not only just about territory or history. It is also about the defense of our natural resources."

    In 1982, Argentina fought a 10-week war with England over the archipelago off Argentina’s coast. The Falklands are a British territory, yet the Argentines say it's theirs.

    Argentina accused England of escalating tensions recently by deploying a warship to the islands and having Prince William take part in a six-week exercise there as part of his military duties.

    In Decemeber a motion was introduced in Argentina’s legislature that would require all national teams – including the Olympic team – to wear a patch saying "The Falklands are Argentine".

    Japanese Sports Back Tokyo 2020

    All of Japanese Olympic sport is on board with Tokyo 2020.
    Tuesday’s meeting took place at Tokyo Metropolitan Government between bid leaders and officials from 28 national sport federations. (Tokyo 2020)

    The 28 Japanese National Sport Federations voted to support the bid at a meeting on Tuesday of the federations.

    "Gaining the National Sports Federations’ broad experience and know-how is a key milestone in our bidding process and significantly strengthens our capability to devise a winning plan for a successful and inspiring Games in 2020,” said Tokyo 2020 president Tsunekazu Takeda.

    The federations also pledged to be actively involved with the bid.

    Written by Ed Hula III and Mark Bisson.

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