Russia Receives Sochi Olympics Flame

US, Russia set for first talks since Syria deal

“In the NBA, it’s up and down, up and down,” Weems said. “In Europe, you have to slow your game down. I had to learn how to use my brain instead of my natural ability.” Weems said he had to re-invent himself as a player and prove he could do more than just rely on athleticism. But even after a decent year in Lithuania, which ended late in the season with a badly sprained ankle, there was minimal interest in Weems from NBA teams. So he signed with CSKA Moscow in the 2012 offseason and helped CSKA to a Russian title and third-place finish in the Euroleague last season. Playing for respected Italian coach Ettore Messina, who spent the 2011-12 season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Weems averaged 12.1 points and shot 42.1% on three-pointers for CSKA. He was the Euroleague player of the month in October last season, averaging 20.3 point in three games. He scored 29 of his 61 points in the fourth quarter and overtime that month. “Once I got used to the European game, my game went to another level. I became more of half-court player and learned how to use the pick-and-rolls, and not just a run-and shoot guy,” Weems said. Weems has adapted to life in Europe though he admits his Russian “is terrible.

Lakshmanan – 2013-10-07T02:58:24Z The U.S. and Russia agreed to update a 1987 accord aimed at reducing the risk of nuclear war to reflect changing technologies. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov signed the agreement on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Bali, Indonesia. Todays agreement adapts the original accord to todays reality, Lavrov said at a press conference with Kerry. The original agreement, which was signed with the Soviet Union, led to the creation of Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers in Washington and Moscow to provide time-sensitive communications required by arms control treaties and security agreements, the U.S. State Department said in a statement. With over 26 years experience, the Centers continue to support a robust array of conventional and strategic arms control treaties and agreements and confidence-building measures, the State Department said in the statement. To contact the reporter on this story: Indira A.R. Lakshmanan in Bali, Indonesia at To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rosalind Mathieson at

U.S.-Russia Agree to Update 1987 Accord on Reducing Nuclear Risk

After a six-day trek across 33 towns in Greece’s mainly mountainous northern regions, the flame that was lit last Sunday by the sun’s rays at the birthplace of the ancient Games in Olympia was presented to Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak. From its overnight perch on the ancient Acropolis, the flame traveled through Athens’ streets before being carried into the stadium, built in 330 BC, by Greek figure skating champion Panagiotis Markouzios. As he lit the golden cauldron encircled by priestesses in long, cream-colored, pleated robes, the crowd erupted in cheers of Russia! Russia! We are especially emotional, Hellenic Olympic Committee head Spyros Capralos said. The flame, for us Greeks, is a piece of our country, a part of our history and a tight bond to our ancestors. The flame will be flown in special safety lanterns from Athens to Moscow on Sunday and it will then begin the longest torch relay in the history of the Winter Games from the Red Square. It will travel more than 65,000 km, looping around Russia’s 83 regions on foot, in sleighs, hot air balloons and even on a trip to space, as Russia prepares to showcase its modern post-Soviet face. More than 90 percent of the Russian population will have been within one hour of the flame before the lighting of the Olympic cauldron takes place at the stadium at the Black Sea resort of Sochi on February 7. Great honor For me it is a great honor, responsibility and pleasure to be here tonight, on the land that gave birth to the European civilization and presented the world with the Olympic Games, Kozak said. On this momentous day I am telling you with certainty that our country … will succeed in fulfilling its commitment to the Olympic movement, Kozak added. Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to deliver a brilliant Games to show how far Russia has come since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. But Russia has come under mounting international criticism over a new anti-gay propaganda law, which critics believe is repressive, and preparations for the Games will not be plain sailing for the Russian hosts.

Los Angeles Lakers forward Pau Gasol (16) shoots over Denver Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov (25) during the first half at Staples Center.

(AP Photo) ADVERTISEMENT U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Monday, saying that news that international disarmament experts had begun dismantling and destroying Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal and the equipment used to produce it represented “a good beginning,” and Assad deserved credit for honoring the terms of a deal reached last month to secure and destroy the regime’s weapons. Kerry was speaking at a joint news conference in Bali, alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The U.S. and Russia held their first high-level talks on the sidelines of an economic summit to discuss Syria, as well as the onset of an apparent warming between Iran and the West. Kerry said the United States and Russia were “very pleased” with the progress made so far in destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stocks, but added that Assad needed to continue to comply with U.N. demands. Kerry also said that he and Lavrov had agreed to press the U.N. to set a date for a Syrian peace conference sometime in the second week of November. International disarmament inspectors began work Sunday to destroy Syria’s estimated 1,000-ton stockpile of chemical weapons. They’re working against a Nov. 1 deadline set by the United Nations last month to destroy the Assad government’s capability to produce the weapons. Kerry and Lavrov also discussed Iran and its nuclear program. Officials from the five permanent members of the U.N.