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This weekend, Putin said Sochi is bribe-free and gay-friendly.
January 20, 2014, 7:00am

Olympic Fever
PUTIN SAID SOCHI IS BRIBE-FREE AND GAY-FRIENDLY
He used Elton John's success as an example of gay people being A-OK  

(Photo via)

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In a press conference this weekend, Russian President Vladimir Putin insisted that the Sochi Winter Olympics was corruption-free, and also claimed he's not a homophobe because he knows a number of gay people and is even "on friendly terms with some of them".

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When asked about allegations of corruption around the building of Sochi's Olympic infrastructure, Putin said none of the accusations were supported by solid facts.

"I do not see serious corruption instances for the moment, but there is a problem with overestimation of construction volumes," he continued, before explaining that some contractors had secured their bids with low fees, which then shot up when it came to properly assessing construction costs.

On the gay rights issue, Putin said Russia's law banning "gay propaganda" was "only" to stifle "propaganda of paedophilia and homosexuality" among children.

Which was a much-needed clarification; if only the world had known he was just trying to stop children who question their sexuality from talking about it with an older friend or teacher, perhaps he never would have suffered all that international backlash.

He then said: "When [gay people] achieve great results, such as, for instance, Elton John achieves – who is an extraordinary person, a distinguished musician – millions of our people sincerely love him with no regard to his sexual orientation."

Referendum Results
EGYPT'S NEW CONSTITUTION GOT A 98 PERCENT "YES" VOTE
Turns out a lot of Egyptians are into better rights for women and more power for the army

Crowds outside a Cairo polling station with a poster of army chief General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Photo by Amanda Mustard)

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Egypt's electoral commission announced on Saturday that 98 percent of participants voted "yes" for a new constitution.

The vote was the country's first since Mohamed Morsi was ousted last July, and the interim government hailed the result as a strong sign of support for the direction the country has taken.

"This vote represents a resounding rejection of terrorism and a clear endorsement of the roadmap to democracy, as well as economic development and stability," said a spokesman.

However, opposition groups have challenged the results. "The media was totally mobilised for a 'yes' vote, and it wasn't a fair vote," said Amal Sharaf, a member of the April 6 Youth movement. "People were threatened not to vote 'no' – people were arrested for campaigning for a 'no' vote."

The new constitution strengthens Egypt's military, police and judiciary, as well as giving more rights to women and disabled people, and removing certain Islamist clauses inserted while Morsi was in power.

Protest Protests
THERE WAS A BIG PROTEST IN KIEV ABOUT THE BAN ON BIG PROTESTS
Everything got pretty rowdy in the Ukrainian capital

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Activists in Ukraine clashed with police at a protest against a new law that bans large public rallies.

After hundreds of thousands of people took part in the main mass demonstration in central Kiev, hundreds of activists started attacking riot police in a bid to get closer to the Ukrainian parliament building.

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Officers responded with stun grenades and a water cannon, before protesters set two police buses on fire while shouting, "Kiev, give up!" and "Let us in!"

Rallies by pro-European demonstrators began in Kiev two months ago after Ukraine's government suddenly stopped preparations for a free trade deal with Europe under Russian pressure.

Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have regularly taken to the streets to voice their anger at the government, so you can see why President Viktor Yanukovych might have wanted to pass a law that would quash any public opposition

Barring the Baptist
THE UKIP COUNCILLOR WHO BLAMED FLOODS ON GAY MARRIAGE WAS SUSPENDED
Farage and friends are off to another fine start this year

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Ukip councillor David Silvester was suspended from the party for claiming that the passing of the same-sex marriage bill is the reason Britain was recently hit by storms and floods.

Party leader Nigel Farage said the 73-year-old was entitled to his "strong Baptist view of the world", but that he'd been asked not to do any media interviews, then wrote a letter to his local paper saying some really weird stuff about gay people.

"So we suspended him, quite rightly," said Farage, adding, "He's not a spokesman for the party. I've never even met him."

In his letter, Silvester claimed to have written to David Cameron in April of 2012 to warn him that legalising gay marriage would bring "disasters"; unfortunately, he didn't give an explanation for the similar storms at the start of that year or most years since the beginning of time.

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A group representing LGBT members of UKIP said: "We are pleased to learn of the suspension of Cllr Silvester. His comments did not only defy logic, but they were insulting and have brought the party into disrepute."

Important Stuff
THE "SWISS CHEESE PERVERT" HAS FINALLY BEEN APPREHENDED
Phew

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Philadelphia police are believed to have caught a local man known as the "Swiss cheese pervert", who allegedly drove up to a number of women, exposed himself and offered them money to line their palms with cheese and give him a handjob.

The suspect, 41-year-old Christopher Pagano, was arrested at his home by half a dozen armed police after a joint operation by the Philadelphia and Norristown police departments.

"He used to take his guns out and walk around in his underwear in the neighbourhood, so I always thought he was just a weird guy," said a neighbour.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, a man who "looked exactly like" Pagano set up a profile on OKCupid advertising his fetish.

It reports that a local woman received a message saying: “I started to compare girls to cheese due to their milky complections [sic], girls are soft, smooth feeling and tend to like dairy products more. That and typical advertising, always using a girl to advertise dairy products. So cheese is what I started to use as a replacement for having sex with girls.”