Russia Rounds Up Sochi Games Migrant Workers, Rights Group Says

FIVB: Uberlandia, Brazil, October 4, 2013 – Russia start their inaugural Men’s U23 World Championship campaign in Uberlandia, Brazil looking to complete an impressive unique hat-trick of underage titles. After their U19 and U21 teams claimed victories earlier in 2013 at their respective world championships, Russia’s U23 group can now complete a dominant sweep with another win in Brazil. Russia’s squad in Uberlandia is well-stocked with the experience of players, including captain Dmitry Kovalev, that claimed the 2011 U21 world title, also on Brazilian soil, in Rio de Janeiro. Home team Brazil will be one of Russia’s main obstacles, led by star wing spiker Lucarelli who was named of the best players in this year’s World League Finals tournament in Mar del Plata, Argentina, and setter Thiago who captained Brazil’s U21 team to silver beind Russia earlier this year. In the pool stage Russia’s biggest challenge is likely to come from Serbia who can count on the inclusion of opposite Aleksandar Atanasijevic, who was Serbia’s top scorer in the Intercontinental Round of this year’s World League with 200 points. Both representatives from Asia, Australia and Iran, are in pool B alongside Russia and Serbia and provide upset potential. Australia, in particular, will take confidence into the championship from a warm-up tournament win against Argentina. The final pool B representatives are Venezuela, who are making a re-appearance at underage world championship level after 10 years, and Mexico who will start the tournament, taking on hot favourites Russia in the opening match on Sunday morning. The other pool boasts the classic South American match-up between hosts Brazil and Argentina, who will be looking for strong performances from recent senior debutants wing spikers Agustin Ramonda and Ezequiel Palacios, and opposite Pablo Kukartsev. Bulgaria could provide tough competition for both South American countries, with key players setter Dobromir Dimitrov and captain Nikolay Penchev both able to boast game time in this year’s World League. African representatives Egypt and Tunisia will try to improve on their last visit to Brazil for an underage world championship, when they were among the final positions at the 2011 U21 tournament in Rio de Janeiro. The final team in pool A, the Dominican Republic, are appearing at an underage world championship for the first time since finishing 13th at both the U19 and U21 competitions 14 years ago in 1999. Each team will play five pool matches before the final stage, where the pool winners and runners-up will meet in the semifinals, while the teams in pool positions third and fourth will play off against each other for final positions fifth to eighth.

Mob attacks Russian Embassy in Tripoli; revenge suspected

Until the security issues related to the work of our mission in Tripoli are resolved, a group of senior diplomats of the Russian Embassy in Libya will temporarily remain in Tunisia. Lukashevich said the others will be flown to Moscow on Friday. He urged Russian citizens to avoid travel to Libya, a volatile country that, for decades, has been a Soviet and Russian ally in the Middle East. No Russian personnel were hurt when a group of gunmen attacked the embassy Wednesday night with hand grenades and machine guns. An embassy car was burned and some property damaged before embassy guards and Libyan security forces repelled the attack. One of the assailants was killed and four were injured, the Russia-24 television news network reported. According to Lukashevich, the attack was provoked by the killing of a Libyan air force officer by a Russian citizen, identified as Yekaterina Ustyuzhaninova, who also injured the officer’s mother with a knife. Ustyuzhaninova remains in custody in Libya, he added. The incident provoked relatives and friends of the slain Libyan to decide to avenge his death by attacking the Russian diplomatic mission, Lukashevich said. The armed attackers succeeded in breaking through into the embassy grounds, but the personnel and their family members hid in the protected premises. In a telephone conversation with his Libyan counterpart, Mohammed Abdel-Aziz, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded that Libya take action as soon as possible to ensure the safe operation of the embassy, Lukashevich said. It was not the first violent incident involving diplomatic missions in post-Kaddafi Libya. The Russian Embassy was attacked in February 2012 by an armed mob protesting Russia’s U.N. Security Council veto of sanctions against the government of neighboring Syria. And U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed in an attack by radical Islamists on the U.S.

Russia 2018: ‘We have nothing to hide’ in World Cup bid investigation

Since early last month, Russian officials have rounded up the workers for alleged violations of migration or employment rules, the New York-based human rights group said today in an e-mailed statement. Many have been kept in arbitrary and inhuman conditions and some expelled from Russia, it said. Its outrageous for the migrant workers who helped to build Sochis shiny new Olympic venues to be herded into detention and deported, said Jane Buchanan, associate director for Europe and Central Asia. Ilya Djous, a spokesman for Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, whos in charge of Olympic preparations, said by phone that there havent been any mass violations of labor or migration rules. Russia stages the competition in February and has spent about $50 billion, making these the most expensive Winter Games . The project has included road building and a train service to connect the coastal hub to be used for the opening ceremony and ice skating events and the mountains that will host the skiing and downhill competitions. Construction workers are being exploited and cheated out of their wages, Human Rights Watch said in February. Some employers demanded 12-hour shifts with few days off, withheld passports and work permits and refused to pay promised salaries, the group said. President Vladimir Putin has sought to attract large international events, including the 2018 soccer World Cup and last years Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. To contact the reporters on this story: Henry Meyer in Moscow at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net ; Ilya Arkhipov in Moscow at iarkhipov@bloomberg.net To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net More News:

Qatar 2022: Too hot for football? Winter World Cup in 2022? Are Qatar 2022 migrant workers abused? Qatar ‘slave state’ for World Cup workers The head of media for Russia 2018 says the committee will co-operate fully with Garcia’s fact-finding investigation. “We can confirm the local organizing committee (LOC) will fully support Mr Garcia’s work if he contacts us,” read a statement issued to CNN. “The Russia 2018 committee ran a bid campaign in full compliance with FIFA rules and ethics, and we were awarded the right to host the FIFA World Cup because of the unique and compelling proposition we put together. “The LOC continues to conduct itself with exactly the same degree of transparency, commitment to excellence and spirit of fair play.” Blog: Can the Qatar World Cup be moved? How and where Garcia’s potential meeting with Russia takes place is open to question given in April he was one of 18 people barred from entering the country over what Moscow said were human rights abuses, linked to the lawyer’s arrest and charging of Viktor Bout, a Russian, who is serving a 25-year prison sentence in the U.S. for arms trafficking. News of Garcia’s investigation came ahead of FIFA’s executive committee in Zurich on Thursday and Friday where it will discuss the possibility of moving the 2022 tournament from the usual June and July slot to December. “I will conduct interviews in various places and I hope that those who have some information, even if they are not obliged to give me some, will agree to talk to me,” Garcia told France Football magazine. “My goal is to submit a report that covers the World Cup bidding and awarding process.” Read: FIFA puts heat on Qatar Mark Pieth, who will leave his post as chairman of the Independent Governance Committee at the end of the year, said Garcia’s task isn’t easy. “He’s in a very awkward situation,” Pieth told CNN. “He has no police powers. He can’t just walk into an office in Dubai and say, ‘I want these files and I want all your hard disks.’ “He has to use the techniques of an international investigator and so the big question is, even if there’s evidence around, will he find it?