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Extremists Issue Olympic Terror Threat

(Associated Press) Chechen extremists have released a video apparently threatening to attack the upcoming Sochi Olympics.

In the video, posted on a Chechen extremist site, two men in front of a black jihad flag and holding AKMS rifles explain the attacks will be their revenge for "all the Muslim blood that is shed every day around the world".

"We'll have a surprise package for you," one of the men said.

"And those tourists that will come to you, for them, too, we have a surprise. If it happens [the Olympics], we'll have a surprise for you."

The men said visitors attending the Olympics would not be safe as long as Russian forces occupied the North Caucasus region near Sochi.

The video also showed footage of two suicide bomb blasts last month at a busy train station in Volgograd.

It comes the day before the Olympic torch relay is due to go through the city.

Putin's assurance for gay athletes

Meanwhile President Vladimir Putin has assured gay athletes and fans attending the Games they will not face discrimination.

But the leader also defended Russia's anti-gay law by equating gays with pedophiles and said Russia needs to "cleanse" itself of homosexuality if it wants to increase its birth rate.

"There are no fears for people with this nontraditional orientation who plan to come to Sochi as guests or participants," Mr Putin declared in a TV interview.

He said the law was aimed at banning propaganda of homosexuality and paedophilia, suggesting that gays are more likely to abuse children.

Making another favourite argument against homosexuality, Mr Putin noted with pride that Russia saw more births than deaths last year for the first time in two decades. Population growth is vital for Russia's development and "anything that gets in the way of that we should clean up," he said, using a word usually reserved for military operations.

The law on propaganda has been used to justify barring gay pride rallies on the grounds that children might see them. This has raised the question of how athletes and fans would be treated for any gay-rights protests during the Olympics.

When asked about this, Putin said protests against the law itself would not be considered propaganda.

The Sochi Winter Olympics run February 7-23.

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Topics : PoliticsSocial IssuesWar_Conflict
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Locations : North CaucasusVolgograd
People : Vladimir Putin
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