Russia Receives Sochi Olympics Flame

Russia Stops Adoptions To Sweden, Seeks Agreement Barring Gay Couples From Adopting

Indian Villagers Look to Sky for Water Supply Indian Villagers Look to Sky for Water Supply At least 11 percent of the global population does not have access to improved drinking water sources. And although the situation has improved in India, the United Nations says the world’s second most populous country still has some 97 million people living without a safe water supply. VOA New Delhi correspondent Aru Pande travels to a village in northern India where residents are turning to ancient water gathering practices. Video Egypt is in the midst of profound polarization, with supporters and opponents of the government facing off on the national stage, as well as the personal one. VOA’s Elizabeth Arrott reports on one woman trying to overcome the differences. Video As North Pole Ice Melts, More Ships Take Arctic Shortcut While many people are concerned about the negative effects of global warming, it’s also creating benefits in some cases. By the end of September, the ice at the North Pole had melted to a level well below the average for the last 25 years. VOA’s James Brooke reports from the Russian Arctic that as the ice retreats, ships have begun to fill the gap. Video Gazans Fear Egyptian Political Backlash Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have suffered in recent months, as the Egyptian government has closed the vital Rafah Crossing for long periods — blocking thousands who work, study or need medical treatment from going abroad. Egypt says the closures are part of an effort to end militant attacks in the Sinai that have killed more than 100 Egyptian security personnel. VOA’ s Scott Bobb reports some Gaza residents believe other motives are behind the move. Video Afghan Media Fears Loss of Editorial Independence The independence of Afghan journalists and editors is increasingly at risk in Afghanistan and a proposed new media law could make conditions even tougher, activists say. Sharon Behn talked to Afghan journalists and editors about the challenges they face and the concerns for their future once international combat forces leave next year. Video Washington Food Market Becomes Hub for Deaf Community A year-old food market in a Washington, D.C., neighborhood has become a unique hub of shopping and dining for the city’s Deaf community.

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to officials during a visit to a tuna packaging factory in Bali, Indonesia, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013. Kerry said Sunday that a pair of U.S. military raids against militants in North Africa sends the message that terrorists “can run but they can’t hide.” Kerry, in Bali for an economic summit, was the highest-level administration to speak about the operations yet. (AP Photo)The Associated Press BALI, Indonesia The U.S. and Russia are set to hold their first high-level talks since sealing a deal to secure and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons and the onset of an apparent warming between Iran and the West. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are to meet on Monday to discuss both issues on the sidelines of an economic summit in Indonesia. They will be comparing notes on progress made since they negotiated the Syria agreement. They will also be talking about Iran and efforts to get it to come clean about its nuclear program. The same day the U.N. Security Council approved the Syria resolution, President Barack Obama and Iran’s new president spoke by phone in the first leader-to-leader contact between the two nations since 1979.

US, Russia set for first high-level talks since Syria chemical weapons deal, Iran warming

Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to officials during a visit to a tuna packaging factory in Bali, Indonesia. (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. Security Council — the U.S., China, the Russian Federation, France and the United Kingdom — and Germany will meet with representatives from Iran in Geneva on Oct. 15 to hold renewed talks on Iran’s nuclear program.

US, Russia Discuss Need for Specific Iranian Nuclear Proposal

Secretary of State John Kerry that Iran probably wants clear steps spelled out toward proving its nuclear program is peaceful. Lavrov said that will likely be part of discussions next in week in Geneva, when officials from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany hold their next talks with Iran. Kerry said the United States is encouraged by Iran’s recent outreach efforts, but that actions, not words, are what will make a difference. “So what we need are a set of proposals from Iran that fully disclose how they will show the world that their program is peaceful. And we have made it clear that if there are those indicators, the United States and our allies are absolutely prepared to move in appropriate ways to meet their actions,” said Kerry. Kerry also said Iran has not responded to an offer the so-called P5+1 group made earlier this year, which called for Iran to stop enriching uranium to 20 percent and halt enrichment at one of its nuclear facilities. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Sunday that the offer was no longer valid, and that the P5+1 should come to next week’s negotiations with a “new point of view.” Iran has long maintained that its nuclear program is strictly for peaceful purposes, and wants the international community to lift a range of sanctions imposed for its refusal to halt enrichment activity. The possible threat of a ballistic missile strike from countries like Iran has led the United States to plan a missile shield in Europe. Russia opposes the move, saying the system could neutralize its own strategic missile force and leave it vulnerable to the West. Kerry said Monday it is too early to make determinations about the system as long as the Iranian threat continues.

US, Russia set for first talks since Syria deal

Last month, a Russian lawmaker proposed a law that would deny gay parents in Russia custody of their children. The draft bill follows Russia’s highly publicized ban on gay propaganda that may affect athletes and spectators during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Also on HuffPost: Loading Slideshow Netherlands The Netherlands was the first country to recognize gay marriage in 2001. Pictured: Jan van Breda and Thijs Timmermans. Belgium Belgium legalized same-sex marriages in 2003. Pictured: Marion Huibrecht and Christel Verswyvelen. Spain Spain legalized gay marriage in 2005. Canada Canada followed Spain and approved gay marriage in 2005. South Africa South Africa legalized same sex marriage in 2006. Pictured: Vernon Gibbs and Tony Hall. Norway Norway followed suit in 2009. Norwegian finance minister and chairwoman of the Socialist Left party Kristin Halvorsen (L) stands next to wedding figurines outside the House of Parliament in Oslo on June 11, 2008, where she celebrated the passing of a new law awarding equal rights to same sex partnerships as those enjoyed by heterosexual marriages. (Getty) Sweden Sweden recognized same sex marriage in 2009. Pictured: Johan Lundqvist (L) and Alf Karlsson. Portugal Portugal recognized gay marriage in 2010. Pictured: Teresa Pires and Helena Paixao. Iceland Iceland legalized gay marriage in 2010. Argentina Argentina legalized same sex-marriage in 2010. It was the only Latin American country to do so. Pictured: Giorgio Nocentino (L) and Jaime Zapata. New Zealand New Zealand became the first Asia-Pacific nation (and the 13th in the world) to legalize same-sex marriage. Pictured: Jills Angus Burney (L) and Deborah Hambly. Denmark Denmark became the first country to allow the registration of gay partnerships in 1989.