In Alpine skiing, U.S. veteran Bode Miller, at his fifth Winter Games aged 36, set the fastest time in training. (AFP PHOTO / OLIVIER MORIN)
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Russia said Thursday its Sochi Olympics were as safe as any place in the West from militant attacks after Washington warned airports and some airlines that toothpaste tubes could be used to smuggle bomb-making materials onto a Russia-bound plane. Russian forces are on high alert over threats by Islamist militant groups based in the nearby north Caucasus to attack the Winter games, which begin Friday. However, security officials believe the risk of an attack is far greater elsewhere in Russia than in Sochi or the Caucasus mountain cluster nearby.A senior U.S. security official said Wednesday Washington had issued a warning to airports and some airlines flying to Russia for the Olympics to watch for toothpaste tubes that could hold ingredients to make a bomb on a plane.Russia's contentious "gay propaganda" law was again in the spotlight Thursday, when United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned discrimination and attacks on people based on their sexual orientation.Russia, hosting a Winter Games for the first time, has come under mounting criticism since the government passed legislation last year which critics say curtails rights of homosexuals and discriminates against them.
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