- The nearly 2-kilometer-long Sochi track can become the longest ever in the world for bobsleigh, luge and skeleton. The track is going through “polishing” and soon it will become a place where all ice and speed skaters will be chasing their dreams.
- A delegation of Russia’s high-ranking diplomats and representatives of the judicial system has in an unprecedented move visited the Guantanamo Bay prison, as Moscow has stepped up efforts to secure release of the only Russian national there.
- At least 21 people, mainly foreigners were killed in a suicide bomb attack which targeted a popular Lebanese restaurant in the diplomatic quarter in central Kabul, police said. The IMF confirmed that one of its representatives is among the dead.
- President Barack Obama announced as expected on Friday a major overhaul to some of the National Security Agency’s most disputed surveillance operations seven months after they was first exposed, reining in the metadata collection program among others.
- The majority of Americans oppose keeping the NSA’s current surveillance programs the way they are, with 57 percent of respondents in a new poll saying they have “no confidence” that the government won’t abuse the collected data.
- Schools in the UK used biometric technology to gather the fingerprints of over 800,000 pupils between 2012 and 2013, a watchdog has found. In 31 percent of schools, children were roped into giving their fingerprints without parental consent.
- Saturday marks twelve years since the first detainees arrived at Guantanamo Bay prison on January 11, 2002. On the anniversary US human rights activists marched to the White House demanding the facility’s closure.
- With the leopard selected as one of the mascots of the upcoming Sochi Olympics, a program to restore the big cats’ population has been launched in the Caucasus mountains. Zoologists already have some successes to boast about.
- There should be no worries of a snowless Winter Olympic in Russia’s Sochi, as the organizers of the event made sure to stockpile 16 million cubic feet of snow for the competitions.
- All but one of the 30 Greenpeace activists detained after a protest at Russia’s Prirazlomnaya oil rig in September have been granted bail, and over half of them have left custody. They will stay in Russia until legal proceedings are concluded.
- While diplomatic heavyweights from US, Russia, China, UK and Germany are calling to seal a deal with Iran, Paris is voicing strong doubts. FM Laurent Fabius warns not to be fooled by Iran’s proposals.
- US authorities have presented a plan for the mass use of drones in American airspace. Though there have been few objections to the move so far, a global government surveillance drone program is likely to raise privacy concerns later on.