The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Moscow (AFP) – Russian torchbearers set off Monday on history’s longest Olympic torch relay ahead of February’s Winter Games in Sochi, which will take the flame across the country and even put it on a deer sleigh.

In a Red Square ceremony, Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin lit a torch from the flame that arrived from Athens on Sunday, passing it to Anastasiya Davydova, a synchronised swimming champion, who began jogging through flying confetti.

The flame will spend two days in the Russian capital before it is taken southeast to its next destination Kolomna, an ancient city in the Moscow region.

Russia is hosting an elaborate relay through all 83 of its regions, including extreme locales such as Chukotka, the remote region in Russia’s Far East, the turbulent North Caucasus, and even Russia’s European exclave Kaliningrad.

As part of the relay, the flame will sail on a nuclear-powered icebreaker to the North Pole, dive into the world’s deepest freshwater lake, Baikal, and ascend Europe’s highest peak on Mount Elbrus.

One kilometre of the 65,000 kilometre (40,000 mile) journey from Athens to the Black Sea resort Sochi, where the Games begin on February 7, will be done by deer sleigh, organizers said.

Russian authorities even mulled the idea of sending the flame into space.

The plan was discarded out of safety concerns, but an unlit Olympic torch will blast off to the International Space Station on November 7, where two Russian cosmonauts will take it for a space walk before its return to Earth on November 11.


Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Donald Trump

Image via Twitter

A year after former President Donald Trump left the White House and Joe Biden was sworn in as president of the United States, Trump continues to have considerable influence in the Republican Party. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a former Trump critic turned Trump sycophant, recently told Fox News that having a “working relationship” with Trump must be a litmus test for anyone in a GOP leadership role in Congress. But an NBC News poll, conducted in January 14-18, 2022, finds that many Republican voters identify as Republicans first and Trump supporters second.

Analyzing that poll in the New York Times on January 21, reporters Leah Askarinam and Blake Hounshell, explain, “Buried in a new survey published today is a fascinating nugget that suggests the Republican Party may not be as devoted to Trump as we’ve long assumed. Roughly every month for the last several years, pollsters for NBC News have asked: ‘Do you consider yourself to be more of a supporter of Donald Trump or more of a supporter of the Republican Party?’ Over most of that time, Republicans have replied that they saw themselves as Trump supporters first.”

Keep reading... Show less

Ivanka Trump, right

Image via @Huffington Post

As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee on the January 6, 2021 insurrection moves along, it is examining Ivanka Trump’s actions that day — especially the former White House senior adviser urging her father, then- President Donald Trump, to call off his supporters when the U.S. Capitol Building was under attack. This week, Ivanka Trump’s importance to the committee is examined in a column by liberal Washington Post opinion writer Greg Sargent and an article by blogger Marcy Wheeler.

Sargent notes that the committee’s “new focus on Ivanka Trump” shows that it “is developing an unexpectedly comprehensive picture of how inextricably linked the violence was to a genuine plot to thwart a legitimately elected government from taking power.”

Keep reading... Show less
{{ }}