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MOSCOW -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered new assurances to gay athletes and fans attending the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics next month. Yet he defended Russias 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. Putins comments in an interview broadcast Sunday with Russian and foreign television stations showed the wide gulf between the perception of homosexuality in Russia versus the West. A Russian law passed last year banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" among minors has caused an international outcry. Putin refused to answer a question from the BBC on whether he believes that people are born gay or become gay. The Russian law, however, suggests that information about homosexuality can influence a childs sexual orientation. The law has contributed to growing animosity toward gays in Russian society, with rights activists reporting a rise in harassment and abuse. International worries about how gays will be treated in Sochi have been met with assurances from Russian officials and Olympics organizers that there will be no discrimination, and Putin reiterated that stance. "There are no fears for people with this nontraditional orientation who plan to come to Sochi as guests or participants," Putin declared in the TV interview. He said the law was aimed at banning propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia, suggesting that gays are more likely to abuse children. Making another favourite argument against homosexuality, 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 Russias 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 by the ABC TV channel, Putin said protests against the law itself would not be considered propaganda. Putin then hit back, accusing the United States of double standards in its criticism of Russia, pointing to laws that remain on the books in some U.S. states classifying gay sex as a crime. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, ruled in 2003 that such laws were unconstitutional. Homosexuality was a crime in the entire former Soviet Union, which collapsed in 1991. It was decriminalized in Russia in 1993. The Sochi Winter Olympics run Feb. 7-23. Vapormax Nere Senza Lacci . 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Liriano struck out a season-high 11 in seven innings to win consecutive starts for the first time this season and Pittsburgh beat the San Francisco Giants 3-1 on Tuesday night.SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Jazz announced Friday that they have hired Atlanta Hawks assistant coach Quin Snyder to replace Tyrone Corbin, who was let go earlier this year after three-plus seasons as the head coach in Salt Lake City. Snyder most recently completed his first season as an assistant with Atlanta. He has also been an assistant with the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers. He was the head coach at Missouri for seven seasons, from 1999 to 2006, leading the Tigers to four NCAA tournaments. That included an Elite Eight appearance in 2002. "He has an impressive basketball pedigree, including more than a decade of head coaching experience that positions him well to succeed in the Jazz organization," Jazz CEO Greg Miller said in a statement. "We look forward to Quins contributions both on the court and in the community." Snyder succeeds Corbin, who was not offered a new contract. Corbin went 112-146 in Salt Lake City after taking over on Feb. 10, 2011, following the resignation of Jerry Sloan, for whom he played three seasons and served as a longtime assistant. Corbin reached the pllayoffs in the strike-shortened 2011-12 season, but his team was swept by San Antonio in the first round of the playoffs.dddddddddddd The Jazz went 43-39 the next season and dumped a number of veterans. This season, they went 25-57, the worst record for the Jazz since 1979-80, when Utah was 24-58 following the franchises relocation from New Orleans. Other candidates for the job included Clippers assistant Alvin Gentry and Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin. "The opportunity to join the Utah Jazz and to be part of such a highly respected franchise with an incredibly bright future is a great honour," Snyder said in a statement. "I approach this opportunity with gratitude and humility and am committed to doing everything I can to help the Jazz become a championship-calibre team." Former Jazz forward Paul Millsap, who went to Atlanta last season, posted to Twitter: "Congratulations to Quin Snyder for being named head coach of the (at)utahjazz!!! The Jazz are getting a great coach and person." Snyder is the eighth head coach in Jazz history. The team planned a news conference on Saturday. ' ' '