Winter Olympics: Russian teachers told to cut back homework for Games

MOSCOW (AFP) - President Vladimir Putin's ruling party on Wednesday urged Russian school teachers to cut back on homework assignments so children could spend more time watching the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

The feel-good proposal came on the heels of the Russian army's decision to give some troops an extra four hours off per day to watch television so that they can root for the athletes.

"United Russia deputies made a proposal to reduce the volume of homework for children during the 2014 Olympic Games so that children could watch the competition," said leading ruling party lawmaker Nikolai Bulanov.

"The Olympic Games are a great teaching tool for our young people," state news agencies quoted Bulanov as saying.

The TNR media research group estimates that 59.9 percent of all Russians watched live or rebroadcast portions of Friday's lavish Sochi Games opening ceremony.

TNR said the audience in Moscow reached 8.7 million people - about three-quarters of the city's estimated population of 11.5 million.