News in Brief

Transvaal Case in Strasbourg

Relatives of people killed in the Transvaal water park accident four years ago have filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, Interfax reported Thursday.

Eleven relatives of victims asked the court to fine Russia for violating their relatives' right to life and to a fair trial, among other claims, their lawyer, Igor Trunov, told Interfax.

The roof of the water park collapsed on Feb. 14, 2004, killing 28. In February 2006, the Cheryomushkinsky District Court in Moscow sent the case against the water park's architect back to prosecutors for further investigation. Prosecutors closed the case five months later, Trunov said. (MT)

Sculptors on Hunger Strike

A group of sculptors began a hunger strike Thursday to protest attempts to wrestle control of a historic mansion from the sculptors' association that restored it.

Five people, including Ivan Kazansky, head of the Moscow Artists' Union and the Moscow Sculptors' Association, stopped eating Thursday, reported. They are demanding that the building, half of which was seized by security from a new nongovernmental organization, be returned for use to the Moscow Sculptors' Association. The sculptors have an office in the mansion and also use it for free exhibitions and a sculpting school for children. (MT)

Conscript Dies After Beating

An army conscript severely beaten by a fellow soldier 13 months ago has died.

Roman Rudakov, who died in a hospital Wednesday, hit headlines last year after he was beaten by a soldier, who was later convicted and given a three-year suspended sentence for the assault. The court agreed with prosecutors that Rudakov's health deteriorated sharply because of an undiagnosed blood disease, not because of the beating.

Rudakov had been awaiting an intestine transplant when he died in Moscow's Burdenko Military Hospital.

In January 2007, then-Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Rudakov had not been bullied. (Reuters)

Celebrating With Amnesties

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan -- Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov has declared a sweeping amnesty to celebrate the first anniversary of his inauguration.

Berdymukhammedov's decree Wednesday clears the slate for 1,269 convicts, state television reported. The list of those who benefited was not immediately released. Berdymukhammedov said in televised remarks that he would declare several other amnesties later this year.

Berdymukhammedov came to power in December 2006. (AP)

Nuclear Sub Launched

The Navy has launched its first new-generation nuclear submarine since the Soviet collapse, the submarine's maker said.

The Yury Dolgoruky was launched at the secretive Sevmash shipyard in the Arctic town of Severodvinsk on Tuesday night, Sevmash said in a short statement. It can carry 107 sailors for 100 days without surfacing.

The long-delayed submarine was moved to a dry dock last year in the presence of First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov, who hailed the construction as a major step toward a naval revival. (Reuters)