News in Brief

Tver Activist Stuck in Clinic

A Tver court has ordered Roman Nikolaichik, an opposition activist detained in a psychiatric clinic earlier this month, to remain there until Feb. 29, a nurse at the hospital said.

Nikolaichik, 27, a member of Garry Kasparov's Other Russia coalition, was detained Feb. 1, questioned and then taken to a psychiatric ward.

Tver's Moskovsky District Court extended his hospitalization last week.

Nina Telenteva, a nurse at Litvinov Psychiatric Hospital No. 1 in the Tver region town of Busharevo, said "A commission of experts will decide if he needs further treatment." (MT)

Ex-Spy Frightened in U.K.

Oleg Gordiyevsky, a former KGB agent who defected to Britain in 1985, said he feared he might be killed by Russians in his adopted country, Britain's Sunday Times reported.

Gordiyevsky said he had asked the police for more protection since the murder of former security agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in November 2006.

"Until five years ago I felt very safe living here," Gordiyevsky told the newspaper.

"But not now. They will kill me here," he said. "If they try to kill me, it will be in Britain." (MT)

Gas Explosion Hits Kiev

KIEV -- An apparent gas explosion ripped through an apartment building in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv late last week, injuring 10 people, emergency officials said.

The blast occurred around 4:00 p.m. in the city, located about 550 kilometers west of the capital, Kiev, the Emergency Situations Ministry said in a statement.

Rescuers pulled 10 people from the rubble of the three-story building in the center of the city, including three young girls.

One of the victims, an elderly woman, was in critical condition. (AP)

Afghans Get Turkmen Aid

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan -- Turkmenistan, seeking to emerge from decades of isolation, has sent humanitarian aid to neighboring Afghanistan to help it cope with a record-cold winter, a Turkmen official said.

An unusually cold winter has hit many parts of Central Asia this year. In Afghanistan, the extreme cold has killed several hundred people and about 40,000 cattle.

The government official said late last week that Turkmenistan had sent 500 tons of diesel fuel, 1,000 tons of flour and 8,000 tons of clothes to northern Afghanistan. (Reuters)