News in Brief

Voting Set Up in Transdnestr



CHISINAU, Moldova -- Russia will set up polling stations for its weekend parliamentary elections in Moldova's breakaway Transdnestr republic, the Russian Embassy said Thursday.

The Moldovan Foreign Ministry protested the move as "interference in domestic affairs," and said Russia could only provide voting facilities at its embassy in the country's capital, Chisinau.

The Russian Embassy said polling stations would be set up at its military bases in Transdnestr.

Around 85,000 Russian voters could cast ballots in the breakaway region, formed after a 1992 war between Moldova and separatist fighters. (AP)




Uranium Peddlers Busted



BRATISLAVA, Slovakia -- Two Hungarians and a Ukrainian arrested in an attempted sale of uranium were peddling material believed to be from the former Soviet Union, and it was enriched enough to be used in a radiological "dirty bomb," police said Thursday.

Michal Kopcik, a top Slovak police official, said the three suspects, who were arrested Wednesday in eastern Slovakia and Hungary, had just under half a kilogram of uranium in powder form.

Kopcik said investigators were still working to determine who ultimately was trying to buy the uranium, which the trio purportedly was selling for $1 million. (AP)




Journalists Help Spread HIV



Journalists and homosexuals top the list of social groups that most actively contract and transmit HIV, Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the Federal Center to Fight AIDS, told the Novy Region news agency Thursday.

He added that the most risky groups were the ones where homosexuals have the opportunity to actively socialize, and he also mentioned policemen, doctors and show-business figures as risk groups.

Pokrovsky said, however, that public perception about high rates of HIV among the homeless had been proven wrong. "Bums don't have sexual lives, and they have no money for [injectable] drugs," he said. (MT)




Deal on Baltic Airspace



HELSINKI -- Military officials from Russia, Finland and Estonia have agreed on steps to limit airspace violations in the region after several unintentional incursions by Russian aircraft in recent years, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said.

At a meeting in Helsinki on Wednesday, air force experts discussed ways to improve the exchange of information on flight plans and technical details. A Finnish Foreign Ministry official said the parties agreed to another round of talks early next year.

In September, Russia acknowledged that one of its military transporters flew into Finnish airspace along the southern coast for three minutes, prompting the neutral Nordic country to demand an explanation. Russia said the incursion was unintentional. (AP)




Estonia to Remain in Iraq



WASHINGTON -- Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip reiterated his country's commitment to maintaining troops in Iraq and Afghanistan on Wednesday during a visit to meet with U.S. officials.

Ansip said his government was motivated by the two countries' security needs and his own country's history.

"We got huge help when this help was needed for Estonia," he said at a press event after a meeting with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. "Now to help others, this is our moral duty, so we will stay in Iraq and Afghanistan until our help is no longer needed." (AP)