News in Brief

Shchekochikhin Denial



The Investigative Committee has declined to open a criminal investigation into the death of Yury Shchekochikhin, a liberal State Duma deputy and Novaya Gazeta journalist who died in mysterious circumstances in 2003, Interfax reported.

"The final conclusions in paper form we have not yet received, but an investigator has informed us that a criminal case will not be opened," Novaya Gazeta deputy editor Sergei Sokolov told Interfax late Sunday.

Shchekochikhin, who investigated several sensitive cases as a journalist, died two weeks after falling ill in June 2003. Many of Shchekochikhin's colleagues believe that he may have been poisoned. (MT)




Letov Died From Alcohol



An autopsy has revealed that Russian punk-rock pioneer Yegor Letov died of alcohol poisoning, Interfax reported Monday.

"The cause of death was severe respiratory limitation, brought on by heavy ethanol poisoning," said Yekaterina Pavlova, a spokeswoman for the Omsk Regional Prosecutor's Office.

Letov, 43, the front man for cult rock band Grazhdanskaya Oborona, died last month at his home in Omsk. The cause of death was initially reported to be heart failure. (MT)




Putin Orders Aid for Kosovo



President Vladimir Putin ordered the government Monday to prepare to send humanitarian aid to Serb-populated areas of Kosovo, RIA-Novosti reported.

Putin ordered Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov to address the issue during a Cabinet session and said there should be no political meaning attached to the gesture, RIA-Novosti said. (AP)