News in Brief

Ukrainian Helicopter Crash

KIEV -- A Ukrainian border guards helicopter crashed into the Black Sea on Thursday, killing 12 people and leaving one person critically injured, officials said.

The Mi-8 helicopter was carrying a crew of three and 10 passengers from the southern city of Odessa when it crashed into shallow waters near to Zmeinyi Island just before noon, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Ihor Krol said.

Rescuers found 12 bodies near the site of the crash, border guard spokesman Serhiy Astakhov said. The only survivor was hospitalized in a coma.

Crashes of Mi-8 helicopters occur frequently in Ukraine and Russia and often are blamed on poor maintenance and excessive age. (AP)

Spies, Terrorists Recruiting

The Investigative Committee said Thursday that Western intelligence agencies and terrorist organizations had been trying to recruit its staff since the committee's creation in May.

The recruitment of Investigative Committee staff "has become one of the main areas of action of the Western security services and terrorist organizations," the committee said in a statement, Interfax reported.

Western intelligence services are also trying to discredit the committee through the media and certain human rights organizations, the statement said.

"Only recently … there have been 10 intrusions into the lives of our employees," the statement said, Interfax reported. (MT)

'Raider' Attacks Top 500

Authorities registered 512 illegal business and property seizures, known as "raider" attacks, last year, an Interior Ministry official said Thursday

Of those cases, only 130 made it to court, said Pavel Sychyov, spokesman for the ministry's Investigative Committee, RIA-Novosti reported.

The term "raider attack" covers a large range of illegal schemes to seize control of small or medium-sized businesses. In some cases, raiders will seize a property by force, stealing key ownership documents that allow them to lay claim to the space.

They often bribe police to apply pressure on small business and judges to assist them in transferring ownership. (MT)