News in Brief

Irkutsk Governor Resigns

President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Irkutsk Governor Alexander Tishanin and named State Duma Deputy Igor Yesipovsky as acting governor.

Tishanin submitted his resignation voluntarily because his region merged with another to form a new federal subject, also called the Irkutsk region, on Jan. 1, RIA-Novosti reported.

Citing sources in the Kremlin and Rosoboronexport, Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported Monday that Yesipovsky, a former executive at the state arms exporter, was being considered to replace Tishanin. Vedomosti said on its web site Tuesday that budget problems and criminal cases involving people close to Tishanin had complicated his term. He took the post in 2005. (MT)

Ultranationalist Charged

City prosecutors have charged the head of the Movement Against Illegal Immigration with inciting ethnic hatred with the comments he made at an ultranationalist rally in Moscow last year, Interfax reported Tuesday.

Alexander Belov is facing up to two years in prison if convicted of disseminating hate speech at the so-called "Russian March," a November rally that brought together ultranationalist groups. Belov dismissed the charges as politically motivated, Interfax said. (MT)

U.S. Concern Over Lawyer

WASHINGTON -- The United States has expressed concern about the well-being of a U.S. lawyer being held in Belarus on suspicion of using false documents.

U.S. State Department spokesman Tom Casey said Emanuel Zeltser, 54, suffers from serious health conditions and requires daily medications. He said Monday that the United States has only been permitted one visit with Zeltser.

Zelster faces up to three years in prison if convicted. (AP)

Bear Traumatized

A bear detained in the Moscow region may have suffered severe psychological trauma, Interfax said Tuesday.

"The bear is behaving very aggressively," said Vitaly Ratner, director of the Sergiyev Posad kennel where the animal is being held, Interfax reported. "Typically they growl to show their anger, and only in extreme circumstances do they attack people. This one attacks anyone who enters its pen."

The bear was captured by police in Odintsovo and delivered to the kennel Monday, Interfax said. It was unclear what might have traumatized it. (MT)