News in Brief

Lawyer Asks for Leniency



A U.S. pastor who admitted bringing hunting ammunition into Russia illegally did so only out of ignorance of Russian law, his lawyer argued Thursday.

Phillip Miles, 52, of South Carolina, has been jailed since his arrest on Feb. 3, four days after arriving at Sheremetyevo Airport carrying a box of rifle cartridges, which he said were a gift for a friend.

Miles could get slightly more than three years in prison if convicted for violating customs and firearms trafficking laws.

Vladimir Ryakhovsky, Miles' lawyer, told the Golovinsky District Court that Miles "is merely a victim of the American mentality … where it seems everything is possible everywhere in the world."

Closing arguments are set for Friday, after which a ruling is expected. (AP)




Gunmen Carry Out Raid



ROSTOV-ON-DON -- A group of gunmen carried out a raid on an Interior Ministry base in Ingushetia, Ingush authorities said.

Six policemen were wounded in the attack in the town of Karabulak late Wednesday evening, the ministry's local branch said. The group of three to five attackers was armed with automatic firearms and grenade launchers, a ministry official said.

One local resident has been detained in connection with the raid.

Ingushetia has seen frequent attacks targeting law enforcement officials. A judge in the republic's Supreme Court was shot dead Sunday. (AP)




2 Missing in Arctic Mine



OSLO -- Two miners were missing and 29 had been safely evacuated Thursday, after a fire broke out in a coal mine at the Russian settlement of Barentsburg on Norway's Svalbard islands, the local governor's office said.

Barentsburg is a settlement of about 400 people, allowed on the Arctic island under a 1920 treaty that gives Norway sovereignty so long as other countries can have nonmilitary activities there.

The local governor's office said the fire began in the mine at around 5 a.m. and was under control. It said search and rescue teams were searching for the two missing men. (AP)