News in Brief

Trolleybus Plows Into 9

A trolleybus driver plowed into nine pedestrians, injuring them, when he swerved to avoid a dog in the Urals town of Kamenets-Uralsky, Interfax reported.

Two passengers also suffered mild injuries in the accident Tuesday.. (MT)

Rabbi's Grave Desecrated

Vandals in Nizhny Novgorod have desecrated the grave of a chief rabbi and several other Jewish graves, Russia's biggest Jewish organization said Wednesday.

The grave of Yehuda Bershtein, chief rabbi in Nizhny Novgorod in the 1950s, was partly upturned and smashed last week, the Federation of Jewish Communities said on its web site. (Reuters)

'Russian Consulate Targeted'

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran's intelligence minister said Wednesday that the masterminds of a bomb blast in a mosque that killed 14 people last month also planned to target a Russian consulate in the Islamic state, an Iranian news agency reported.

Intelligence Minister Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei did not give further details about the consulate plot, but he did say 15 Iranians had been arrested in connection with the blast, the semiofficial Fars News Agency reported.

The Russian Embassy in Tehran was not immediately available for comment.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused the United States, Israel and Britain on Tuesday of being responsible for the blast. Iranian officials initially said it was caused by explosives left over from an Iran-Iraq war exhibit. (Reuters)

EU-Russia Talks in Doubt

BRUSSELS -- EU ambassadors have failed again to finalize a mandate for long-stalled talks on a new cooperation pact with Russia after Lithuania said it needed more time to see if it could accept the final text.

Lithuania said Sunday that it had dropped its veto on the mandate for negotiations, which the EU hopes to start at a June summit with Russia. An EU official said ambassadors on Tuesday discussed a slightly revised final text of the mandate, but it was not approved. "The Lithuanians ... say they have to make some checks. We're hoping it's just procedural," he said. (Reuters)

Medvedev Signs Visa Law

President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday signed a decree allowing visa-free entry for spectators of next week's Champions League final.

Medvedev also signed an amended law that will allow the suspension of visa regulations for other special events, such as the 2014 Winter Olympics. (AP)

2 Killed in Nazran Fight

NAZRAN, Ingushetia -- Security forces killed at least two suspected militants during a gunbattle in Nazran, the main city in Ingushetia, officials said.

Police encircled a house where the suspects holed up, exchanging gunfire with those who were inside for several hours Tuesday. Security forces eventually stormed the house and found the bodies of two suspected militants and the house's owner in the basement. (AP)

Spacecraft to Fly in 2018

A planned Russian-European spacecraft should make its first manned flight in 2018, the Federal Space Agency said Wednesday.

The craft, built with the European Space Agency, would orbit Earth and travel to the moon with a possible crew of six. It would lift off from a launch facility Russia will build in eastern Siberia.

The space agency said Russia would build the capsule, and the ESA would be responsible for the service module and the engine block. (AP)

Astronaut Out of Hospital

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea's first astronaut left a hospital Wednesday after recovering from neck and back pain apparently caused by her Russian spacecraft's unexpectedly steep descent to Earth last month.

Science Ministry official Jung Kyung-taek said Yi So-yeon was released from a military-run hospital because her pains have almost stopped. Yi's capsule missed its target by 420 kilometers due to an apparent technical glitch. (AP)