News in Brief

Suspected Killer Faces Trial



The Investigative Committee has wrapped up its investigation into a notorious 1994 contract killing, Interfax reported Wednesday.

A suspect in the murder of businessman and reputed crime boss Otari Kvantrishvili could go on trial as soon as June, the report said.

Interfax did not name the suspect, but Kommersant identified him as former Interior Ministry officer Alexei Sherstobitov, also known as "Lyosha Soldier." Sherstobitov was paid $50,000 monthly to work as a contract killer, the newspaper said.

The rival crime boss who ordered Kvantrishvili's murder was killed several months after the shooting, Kommersant reported. Kvantrishvili was shot April 5, 1994, as he left the Krasnopresnenskiye banyas in central Moscow. (MT)




Kazakh Editor Arrested



ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan's anti-corruption watchdog says a newspaper editor has been charged with bribery.

The anti-corruption agency says Tokbergen Abiyev was charged Tuesday for offering a $2,000 bribe to one of its employees.

The agency said Abiyev offered the bribe for materials compromising Justice Ministry officials.

Abiyev runs the weekly Antikorruptsionny Vestnik, or Anti-Corruption Bulletin. (AP)




Prague Backs Missile Deal



PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The Czech Republic has formally approved a deal to allow the U.S. to place parts of a missile defense system on Czech territory, officials said Wednesday.

Government spokeswoman Jana Bartosova said the government gave its approval during a meeting in the northern town of Teplice.

The Czech Republic and the U.S. announced in April that negotiations on the main bilateral treaty had succeeded.

The proposed U.S. missile defense system calls for a tracking radar in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptor missiles in Poland. NATO leaders agreed to endorse the U.S. plan last month at a summit in Bucharest, Romania, despite Russia's objections. (AP)