News in Brief

Communists Sue Over Vote



The Communist Party filed a lawsuit Tuesday to challenge the legality of December's State Duma elections, which were won by United Russia.

The Communists, who won 57 of the 450 seats in Duma in the Dec. 2 elections, filed the suit in the Supreme Court seeking to annul the vote.

United Russia won 315 seats.

The suit says the Russian media gave skewed coverage of the election and says there were serious breaches of election law during the campaign and voting.

The Kremlin and Russian election officials denied that there were significant violations. (Reuters)




Flag Isn't Territorial Claim



COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that Russia's flag-planting under the North Pole should not be seen as a territorial claim to the Arctic.

Last year, a Russian flag was planted there during a scientific Arctic expedition. The move heated up the controversy over an area that a U.S. study suggests may contain as much as 25 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas.

Lavrov said Russia had no claims to the Arctic and would respect international rules in the region. He compared the stunt to U.S. astronauts deploying a U.S. flag on the moon in 1969.

Lavrov stopped in Denmark on his way to Greenland for a meeting on sovereignty issues in the Arctic. (AP)