News in Brief

Arrest Warrant Dropped

Investigators on Wednesday scrapped an arrest warrant for media activist Manana Aslamazyan, effectively ending a prosecution that rights campaigners said was a Kremlin attack on civil society.

"The criminal case against Aslamazyan will be closed. She can come right now," said Investigative Committee spokeswoman Irina Dudkina.

Aslamazyan said from France that she hoped to return to Russia, although she could not say when. Wednesday's decision is in line with a Constitutional Court ruling on Tuesday that declared the charges illegal. Aslamazyan was charged with smuggling just over $13,000 into the country. (Reuters)

Postal Worker Stole Pensions

A Moscow postal worker has received a 3 1/2-year suspended sentence for stealing 177,000 rubles ($7,500) worth of pensions, reported Wednesday.

Svetlana Vasyutina, 52, forged the signatures of the pensioners to whom she was supposed to deliver pensions while working as a mailwoman in the city's Northern Administrative District from April to November 2007, the web site said. Timiryazevsky District Court has obliged her to return the money to the Russian Postal Service. The Moscow branch of the postal service has compensated the losses to all victims. (MT)

Khabarovsk Blast Kills 2

Two men died in an apartment explosion in Khabarovsk on Wednesday.

The blast was caused by "an explosive device of unknown type," Itar-Tass reported, citing police in the Far East region. The blast occurred at 2 p.m. on the top floor of a nine-story building in the city center. Two middle-aged men were killed, Interfax reported. (MT)