News in Brief

Belarus Finishes Inquiry



Belarus' KGB has completed its investigation into the activities of U.S. lawyer Emanuel Zeltser, who was arrested in March on charges of possession of false documents, Kommersant reported Thursday.

Following the investigation, prosecutors have added charges of smuggling and trafficking in drugs against Zeltser, 54, the lawyer for late Georgian billionaire and opposition politician Badri Patarkatsishvili.

If convicted, he faces up to eight years in prison.

Zeltser traveled to Minsk to try to show that the contents of Patarkatsishvili's should prevent the sale of his oil company in Belarus by President Alexander Lukashenko.

The KGB and Patarkatsishvili's wife have called the will a forgery.

Zeltser and his secretary, Vladlena Funk, were detained at an airport in Minsk on March 12. (MT)




Market Bombers Appeal



A group of ultranationalists convicted for the 2006 bombing of Moscow's Cherkizovsky Market appealed their sentences in the Supreme Court, Kommersant reported Thursday.

In their appeal, the men said "psychological pressure on the jury" resulted in excessively harsh sentences being handed down.

Last month, the Moscow City Court sentenced four of the men to terms of life in prison and the other four to prison terms ranging from two to 20 years.

The court ruled that the attack was motivated by hatred against natives of the Caucasus and Asia.

The 2006 explosion at the crowded market killed 14 people and wounded another 47. (MT)




Drunken Police Impostors



Police in the Siberian city of Novokuznetsk have detained two drunken young men found directing traffic while dressed as police officers, Interfax reported Thursday.

The imposter traffic officers said they had found the uniforms and decided to impose some order on a crosswalk where most drivers failed to yield to pedestrians as traffic laws require, the news agency reported.

The police apprehended the young men after receiving calls from drivers who said the officers working at the crossing had no knowledge of traffic rules. (MT)




Public Confused on Leaders



One out of 10 Russians surveyed think Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is still the country's president, according to a survey published by the VTsIOM polling agency this week.

Another 4 percent of respondents were unable to name Putin's current position.

The poll, conducted more than a week after Medvedev's inauguration, on May 17 and 18, surveyed 1,600 people in 46 regions, and had a margin of error of 3.4 percent. (MT)