News in Brief

More Moscow Cars Torched

As city police continued their search for a suspected serial arsonist, one vehicle was damaged in an arson attack early Wednesday morning, Interfax reported.

A Hyundai minibus was set alight near the Preobrazhenskaya Ploshchad metro station in northern Moscow at 4 a.m., police spokesman Yevgeny Gildeyev told Interfax. Two other vehicles caught fire accidentally, he said.

An unnamed police source said Wednesday that a total of 17 cars had been damaged by arson in the past week, 12 of them in southwestern Moscow. (MT)

Reznik May Head Yabloko

The St. Petersburg branch of the liberal Yabloko party on Wednesday proposed branch leader Maxim Reznik to replace Grigory Yavlinsky as the party's national leader.

Yabloko is to elect its national leader at its June 21-22 congress in Moscow, and the party's St. Petersburg branch said on its web site that it had nominated Reznik for the post. (MT)

One Killed in Ingushetia

NAZRAN, Ingushetia -- Police officers shot and killed one man and wounded another during a security sweep in Ingushetia, authorities said Wednesday.

Police were searching a village during the Tuesday night operation and had stopped a car when two men put up a fight, Investigative Committee spokeswoman Svetlana Gorbakova said. One was killed in the gun battle, and the other hospitalized, she sad. (AP)

U.S. Navy Ends Search

TALLINN -- U.S. naval experts have failed to locate the wreckage of a World War II plane reportedly shot down off Estonia more than 70 years ago, the senior surveyor said Wednesday.

The plane -- the Kaleva -- had nine people on board, including an U.S. diplomatic courier, when it crashed into the Baltic Sea on June 14, 1940, just minutes after taking off from Tallinn.

Finnish and Estonian experts have said the Kaleva was shot down by two Soviet fighter-bombers while on its way to the Finnish capital, Helsinki. (AP)

Astana to Be Renamed?

A Kazakh lawmaker called on Wednesday for the capital, Astana, to be renamed after President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Interfax reported.

"Considering the great role of our president in building Kazakhstan and the city of Astana, given his qualities, I propose changing the name of Astana to Nursultan," the lawmaker, Sat Tokpakbayev, told the Kazakh parliament.

About 80 legislators supported the initiative, Ekho Moskvy radio reported. Nazarbayev's Nur Otan party controls 98 of parliament's 107 seats. (Bloomberg)

Space Toilet Fixed

HOUSTON -- The international space station's toilet trouble appeared to be taken care of Wednesday after a cosmonaut replaced a broken pump.

The space station's toilet broke two weeks ago. The problem -- confined to the urine side of the commode -- forced the orbiting outpost's crew of an American astronaut and two cosmonauts to flush manually with extra water. Space shuttle Discovery brought up a new pump for the toilet, as well as the space station's newest room, a $1 billion lab.

Oleg Kononenko spent more than two hours installing the new 16-kilogram pump and hoses, then running three tests of the toilet while he talked with specialists at Russian Mission Control.

"Let's start using it," Russian Mission Control told Kononenko. "We'll keep our fingers crossed." (AP)