News in Brief

Britain Feeling Threatened

British security services have identified Russia as the greatest threat to Britain after al-Qaida terrorism and Iranian nuclear proliferation, the Times of London reported Friday.

British security officials fear that agents from the Federal Security Service, the Foreign Intelligence Service and the Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces have flooded Britain, forcing authorities there to divert valuable resources to battle Russian espionage, the newspaper said. (MT)

Shootouts Kill in Ingushetia

NAZRAN, Ingushetia -- A seven-hour shootout Saturday between Russian soldiers and suspected militants holed up in a house in the republic of Ingushetia left two dead on each side, the Interior Ministry there said.

Two other attacks in the region on the same day left one officer dead and two wounded.

In the republic of Dagestan, meanwhile, the Interior Ministry said three policemen were wounded Saturday when a bomb went off near their vehicle in the town of Khasavyurt. (AP)

Hotel Registration Gets OK

The State Duma passed a bill in final reading Friday allowing for hotel registration to act as registration for foreigners arriving in Russia, the legislature's web site said.

The current law, in force since January 15, requires a foreigner's inviting party -- an employer, landlord, hotel or other Russian host -- to inform local immigration officials of the foreigner's arrival within three working days of entering the country. (MT)

Pay Raise for Parties

The State Duma on Saturday passed 444-0 a bill quadrupling government funding for major political parties.

Under the proposed law, a party will get 20 rubles (87 cents) for each vote it received in last year's national elections for parliament -- if it got at least 3 percent of the national vote -- and in this year's presidential election.

The old rate of funding was five rubles per vote. The increase will mean additional annual government funding of some 957 million rubles ($41.6 million), more than 65 percent of which would go to United Russia. (AP)