News in Brief

McCain Wants Good Ties

ST. PAUL, Minnesota -- Having harshly criticized Russia for invading Georgia, U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain said he wanted good relations with Moscow and to avoid a return to the Cold War.

Accepting his party's presidential nomination, McCain drew a standing ovation when he assailed Russia's military entry into Georgia last month.

"Russia's leaders, rich with oil wells and corrupt with power, have rejected democratic ideals and the obligations of a responsible power. They invaded a small democratic neighbor to gain more control over the world's oil supply," McCain said. (Reuters)

German Wins Venice Prize

VENICE, Italy -- Russian director Alexei German Jr. won the award for best director for "Bumazhny Soldat," or "Paper Soldier," at the Venice Film Festival on Saturday.

The emotional director thanked his cast and especially one of the producers, who sold his apartment to pay for the film, a story set in the early days of the Soviet space program. (AP)

Pulikovsky Leaves Agency

The country's industry watchdog chief, Konstantin Pulikovsky, stepped down Friday after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin accepted his resignation, the White House said in a statement.

Kommersant, citing White House sources, reported Saturday that Pulikovsky resigned under pressure from Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev, who were dissatisfied with his work at his agency, the Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Atomic Inspection. The report speculated that the problem was linked to Pulikovsky's reluctance to cede part of his agency's powers to the Federal Inspection Service for Natural Resources Use under a reform initiated by Natural Resources Minister Yury Trutnev.

Pulikovsky's deputy Nikolai Kutin has been appointed acting head. (MT)

Ukraine Bars Markov

State Duma Deputy Sergei Markov has been barred from entering Ukraine, Kommersant reported Saturday.

Ukrainian border officials stopped Markov, a member of United Russia and a former Kremlin spin doctor, at the Kiev airport on Thursday and gave him a document saying his presence threatened the "health, rights and legal interests of Ukrainian nationals," Markov told Kommersant.

Markov connected the travel ban to his negative attitude toward the United States ahead of U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Ukraine on Friday.

In June, State Duma Deputy Konstantin Zatulin was barred from entering Ukraine for one year as he arrived in Simferopol on the eve of a celebration of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol. (MT)

Cafe Blast Kills One

An explosion in a Moscow cafe on Friday night killed one Azeri national and injured nine others in what investigators said might be a racially motivated attack.

A bomb went off at 9:25 p.m. Friday at the cafe on Ulitsa Generala Belova in southern Moscow where a group of Azeris was holding a funeral feast in honor of a fellow countryman, Kommersant reported Saturday.

One Azeri died at the scene, while the other nine were hospitalized, two in critical condition, the report said. (MT)