News in Brief

4 Injured in Blast



A city official said Tuesday evening that three people had been wounded when a gas tank exploded at an outdoor cafe.

Emergency official Yevgeny Boblyov said the blast happened at the Tushinsky outdoor market in northwest Moscow around 5:30 p.m.

He says there was no immediate indication the blast was a terrorist attack.

Four people were hospitalized for injuries from metal debris and glass, a law enforcement source said, Interfax reported. (AP, MT)




Bush Scolds Russia



U.S. President George W. Bush scolded Russia on Tuesday in an address to the United Nations for invading neighboring Georgia, calling it a violation of the UN charter.

"The United Nations' charter sets forth the equal rights of nations large and small," he said. "Russia's invasion of Georgia was a violation of those words."

Bush, who has had a testy relationship with the UN, which he says has been slow to address problems, called on the UN to focus more on results and rally behind young democracies like Georgia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Liberia. (AP)




Train Fares to Rise 12%



Russian Railways received the go-ahead Tuesday for an average increase in passenger ticket prices of 12 percent, effective Oct. 1, Interfax reported.

The announcement was made following a meeting of the Federal Tariffs Service to consider the measure.

Any increases in charges for goods and services offered to passengers during their journeys will be considered separately, as these are not subject to confirmation by the Federal Tariffs Service, the news agency reported. (MT)




EU Monitors in Georgia



The first members of a European Union monitoring mission arrived Tuesday in Tbilisi ahead of the expected pullback of Russian forces from Georgia.

A Reuters television reporter said around 30 monitors and two light armored vehicles arrived at Tbilisi international airport.

Under a French-brokered pullback deal, the mission of more than 200 monitors should be operational by Oct. 1, initially to observe the withdrawal of Russian forces from "security zones" adjacent to the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

The French Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said EU observers being sent near the breakaway regions could be armed for security reasons, despite earlier pledges that the monitors would be weapons free. (Reuters, AP)




Kazakhstan-NATO Exercises



ILI MILITARY RANGE, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan held joint military exercises with NATO on Tuesday, a move likely to irritate Russia, which sees the Central Asian state as part of its traditional sphere of interest.

Oil-rich Kazakhstan, which has maneuvered carefully between Russia and the West, used Tuesday's war games with NATO to call for closer ties with the military bloc.

"We want to bring cooperation with NATO to a new level," Kazakh Defense Minister Danial Akhmetov told reporters at the Ili military range during the games, code-named "Steppe Eagle" and held in the open steppe outside the financial capital Almaty. (Reuters)




Navy to Fight Piracy



The Navy will send ships to combat piracy off the coast of Somalia, Navy chief Vladimir Vysotsky said Tuesday, Interfax reported,

The Russian ships will not take part in international operations to fight piracy, Interfax quoted Vysotsky as saying. Instead, they will act "independently," he said.

The Navy issued a statement saying it "supports international efforts'' to fight piracy around the world, including off Somalia, Interfax said.

At the same time, the Navy "reserves the right to act on its own" in cases where the lives of Russian citizens may be in danger, Interfax cited Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo as saying. (Bloomberg)