News in Brief

Sports Agency Dissolved



President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree dissolving the Federal Agency for Physical Culture and Sports, the Kremlin said Wednesday.

The functions of the agency, which had been headed by hockey legend Vyacheslav Fetisov, will be transferred to the Sports, Tourism and Youth Politics Ministry, according to the Kremlin decree, Interfax reported.

In early September, an unidentified official with the pro-Kremlin party United Russia told Vedomosti that the party had nominated Fetisov to represent the far eastern Primorye region in the Federation Council.

The official told Vedomosti that Fetisov would resign from his post over a conflict with the ministry's head, Vitaly Mutko. (MT)




Pirates See the Deal Near



MOGADISHU, Somalia -- An onshore associate of the Somali pirates holding a Ukrainian ship with tanks and other weaponry on board said Wednesday that an $8 million ransom deal was in the offing, under which the boat would be freed in the next few days.

"A boat will carry the money from Djibouti, and pirates are expected to release the ship in the coming two nights," said a business partner of the pirates, who identified himself only as Farah.

Maritime officials in the region could not confirm that.

Pirates on the MV Faina reached via satellite phone said they were no longer speaking to media despite giving numerous interviews in the last two weeks. (Reuters)




Pavlyuchenko Ankle Injury



LONDON -- Russia striker Roman Pavlyuchenko will miss the next two World Cup qualifiers against Germany and Finland with an ankle injury that will keep him out of action for three weeks, Tottenham Hotspur said.

Scans revealed that Pavlyuchenko suffered a partially torn ankle ligament that forced him off during a 1-0 home defeat by Hull City in the English Premier League on Sunday.

"Roman will now undergo further treatment on the ankle after specialists declared him unfit to play for the next three weeks," Tottenham said on its web site Tuesday.

Pavlyuchenko joined Spurs from Spartak Moscow for 17 million euros ($23 million) on transfer deadline day. (Reuters)




IOC Approves Sochi Venues



ATHENS -- The International Olympic Committee has approved all venue sites for the 2014 Winter Games in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Organizers were forced to relocate some of the sports because of environmental concerns, raising questions over construction deadlines.

"With the approval of biathlon, the IOC today finalized the venue locations … following the decision taken earlier this year to relocate some of the sites because of environmental considerations," the IOC said in a statement Tuesday.

The Sochi organizers could now move ahead with the planning and construction of the venues, the majority of which need to be built from scratch, the IOC said. (Reuters)