News in Brief

Russia Blasts 'Secretive' Pact

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday accused NATO and the United Nations of signing a cooperation agreement without informing Moscow.

Lavrov said the heads of NATO and the UN signed the agreement in a "secretive way" and did not show Russia a draft of the document for review.

A NATO spokesman denied the accusation. He said Russia was fully briefed on the cooperation declaration signed last month and that there were no surprises. (AP)

Bank Employee Tortured

Armed robbers abducted a bank employee in southeast Moscow and tortured him with an electroshock weapon before making off with an unspecified amount of cash, police said Thursday.

Up to five assailants handcuffed the employee of the bank on Zelenodolskaya Ulitsa, near the Kuzminki metro station, early Wednesday morning and forced him to hand over the keys to a currency exchange booth, a city police spokeswoman said.

"The men put scotch tape over the man's mouth, handcuffed him to a chair in the back of a white Gazel van and tortured him with electroshocks," she said.

The robbers made off with all the cash in the booth, she said. (MT)

Bulbov's Secretary Charged

The secretary of Alexander Bulbov, a senior Federal Drug Control Service officer arrested in October on charges of illegal wiretapping, has been charged with accepting a large bribe, Kommersant reported Thursday.

The Investigative Committee charged the secretary, Maria Kovalyova, with complicity in the extortion of $3 million from a businessman in December 2005, Kommersant said. (MT)

NATO Urged for Georgia

BUDAPEST, Hungary -- The United States is pushing NATO to put Georgia on a formal track to alliance membership in December, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday, despite concerns about the country's security after its war with Russia.

NATO has promised to grant both Georgia and Ukraine membership eventually but declined in April to give either a Membership Action Plan. (Reuters)