News in Brief

Kazakh Web Site Censored



ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Internet users in Kazakhstan complained of censorship on Friday after being unable to access the popular blogging service LiveJournal, but the state-owned telecoms company denied it was blocking it.

Associates of Rakhat Aliyev, the former son-in-law of President Nursultan Nazarbayev who fell out with the veteran leader last year, in June started their own blog, which often contains critical comments about the government.

A spokesman for Russian company SUP, which owns the web site, said LiveJournal itself was not blocking Kazakh users. (Reuters)




Olympic Skier Dies



Olympic cross country skiing gold medalist Alexei Prokurorov died Friday after being hit by a car as he crossed a road, officials said. He was 44.

A police official said that Prokurorov -- who won the gold medal in the 30-kilometer freestyle at the 1988 Calgary Games -- was crossing the road toward a train station in the town of Vladimir when the accident occurred.

A Russian Cross Country Ski Federation official said Prokurorov was about to board a train to Moscow for a postseason medical examination for insurance purposes. (AP)




Medvedev to Visit Chavez



CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Thursday that President Dmitry Medvedev would visit the country this year, in a sign of growing ties between two of Washington's sharpest critics.

Chavez said Medvedev would visit after Venezuela holds city and state elections at the end of November.

"The Russian president wants to visit Venezuela in November, a few days after the regional elections. It will be an honor for us to receive this good friend," Chavez said at a political rally. (Reuters)




Russian Convicted of Abuse



PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- A former Russian businessman convicted of sexually abusing a Cambodian girl had his prison term reduced but still faces another trial for similar offenses involving 18 other victims, officials said Friday.

An Appeals Court judge panel scaled down Alexander Trofimov's prison term to six years from 13 years previously handed down by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. (AP)




Kremlin Cup Winners



Top-ranked Jelena Jankovic of Serbia won the women's Kremlin Cup on Sunday for her third straight title, and Igor Kunitsyn won his first ATP Tour title by upsetting fellow Russian Marat Safin.

Jankovic beat Russia's Vera Zvonareva 6-2, 6-4, while Kunitsyn survived seventh-seeded Safin's 21 aces to win 7-6 (6), 6-7 (4), 6-3.

It was the Serb's fourth title this season and the eighth in her career.

Kunitsyn said he had prepared a speech to congratulate Safin on the win.

"I was hoping to win a couple of games and that's it," Kunitsyn said. (AP)




Fire in Antarctica Base



A fire at a Russian scientific base in Antarctica killed a construction worker and left two more with serious injuries on Thursday.

The fire broke out in a two-story residential building at the base, which is home to 29 people, said Valery Lukin, deputy director of the Arctic and Antarctic Institute of Russia's meteorological center, Vesti-24 reported.

Personnel at the base were unable to put out the fire, and the building burned to the ground, Lukin said. Other buildings housing scientific equipment, medical facilities and food stores were not damaged, he said. (Bloomberg)