News in Brief

Foot Wraps Blamed for Fire

A fire that killed seven migrant workers in an underground garage Tuesday in Moscow was caused by cloth foot wraps left to dry on an electric heater, Interfax reported Wednesday, citing a law enforcement source.

The blaze tore through the garage shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday on Privolnaya Ulitsa, near Vykhino metro station on the city's southeastern outskirts, killing seven workers from Tajikistan.

Meanwhile, Viktor Klimkin, deputy head of the Moscow branch of the Emergency Situation Ministry, said the fire may have been caused by faulty electrical wiring.

Local construction companies commonly violate safety regulations by allowing migrant workers to live at construction sites. The company building the garage, MegaStroiPolis, has denied any wrongdoing. (MT)

Trawler Captain Dies

OSLO -- The captain of a Russian trawler that sank Tuesday in the Arctic waters of the Barents Sea was killed in the accident, Norwegian rescuers said.

Eighteen other crew members were picked up by lifeboats from other Russian vessels in the area, the Rescue Coordination Center for northern Norway said.

The ship, named Topaz A, was believed to have sunk because a Norwegian rescue helicopter flew over its last known location and saw no trace of it, the Norwegian rescue center said in a statement. The Norwegian web newspaper Nettavisen said the ship was owned by the JSC Murmansk Trawlfleet company in Murmansk. (AP)

OSCE Backs Kazakh Editor

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe urged Kazakhstan on Wednesday to free journalist Ramazan Yesergepov, arrested on the charge of divulging state secrets.

Yesergepov, editor-in-chief of Alma-Ata Info weekly, was arrested last week after his newspaper published leaked internal documents of the Central Asian state's National Security Committee.

The OSCE representative for the freedom of the media, Miklos Haraszti, sent a letter to Kazakh Foreign Minister Marat Tazhin urging Yesergepov's release, the organization said.

Kazakhstan will chair the OSCE next year. (Reuters)