News in Brief

Information Bill Approved

The State Duma passed in a third and final reading Wednesday a bill that spells out citizens' rights to gain access to government documents.

The bill obliges officials to answer citizens' requests for any information that is not a state secret within 30 days.

It will now be sent to the Federal Council for consideration. If approved, it will go to President Dmitry Medvedev to be signed into law. The law would come into effect in January 2010.(MT)

Ingushetia Promised Money

President Dmitry Medvedev has visited Ingushetia and pledged to spend billions of rubles on the North Caucasus region where violence has threatened to dent the Kremlin's control.

"Despite the fact that we don't have the simplest financial situation at the moment, we have allocated 29 billion rubles [$881.5 million], and this is big money," Medvedev said during a televised meeting Tuesday with Ingush President Yunus-Bek Yevkurov.

He did not specify when the money would be allocated.(Reuters)

Georgia's Prime Minister Ill

Georgian Prime Minister Grigol Mgaloblishvili flew to Germany on Wednesday for treatment of a kidney infection, his spokesman said.

"The prime minister will return on Jan. 27 after he gets the all-clear from the doctors," Avto Phavlenishvili said by telephone from Tbilisi.

He said Mgaloblishvili's condition had worsened in the past few days.

Mgaloblishvili underwent treatment for the same problem in December, sparking concern that he might be forced to resign. President Mikheil Saakashvili nominated him to replace Lado Gurgenidze on Oct. 27. (Bloomberg)