News in Brief

Penza Shopkeepers Duped

Some Penza shopkeepers are so desperate for money that they are taking foreign currencies in hopes that they are worth something -- and getting duped.

Penza police are searching for a man accused of cheating shopkeepers by paying for 30,000 rubles ($870) worth of goods in worthless bank notes from Brazil and Surinam, Interfax reported Monday. The police have organized special classes to discourage shopkeepers from accepting currencies other than rubles, the report said. (MT)

Crime Blamed on Crisis

The economic crisis has sparked a wave of violent crime in Moscow, City Prosecutor Yury Syomin said Monday.

Syomin said overall crime levels fell in 2008 but there was a spike in violent crime last month, including a 16 percent increase in murders and 44 percent rise in fatal assaults. (Reuters)