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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Moldova Protest

The Associated Press

CHISINAU, Moldova War veterans and police some armed with guns and grenades occupied an unfinished downtown apartment building meant for local legislators to protest lack of housing. One man threatened to blow up the building if authorities try to remove them by force.

The group included police who had fought for Moldova in the Trans-Dniester conflict and army veterans from the war in Afghanistan.

"The parliament members, who were supposed to live here, do not have special merits and did not fight in wars," said Victor Patrasco, a man injured and decorated in the Trans-Dniester war.

Authorities were negotiating with the 56 squatters and their families, who moved in despite a lack of utilities. More than 15,000 veterans have been waiting since 1992 for state housing.

The country of 4.3 million is one of the most impoverished in the region. The average monthly salary in Moldova is the equivalent of $16.50.

Bykov Cleared

The Associated Press

Aluminum tycoon Anatoly Bykov has been cleared of complicity in the murder of a businessman, one of the charges for which he was extradited fom Hungary this year, Itar-Tass quoted his lawyer as saying Thursday. Bykov, the former head of the Krasnoyarsk Aluminum Plant, was arrested in Hungary in 1999 on charges of ordering the contract murder and laundering hundreds of millions of dollars. This year, he was extradited, imprisoned, released on bail, then jailed again in October after being charged with plotting a different assassination. He is now in Lefortovo Prison.

ORT Shares Up in Air

The Moscow Times

Boris Berezovsky has said he will probably not keep his 49 percent stake in ORT television because the government could find a way to take it for example, by declaring ORT bankrupt, Ekho Moskvy radio reported Friday. Berezovsky said he would announce his plans for the shares in the coming days.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for State Duma deputy and businessman Roman Abramovich denied rumors that Abramovich has agreed to buy Berezovskys shares. "So far, the reports are unfounded," Vladimir Ruga said.

The rumors surfaced after Berezovsky announced he would back out on an earlier decision to transfer the shares to a group of trustees after a former Aeroflot executive was arrested Thursday on large-scale fraud charges. Berezovsky has been a suspect in the Aeroflot case and called the arrest part of a political attack against him.

Sochi TV Station Loses Permit

The Moscow Times

The Press Ministry suspended on Thursday the broadcast license of a television company in Sochi, saying the company had violated election law by providing slanted coverage in the city's mayoral race, Interfax reported.

The ministry said in a statement that MAX-TV was cut off after the local election commission complained to the ministry that the station had been spreading slanderous information about one of the candidates for mayor in the Black Sea resort town and had

ignored requests to air retractions.

The station's journalists said in remarks broadcast by NTV television Friday that they had not received any written notification of the suspension. They said the decision was a means of exerting political pressuring on them.

Mikhail Fedotov, the secretary of the Russian Journalists' Union, said in televised remarks that existing law obliges a licensing body, in this case the Press Ministry, to inform an organization in writing of its decision to suspend the latter's license within three days of the decision; only then can the decision take effect.

Broadcasting was suspended as of Friday and the company has until Dec. 31 to give the ministry an explanation for the violations, according to Interfax.