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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Child Killed at Zoo

The Associated Press

A 10-year-old boy was killed when a cord on his jacket got caught on a tigers cage in a zoo and he was strangled, a zoo official said Wednesday.

Svetlana Glushchenko, spokeswoman for the Penza zoo in central Russia, said zoo workers found the dead boy on Tuesday afternoon when they went to feed the animals. She said there were no witnesses to the boys death.

But she added that investigators had tentatively concluded that the boy, whom she did not identify, had been throwing wooden sticks at the tiger, and had climbed onto the cage. The investigators theorize that the tiger had lunged at the boy, and he had tried to run away, but a cord on his jacket snagged on the cage, trapping him, Glushchenko said.

France Backs ABM Pact

The Associated Press

French Defense Minister Alain Richard expressed opposition to U.S. plans to build a national missile defense during a speech to Russian students Tuesday.

The French position in favor of preserving the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty should not bend, Richard said in a lecture to the elite Moscow State Institute of International Relations, according to Itar-Tass.

Richard also met with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on Tuesday and discussed European security.

Man Dies in Power Cut

The Associated Press

A veteran who was breathing with the help of an artificial respirator died this week after electricity was cut to a hospital for failing to pay bills, Unified Energy Systems power grid operator said.

A local electricity company in Tambov, 400 kilometers southeast of Moscow, cut power to the military hospital Monday morning, according to a statement released late Tuesday by UES.

Power was restored 40 minutes after the cutoff, but by then the patient had already died, the statement said. Media reported that the veteran was 73 years old.

McDonald's Fined

The Moscow Times

The Federal Labor Inspectorate is fining McDonalds after deciding that the fast-food giant has violated the nations labor laws.

The inspectorate is levying a fine of 2,000 rubles to 10,000 rubles on McDonalds after finding, during an inspection of the company, that its policies on working time, time off and job protection did not conform with the Labor Code, sources close to the probe said.

The investigation also found, however, that McDonalds was much more vigilant than most stores and restaurants in upholding workers rights.

McDonalds refused to comment on the Federal Labor Inspectorates report, saying it had not yet seen it.

But the restaurant said in a statement that it "is pleased with the results of the inspections," pointing out that it found McDonalds to offer fair pay, benefits and working conditions.

The inspection of McDonalds was sparked by a group of workers who accused the restaurant of unfair treatment.

Crime Down 1.6%

The Moscow Times

Almost 3 million crimes were committed last year in Russia, a miniscule drop of 1.6 percent from the previous year, Interfax reported Wednesday, citing Interior Ministry statistics.

By far the most common offense remained robbery, with the 1.3 million committed accounting for 44.4 percent of all crimes, the ministry said. Also, the ministry recorded 318,000 murders and 7,900 rapes.

Murder Suspect Held

The Moscow Times

MOSCOW (MT) The Ukrainian Security Service said Wednesday that it has arrested a reputed St. Petersburg criminal under suspicion that he masterminded a number of contract killings and robberies.

Russian press speculated that the suspect, Vladimir Belyayev, also was behind the killing of St. Petersburg Deputy Governor Mikhail Manevich.

Belyayev was arrested at the Kiev airport Saturday when he arrived from Warsaw "probably with the intention to buy a house and settle down," a Ukrainian Security Service press officer said in an interview.

The officer and the Russian Federal Security Service said they had no knowledge as to whether Belyaev was involved in Manevichs death.

The St. Petersburg deputy governor was gunned down by a rooftop assassin in August 1997.

Call Over Tymoshenko

The Associated Press

KIEV Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma is considering an appeal by prosecutors to fire Deputy Prime Minister Julia Tymoshenko because of corruption charges against her, Interfax reported Wednesday.

Kuchma will decide on the issue "in the coming days," said presidential spokesman Oleksandr Martynenko, according to Interfax.

Tymoshenko was charged Monday by Ukraines top prosecutor with stealing Russian natural gas, falsifying documents and tax evasion in one of the countrys highest-profile probes into official corruption.

Prosecutor General Mykhailo Potebenko on Tuesday asked Kuchma to dismiss Tymoshenko to prevent her from using her government position to influence the investigation.

Tymoshenko denied any wrongdoing and claimed the case was orchestrated by political opponents, filing a complaint against Potebenko.

Abramovich Sworn In

The Moscow Times

New Chukotka Governor Roman Abramovich was inaugurated Wednesday in the regions capital Anadyr at a ceremony with 200 guests, Interfax reported.

Abramovich, a 34-year-old oil tycoon, won 90 percent of the votes in elections that took place in late December. Incumbent Governor Mikhail Nazarov pulled out of the race just days before the vote.

The inauguration took place in the citys Palace of Culture with a guest list that included Americans from Alaska, which lies a stones throw across the Bering Strait from the region.

Vice Squad Formed

The Moscow Times

Moscow can now boast of its first vice squad a 10-person unit within the city police department charged with keeping an eye on "public morality," the head of the squad, Alexander Bachkov, said Wednesday.

The squad will watch the conduct of the citys prostitutes, pornography dealers and soccer fans, Bachkov said.

Initially, though, the squad will educate police officers with beats on how to deal with "immoral elements" on the streets, he said.

The vice squad has set up a hotline for Muscovites to call to report inappropriate activities: 200-9977.