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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Busy Day at Duma

MOSCOW (AP) -- The State Duma on Thursday approved legal amendments intended to bar the propagation of terrorism through the media and a separate bill to impose a five-year ban on human cloning.

The Duma voted 371-4 to approve the amendments to the media law in the first of three readings. The legislation bans the use of media for "the propaganda or justification of terrorism and extremism."

The draft legislation follows repeated demands by government officials for the media to stop carrying statements by rebel leaders in Chechnya.

The Duma voted 272-6 with four abstentions to pass the cloning bill in the first of three readings. The legislation says that cloned human embryos cannot be brought into Russia.

The Duma also voted to soften an earlier move barring foreigners from owning a controlling interest in national television stations. The television bill obliged foreign broadcasters that had set up their business in Russia before the bill was passed to sell their business. The Duma decided Thursday the retroactive demand was excessive and withdrew it.

Spy Day

MOSCOW (AP) -- Speaker Gennady Seleznyov opened the regular State Duma session with kind words for secret agents, who marked their professional holiday Thursday.

"Let's congratulate the workers of special services and wish them success in their difficult work," Seleznyov told lawmakers. "Especially as many of them are sitting among us here."

The Soviet-era holiday commemorates the Dec. 20, 1917, establishment of the dreaded Communist secret police, the Cheka.

Chekist's Day, as it was known during the Soviet times, was officially renamed the Day of Security Organs' Workers after the Soviet collapse.

Weapons Treaty

LONDON (AP) -- Britain signed an agreement Thursday to provide up to $17.6 million to help Russia destroy its chemical weapons.

Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon described the treaty as a "significant milestone" on the path to removing weapons of mass destruction.

Hoon signed the treaty for Britain, and Zinovy Pak, director general of the Munitions Agency, which is responsible for the destruction of chemical weapons, initialed it on Russia's behalf.

FSB Turns to Interpol

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Novosibirsk branch of the Federal Security Service has asked Interpol to help find former Olympic biathlon champion Alexander Tikhonov, RIA Novosti reported.

Tikhonov is wanted for questioning in the investigation of an alleged attempt last year on the life of Aman Tuleyev, governor of the Kemerovo region in western Siberia.

The FSB turned to Interpol after Tikhonov disappeared from a clinic in Innsbruck, Austria, where he was undergoing a course of medical treatment.

A Russian 'Affair'

HOLLYWOOD, California (Reuters) -- David Arquette, Tim Blake Nelson and Emily Mortimer are starring in "A Foreign Affair," a dark comedy based on the "romance tours" designed to pair lonely American men with beautiful Russian women who hope to find freedom through marriage.

Now shooting in St. Petersburg, "Affair" is the story of two brothers who are beside themselves when their mother dies. They decide to go to Russia to find and bring home a traditionally minded wife for their younger brother.