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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Pavlova's Ashes


LONDON — The ashes of Anna Pavlova, arguably Russia and the world's greatest ballerina, are finally on their way back to her homeland from a cemetery in London where they have been on display since her death 70 years ago.

Harvey Thomas, a director at the London Cremation Company which owns the Golders Green Crematorium where Pavlova's remains are held, said Tuesday that he would be flying to Moscow on March 13 with the ashes.

His party will also be carrying the remains of her husband, Victor Dandre. The two urns are to be presented to Moscow's Novodevichy Cemetery.

"Russia wants these things desperately," Thomas said. "And yet we are battling with the Russian Embassy in London for visas."

Thomas added that the crematorium accepted an application for Pavlova's ashes from the Committee of Russian and Slavonic Art, which had the backing of Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

Sutyagin Trial

The Associated Press

Igor Sutyagin, an arms control researcher accused of spying for the United States, won a small victory in court Tuesday when the judge agreed to call three witnesses at the defense's request, his lawyer Vladimir Vasiltsov said.

But the court in Kaluga, southwest of Moscow, turned down Sutyagin's request to permit representatives of nongovernmental organizations to assist in his defense and refused to let him out of jail during the trial, Vasiltsov said.

He said the court had agreed to call two of Sutyagin's colleagues from the U.S.A. and Canada Institute and a former navy officer to testify.

Sutyagin's case is the latest in what human rights advocates say is a spate of spy cases intended to discourage researchers from maintaining contacts with foreigners.

877,000 Amnestied

The Associated Press

About 877,000 people benefited from an amnesty Russia granted last year to convicts and people facing criminal charges, the Prosecutor General's Office said Tuesday.

Parliament regularly passes amnesties for people convicted of or charged with minor crimes in an effort to relieve overcrowding in prisons and pretrial detention centers.

Russia has more than 900,000 people behind bars, one of the world's highest incarceration rates.

Last year's amnesty, which was in force from the end of June to the end of November, freed 206,200 convicts, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Another 466,906 people who were convicted of crimes but were not imprisoned — those given a suspended sentence or put on probation — benefited from the amnesty. Ongoing investigations against 143,497 people were dropped, the statement said.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Ministry department in charge of prisons said 42,585 people had been freed from pretrial detention. The prosecutor's office said that of the 877,000 people amnestied, 12,237 had committed crimes again.

Pensions Raised

The Associated Press

In Russia's latest effort to boost its ailing defense industry, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov on Tuesday raised pensions for retired workers of nuclear weapons plants.

In addition to a regular government pension, the retirees will receive a supplement that will make their monthly pension equivalent to at least 55 percent of their monthly wage before retirement, the government press service said. Those who have government medals or spent more than 15 years on the job will receive higher pensions.

President Vladimir Putin promised to increase social benefits for nuclear weapons workers last year when he toured Russia's major nuclear arms manufacturer in the Ural Mountains city of Snezhinsk, known as Chelyabinsk-70 during Soviet times.

Money for Baikal

The Associated Press

The government has boosted funding for the protection of Lake Baikal, the earth's oldest and deepest lake, Itar-Tass reported Tuesday.

More than 90 million rubles ($3.2 million), or one-third more than last year, will be spent on conservation efforts for the lake in 2001, the agency said, citing Valery Molotov, head of the Lake Baikal water resource management committee.

Molotov said his committee was planning to draft legislation that would regulate water levels and fishing, Itar-Tass said.

No to Beef Dumping

The Associated Press

Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said Tuesday that the government would not tolerate dumping of European beef on the Russian market in the wake of Europe's mass slaughter of livestock, Interfax reported.

Some European countries have been killing imported livestock, fearing mad cow disease and a recent outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Britain. Russian officials apparently fear the meat could be re-exported instead of destroyed.

Gordeyev was quoted by Interfax as saying that the government would monitor meat prices to make sure European countries are not dumping meat on the Russian market. If necessary, Russia will alter its customs policies and tariffs to limit imports, he added.

Gordeyev said he would look into a deal made two weeks ago by Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhov to import 100,000 tons of Bavarian beef.

Mystery Fishing Boat

The Associated Press

Military prosecutors in the Far East are trying to determine the identity of a fishing boat that was shot at and sunk by the Russian coast guard last week, Itar-Tass reported Tuesday.

On Thursday, coast guards near the Kuril Islands fired on the Russian trawler Albatros-101, which had been trying to flee from them for 23 hours, said Rear Admiral Valery Logvinenko. The boat sank and the crew of 28 was rescued.

But a man calling himself the captain of the Albatros-101 has issued an open letter saying his vessel had nothing to do with the incident and was moored at a Japanese port at the time, the report said.