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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Budanov Trial Halted

The Associated Press

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia The politically charged trial of tank commander Colonel Yury Budanov, who is accused of murdering a young Chechen woman, was suspended Monday because the victims mother was hospitalized with heart trouble.

Roza Bashayeva collapsed with heart pain Friday, lawyer Abdulla Khamzayev told the court, appealing for a delay in the proceedings until she recovers.

The judge granted the request, despite objections from lawyers for Budanov. Proceedings were to resume March 20.

Budanov has been charged with abducting 18-year-old Kheda Kungayeva and murdering her. Budanov has admitted strangling her, but denies the killing was premeditated.




New Tent City Put Up

Reuters

KIEV Ukrainian students on Monday set up a new tent camp only days after police ripped down a downtown encampment that had become the focus of demonstrations against President Leonid Kuchma.

Police on Thursday dismantled 50 tents on Kievs main street and arrested 40 protesters who demanded Kuchma quit over claims he ordered the abduction of reporter Georgy Gongadze, whose headless body was found last November. Kuchma has denied all involvement.

Students chanting "Kuchma out!" erected five new tents in a park that is home to a statue of national hero Taras Shevchenko, a 19th-century poet who is Ukraines most powerful symbol of resistance against oppression.

Yury Lutsenko, one of the leaders of the Ukraine Without Kuchma movement, told reporters the new camp would spearhead further opposition protests. "These tents will become a permanent outpost of our protests, we will be talking to people, distributing leaflets," he said.




Nigerian Leader Visits

The Associated Press

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo arrived in Moscow on Monday with his defense minister for the first top-level meetings between the two nations.

Obasanjos three-day visit was expected to focus on trade and military technical cooperation. He was to meet President Vladimir Putin and Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev on Tuesday. Interfax said the delegation would view military aircraft and artillery systems at the military town of Kubinka outside Moscow on Tuesday. It quoted unnamed military sources as saying Sergeyev and Nigerian Defense Minister General Theophilus Danjuma were expected to sign an agreement on military-technical cooperation through 2005.

Trade, particularly in the oil and gas industry, is also on the agenda.




Putin on Kosovo

The Associated Press

President Vladimir Putin on Monday said the recent tension on Macedonias border with Kosovo was a result of the withdrawal of the Yugoslav army and likened it to Russias past experience in Chechnya.

In recent weeks, Macedonian troops and ethnic Albanian insurgents have clashed on the border with Kosovo, a Serbian province run by international peacekeepers.

In televised remarks to the Cabinet, Putin said the fighting was a result of the withdrawal of the Serb-led Yugoslav army from Kosovo after a NATO-led bombing campaign in 1999, and that the international peacekeepers could not control the situation. "What is happening is what we warned about," Putin said. "After the departure of the Yugoslav army, despite the presence of international forces, the well-known power vacuum took shape and was quickly filled by extremists."




Hanssen Hearing

The Associated Press

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia The threat of Robert Philip Hanssen bolting and spilling more secrets to Moscow is so great that he should remain in prison, government prosecutors planned to tell a judge Monday.

Hanssen, an FBI counterintelligence agent accused of passing top-secret information to the Soviets, and later Russians, for 15 years, was appearing in U.S. District Court for his detention hearing.

The government was expected to ask the court to keep Hanssen jailed, arguing that its case against him is so strong and the risks of freeing him too great for him to be released.

Hanssen, a 25-year veteran FBI agent, has been held at an undisclosed facility since his arrest Feb. 18.




Japan Talks Still On

Reuters

TOKYO Japan and Russia agreed Monday that a summit between their leaders will take place March 25 as planned, despite the uncertain fate of Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, Japans Foreign Ministry said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov and Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Ryozo Kato agreed in Tokyo that President Vladimir Putin will meet Japans leader as scheduled in Irkutsk at the end of March, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official told reporters.

The talks are expected to tackle unresolved World War II hostilities.




Sakhalin Snowstorms

The Associated Press

A fierce snowstorm cut off Sakhalin Island from the mainland Monday, and left 18 towns without electricity and at least one boat stranded off the coast, officials said.

Interfax said four people had died in the storm on the Far Eastern island. Three were trapped in their cars and a woman froze to death outside.




Boat Leaves Japan

The Associated Press

TOKYO A Russian fishing boat that took refuge in a northern Japanese port last month after fleeing from Russian coast guards put to sea on Sunday after being ordered to leave by Japanese authorities, a maritime official said.

The 243-ton STM-17 departed Wakkanai on the island of Hokkaido on Sunday evening with all 12 crew members abroad, said Chiharu Saito, an official at the Japan Maritime Safety Agency. She declined to discuss the boats destination.

Russia asked Japan to extradite the ship after it arrived in Wakkanai on Feb. 21 following a 12-hour chase by Russian coast guard vessels and aircraft. Russian media have said the trawler crew was poaching.