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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Media-MOST Ruling

The Associated Press

A court on Tuesday ordered the liquidation of Media-MOST, backing a lawsuit by tax authorities who accused the media group of violating financial security rules, a court spokesman said.

The suit was initially filed last December. Media-MOST critics have claimed that the holding is an empty shell whose assets were stripped by founder Vladimir Gusinsky.

The suit demanded the liquidation of Media-MOST for insolvency, citing the company's high level of debts relative to assets, court officials say.

Media-MOST lawyers on the case could not immediately be reached for comment, and the holding company declined to speculate on the possible consequences before consulting with its attorneys. But Media-MOST will appeal the ruling, said company spokesman Dmitry Ostalsky.

Grozny War Rally

The Associated Press

GROZNY — About 500 people gathered in bombed-out Grozny on Tuesday to demand an end to Russia's military campaign in Chechnya and more international pressure on Moscow to stop violence against Chechen civilians.

"Stop the terror against the peaceful population," read one poster. "Freedom to innocent prisoners" and "The war in Chechnya is a shame on Russia," read others.

Meanwhile, a presidential panel reported Tuesday that it had managed to release 115 people abducted by the rebels and is working to free 149 more, Interfax said.

Also, the Interior Ministry said Tuesday that the rebels had raised funds through counterfeiting. Nikolai Nino, the head of the ministry's department for economic crimes, said a counterfeiting shop found in February in the southern Chechen town of Shali produced counterfeit bills with an estimated face value of up to $4.5 million, Interfax said.

New Yugoslav Envoy

The Associated Press

Yugoslavia's new ambassador to Russia formally took up his post Tuesday, replacing former President Slobodan Milosevic's brother as Belgrade's representative in Moscow.

Danilo Vuksanovich, a former deputy prime minister in Milosevic's Cabinet, handed his credentials to First Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Avdeyev, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The former director of a metal-processing plant in Montenegro, Vuksanovich was appointed ambassador in part as a Serbian response to Montenegrin demands for ambassadors' posts in important capitals.

Vuksanovich's predecessor, Borislav Milosevic, is still in Moscow, a Yugoslav Embassy official said, adding that she did not know what his plans were.

Pope Visit 'Pastoral'

The Associated Press

The Catholic Church's chief representative in Russia said Tuesday that Pope John Paul II was visiting Ukraine in June to minister to Catholic believers, not to make a political statement.

"I want to emphasize that this is a pastoral visit," Archbishop Thaddeus Kondrusiewicz said of the pope's June 23-27 trip, which the Russian Orthodox Church opposes.

Kondrusiewicz said there are 6 million Catholics in Ukraine, where Orthodox believers make up the majority.

"The pope has made almost 100 pilgrimages to different countries of the world. He goes to those places where his faithful are. He's been to countries where there are fewer faithful than in Ukraine," he said.

He said his administration was organizing buses from Moscow to Kiev for people who wished to see the pope. He said a few hundred people have expressed a desire to go.

Red Cross Appeal

The Associated Press

The International Red Cross on Tuesday appealed for funds to help support 15,000 victims of spring floods that inundated Siberian cities and villages and left some victims with only the few belongings they could drag up to their roofs.

The Red Cross said that 45,900 people in the flooded regions had been moved to evacuation centers since May 13, but that some were still living in tents in spite of freezing nighttime temperatures.

It asked for 480,000 Swiss francs ($272,720) to help the Russian Red Cross' relief efforts, being conducted in cooperation with the Emergency Situations Ministry.

Tobin's Dad Visits

The Associated Press

The father of jailed U.S. Fulbright scholar John Tobin arrived Tuesday in Moscow with books, letters and messages of support for his son, who was convicted last month on drug charges after being accused of ties with American intelligence.

John Tobin Sr. was accompanied by lawmaker James Maloney, a Democrat from Tobin's home state of Connecticut. The two were scheduled to spend the night in Moscow and then travel Wednesday to Voronezh, where the younger Tobin is in jail pending appeal of his 37-month prison sentence. An appeal hearing is scheduled for June 7.

The elder Tobin said his mission was "to let him know how many people are behind him and what's going on in our country to try and secure his release. I mean, there's a lot more going on than he knows about.

"The main thing is to look him in the eye … and ask him to take heart," Tobin said upon arrival at Sheremetyevo Airport.

Yeromenko Dies

The Moscow Times

Renowned actor and director Nikolai Yeromenko Jr. has died after suffering a stroke. He was 52.

Yeromenko was born Feb. 14, 1949, to a family of Belarussian actors. After completing the State Institute of Cinematography, he studied at the Gerasimova and Makarova studio. He starred in films such as "Krasnoye i Chernoye" (Red and Black), " U Ozera" (At the Sea) and "Yunost Petra" (Peter's Youth). But he won the most acclaim for his role in the smash hit " Piraty XX Veka" (Pirates of the 20th Century).

Yeromenko died Sunday and his wake was held Tuesday.

Best Train Food

The Moscow Times

Passengers can vote with their forks Wednesday for the best restaurant car in Russia at Paveletsky Station.

From 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., restaurant cars will attempt to attract visitors to their wagons for their meals on wheels. The wagon with the most visitors will win the prized title, Moskovsky Komsomolets reported Tuesday.

The aim of the competition is to prepare for the summer season of travel and for train cooks to share tips and learn from customers. All meals will cost 40 rubles, MK said.

Kalejs Loses Case

The Associated Press

MELBOURNE, Australia — A judge Tuesday ordered the extradition to Latvia of Nazi war-crimes suspect Konrads Kalejs, where he is wanted over alleged World War II atrocities.

Lawyers for Kalejs, 87, immediately issued a statement saying they would appeal the ruling, describing it as "inhumane and unjust."

Latvia indicted Kalejs for allegedly taking part in atrocities in Latvia during the 1941-44 German occupation when some 80,000 Jews were killed.

Kalejs is accused of being a guard at the Salaspils concentration camp near Riga, where Jews and Russian prisoners of war were executed, tortured or died of malnutrition.

Kalejs, who emigrated to Australia after the war, denies the charges.

Defense attorneys argued that Kalejs, who is said to be suffering from prostate cancer and dementia, is too ill to be extradited.