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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Budanov Testifies



ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia (AP) Colonel Yury Budanov, who is accused of murdering a Chechen woman, testified Friday at a court session off limits to the press.

Budanov is accused of abducting an 18-year-old from her family home in the village of Tengi-Chu and killing her. Budanov has admitted he strangled the young woman, but says he suspected her of being a rebel sniper and killed her in a rage during an interrogation.

At Budanovs request, the judge excluded journalists from the courtroom Friday because Budanov said his testimony might include secret military information.

Budanovs attorney, Anatoly Mukhin, said that Budanov testified that he concluded the woman was a sniper after her photograph was identified for him from among a group of Polaroid snapshots of Chechen women holding automatic rifles. He said the head of the pro-Moscow administration of the Urus-Martan district, where Tengi-Chu is located, provided the photographs.

Mukhin said Budanovs testimony would likely take three or four days.




Army Base Blaze



MOSCOW (AP) A bolt of lightning ignited container cars full of ammunition at a military base in Siberia on Friday, prompting a barrage of explosions and a fire, officials said. No casualties were reported in the incident in the Chita region.

More than 10,000 people living on the base and the nearby villages of Nerchinsk, Zarechny and Nagorny were evacuated when the explosions started, Itar-Tass reported.

Officials said explosions continued into Saturday.

Valery Shcheblanin, a spokesmen for the local military district, said on NTV television on Saturday evening that the fire was out but cleanup workers could not yet move into the area for fear of more explosions in the ashes.




Canadian Visit



MOSCOW (AP) Canadian Foreign Minister John Manley arrived in Moscow on Sunday to prepare for Prime Minister Jean Chretiens official visit to Russia later this year.

Manley was to hold talks with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on Monday to arrange Chretiens itinerary, a spokeswoman for the Canadian Embassy said.

Ivanov and Manley will also discuss bilateral relations, including a schedule for political contacts this year, as well as problems of international and regional security and strengthening strategic stability, Itar-Tass said.

During his two-day stay in Moscow, Manley was also expected to hold talks with Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko and Vitaly Smirnov, the chairman of the Russian Olympic Committee, Itar-Tass said.

A date for Chretiens visit has not been announced, but it is expected later this summer.




New Sub Tested



MOSCOW (Reuters) Russia has begun testing a new super-quiet, nuclear-powered attack submarine, a navy commander was quoted as saying Friday.

Vladimir Kuroyedov told Interfax that the new sub, the Severodvinsk, was being tested at sea but was not yet complete.

Even NATO says this boat beats the newest Western subs in most measures, including noise level, he said.

He added that the submarine would still need additional financing.




NTV Reclaims Logo



MOSCOW (MT) Gazprom-controlled NTV television has won the rights to the companys famed logo of the three letters NTV and a green ball, news agencies reported.

A Moscow court declared Thursday that a 1998 deal under which NTV sold its brand to the NTV-Holding company for 5,000 rubles was invalid.

It was not only a very bad price for the brand, but this money also was not paid, NTV spokesman Oleg Sapozhnikov was quoted by the Vedomosti newspaper as saying.

The debt allowed Gazprom to sue NTV-Holding a spin-off of Vladimir Gusinskys Media-MOST holding and win.




Art Goes Home



NEW YORK (AP) About 200 valuable works of art smuggled then hidden in a Brooklyn apartment were returned Friday to Azerbaijan, prosecutors said.

The prints and drawings by 19th-century and early 20th-century Russian artists Shishkin, Lebedev, Larionov, Serov and Mahkovsky were stolen in 1993 from the Azerbaijan Museum of Fine Arts in Baku, Azerbaijan, the U.S. District Attorneys office in Manhattan said in a statement.

In connection with an investigation of an international smuggling ring, U.S. Customs seized the paintings, which were hidden in the closet of a Brooklyn apartment, the office said.

U.S. Customs arrested two men for their part in the conspiracy. Masatsugu Koga pleaded guilty, and Matavan Aleskerova was convicted in May 1999, the district attorney said. A third man, Aydin Ibragimov, remains a fugitive.




Hitlers Filmmaker



ST. PETERSBURG (AP) Nazi-era propagandist Leni Riefenstahl said she does not regret her work but wishes people would show her more kindness.

The 98-year-old filmmaker and photographer is best known for the 1934 Nazi classic Triumph of the Will, both reviled and renowned as the best propaganda film ever made.

Her visit to St. Petersburg last week came on the eve of the 60th anniversary of Hitlers invasion of the Soviet Union. Her films were to have been screened at a documentary film festival.

But officials in St. Petersburg on Wednesday decided to prohibit public screenings of Triumph of the Will and Olympia, Riefenstahls film about the 1936 Berlin summer Olympics, after residents protested, TV6 television reported. The films will be shown at closed screenings.

I dont regret what I did, but I always wish that toward me, as toward every person, there could be more forgiveness and kindness, she said Thursday at a news conference in St. Petersburg.