Get the latest updates as we post them right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

6 Bombing Arrests

MOSCOW (Reuters) Police in Chechnya have arrested six people after a string of deadly car bombings, and the prosecutor general said Wednesday he would lead an investigation into the blasts.

Officials said three people were killed and 34 injured when three car bombs exploded Tuesday in vehicles parked near a courthouse and police station in Gudermes, the seat of the rebel regions Kremlin-appointed administration.

At least one of the dead and most of the wounded were policemen.

Interfax quoted prosecutors in Gudermes as saying six people had been arrested and were being questioned. Video cameras with cassettes showing the blasts, as well as walkie-talkies, had been taken from them.

Interfax said preliminary information showed the organizers of the attacks were part of a group led by Chechen warlord Arbi Barayev.

In Defense of Danilov

MOSCOW (AP) Seventeen prominent scholars have urged prosecutors to allow independent experts to review accusations against a scientist jailed on treason and fraud charges, a newspaper reported Wednesday.

Valentin Danilov, of Krasnoyarsk Technical University, is accused of selling secrets to a Chinese import-export company. He was hospitalized Monday with heart trouble, and has been held under armed guard in intensive care.

Danilov says he did not violate any laws because he provided information that was already published in open scientific journals.

Fellow researchers have said the materials were declassified in 1992, according to Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

But Danilovs lawyer Yelena Yevmenova said some government departments failed to mark all documents as no longer secret, allowing authorities to bring the charges.

The 17 members of the Russian Academy of Sciences from Siberia have sent a letter to the Prosecutor Generals Office, asking for an independent review of the accusations and for an open trial, Eduard Kruglyakov, one of the authors of the letter, told Nezavisimaya Gazeta.

The letter was sent May 16, but prosecutors have not replied, he said.

Ukraine Charges 19

KIEV (Reuters) Ukraines SBU security service said Wednesday that 19 people had been charged for their part in violence during a mass demonstration in Kiev in March.

A spokesman for the SBU said they were charged with organizing and taking an active part in mass disturbances that had grave consequences. If convicted they could be jailed for 12 years.

Two months of street marches against President Leonid Kuchma turned violent March 9 when riot police and protesters fought a pitched battle outside the presidential administration. Scores of demonstrators and several police officers were injured.

Some 10,000 marchers were demanding Kuchma quit over alleged links to the murder of journalist Georgy Gongadze. The president denies the allegations.

Over 200 people were rounded up by police after the march. Most were released after paying fines.

Pasko Trial Delayed

VLADIVOSTOK, Far East (AP) The treason retrial of military journalist Grigory Pasko was postponed for the third time Wednesday in what supporters said was an attempt to break the defendants will.

The Pacific Military Court in Vladivostok provided no reason for the rescheduling. The trial is now set for July 11, said Paskos lawyer Anatoly Pyshkin.

Pasko was charged with divulging information about the combat-readiness of Russias Pacific Fleet to Japanese television. He contends the case was really intended to punish him for reports he filed on the fleets nuclear waste-dumping practices. Amnesty International urged authorities to clear Pasko of all charges this week.

Pasko was cleared of espionage charges in 1999 but sentenced to three years in prison on abuse-of-office charges. He was freed because he had served more than half his sentence. But prosecutors demanded a treason conviction and Pasko himself appealed, fighting for full acquittal. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Pyshkin said the court wanted to force Pasko to accept a light conviction that would allow prosecutors to save face while letting the journalist remain free.

Lukashenko Visits

MOSCOW (AP) Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko held talks Wednesday with President Vladimir Putin, in what some media viewed as an attempt to secure Moscows support in the run-up to the Belarussian presidential election this fall.

Lukashenko is widely expected to win the September election.

Lukashenko was also to meet with top Russian business executives to discuss joint oil projects and to urge investment in the Belarussian economy, Kommersant reported.

Lukashenko, having entered the election race, is intent on ensuring Moscows support, and is fulfilling Vladimir Putins wish that Belarus became more attractive to Russian capital, the business daily commented.

Lukashenko also met with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, with whom he was expected to discuss import tariffs and press for a $30 million loan that Russias Central Bank has promised.

Blair to Vladivostok

VLADIVOSTOK, Far East (AP) Admiral Dennis Blair, commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Command, met with a Russian naval commander and toured a naval ship in Vladivostok on Wednesday as part of a friendship visit.

Blair flew to Moscow last week on the invitation of the Defense Ministry. He and his delegation then traveled to Khabarovsk to meet Russian military officers and observe military training. He arrived Wednesday in Vladivostok, where he met with Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Mikhail Zakharenko, inspected a Russian naval ship and paid a visit to a marines division, the Pacific Fleet press service reported. Blair is to return to Hawaii on Thursday.

Lithuanian PM Resigns

VILNIUS, Lithuania (Reuters) Lithuanian Prime Minister Rolandas Paksas resigned Wednesday, bowing to pressure after a key coalition party walked out of the minority government this week.

President Valdas Adamkus accepted his resignation and appointed Economy Minister Eugenijus Gentvilas acting prime minister until a new government is formed, an adviser said.

His resignation followed the withdrawal of the New Union party from the government on Monday after Paksas rejected its demand to quit amid arguments over privatization and other reforms.

Paksas said he hoped his resignation would allow the ruling parties to rebuild their coalition and keep the leftist opposition from taking power.

Loko Takes Cup

MOSCOW (Reuters) Lokomotiv Moscow beat Anzhi Makhachkala 4-3 in a penalty shootout to retain the Russian Cup on Wednesday.

Dmitry Loskov, Russias top scorer last year, scored the winning penalty in the final as Lokomotiv won the cup for the fourth time in the last five years.

With the score locked a 0-0, Anzhi captain Narvik Sirkhayev appeared to have given the Caucasus side the cup for the first time when he scored in the final minute of normal time.

But Georgian substitute Zaza Dzhanashia equalized in the last minute of stoppage time to send the game into extra time.