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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Review of Rice Talks

MOSCOW (AP) — Russian officials heard nothing new from U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice that would cause them to temper their opposition to jettisoning the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, the Foreign Ministry said.

But the deputy head of the Security Council put a new spin on the upcoming U.S.-Russian talks on strategic stability, suggesting that North Korea and Iran could join the discussions. The United States has cited both as potential hostile nuclear powers that necessitate U.S. development of the missile shield.

"We are for bringing the maximum number of countries possessing nuclear arms or technologies into the process of discussion of strategic stability issues in the framework of the ABM Treaty," the Security Council's deputy head, Oleg Chernov, was quoted by Interfax as saying.

5-Year Cloning Ban

MOSCOW (MT) — The Cabinet on Friday decided to impose a five-year moratorium on human cloning but to continue experimentation in animal cloning, Interfax reported.

Cabinet chief of staff Alexei Volin said the moratorium was imposed because there is no international consensus on cloning. While France and Germany have banned cloning research, it remains legal in Britain, he said.

Forest Fire

MOSCOW (Reuters) — A raging forest fire Saturday threatened a radioactive waste storage facility and forced the temporary shutdown of a nuclear reactor in the Voronezh region, local officials said.

Fire experts said the blaze began dangerously close to a storage site for radioactive material and quickly took hold in the tinder-box conditions caused by a current heat wave.

Scores of firefighters battled for several hours to extinguish the blaze, which engulfed some 23 hectares, as it closed in on the Novovoronezhskaya power plant.

"There was no threat to the nuclear power plant, but there was a threat to the storage facility of radioactive waste which is located nearby," fire chief Vladimir Lozovsky said on NTV television.

Firefighters said the fire was probably started by careless picnickers.

German Handover

MOSCOW (AP) — Bavarian State Governor Edmund Stoiber has presented President Vladimir Putin with two volumes of documents illustrating the work of 19th-century Russian diplomats in Munich.

The documents were left in Munich when the diplomats left at the beginning of World War I.

Putin praised Stoiber on Friday for bringing the documents.

"You are showing us an example of resolving the problem of cultural valuables," Putin was quoted by Interfax as saying.

TV Anchor Shot

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) — A leading anchor on nongovernment television was found dead of a gunshot wound in his apartment after he failed to show up for his evening broadcast on time, his station said.

Georgy Sanaya, the lead anchor for commercial Rustavi-2 television and its 11 p.m. Night Courier show, was shot in the head, Rustavi-2 reported Thursday night.

Police as of Sunday had not provided a motive for the killing. But his supporters say they fear he was killed for reasons relating to his work as a journalist.

"I think this is a political killing and they are trying to frighten journalists who report things the way they are," said Nika Tapatadze, Rustavi-2's news director. He didn't say who "they" were.

Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze has ordered top officials to lead the investigation and has asked for help from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

$44M Hospital Loan

MOSCOW (MT) — U.S. Eximbank has given a $44.1 million loan guarantee for the Russian Children's Clinical Hospital to buy medical equipment from the Ohio Medical Instrument Co. and other U.S. supplies, the bank said in a statement.

The hospital, located at 117 Leninsky Prospekt, has 1,023 beds, 32 departments and treats 15,000 children from throughout Russia each year, the bank said.

"I am particularly delighted to support a transaction that will directly benefit Russian children while sustaining jobs at U.S. businesses large and small," said John Robson, chairman of the bank.

Sawyer Case Delayed

MOSCOW (MT) — The Nizhny Novgorod federal court has delayed until Tuesday the hearing of an appeal by U.S. quartz company Sawyer Research Products over a lower court's decision to annul its lease with the Gus-Khrustalny Quartz Plant.

"After listening to both sides the court decided to give it sufficient time so that both sides could fully present their stand in the conflict," Sawyer's lawyer Anna Murray said.

Sawyer signed a 25-year leasing deal in 1997 with the then-bankrupt quartz plant in the Vladimir region town of Gus-Khrustalny. But in May a Vladimir court found the contract illegal, and Sawyer representatives found they had been barred from the plant by armed guards in early June.

Hole Cut in Kursk

MOSCOW (Reuters) — Divers have cut a fresh hole in the outer hull of the sunken Kursk nuclear submarine through which heavy lifting cables will be attached, a navy spokesman said Sunday, despite reported problems with cutting gear.

Northern Fleet spokesman Igor Dygalo said divers had completed a hole in the submarine's fifth compartment and were clearing away material before tackling the thicker, interior skin, Interfax reported.

Divers were also working on an additional hole near the seventh compartment, to be followed by similar work on the neighboring eighth compartment, Dygalo said.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Radiation Protection Board said Friday that it is placing a special buoy in Norway's Arctic waters to monitor possible radiation leaks during the effort to raise the Kursk.

Chechen Strike

MOSCOW (Reuters) — General Vladimir Moltenskoi, the army's commander in Chechnya, said Sunday federal forces have destroyed a group of up to 20 rebels in a special operation.

Moltenskoi told journalists his troops had carried out a series of air strikes on rebel positions in the southern Vedeno region. Rebels who survived the attack were then forced to flee onto minefields laid by federal sappers, he added.

Moltenskoi said the latest operation had been conclusive, but possibly "not the last."