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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

2 Die in Mine

MOSCOW (AP) Ч Two people fell into a Siberian coal mine and died while trying to steal a copper cable, presumably to sell for scrap, emergency officials said Monday.

Two bodies were salvaged on Sunday from the Raspadskaya mine in the Kemerovo region, said Alexander Martynov, chief of the regionТs emergency department.

Martynov said four intruders entered the mine Saturday with the intent of stealing a copper cable. Two of them lost consciousness because of low oxygen in the mine and fell to a depth of 800 meters.

Power giant Unified Energy Systems says hundreds of thieves are electrocuted each year.

Kursk Operation

MOSCOW (AP) Ч The first of two giant pontoons that will be used to salvage the sunken Kursk nuclear submarine will be launched next week, an official said Monday.

An international team of divers working at the site of the disaster in the Barents Sea is preparing the Kursk for the operation to raise it, scheduled for mid-September.

Most of the massive submarine will be connected by steel cables to 26 hydraulic lifts anchored to the pontoons, which will tow it to the Arctic port of Murmansk.

David Pashayev, the head of the Sevmash shipyard that is building the pontoons, said the work was proceeding on schedule, and the first of the two pontoons is expected to be launched between Aug. 22-24, Itar-Tass reported.

On Monday, divers continued cutting holes in the KurskТs hull in preparation for attaching the steel cables to the vessel. They were to finish cutting holes in the KurskТs third compartment Monday and move on to the fourth, said navy spokesman Igor Dygalo, according to Itar-Tass.

153 Toilets Ordered

MOSCOW (MT) Ч Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov has ordered that 153 new public toilets be built in the city from 2002 to 2005, Interfax reported Monday.

Currently, there are 257 public toilets in the city, a lower number than previous years and an amount that has led to a jump in unsanitary conditions, Interfax quoted the mayorТs office as saying.

Most of the new toilets will be opened in the central and western administrative districts, where 46 and 30 toilets are planned respectively, according to a resolution signed by Luzhkov.

In the Zelenograd area, only two new toilets will be opened, while eight will be renovated.

The resolution also stipulates that retail centers, restaurants and cultural and sports complexes offer free public toilets.

Sharon to Visit

MOSCOW (AP) Ч Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will visit Moscow in early September, IsraelТs ambassador to Russia, Nathan Meron, said Monday.

"We are expecting the prime minister to pay an important visit to Moscow Е sometime between the 3rd and 6th of September," he said on Ekho Moskvy radio. "This will be a very good opportunity to exchange views on the situation in the Middle East."

Moscow has attempted to renew its role as a co-sponsor of the Middle East peace process, which has been dominated by Washington.

On Monday, the Foreign Ministry condemned the latest suicide bombing in Israel, in which 20 people were injured in the northern port of Haifa.

In a statement, the ministry repeated its call for both sides in the conflict to adhere to the principles of the so-called Mitchell plan.

A report by a commission headed by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell called for an end to violence, a crackdown on militants by Palestinian security forces and a freeze on building in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Kuchma Blasts Probe

KIEV (AP) Ч Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma criticized the investigation into a journalistТs killing last month as ineffective and ordered top law-enforcement ministers to review the probe, a news report said Monday.

Kuchma ordered Interior Minister Yury Smyrnov, Security Service chief Volodymyr Radchenko and Prosecutor General Mykhailo Potebenko to take urgent measures to solve Igor AlexandrovТs killing, Interfax said.

Alexandrov, a television station director, was beaten by assailants armed with clubs at the entrance to his office in the eastern town of Slaviansk on July 3.

He died of head injuries on July 7.

Kuchma said the investigation teamТs work was unsatisfactory, and said a top official from the Prosecutor GeneralТs Office should lead the team and that officials should inform the public about progress in the investigation.

Tobin Back Home

RIDGEFIELD, Connecticut (AP) Ч John Tobin, the Fulbright scholar held in a Voronezh jail for six months, was to be honored by his hometown Monday, town officials said.

Tobin, 24, was to take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday afternoon at the Ridgefield Town Hall. Town council chairman Rudolph Marconi said Sunday that Tobin would snip a yellow ribbon off a tree in front of town hall. The ribbon was among the dozens the town had put up while awaiting his release.

Powerful Work Rage

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) Ч A disgruntled electric company worker climbed up a pole Monday and cut off power to a Georgian town, threatening not to come down or restore electricity until he receives eight months of back wages owed to him.

Badri Kobakhidze cut off electricity to the central part of Zugdidi in western Georgia at 8 a.m., the Fuel and Energy Ministry said. In the early afternoon, officials said they had promised him his salary and he was ready to get down from the pole.

"As far as wage arrears, they exist not only in Zugdidi," Deputy Fuel and Energy Minister Nugzar Uplisashvili said.

Moscow Wrestling

MOSCOW (Reuters) Ч The 2002 Greco-Roman wrestling world championships will be held in Moscow after organizers decided the original venue, Rostov-on-Don, was not big enough to stage the event.

"Rostov just wonТt be able to accommodate all the competitors, officials, guests and FILA delegates," said Russian Wrestling Federation president Mikhail Mamiashvili on Monday.

The championships will be held in Moscow on Sept. 19-22.

Jordan Gets Alesi to 2002

PARIS (Reuters) Ч French Formula One driver Jean Alesi, who replaced sacked German Heinz-Harald Frentzen at Jordan last week, says he will drive for Jordan in 2002 as well as in the last five races of this season.

"Eddie [Jordan] called me to ask me if I was available for the end of the season. In fact, I signed for 2002 as well," Alesi told French television station TF1 at the weekend.

Frentzen has taken AlesiТs place at the Prost team.

Alesi, the only driver to finish every race so far this season, said he was confident he could show his talent as early as the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.