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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Peace March Blocked

MOSCOW (AP) Ingush authorities blocked a march by Chechen refugees demanding peace talks to end the two-year-old war in Chechnya, human rights groups said Thursday.

The marchers headed out from a refugee camp in Ingushetia on the Chechen border Wednesday, hoping to walk 1,000 kilometers north to Moscow. But they were stopped within an hour by Ingush police, and two march organizers were detained and reprimanded, according to a statement by a coalition of human rights groups.

"Russian human rights groups decisively condemn the actions of the Russian authorities, who do not give people the opportunity to express nonviolent protest, pushing them toward extreme measures and excluding the chance for peaceful solution of the conflict in Chechnya," the statement said. Among the groups joining in issuing the statement were well-known human rights organizations Memorial and the Moscow Helsinki group.

Tobin Release

MOSCOW (AP) American Fulbright scholar John Tobin passed a parole commission Thursday, paving the way for his release from prison as early as Friday.

Nikolai Kravchenko, the warden of the prison in the southern town of Rossosh, where Tobin is serving a yearlong sentence for a marijuana conviction, said the commission voted unanimously for Tobins release. Before Tobin can go free, the decision must be first approved by a local court a step scheduled for Friday morning.

Judge Boris Gladko of the Rossosh City Court said he had received the case materials and would consider Tobins parole at an 11 a.m. hearing Friday at the prison.

Prison officials have said that if the commissions decision is approved, Tobin would most likely be freed the day of the hearing.

But Kravchenko said he would not make any promises as to when Tobin would be released, since the law gives the prison seven days to carry out a court decision.

Tobin, who is from Connecticut and was doing political science research in Voronezh, was convicted in April of obtaining, possessing and distributing marijuana.

Homes for Lensk

ROME (Reuters) An An-124 landed Wednesday at Friuli-Venezia Giulia Airport near Trieste to collect metal components for prefabricated homes to be flown to St. Petersburg, the airport said.

The flight was the fourth of six Polet Aviation-operated An-124 flights expected at Friuli-Venezia Giulia for the shipping of the components, destined for victims of floods in Lensk in eastern Siberia.

Previous flights landed at Friuli-Venezia Giulia on July 20, 28 and 30, while the remaining two flights are expected on Aug. 3 and 6, said the airport. Each flight is scheduled to carry 110 tons of cargo.

Italian forwarder Sutes is handling the operation, while an airport spokesman said Friuli-Venezia Giulia had been chosen since the components had been assembled in nearby Trieste before shipping.

Virus Leaked Papers

KIEV (Reuters) A Ukrainian web site said Thursday it has received secret documents from the administration of President Leonid Kuchma due to a computer virus that infected government computers and e-mailed it the files.

"The Sircam virus, having infected the computers in the presidential administration, is bombarding our editorial department with their documents," said the ForUm news web site at

Administration officials declined to say whether their security had been breached, but said they had started an investigation into whether any of their computers were infected with viruses.

ForUm printed one of the documents it said it had received a timetable for Kuchmas movements on Ukraines 10th anniversary of independence later this month. Kuchmas exact movements are usually a tightly guarded secret.

Adobe Urged for Cash

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) Supporters of jailed Russian software programmer Dmitry Sklyarov have called for Adobe Systems to contribute to a legal defense fund.

"Adobe made the mess so they should help clean it up," Don Marti, an organizer for the Coalition to Free Dmitry, said Wednesday.

"I think it would be an opportunity for Adobe to put their money where their mouth is," said Robin Gross, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Adobe prompted the criminal prosecution in the case by complaining to federal officials that a software program Sklyarov wrote violates the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act. After meeting with the Electronic Frontier Foundation last week, Adobe backed off its support of the case.

Russian Summoned

TOKYO (Reuters) Japan summoned diplomats from South Korea and Russia to the Foreign Ministry on Thursday to protest South Korean fishing in waters near the disputed Russian-held Kuril Islands, which are claimed by Tokyo.

The fishing, which began Wednesday, is likely to add further tension to ties between Tokyo and Seoul.

"We have protested to South Korea and Russia," Cabinet spokesman Yasuo Fukuda told a news conference.

Senior Vice Foreign Minister Shigeo Uetake met separately with Vasily Dobrovolsky, Russian charge daffaires, and South Korean Ambassador Choi Sang-yong.

Kiev Slams Moscow

KIEV (AP) Ukraines Foreign Ministry criticized Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko on Thursday for what it called his "unreasoned" call to make Russian Ukraines second official language.

Khristenko said Wednesday in Moscow that such a move would be in Ukraines and Russias interests and that bilingualism is a "historical fact" in Ukraine.

"Undoubtedly, these statements dont assist in strengthening a climate of trust and mutual understanding in bilateral relations," Ukraines Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The ministry expressed regret that Khristenkos words came during a period of increasingly warm relations between the two states, which experienced years of friction.