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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Nuclear Fuel Removal

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia will remove all the spent nuclear fuel currently stored on and near the Kola Peninsula, an Arctic region bordering on Norway, within the next six years, Murmansk Governor Yury Yevdokimov said.

Yevdokimov said the government had instructed the Defense Ministry and Nuclear Power Ministry to clean up the fuel that had been used by the nuclear submarine fleet, Itar-Tass reported Tuesday. Yevdokimov's comments came while President Vladimir Putin was in Norway on a state visit.

In July, the European Union, Russia and Norway pledged an initial 110 million euros ($109 million) to support a cleanup fund to rid Russia's northwestern coast of nuclear waste from the submarines.

A representative of the Norwegian-based environmental group Bellona said Tuesday that the organization expects progress during Putin's visit on the preparation of a framework agreement meant to avert the danger of nuclear pollution in the Barents Sea and the White Sea, Interfax reported.

Flood Evacuations

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia (AP) -- Hundreds of people were evacuated from a Krasnodar village Tuesday after heavy rains caused a local river to overflow, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

Residents in the village of Saratovskaya were evacuated from more than 190 homes, the regional ministry branch said.

Television showed streets and yards covered by brown water.

No casualties were reported in the flooding, and the waters were already receding Tuesday, said Vladimir Ustinov, a ministry duty officer in Saratovskaya.

Thai Visas on Arrival

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) -- Thailand decided Tuesday to grant Russian nationals visas on arrival after Moscow complained about last year's revocation of the privilege.

The Cabinet made the decision in response to a request by the Russian government during Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's visit to Moscow last month, government spokesman Sita Divari said.

Thailand said it stopped granting visas on arrival for people from 82 countries in December, including Russia and most African nations, in a bid to prevent terrorism and crime by foreign gangs.

New Deputy Mayor

MOSCOW (MT) -- A former Moscow region deputy governor who resigned earlier this month was appointed Tuesday to be Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov's deputy.

Mikhail Men said Tuesday that he gave up his elected position as Governor Boris Gromov's deputy on Nov. 6 for personal reasons.

Men said the resignation was not a response to pressure from federal prosecutors, who have initiated legal proceedings to force elected deputies from office. The Constitution stipulates that only the president, governors and mayors can be elected.

In the city government, Men will take on some of First Deputy Moscow Mayor Lyubov Shvetsova's responsibilities, which include social issues, education, health, sport, religious and national issues, Luzhkov was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Men is the son of prominent Orthodox priest Alexander Men, who was murdered in 1990.

Kiev Seeks UN Probe

UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- Expressing dissatisfaction with a U.S.-British investigation, Ukraine has asked the United Nations to send a team of weapons experts to determine whether the country sold a sophisticated radar system to Iraq in violation of UN sanctions.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Anatoly Zlenko sent a letter to the Security Council asking its members to determine whether the allegations have any grounds by doing its own investigation, the country's UN ambassador said Monday.

Norwegian UN Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby, who chairs the council committee monitoring sanctions against Iraq, said there was no "substantive discussion" of the Ukrainian request at a committee meeting late Monday because the U.S.-British report had just been distributed to members.

He said it was up to the Security Council to decide whether the committee should consider the Ukrainian request.

No Korea Nuke Data

MOSCOW (AP) -- Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Monday that Russia has no information suggesting North Korea is implementing a nuclear program or possesses nuclear weapons, news agencies reported.

"We have no documents suggesting that North Korea has any nuclear programs or nuclear arsenals," Ivanov was quoted by Interfax as saying. "Concrete information about North Korea having such programs, rather than the source providing it, is what is important for us."

The United States said last month that North Korean officials acknowledged they had a nuclear weapons program during talks with visiting Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly in Pyongyang on Oct. 3-5. A U.S official then went to Russia to present Moscow with evidence of the alleged uranium enrichment program.

Marriage Bill Halted

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Federation Council was set Wednesday to reject a bill lowering the minimum age of marriage from 16 to 14 after the chamber's committee on social policy objected to the legislation, Interfax reported.

Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov said Tuesday the bill was "inappropriate and its logic unclear," the report said. Mironov also said the bill was too open to interpretation.

The bill, passed by the State Duma late last month, would allow 14- to 16-year-olds to wed pending approval from local authorities and under "special circumstances." Parental consent is not obligatory and the authorities' decision could be appealed in court.

Valentina Petrenko, head of the social policy committee, said the legislation would promote "sex tourism" and child pornography, which Russian law enforcement has been ill-equipped to prosecute.

Seleznyov Gets Party

MOSCOW (MT) -- State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov on Monday received the official certificate of registration for his new political party, Rebirth of Russia.

Seleznyov predicted that the party, which was registered by the Justice Ministry on Oct. 29, would lure away some Communist voters, Interfax said.