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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Chechnya Searches

VLADIKAVKAZ, North Ossetia (AP) -- Federal forces have stepped up searches for suspected rebels throughout Chechnya following the hostage-taking raid in Moscow, and at least 150 people have been detained on suspicion of rebel ties since Wednesday, an official in the pro-Moscow Chechnya administration said Thursday.

Meanwhile, Chechnya's Kremlin-appointed chief prosecutor, Nikolai Kostyuchenko, said five Chechen policemen had been detained on suspicion of being involved in an Oct. 10 explosion that killed 25 police at a precinct in Grozny, the Interfax-Military News Agency reported.

Kuchma Snubbed

KIEV (AP) -- Ukraine's foreign minister on Thursday accused NATO of "manipulation" for declining to invite President Leonid Kuchma to a long-awaited summit, following allegations that he approved the sale of a sophisticated radar system to Iraq.

"Ukraine as a large European state cannot be the object of manipulation," Foreign Minister Anatoly Zlenko said in a statement. He hinted Ukraine was reconsidering attending the meetings.

NATO said Wednesday it would go ahead with ministerial-level meetings with Ukraine, but Kuchma himself was not invited. The NATO-Ukraine meeting will be held at a Nov. 21-22 summit in the Czech capital Prague where the 19 NATO countries are to invite seven East European nations to become members.

Estonia Conviction

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) -- Judges in Estonia on Thursday convicted an 81-year-old former Soviet secret police agent of crimes against humanity for helping to deport 41 people, including children, to Siberia in the 1940s.

Juri Karpov faced a maximum penalty of life in prison for his crime, but the City Court in Tallinn opted for an eight-year suspended sentence and a fine of 3,700 kroons ($230) because of his advanced age.

"We believe justice was done," lead prosecutor Enla Ulviste said. "He was at least forced to face his accusers."

While admitting he worked for the NKVD -- the precursor of the KGB -- Karpov maintained his innocence. He said Thursday he would appeal.

Lebed's Pilots Charged

MOSCOW (AP) -- Two helicopter pilots have been charged in connection with the April helicopter crash that killed Krasnoyarsk Governor Alexander Lebed, prosecutors said Thursday.

The pilots of the Mi-8 helicopter that hit a power line were charged with violations of air safety regulations leading to at least three deaths, prosecutors said.

One pilot, Tagir Akhmerov, received official notice of the charges against him on Oct. 24, Interfax reported. The other, Alexei Kurilovich, has not received notice because he is ill, it said.

Kasyanov on Arms Deal

MOSCOW (AP) -- Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov said Thursday that he hoped the State Duma would soon ratify the U.S.-Russian arms control treaty signed by President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush in May, Interfax reported.

Kasyanov spoke as the government gave the agreement its approval. Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said the treaty was returned to Putin for submission to the legislature.

Car Crashes Increase

MOSCOW (MT) -- The number of traffic accidents has risen dramatically in the last nine months, the head of the traffic police said Thursday, Interfax reported.

Lieutenant General Vladimir Fyodorov told a conference of regional traffic police that 132,755 road accidents were registered from January to September. He said 23,710 people were killed and 156,661 were injured.

The number of accidents was an increase of more than 14 percent from the same period last year, Interfax said.