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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

4 Deputy Premiers

ULYANOVSK, Central Russia (MT) -- Russia will have four deputy prime ministers for now, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov told a news conference in Ulyanovsk on Tuesday, Interfax reported.

Ilya Klebanov was relieved of his position as deputy prime minister Monday.

Kasyanov said he would formally distribute responsibilities among the remaining deputy prime ministers "in the next couple of days.

Chechen Gun Battle

VLADIKAVKAZ, North Ossetia (AP) -- Russian security forces lifted a blockade of three Chechen towns Tuesday after a weeklong security operation in which villagers described troops blowing up houses and barricading Chechen men in a poultry farm for days.

The security raids on Starye Atagi, Novye Atagi and Chiri-Yurt were launched Feb. 12 and prompted days of street protests by residents who complained of violence by Russian troops.

In other sweep operations in Chechnya, about 80 people have been detained on suspicion of links to the rebels in the last 24 hours in the Kurchaloi and Shali regions, an official with the pro-Moscow Chechen administration said Tuesday.

Russian positions came under rebel fire 14 times over the past 24 hours, the official said on condition of anonymity. Five servicemen and police were killed and 13 wounded in those attacks and other incidents around the republic.

Dushanbe Bombing

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan (AP) -- A homemade bomb partially detonated at one of the tallest buildings in the capital of Tajikistan on Tuesday.

The device went off before noon on the second floor of a nine-story building that contains government offices and the offices of a Tajik news agency.

Police said the bomb consisted of about two kilograms of TNT and two detonators, but that only one detonator went off, causing only minor damage.

Auto Theft Reports

MOSCOW (MT) -- More than 53,000 motor vehicles were reported stolen in Russia last year, an Interior Ministry official said Tuesday, RosBusinessConsulting reported.

The official told a news conference that 11,000 auto thefts were registered in Moscow and the Moscow region, 2,558 in St. Petersburg, 1,886 in the Sverdlovsk region and 1,471 in the Irkutsk region.

The official said about 6 percent of car thefts were solved in Moscow, while the success rate for the country as a whole was 26 percent.

Failed Suicide Bomb

MOSCOW (AP) -- A 15-year-old Chechen girl is in custody in Chechnya's capital after a failed suicide bombing against a police station that she says she was coerced to prepare, officials said Monday.

Zarima Inarkayeva was carrying a bag with a bomb to the police station in Grozny on Feb. 5 when she set it down briefly because it was heavy, Sultan Satuyev, first deputy head of the pro-Moscow police force in Chechnya, was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying. At that point the detonator went off but the bomb itself didn't. No one was injured.

In footage shown on Russian television Monday, the girl said she had been kidnapped by rebels who forced her to carry out the bombing and threatened to kill her family if she didn't.

Mideast Peace Effort

CAIRO, Egypt (Reuters) -- Russia is working with the European Union, United States, United Nations, Egypt and Jordan to prevent an explosive situation in the Middle East from worsening, said special envoy Andrei Vdovin.

Vdovin made the comments Monday after talks with Arab League chief Amr Moussa in Cairo.

"Vdovin discussed the explosive situation in the region and said the situation must not be allowed to get worse. Russia will continue to make efforts in cooperation with the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Egypt and Jordan," an Arab League statement on Tuesday said.

Belarus Land Mines

MINSK, Belarus (AP) -- The Canadian government on Tuesday provided Belarus with equipment intended to help clear land mines left over from two world wars.

Belarussian sappers will use 20 Canadian-made sensors to continue clearing an estimated 353 square kilometers laden with mines and other explosives, said Colonel Sergei Luchina, head of Belarus' engineer troops.

Since World War II, sappers have removed nearly 28 million mines, undetonated shells, bombs and other explosives in Belarus, Luchina said.

New Railway Fines

MOSCOW (MT) -- Fines for travelling on trains without tickets will rise to 300 rubles ($9.70) from July 1, Izvestia newspaper reported Tuesday.

A 300 ruble fine will also be in action for smoking on trains, for littering or for breaking fire regulations.

The fines will cover both local and long-distance trains, the paper reported.

Turkmen Holiday

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) -- A new holiday appeared Monday on the Turkmen calendar: your 62nd birthday.

All Turkmen citizens will get a three-day holiday when they turn 62 and a small government stipend, in honor of the Muslim prophet Mohammed's age when he died, the president announced Monday -- the day before reaching the golden age himself.