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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

2 Deserters Detained

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia (AP) -- Two soldiers have been detained after deserting from their units in southern Russia, emergency officials said over the weekend.

The first, Private Alexander Khozeyev, fled his Interior Ministry unit in the Stavropol region Feb. 13, taking a Kalashnikov rifle with him. He flagged down a private car carrying two retired officers, and the men were later found dead in the abandoned car, according to police. Khozeyev took refuge in a village in the Stavropol region, where he joined a construction crew, an officer with the regional emergencies department, Alexander Lemeshev, said Sunday.

The construction foreman recognized Khozeyev and reported him to police, who detained him Saturday, Lemeshev said. Khozeyev did not resist arrest.

The second deserter, Private Alexander Lyaginov, surrendered to police less than 24 hours after leaving his unit, saying he had left so he could be home for his mother's birthday, emergency officials said Friday. Lyaginov, a border guard stationed in the Stavropol region, turned himself in to police Thursday evening, said Yury Kolodkin, the duty officer for the southern branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry.

No Request for Bout

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia has not received any requests for the arrest and extradition of Viktor Bout, a suspected weapons supplier to the al-Qaida terrorist network, an official at the Prosecutor General's Office was quoted as saying Friday.

Bout, who on Thursday gave a live interview to Ekho Moskvy radio station, is wanted in Belgium and has also been named in a United Nations report as a prominent supplier of weapons to rebel groups in Africa.

Belgian officials confirmed Thursday that they had issued an international arrest warrant for Bout. They said they forwarded the request to Moscow more than two weeks ago and were in contact with Russian officials.

Official Charged

ST. PETERSBURG (MT) -- St. Petersburg's deputy governor, Anatoly Kagan, who chairs City Hall's health committee, was charged with misuse of budgetary funds and criminal negligence on Thursday, Interfax reported, citing sources in the administration of Governor Vladimir Yakovlev.

Kagan is accused of misappropriating "a large sum" of budgetary money that had been allocated for the purchase of insulin, the report said. Kagan was released after promising not to leave the city, Interfax said.

Lebed Names Deputies

Moscow (MT) -- Krasnoyarsk Governor Alexander Lebed has named nine new deputies after holding an open competition to fill the jobs of 12 men he fired last month, Interfax reported.

Half the posts were taken by those previously fired. The competition left two positions unfilled.

To fill these positions, Lebed independently reappointed Nadezhda Kolba to her old post as deputy governor responsible for social issues, along with former United Energy Systems representative Yury Semenyuk to head the region's energy portfolio.

Lebed said Wednesday he was satisfied with the results, brushing off questions about why two deputies were selected without having taken part in the competition. "It's impossible to complicate the situation and announce another competition," he said in statements reported by Interfax. "It's necessary to get to work."

SS Procession Canceled

RIGA, Latvia (AP) -- Waffen SS veterans in Latvia have canceled a planned procession through the streets of Riga, saying they don't want to jeopardize Latvia's bid to join the NATO military alliance.

In recent years, some 300 men mostly in their 70s and 80s have marched through Riga on March 16, the date of a major battle in 1944, to remember 50,000 fallen comrades -- commemorations that angered Jewish groups in Latvia and abroad.

While they insist the parades were never politically motivated, veterans said Friday they decided not to stage it this year because it could be misunderstood. Veterans still planned a service at a Riga church and cemetery.

6 Convicts Sought

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia (AP) -- Police fanned out Sunday in Krasnodar and four other southern regions to search for six escaped convicts, while the fugitives' relatives urged them to surrender.

Seven men convicted of murder or involvement in rebel gangs in nearby Chechnya fled from a van transporting them from court to jail in the city of Krasnodar on Friday night. They seized weapons from the guards transporting them and slightly wounded one, Krasnodar regional police spokesman Vladislav Orlov said. One of the escapees was captured soon afterward.

Cellist's Present

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) -- Renowned cellist Mstislav Rostropovich put a twist on his 75th birthday celebration in his hometown Saturday, bringing a big present instead of receiving one.

Rostropovich presented Baku's Republican Maternity Center with a check for $1.1 million from The Vaccine Fund for use in a program for vaccinations against hepatitis B. "Medicine and music pursue the same goal -- to make mankind happy and healthy," Rostropovich said.

The cellist, now based in Paris, was born in Baku when Azerbaijan was part of the Soviet Union and spent the first five years of his life there.

Hunters Cut Power

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan (Reuters) -- A group of drunken hunters cut off electric power to a third of the population of Kyrgyzstan's capital when they used ceramic insulators on high-voltage lines for target practice.

One building that suffered the 30-minute blackout on Friday was a hotel hosting a conference -- on alcohol abuse. Delegates, including Deputy Prime Minister Nikolai Tanayev, were obliged to take a coffee break.

For the Record

Exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky has issued a $1.2 million grant to unemployed TV6 journalists through his U.S.-based International Foundation for Civil Liberties. TV6 spokeswoman Tatyana Blinova said Friday that the money was distributed equally among the 1,200 employees of the company and that some of the team's anchormen refused their share in favor of less well-paid colleagues. (MT)

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi proposed Friday that a NATO-Russia summit be held in Italy to discuss relations. He made the suggestion after a meeting with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, who arrived in Rome on Friday for a three-day visit. (AP)