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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Litvinenko to Be Tried

MOSCOW (AP) -- Prosecutors sent the case against former intelligence agent Alexander Litvinenko to court Tuesday, paving the way for his trial in absentia on charges of abuse of office and stealing explosives.

Litvinenko lives in Britain, where he was granted asylum after fleeing Russia.

The Main Military Prosecutor's Office forwarded his case to a military court, said Mikhail Yanenko, a spokesman for the office. Yanenko could not say when the trial would begin, saying that is up to the court to decide.

Litvinenko has accused his superiors of ordering him to kill tycoon Boris Berezovsky and of carrying out a series of apartment house bombings blamed on Chechen rebels that killed over 300 people in 1999.

Litvinenko says the charges against him are political revenge.

Officials recently revived the case against him, but will have to try him soon. A new Criminal Procedural Code that does not allow for such trials goes into effect in July.

Steamroller Kills 14

MOSCOW (AP) -- A steamroller tumbled from a truck bed and crashed onto a passenger bus in central Russia on Tuesday, killing 14 passengers, emergency officials said.

One other passenger was hospitalized in serious condition after the accident in the Bashkortostan region of the Ural Mountains, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said.

He said the number of casualties could rise as rescue workers were still struggling to extract bodies from the nearly flattened bus.

A Kamaz truck carrying the steam roller was trying to pass the bus on a two-lane highway when the roller tipped over and fell on the bus, Beltsov said.

Report on IRA 'Silly'

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (Reuters) -- The leader of the Irish Republican Army's political wing Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams, dismissed a weekend report in the Sunday Telegraph that the IRA had imported guns from Russia as "mischievous" and "silly."

But Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble said he was seeking a meeting with Adams and fellow Sinn Fein leader Martin McGuinness to clarify the facts behind the report that the IRA had been secretly re-arming with rifles from Moscow.

Trimble said he would also bring up the report with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"It must be obvious to Mr. Adams and Mr. McGuinness that continuing paramilitary activity from the republican organization threatens their political project and that it is hugely in their interests for that paramilitary activity to diminish and to cease," he told reporters.

Support of Jenin Probe

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russia said Tuesday that Israel could not use the war against terrorism to justify its recent assault on the Jenin refugee camp, and welcomed an independent UN investigation into the controversy.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Russia, heavily criticized for human rights abuses by its own troops in Chechnya, also wanted a speedy pullout of Israeli troops from Palestinian areas.

For the Record

Venyamin Iofe, head of the St. Petersburg branch of the human rights organization Memorial, died of an apparent heart attack on Saturday. (MT)

Three courts in Minsk began hearing on Monday the cases of scores of people arrested last week in an unauthorized march for economic reform. Sentences were passed in some of the 61 cases ranging from 10 days detention to fines of 250,000 rubles ($140). (AP)

Former Ingush President Ruslan Aushev has resigned from the Federation Council, the BBC quoted RIA Novosti as reporting. Aushev said he left the chamber because it was unable to resolve the problems facing Ingushetia, the new agency reported. (MT)