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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Catholic Request



MOSCOW (AP) -- The Roman Catholic Church will ask the Cabinet for an explanation of why a bishop was barred from entering Russia, a church official said Monday.

"Many Catholic believers have the impression that a large-scale anti-Catholic campaign … regrettably involving representatives of state structures … has begun in Russia," Reverand Igor Kowalewsky, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Russia, said at a news conference.

Bishop Jerzy Mazur, en route to his Siberian diocese from his native Poland, was barred from entering Russia when he arrived at Sheremetyevo Airport on Friday.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman on Monday refused to comment on Mazur's case. Russian Orthodox Church spokesman Father Vsevolod Chaplin on Monday denied that it had anything to do with the case.




3 Shot in Dagestan



MAKHACHKALA, Dagestan (AP) -- Three people were killed Monday when gunmen opened fire on a regional lawmaker in Dagestan, police said.

Two men using automatic rifles opened fire on Magomed-rasul Omarov, a member of the republic's legislature, said Dagestan police spokesman Abdul Musayev. He was attacked outside Avtodor, a local state-owned road-construction company of which he is deputy director.

Omarov and his bodyguards returned the assailants' fire, Musayev said. Three bodyguards were killed, and four people, including passersby, were injured, he said. Authorities opened an investigation, but no arrests have been made, Musayev said.




Deputy Feared Dead



MOSCOW (AP) -- A State Duma deputy was presumed to have drowned after a boat he was riding in capsized in a Siberian river, officials said Monday.

The body of Alexander Vereteno has not been found since the capsizing Saturday evening, said Ivan Vasilyev, a spokesman for the regional prosecutor's office in Omsk.

The three other passengers on the boat, which capsized in the Irtysh River, were rescued by local residents, but one, the director of a local distillery, died onshore of hypothermia, Vasilyev said. He said the two survivors were Vereteno's aide and his bodyguard. Vasilyev said preliminary information indicated that the boat had collided with ice.

Vereteno represented the Omsk region in the Duma and was a member of the pro-government People's Deputy faction.




Lithuania Visas



BRUSSELS, Belgium (Reuters) -- Lithuania said Monday it would impose EU-style visas for residents of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad in 2003 as part of its preparation to join the Western bloc the year after.

"As of July 2003 visas will be introduced for residents of this enclave [Kaliningrad]," Lithuania's chief EU negotiator Petras Austrevicius said after a round of accession talks in Brussels.

The commitment is likely to rise objections from Moscow, which is afraid that Kaliningrad, sandwiched between EU candidates Poland and Lithuania, will be cut off from Russia proper when the EU launches its eastward expansion in 2004. The issue will be discussed by EU justice and home affairs ministers and their Russian counterparts later this week.




NATO Ties



MOSCOW (AP) -- A new deal on closer ties between Russia and NATO could be a crucial step toward a new European security structure, Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said in an interview on RTR television Sunday.

"It's a qualitatively new level of cooperation," Ivanov said. "The new mechanism is a principally new stage in our relations, but not only in Russia-NATO relations."

"If this works -- and we want it to work -- it could become an important element in building a new European security architecture," he said.

He said there would be collective debates and decisions by consensus on a selection of "perhaps five or seven" issues of concern to all member countries.

Alliance officials have stressed, however, that the new mechanism will not give Moscow a right of veto over NATO actions.




Collision Kills 6



MOSCOW (AP) -- A cargo train collided with a truck in central Russia on Monday, killing six, emergency officials said.

The collision occurred at an unguarded railway crossing near the village of Shibrovo, about 350 kilometers from Moscow, said Viktor Beltsov, a spokesman for the Emergency Situations Ministry. All of the victims were timber workers who were riding in the truck. Three workers were hospitalized with injuries, Beltsov said. He said the truck's driver was at fault in the crash.




Hackers Sentenced



MOSCOW (AP) -- Two leaders of a group of hackers who manipulated cash machines in Moscow to steal about $1 million from foreign bank accounts were sentenced to five years in prison, a newspaper reported Monday.

A wave of ATM fraud in Moscow in 1999 and 2000 caused panic among foreigners living in Moscow and caused many banks to temporarily shut down their cash machines.

Kommersant reported that two of the ringleaders, Zviadi Beria and Vladimir Medvedov, were sentenced Friday to five years in prison. However, the main organizer of the swindle, Yury Levashov, was given three years and immediately freed under an amnesty for petty offenders.

Four other defendants were given three-year suspended sentences, the newspaper said.




For the Record



A naval officer died of burns that he suffered while disposing of artillery shells, officials said Monday. Two officers and two sailors suffered burns while they were destroying substandard artillery shells Friday, the Pacific Fleet said in a statement. One officer died of his burns in the hospital on Saturday. (AP)

Twenty-four members of the Georgian Interior Ministry's special forces are undergoing training in the United States, a ministry spokesman said Monday. (AP)