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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Cold Kills 6

MOSCOW (AP) -- At least six people froze to death in Moscow this week because of a cold snap in the city, a city emergency official said Wednesday.

Another three people were hospitalized with hypothermia in the past 24 hours, said Lyubov Zhomova, a spokeswoman for the emergency medical service.

After weeks of sunny, balmy weather, temperatures in Moscow and some other regions have plunged over the past week. Temperatures dipped below freezing Sunday and Monday night.

Probe Into Ukraine

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- A former bodyguard whose secret recordings threatened to topple Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma last year said he has appeared before a U.S. federal grand jury in San Francisco but declined to say whether Kuchma was the target of its probe.

Mykola Melnychenko was speaking Tuesday at a news conference in the United States, where he won political asylum last year, repeating his allegations that Kuchma gave permission in July 2000 to the head of Ukraine's arms export agency, Valery Malev, to export a ground-and-air detection system to Iraq.

The State Department said in April it had seen "no credible evidence" the system was transferred to Iraq in violation of international sanctions.

General Hospitalized

TOKYO (AP) -- A general and his wife were hospitalized with severe burns Wednesday following an emergency airlift to Japan after a Molotov cocktail attack on Sakhalin Island, officials said.

Major General Vitaly Gamov, chief of the Sakhalin border guard service, and his wife were admitted in critical condition to the Sapporo Medical College on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, hospital spokesman Naoki Shioya said.

The couple were burned Tuesday when assailants threw three bottles containing explosives through their apartment window. Investigators believe the attack was connected to Gamov's work.

Kursk Plan for June

MOSCOW (AP) -- Navy officials said Wednesday that a gale in the Barents Sea delayed an operation to raise fragments of the Kursk nuclear submarine's mangled bow, and pledged to carry it out next month.

Some Russian media have claimed that the operation, which was scheduled to begin Monday, was put off because the government had failed to allocate the necessary funds. Navy chief Admiral Vladimir Kuroyedov dismissed the allegations as "nonsense" and said the salvage effort will begin as soon as rough seas calm.

Space Tourists Arrive

MOSCOW (AP) -- Two prospective space tourists -- boy band member Lance Bass and a former NASA official -- are currently in town vying for a chance to claim the next seat on a Russian spacecraft, an official said.

Dmitry Malashenkov, spokesman for Russia's Institute of Biomedical Problems, said 'N Sync band member Bass and former NASA employee Lori Garver were undergoing medical tests at the center to evaluate their fitness for space travel.

The Russian Aviation and Space Agency continued to express reservations, however, that a space tourist would be ready in time for October's blastoff, primarily because of the complicated contract negotiations.