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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Harvard-Russia Spat

BOSTON (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Justice has asked a federal judge to order Harvard University and two men accused of mismanaging an economic reform program in Russia to repay the government $102 million.

The government sued two years ago, alleging that staff of the now-defunct Harvard Institute for International Development had invested in companies directly affected by advice they gave the Russian government.

After settlement talks broke down, the Justice Department filed papers in federal court Wednesday asking a judge to decide the case without going to trial. Harvard lawyers also have requested a quick ruling.

The allegations focus on Andrei Shleifer, an economics professor at Harvard, and Jonathan Hay, Shleifer's former deputy at the institute, which was disbanded in 2000. Federal prosecutors say the two men ignored signed agreements and basic ethics when they invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in companies affected by the advice they were giving.

The Harvard institute had received $40 million in federal funds to advise Russia on privatization, capital markets and legal reform.

Budanov Trial

MOSCOW (AP) -- Lawyers for the family of the 18-year-old Chechen woman killed by Colonel Yury Budanov said Thursday that they expected the defendant to be set free and that they would no longer participate in his trial because they had been treated unfairly.

Abdulla Khamzayev, one of three lawyers representing Elza Kungayeva's family, said his legal team would no longer attend the proceedings and would not be present for the verdict, which is expected next month. The move would be symbolic and would not affect the trial's outcome.

The prosecutor has recommended Budanov be sentenced to three years in prison but be made eligible for immediate amnesty.

Teens Wound 4

YEKATERINBURG, Ural Mountains (AP) -- Two teenagers armed with a rifle fired on pedestrians from the window of a building in Yekaterinburg, wounding four people, police said Thursday.

The two boys, aged 14 and 15, opened fire from a multi-story building Wednesday, hitting a 43-year-old woman in the head, and wounding a 17-year-old, an 11-year-old and a grown man, the police said.

Medics who arrived on the scene managed to remove the bullet from the woman's head and took her to the hospital. Her condition and that of the other injured people were not immediately clear.

The two shooters were taken into custody.

For the Record

The State Duma gave final approval to a bill on combatting political extremism Thursday, legislation that many human rights advocates say would give the government too much power to stifle dissent. Lawmakers voted 275-145 to pass the bill in its final reading; it is expected to be approved by the upper house and signed by the president. (AP)

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe will send a mission to Belarus "in the fastest time possible" to try to solve a growing dispute with Minsk, Portugal's foreign minister said Wednesday. (Reuters)