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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Anti-Semitic Blast

MOSCOW (AP) -- A homemade explosive device planted in a metal pipe bearing an anti-Semitic slogan exploded in Moscow's southern Yasenevo district on Sunday morning, officials said.

The blast shattered windows in a nearby apartment building, but there were no casualties, said police spokesman Valery Gribakin.

Investigators found two pipes packed with explosive powder and nails at the site at 2 Ulitsa Inessy Armand. One of them detonated, shattering windows at a nearby apartment building.

One of the pipes had a slogan "Against Yids" written on it, Gribakin said. He said the word was misspelled in Russian, and said the incident was "mere hooliganism."

Limonka Shut Down

MOSCOW (MT) -- A Moscow court on Friday ordered the closure of the Limonka newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ultranationalist National Bolshevik Party, Interfax reported.

The Khamovnichesky district court ruled in favor of the Press Ministry, which accused the newspaper of stirring ethnic conflict and calling for an overthrow of the government, Interfax said.

Ivanov in Korea

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov arrived in North Korea on Sunday after wrapping up a visit to South Korea during which he said Russia is in a good position to help facilitate reconciliation on the divided Korean Peninsula.

Ivanov said he would meet the North's foreign minister, Paek Nam Sun, and deliver a personal letter from President Vladimir Putin to the country's leader, Kim Jong Il.

Afghan Appeal

KABUL, Afghanistan (Reuters) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai has asked President Vladimir Putin to release thousands of Afghan prisoners believed to be held in jails in Russia.

"We sincerely request your government to forgive those detainees and send them back to Afghanistan," Karzai said in a letter to Putin, state television reported Friday.

Hundreds of thousands of Afghans fled to Russia and other former Soviet states after civil war broke out in Afghanistan in 1992. Thousands were believed to have been arrested and sent to jail for a variety of crimes.

Children Health Survey

MOSCOW (AP) -- More than half of all Russian children surveyed as part of a government campaign to assess pediatric health require some type of medical treatment -- and the numbers are growing, according to preliminary results published Friday in Moskovsky Komsomolets.

In the past five years, the incidence of illnesses among newborns has grown by 40 percent and among teenagers by 31 percent, according to results of medical checkups of 11.6 million children.

Fifty-four percent of all the children surveyed require some type of treatment, doctors found.

The Health Ministry began the checkup campaign in April and plans by December to have examined all of the country's 33.5 million children.

Soviet Defector Dead

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- Evdokia Petrov, a Soviet spy who sparked an international incident when she defected to Australia in 1954, has died in Melbourne, the government said Friday. She was 88.

Petrov and her husband Vladimir made international headlines when they defected to Australia in 1954.

The couple arrived in Australia in February 1951, when Vladimir Petrov took up the post of third secretary at the Soviet Embassy. However, he was covertly serving as the resident KGB spy. But after three years, Vladimir Petrov became disillusioned with Russia and decided to defect, former Australian intelligence agent Michael Thwaites said.

A few weeks after Petrov's defection, armed Soviet agents abducted his wife and dragged her through a roaring crowd at Sydney Airport and onto a flight bound for Moscow.

Australian police dramatically snatched Evdokia Petrov back from the Soviets when the plane stopped for fuel in the northern city of Darwin.

Thwaites said their defection led to the unmasking of 600 Soviet spies around the world.

For the Record

The Federal Migration Service said Friday it would close tent camps housing tens of thousands of refugees from Chechnya by year's end. It said the refugees would be given the choice of an apartment in Chechnya or Ingushetia. (Reuters)

 President Vladimir Putin has signed into law the anti-extremism bill and the bill creating an alternative civil service, the Kremlin's presidential press service said Sunday. (AP)