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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Ekho Moskvy Board



MOSCOW (MT) -- Ekho Moskvy journalists and Gazprom-Media, which controls the radio station, sealed an agreement at a general shareholders meeting Saturday that will guarantee the radio station's independent editorial policy.

The meeting picked a new board of directors that includes four representatives of the journalists' team, four representatives of Gazprom-Media and one independent director, former Economics Minister Yevgeny Yasin, whom reporters had favored as a third party capable of ensuring the station's independence from Gazprom.

Alexei Venediktov was reappointed as chief editor.

Gazprom-Media general director Boris Jordan said last week that keeping the journalists' team at the station was a priority. "I consider Venediktov and his team to be a strategic asset for our holding and I am doing my best to keep them," Jordan said.




2 Metro Attacks



MOSCOW (AP) -- Unidentified assailants beat two foreigners, an Afghan man and a Chinese man, in separate attacks in the Moscow metro, police said Friday.

In the first incident, six young men attacked the Afghan man at Domodedovskaya metro station in southern Moscow on Thursday night, leaving him with injuries to the face and chest, said a duty police officer. The man sought medical treatment at a nearby hospital.

In the second attack that same evening, a Chinese man was beaten at Izmailovsky Park metro station in northeastern Moscow. He was taken by ambulance to a city hospital and was later released, the police said.




Traffic Police Killing



MOSCOW (AP) -- A man who was pulled over for drunken driving in Moscow and had his car impounded returned to the police post where he was detained and opened fire with a hunting rifle Friday, killing one traffic officer and severely wounding another, the police said.

The man was pulled over for driving under the influence of alcohol before dawn Friday, and police seized his car and sent him home, said Anatoly Pivovarov, a spokesman for the Moscow traffic police. The man returned to the police post a few hours later and fired on the building, he said. One traffic officer died on the spot, and another was taken to a hospital with serious injuries. A third officer struggled with the shooter and subdued him.




Nuclear Waste Site



MOSCOW (AP) -- Nuclear Power Minister Alexander Rumyantsev said Saturday that a remote Arctic archipelago might not be the best place to build a nuclear waste storage site. Rumyantsev visited Novaya Zemlya on Thursday along with Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, in part to assess plans for the storage facility.

Rumyantsev told Itar-Tass on Saturday that Russia had not yet made a final decision but that a storage site will probably be built on the mainland, not on Novaya Zemlya.

"Scientific recommendations are not in favor of a burial ground on Novaya Zemlya," he said. "The latest findings show that the waste should be buried in monolithic granite without fissures. This is what the Finns and Swedes do."

Three alternative sites are under consideration, he said, including a site in the Arkhangelsk region, one near Murmansk and one in the central part of the Kola Peninsula.




India Tests Rocket



NEW DELHI, India (AP) -- India test-fired a Russian rocket that is part of an advanced weapons system it may acquire, but the Defense Ministry on Sunday said the exercise was routine and bore no connection to New Delhi's standoff with Islamabad.

The rocket, launched Saturday off the east coast of India, is part of the Smerch and Grad multiple-launch rocket systems that Russia hopes to sell to India, said ministry spokesman P.K. Bandopadhyay.




Castro Blasts Russia



HAVANA (AP) -- Fidel Castro accused Russia of betraying Cuba by breaking all of its former trade and other agreements with the communist island a decade ago after the Soviet Union collapsed and forming an alliance with the United States.

"Russia, allied with the United States, broke all the accords and betrayed Cuba," Castro said in speech reported Sunday in the Communist Party daily Granma. "I cannot use another word, although I do not try to blame any one leader in particular.

"It was the fruit of its errors and the painful way in which it lost the ideological battle against the Western capitalist and imperialist bourgeoisie, under the standard of the United States," Castro said in an official version of the speech made Saturday at a ceremony celebrating the renovation of more than 100 Havana schools.




Scientists Rescued



CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) -- A South African ship ferrying passengers and crew aboard a vessel trapped by ice near Antarctica was forced to temporarily halt its mission Saturday after a storm hit the southern continent, officials said.

Two helicopters aboard the Agulhas had already rescued 71 of the 107 Russian scientists and crew members trapped on the Magdalena Oldendorff in several flights Thursday and Friday. But high winds and cold weather Saturday drove the Agulhas' crew to move the ship, said Phindile Makwakwa, a spokeswoman for the Environmental Affairs Ministry.

The ship's crew hoped to move the Agulhas back toward the Magdalena Oldendorff on Monday.




For the Record



Protestant churches in Belarus said Friday they would appeal to President Alexander Lukashenko to veto a bill on religion that places strictures on small denominations. The bill, passed a day earlier by the lower house of parliament, prohibits churches with less than 20 years' presence in Belarus from publishing literature or establishing missions and bans organized prayer by denominations with less than 20 Belarus citizens as members. (AP)

The State Duma on Friday approved in the final reading a bill creating an alternative civilian service. The bill must now be approved by the Federation Council and the president to become law. (MT)

More than 10,000 Chechen refugees in Ingushetia have applied to return home and the number is growing every day, Ingush President Murat Zyazikov said Sunday. Some 145,000 Chechens fled to Ingushetia to escape nearly three years of fighting in Chechnya. Zyazikov gave assurances that the refugees would not be forcefully ejected. (AP)