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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Miners' Picket



MOSCOW (MT) -- About 50 miners from several coal-rich regions began a picket of the Energy Ministry on Monday, Interfax reported.

The miners, who occasionally knocked their helmets against the pavement outside the ministry's offices on Kitaisky Proyezd, were demanding the payment of wage arrears and the continuation of a government program to resettle workers in closed mines in the Far North to central Russia.

"The state should finally pay attention to the mining industry," said Viktor Semyonov, a trade union leader from Vorkuta who is one of the organizers of the picket. He said that after three days of picketing the ministry, the miners planned to move to the White House. They requested a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.




Karabakh Election



YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) -- The incumbent president of the disputed Nagorny Karabakh region won another five-year term, election officials said Monday, in a vote that foreign governments criticized as unhelpful to international mediation efforts.

Arkady Gukasian, 45, captured 88.4 percent of the vote in Sunday's election, easily defeating three other candidates who failed to win more than 12 percent between them, said Leonid Martirosian, spokesman for the election commission.

Nagorny Karabakh, a mostly ethnic Armenian province in Azerbaijan, waged a 1988-94 war against Azerbaijan in which its forces, backed by Armenia, won control of almost 20 percent of Azerbaijani territory.

Azerbaijan condemned the elections as a "crude violation" of international law, and the European Union and Russia were among countries and international organizations saying the contest would aggravate settlement efforts.




7 Killed in Chechnya



VLADIKAVKAZ, North Ossetia (AP) -- Five federal servicemen and two police officers were killed during the preceding 24 hours in Chechnya, an official said Monday.

Rebels attacked Russian outposts 15 times, killing two soldiers and wounding five, an official in the Moscow-backed administration of Chechnya said on condition of anonymity. Two soldiers died when their truck was shelled and one was killed when a jeep hit a land mine, the official said. A riot policeman died in a clash that left two rebels dead, and a Chechen police officer was shot dead in the street, he said.




Caspian Corridor



MOSCOW (MT) -- The high-profile naval maneuvers that began last week in the Caspian Sea are aimed at practicing to protect a trans-Caspian transportation corridor from India to Europe, according to Deputy Transportation Minister Vladimir Ruksha.

Ruksha said Sunday that the North-South corridor connecting India with Western Europe through a combination of railroads and shipping routes, which was agreed to under a trilateral agreement by Russia, India and Iran in 2000, could be endangered by security concerns in the region, Interfax reported.

"The Caspian fleet is called upon to counter these threats," Ruksha said.




Urals Envoy Office



MOSCOW (MT) -- President Vladimir Putin has exasperated local architects by ordering a multimillion-dollar residential and office complex to be built in Yekaterinburg for his envoy to the Urals Federal District, Pyotr Latyshev.

"It will be a humiliation for Yekaterinburg," the head of a local architects' council, Gennady Belyankin, said by telephone Monday, complaining that the complex's design is outdated.

Belyankin said the council -- which consists of local architects and was created as a consultative body for the local mayor's office -- voted unanimously against the project at a recent meeting.

The head of the architectural department of the Yekaterinburg city administration, Mikhail Vyatkin, said by telephone that the city would start construction work next year, in spite of the architects' protests.




Air Crash Investigation



KIEV (AP) -- Ukraine's top investigator said Monday that air force officers and city officials must share blame with the pilots of the Ukrainian fighter jet that crashed and killed 85 spectators in the world's worst air show accident.

"Numerous violations and shortcomings by the show's organizers, servicemen, Lviv city authorities and the pilots' deviation from the flight plan" caused the June crash, commission chairman Yevhen Marchuk told President Leonid Kuchma, Interfax reported.

Marchuk gave the preliminary investigation results to Kuchma at the president's vacation retreat in Crimea. No further details were available.




Tobin Writes Book



MOSCOW (MT) -- Former Russian prisoner-turned-Connecticut plumber John Tobin is writing a book about his six months in a Voronezh prison, Newsday reported.

Tobin, 25, has lined up Luke Janklow of Janklow & Nesbit Associates in New York to publish his tale of intrigue, The News-Times of Danbury reported.

"Very few people have heard about my day-to-day existence in the prison," Tobin said.

Tobin, who is working as a plumber with his uncle in his hometown of Ridgefield, Connecticut, said some of his book will be personal narrative, describing in detail harrowing scenarios like a car chase in which he was pursued by secret police. Other chapters will be more like essays examining the solidarity and hierarchy among inmates in Russian prisons over the decades, he said.