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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

16-Year-Old Chokes



MOSCOW (MT) -- Prosecutors in the Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous district have opened an investigation into the death of a 16-year-old boy who died during a military training class in September, Interfax reported Tuesday.

Alexander Bochanov choked to death on his own vomit after fainting during a 10-kilometer race for students at his secondary school. He and other students had to wear gas masks for two kilometers of the late evening race.

Prosecutors suspect negligence in the death, said a senior investigator on the case, Sergei Plyachenko.

"It was possibly an accident, but you do not have to be a lawyer to say the death was unusual. It is unclear … why the race was held after 8 p.m. and why [the students wore] gas masks," he told Interfax.

Union of Right Forces leader Irina Khakamada said local prosecutors tried to cover up the case and initially refused to open an investigation, Kommersant reported.

Many Russian schools offer military training classes, a practice that goes back to Soviet times.




Solzhenitsyn Upset



MOSCOW (MT) -- Nobel-winning writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn on Tuesday slammed a play based on his novella "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," which includes scenes of nudity and premiered at Moscow's ongoing New European Theater festival.

In a statement to Itar-Tass, Solzhenitsyn denounced the "savagery and insolence" of the Ukrainian theater troupe and stage director Andriy Zholdak who "stole the title of my play for their action."

Solzhenitsyn's wife, Natalya, told Izvestia that her husband had not seen the play but Zholdak "should have asked the author before using his title." She added that if Solzhenitsyn had been asked, he would have refused.




Finding New Work



ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (AP) -- University of New Mexico scientists hope to help biological weapons researchers in the former Soviet Union find non-weapons work to do.

"Russian biological weapons laboratories are run down, but they're still terrific high-level containment facilities," said Al Zelicoff, a UNM professor and biological weapons expert who formerly worked for Sandia National Laboratories. "When the Soviet Union collapsed, the Russian government stopped funding those labs. The thing of it is, if we don't fund them, somebody else will."

UNM officials went to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to create a scientific collaboration program. UNM will work with New Mexico State University and Pennsylvania State University on the project, said Roger Hagengruber, director of UNM's Office for Policy, Security and Technology.

The group plans to start recruiting scientists from all over the United States next spring. Those who go to the former Soviet Union will be funded for a year or two and can get post-Ph.D. credit, Hagengruber said.