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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

42nd Fire Death

MOSCOW (MT) -- The death toll from last month's dormitory fire at the People's Friendship University rose to 42 on Wednesday after a 19-year-old Chinese student died, Interfax reported.

More than 180 students were hospitalized after the Nov. 24 blaze in the dormitory, which housed students from dozens of countries, mainly from Asia, Africa and Latin America.

A second fire Tuesday in another dormitory at the university sparked fears of a repeat tragedy, but officials said there were no injuries.

The 1960s building, a quarantine facility for recently arrived students, lacked a fire alarm system and there was no evacuation plan for its residents.

Dmitry Bilibin, the university's rector at the time of the fire who has since resigned, faces prosecution for abuse of fire safety rules.

Paksas Impeachment

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) -- Lithuanian lawmakers said Tuesday that 86 members of parliament have signed a petition to start impeachment proceedings against President Rolandas Paksas -- more than enough to oust him amid allegations his office has ties to Russian organized crime.

Only 36 deputies out of the 141-seat parliament are required to initiate the process, which could take up to six months. That far more signed the impeachment document suggests the president has little chance of keeping his job.

"We sent a strong signal to Paksas today," said parliamentary speaker Arturas Paulauskas. "Parliament demonstrated it was in a strong position to impeach the president."

Paulauskas was the 86th legislator to sign the petition, which is expected to be presented to parliament later this week, formally launching impeachment proceedings.

Ukraine Air Crash

KIEV (AP) -- A Ukrainian military helicopter crashed Wednesday, killing all three crewmembers, officials said.

The Soviet-era Mi-8 helicopter was on a routine flight when it crashed around midday in the northeastern town of Ozarychi, near the Russian border some 320 kilometers from Kiev, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. The cause of the crash was under investigation, emergency and military officials said.

The crash is the latest accident to beset Ukraine's beleaguered military, which has suffered chronic funding shortages.

Last July, a Su-27 jet fighter plowed into a crowd in western Ukraine, killing 77 people in the worst air-show disaster ever.

Estonia Mines Map

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) -- Nearly six decades after World War II ended, Russia has given Estonia a map detailing the locations of all the mines it laid along the Baltic state's coast, officials said Wednesday. The information will be used to clear the aging, sometimes explosive, ordnance as a safety precaution.

Approximately 100,000 mines were deployed by Soviet and Nazi forces in the Baltic Sea during the war, with 50,000 laid near Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

"The existing danger is maybe one in a million," said Estonian Defense Ministry spokesman Madis Mikko. He added, however, that Estonians have carried out intensive mine clearing operations since it regained independence -- "just to be safe."

The documents include precise coordinates of hundreds of sea mines placed along 3,794 kilometers of Estonia's winding coastline. Requests over the years for details on the sea mines had always been turned down, Mikko said.

New Soccer President

MOSCOW (AP) -- The Russian Soccer Union unanimously elected Vyacheslav Koloskov to a new five-year term as its president Wednesday after his last remaining challenger withdrew from the race at the last minute.

Despite criticism over the lack of any substantial international achievement from Russian soccer teams, Koloskov won 96 votes in the election during an annual union conference, Itar-Tass reported. There was one abstention.

Koloskov, who has been at the helm of Russian soccer since 1979, long before the end of the Soviet era, was the only choice after Pavel Borodin withdrew his candidacy just hours before the vote.

Borodin, a former Kremlin property department chief who was once President Vladimir Putin's boss, is now the secretary of state of the largely symbolic Union of Russia and Belarus. Vladimir Potanin, a billionaire busines