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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Lebeshev Dead at 62

MOSCOW (AP) -- Respected cinematographer Pavel Lebeshev died Sunday at age 62, news media reported. The cause of death was given as unspecified heart problems.

Lebeshev frequently worked with internationally renowned director Nikita Mikhalkov, including on 1999's "Sibirsky Tsiryulnik" (Barber of Siberia), which starred a multinational cast including Julia Ormond and Richard Harris.

He also was cinematographer for 1996's "Kavkazsky Plennik" (Prisoner of the Caucasus). His most recent work was last year's German-Russian production "So Weit Die Fuesse Tragen" (So Far as My Feet Will Take Me) about a German World War II soldier's journey home from a Soviet prison camp.

Lebeshev "was a completely extraordinary cameraman who through the eye of the movie camera always saw the paradoxical, the unexpected," Mikhalkov was quoted by Itar-Tass as saying.

A funeral is to be held Wednesday.

Kasyanov in Poland

WARSAW, Poland (AP) -- Polish and Russian government leaders agreed Friday to work toward avoiding tensions arising from Poland's planned entry into the European Union in 2004.

"Poland as a future EU member does not aim at limiting its relations with Russia," Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller said after talks with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov. "We will do everything possible so that there will be no barrier erected on our eastern border hindering the flow of goods or people."

Poland, set to join the EU in May 2004 along with nine other mostly eastern European nations, is required to impose visas for travelers from outside the union.

Warsaw has offered visas free of charge to visitors from its eastern neighbors -- Russia, Ukraine and Belarus -- in return for visa-free travel for Poles to the three nations.

Ukraine has already agreed, while Kasyanov said Russian and Polish officials will continue working on a solution.

Student Beaten

MOSCOW (MT) -- A Cameroon citizen has been beaten by two young men in the Moscow metro, Interfax reported Monday.

Christian Ntan, a 29-year-old student studying in Moscow, was attacked Sunday evening by Vyacheslav Bubnov, 17, and Andrei Nikitin, 16, in a metro train near the Park Kultury station, the report said.

The extent of Ntan's injuries was unclear.

The two young men were detained Sunday, and police were checking whether they belong to a skinhead group.

Election Dates

MOSCOW (Reuters) -- Russians vote in a presidential election on March 14 next year, after voting in a parliamentary election Dec. 14, the country's top electoral official said Friday.

Alexander Veshnyakov, addressing a news conference in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, said he expected four or five candidates to contest the presidential election.

2 Suspects Cornered

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia (AP) -- Two suspects in the killing of four police and two civilians this week were cornered in a manhunt Friday that left one of them dead and the other wounded, officials said.

The men were sought in the Wednesday attack on a police patrol in the Krasnodar region, killing four officers and two hunters who were helping in the search for illegal boar hunters.

One gunman also was killed in that attack, and the other two escaped. About 1,500 police subsequently combed the region.

Vladimir Chernenko, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry's southern Russian division, said shooting broke out when the fugitives were confronted Friday and that one was killed and the other wounded.

The attack on the police was originally thought to be related to poaching, but police later discovered large amounts of marijuana and a cache of automatic weapons in one of several camouflaged mountain hideouts the suspects apparently used for drug trafficking, officials said.

Sailors Can Leave

ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland (AP) -- Three crew members of a Russian tanker suspected of ramming a U.S. fishing boat and killing three fishermen can return to Russia to await a ruling on an extradition request by the United States, a Canadian judge said late last week.

Captain Vladimir Ivanov and crewmen Dmitry Bogdanov and Mikhail Gerasimenko are suspected of operating the oil tanker MT Virgo that rammed the trawler Starbound on Aug. 5, 2001, killing three of the four fishermen on board.

The three -- arrested after their ship arrived in Newfoundland -- have been free on bail since the incident but were ordered to remain in St. John's. U.S. authorities are seeking to have the trio extradited to stand trial for misconduct and involuntary manslaughter.

In his ruling Thursday, Judge Keith Mercer's noted the toll that separation has taken on the Russians and their families.

40,000 Armenians

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) -- Some 40,000 Armenians demonstrated in the capital Yerevan on Sunday against President Robert Kocharyan, calling on him to resign and pull out of the presidential run-off election next month.

"Robert -- Go Away," the opposition protesters chanted.

Kocharyan, 48, had been widely expected to win outright against his eight challengers in last week's presidential vote, but he failed to secure the necessary 50 percent of the ballots, necessitating a run-off against People's Party leader Stepan Demirchyan on March 5.

The opposition insists the ballot was rigged in Kocharyan's favor, and in daily rallies has been calling on him to step down.

Guard Gets 24 Years

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia (AP) -- A border guard who shot four fellow servicemen including his commanding officer to death was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment on Monday by the military court for the North Caucasus region.

Private Albert Sibogatov was found guilty of last April's killings at the border guard post in Akhtynsk, on the border with Azerbaijan.

According to trial testimony, Sibogatov had left the base without permission and gotten drunk. On his return, he seized a Kalashnikov automatic rifle from a comrade at the barracks and shot him at point-blank range.

Three other soldiers, including Sibogatov's commanding officer, rushed to the scene and he shot all three at close range.

Sibogatov pleaded guilty, saying he had shot his victims because he was afraid of the punishment for leaving the base and drinking, according to testimony.

Turkmen Exit Visas

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan (AP) -- Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov signed a decree Friday reinstating exit visas in a bid to control travel abroad.

Beginning March 1, citizens who are privy to state secrets, under criminal investigation, defendants in civil suits, people who have evaded the draft and people who give false information about themselves will be required to get exit visas in their passports before being allowed out of the country, according to the decree.

Exit visas were required for travel abroad in the Soviet Union, and were used to restrict emigration and monitor citizens' overseas activities.

Turkmenistan maintained the practice until January 2002, when the requirement was repealed amid pressure by the Organization for Cooperation and Security in Europe.