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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Berezovsky in Duma?

MOSCOW (MT) -- Boris Berezovsky plans to run for a seat in the State Duma in December elections, the Gazeta newspaper reported Wednesday.

Berezovsky, speaking from self-imposed exile in London, told the newspaper that he was seeking a Duma seat to form an "effective opposition" to President Vladimir Putin.

Berezovsky won a seat in the Duma in 1999 as a representative of the Karachayevo-Cherkessia region.

He resigned several months later in what he said was a protest of Putin's efforts to bring the regions under federal control.

Sir Paul's Moscow Gig

LONDON (AP) -- Former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney announced Wednesday that he will play his first concert in Russia -- an open-air gig on Red Square on May 24.

"I've long wanted to play in Russia, but for a number of years when the Communists were in power, they didn't want me to," McCartney said during an online chat with fans.

Beatles records were banned by authorities in the Soviet Union, as were those of McCartney's 1970s band Wings.

McCartney said the concert would include "some of my Beatles stuff -- rather a lot of Beatles stuff, actually -- some Wings stuff and some more recent stuff.

"I've never even visited Russia as a tourist, so it's exciting for me now to be getting to perform there with a band and finally be singing 'Back in the U.S.S.R.' and all these other songs for people who, I've got a feeling, might be ready for it."

The Moscow show is the only Russian stop on McCartney's global Back in the World tour. The European leg of the tour starts March 25 in Paris.

Seleznyov Hospitalized

MOSCOW (MT) -- State Duma Speaker Gennady Seleznyov was hospitalized Wednesday with pneumonia, his spokeswoman, Yelena Maslova, said.

Seleznyov felt sick after his trip to the Czech Republic and was taken to the Central Clinical Hospital, Maslova said.

Seleznyov has made several trips abroad recently, including one to Iraq last week.

Maslova said he was coughing and suffering from a high temperature.

Free Calls to Bush

YEKATERINBURG, Ural Mountains (AP) -- A pager company in the Ural Mountains is offering customers free telephone calls to the U.S. White House to express their views about possible war in Iraq, company representatives said.

At least 987 people have taken advantage of the offer so far, making calls to the White House ranging from two to 20 minutes, said Konstantin Ivanov, general director of Excom.

The callers are eager to talk to Bush administration officials but often don't understand the recorded message telling them they've been put on hold, said operator Irina Natakhina.

"Male voices call almost every 10 minutes and demand to be put through to the White House, and they begin to swear at me," she said.

Ivanov said the offer, which is bringing the company wide publicity, would continue indefinitely.

He said he found the number for the White House switchboard on the Internet.