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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

2nd Helicopter Found

ROSTOV-ON-DON, Southern Russia (AP) -- Emergency workers on Wednesday found the second of two helicopters that went missing simultaneously in Chechnya and said they believed the helicopters had crashed because of bad weather.

The two Mi-24 helicopters, each carrying two-man crews, disappeared in southern Chechnya on March 20. Immediately after they were ordered to increase altitude to climb above thick clouds, radio contact was lost.

One of the helicopters was found last week and the bodies recovered.

On Wednesday, the second helicopter was spotted from the air, said Imran Yashayev, a spokesman for Chechnya's Emergency Situations Ministry. Emergency workers recovered the bodies of the two pilots, he said.

An Mi-24 helicopter made an emergency landing near the Chechen village of Chiri-Yurt on Wednesday, the Defense Ministry said. No one was hurt.

15 Deserters Detained

MOSCOW (AP) -- Fourteen soldiers fled an Interior Ministry unit to protest hazing but quickly gave themselves up, and a soldier at a Strategic Missile Forces abandoned his post but was detained, officials said Wednesday.

The first incident occurred Tuesday night, when the 14 soldiers fled their garrison near the northwestern city of Novgorod. They didn't take weapons and surrendered Wednesday, said Roman Dmitriyev, a spokesman for the Military Prosecutor's office. He said the deserters wouldn't be punished.

In a separate desertion incident, Private Valery Polovinkin fled Tuesday night while on patrol duty, taking his Kalashnikov automatic rifle and 60 rounds of ammunition, the Defense Ministry's press service said.

The 19-year-old was found Wednesday morning near his unit in the settlement of Surovatikha, in the Nizhny Novgorod region. The motive for his desertion was unclear.

Estonian Government

TALLINN, Estonia (AP) -- Estonian President Arnold Ruutel named Res Publica party leader Juhan Parts to lead the new pro-business government Wednesday.

Res Publica, along with the center-right Reform Party and the center-left People's Union, agreed last week to form a new government.

The pro-business Res Publica won 28 seats, and the center-right Reform Party 19, in the March 2 election for Estonia's 101-seat legislature. With support from the 13 People's Union lawmakers, the three parties can form a clear parliamentary majority of 60 seats.

The alliance supports Estonia's push to join the European Union and NATO. The Baltic state was invited to join both last year.

For the Record

Communist lawmakers submitted a bill to Ukraine's parliament to force the country's chemical weapons-fighting battalion to return from Kuwait, Interfax reported Wednesday. Communist Party leader Petro Symonenko and Heorhiy Kryuchkov, chairman of parliament's national security and defense committee, claimed the inclusion of Ukraine in Washington's anti-Iraq list changed the troops' humanitarian status, Interfax said. (AP)

Ukraine's prosecutors said Wednesday they were closing an investigation into an apparent suicide of a leading news agency director, Mykhailo Kolomietsm and no criminal charges would be brought. Kolomiets, founder and head of Ukrainsky Novyny, was found hanged in Belarus last year. (Reuters)

Britain's ambassador on Tuesday marked the completion of a British-funded project to build a water supply system for the main Russian chemical weapons destruction facility at western Siberia's Shchuchye, transferring ownership of the water supply to Russia. (AP)

An American astronaut and a Russian cosmonaut who performed a spacewalk together three years ago will make a return trip around April 26 to replace the international space station's crew, NASA said Tuesday. Edward Lu, a physicist, and Yury Malenchenko, a pilot and engineer, will travel aboard the Russian Space Agency's Soyuz capsule for ISS stay of about six months. (AP)