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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

UN Slams Ustinov

GENEVA (AP) -- UN human rights experts expressed "grave concern" Thursday at Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov's proposal to detain relatives of terrorists to discourage hostage-taking, saying it would contravene international law.

"Detaining innocent people as hostages of the state in order to combat abductions and terrorism is contrary to the most elemental international human rights principles and norms," UN human rights experts Leila Zerrougui and Stephen Toope said in a statement.

The two said Ustinov's proposal would also break the Russian Constitution and laws and they called on the government and parliament to ensure that tactics to combat hostage-taking meet the principles of international law and human rights standards.

Eased Registration

MOSCOW (MT) -- Moscow police chief Vladimir Pronin has told police officers to allow Ukrainian citizens to stay in the city without registration for 90 days, Russian media reported.

Earlier, Ukrainians had to get registration within three days of arrival just like other foreigners and Russians, including native Muscovites.

The change was prompted by President Vladimir Putin's promise last week in Kiev to ease registration rules for Ukrainians. According to police statistics, more Ukrainian citizens than any other foreign nationals have been arrested for crimes in Moscow.

Naval Ships Leave

MOSCOW (AP) -- Two naval ships left Thursday for the Mediterranean, where they are to take part in NATO anti-terrorist patrols, the Interfax-Military News Agency reported.

The Pytlivy and Smetlivy ships belong to the Black Sea Fleet, based in Sevastopol, and are expected to spend at least two months at sea, said the Navy's commander-in-chief, Vladimir Kuroyedov. They will take part in Operation Active Endeavor, which has monitored the Mediterranean since Sept. 11, 2001.

However, officials at NATO headquarters in Brussels said that the ships would not immediately be able to join the operation due to delays in securing the necessary political agreement.

Putin at Auschwitz

WARSAW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the 60th anniversary of the Auschwitz death camp's liberation on Jan. 27, Polish officials said Thursday.

Putin and the presidents of France and Israel are due to join their Polish counterpart, Aleksander Kwasniewski, in commemorations at the former Nazi camp in southern Poland.

One million to 1.5 million prisoners perished in gas chambers or died of starvation and disease at Auschwitz. Soviet troops liberated the camp Jan. 27, 1945.

Central Asia on Bush

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AP) -- Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan -- key allies in the U.S.-led struggle against terror in Afghanistan -- hailed Thursday the re-election of U.S. President George W. Bush, expressing confidence of continuity in their relations with Washington.

Kazakhstan, the only country in the region to have sent troops to Iraq, welcomed Bush's return. Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev said his government hoped to continue cooperation with the United States in trade and the struggle against international terrorism.

Chopper Crash-Lands

MOSCOW (AP) -- An Mi-8 helicopter made a rough emergency landing Thursday, killing its pilot and injuring seven other people, officials said.

The helicopter carrying a crew of three and 17 passengers went down due to an unspecified technical malfunction near its designated landing site near the Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous region in western Siberia, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said.

Dagestani Car Blast

MAKHACHKALA (AP) -- A car exploded in Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan, in an apparent assassination attempt against a senior regional official.

Amuchi Amutinov, who heads the region's public pension fund, was not wounded in the explosion, which occurred around 6 p.m. Wednesday, flinging shrapnel and bolts into Amutinov's armored car as it passed by, said Dagestani Deputy Interior Minister Magomed Gazimagomedov.

2 Ships Lost at Sea

VLADIVOSTOK (AP) -- Rescuers rescued two sailors from the Japan Sea on Thursday, two days after their timbering ship disappeared in a storm, the Vladivostok search-and-rescue center said.

Twenty-six seamen remained missing in that disaster, and seven other sailors were missing in the sinking of another ship in the same region Tuesday.

One of the rescued seamen from the West, a Russian cargo ship chartered by a Mongolian owner and headed for Japan with a load of timber, was first spotted by a search plane. A helicopter was sent to lift him off the lifeboat where he had been perched.

A helicopter pulled the second sailor straight out of the sea. He had withstood the frigid temperatures in a wetsuit.

Crash Kills Diplomats

VLADIVOSTOK (AP) -- Two North Korean diplomats and their Russian driver were killed in a road accident in the Far East, officials said.

The accident occurred Tuesday outside Nakhodka, where North Korea has a consulate. The vehicle carrying the North Koreans drove into an oncoming lane and collided head-on with a heavy truck, said Yury Oborin, the regional traffic police chief.

Putin's Olympics Feast

MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin on Thursday congratulated the Olympic team on their strong showing in Athens and stressed the importance of a healthy lifestyle.

Putin hosted the team at a Kremlin banquet and praised their performance at the Summer Games. The athletes finished third in the medals chart, bringing home 92 medals, 27 of them gold.

Despite "many critical statements," the athletes performed well, Putin said.