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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

No Terror at Transvaal

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Moscow prosecutor's office on Monday dismissed claims that the Transvaal water park disaster was a terror attack, Interfax reported.

A video from within the water park does not show anything to back up the theory of an explosion, Moscow prosecutor Anatoly Zuyev said.

"The investigation has excluded the version of a terrorist act," Zuyev said.

Twenty-eight people died and more than 100 were injured when the roof of the water park collapsed March 14. The designer of the roof, Nodar Kancheli, who is likely to be blamed for the incident when the results of an investigation are released later this month, has pointed the finger at terrorism.

Kremlin Shuffle

MOSCOW (MT) -- President Vladimir Putin has appointed Andrei Popov and Marina Yentaltseva as the heads of the presidential administration's internal politics department and protocol and organizational department, respectively, the Kremlin press service said Monday.

Putin dismissed Vitaly Menshikov as first deputy head of the presidential protocol department, the press service said.

In other appointments, Putin made Alexander Kosopkin and Alexander Kotenkov his representatives in the State Duma and the Federation Council, respectively. Kosopkin previously headed the department for internal politics, while Kotenkov was the president's representative to the Duma.

British Minister Visits

LONDON (AP) -- Foreign Office Minister Bill Rammell started a three-day visit Monday, the first by a British lawmaker since President Vladimir Putin easily won a second four-year term in March.

"We want to develop a closer relationship between Russia and the European Union, the G8, the World Trade Organization and NATO," Rammell said in a statement. "We are also keen to build on our good trade and investment relationship."

Rammell is to meet with lawmakers, business leaders and students and travel to Yekaterinburg.

Paksas Proceedings

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) -- Lithuanian lawmakers met Monday to prepare for the decisive vote on whether to impeach President Rolandas Paksas as police prepared in case violence erupted, though they said none was expected.

As the 141-seat Seima, or parliament, began proceedings, one lawmaker, speaking on condition of anonymity, said a vote could come as early as Monday night.

The path to impeachment was cleared last week after the Constitutional Court ruled that Paksas violated the constitution and his office by arranging citizenship for businessman Yury Borisov, a native Russian who police assert is linked to the Russian mafia.

Watchdog Blasts Minsk

MINSK (AP) -- The Belarussian government is not doing enough to counter anti-Jewish sentiments and activities and should be punished with international sanctions, a representative from an anti-Semitism watchdog said Monday.

"The Jewish population is not safe," said Leonid Stonov, director of the Union of Councils for Soviet Jews' bureau for human rights.