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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Radioactive Trade Case

SEOUL, South Korea (Reuters) -- A South Korean suspected of smuggling radioactive materials into the Far East will go on trial in a Russian court at the end of January, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Monday.

The businessman was detained in late December in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Local prosecutors said he worked for a South Korean firm suspected of illegally trading sensitive materials.

Kommersant Appeal

MOSCOW (MT) -- A court has upheld an unprecedented 300 million ruble ($10.7 million) judgment against Kommersant for allegedly tarnishing Alfa Bank's reputation with an article that said the bank faced "serious problems" in last summer's small banking crisis.

But ruling on a second Alfa claim -- that the bank suffered financial damages as a result -- Arbitration Appeals Court No. 9 decided to halve the lower court's award to 10.8 million rubles on Dec. 27.

Taxi Drivers Brawl

MOSCOW (AP) -- More than 35 licensed and unlicensed taxi drivers brawled in Komsomolskaya Ploshchad last week, leaving eight people injured and about 15 arrested, prosecutors said.

Fights have broken out in the past between licensed and unlicensed taxi drivers in Moscow, competing for fares and the best parking spots. Taxi drivers brawled at Kursky Station in August.

Putin's Greetings

MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin issued New Year's greetings to a former pro-Soviet partisan convicted in Latvia of killing civilians during World War II.

Vasily Kononov, 80, was convicted last year of war crimes for ordering the killing of nine civilians, including a pregnant woman, in 1944 when Latvia was occupied by Nazi troops. He was a leader of a small band of partisans fighting the Nazis, and many Russians consider Kononov a legitimate war hero.

For the Record

The Polish and Russian presidents, who clashed over Ukraine's election crisis, reaffirmed their countries' good relations in a weekend telephone conversation, Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski's office said Monday. (AP)

A fire broke out in the Saltykovka synagogue in the Moscow region, destroying the building's entrance terrace early Jan. 1. A top Jewish leader said the blaze was caused by arson. (AP)

Anti-Semitism remains a serious problem in Russia, Belarus and elsewhere in the former Soviet Union, with most incidents carried out by ultranationalists and other far-right elements, the U.S. State Department said in a report to Congress. (AP)

Kazakh authorities have ordered the closure of the country's most radical opposition party, Democratic Choice, rights activists and party officials said Friday. (AP)

An Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Geneva made an emergency landing in Warsaw last week to remove a 25-year-old Russian woman who was quarreling with in-flight personnel and using her cellphone on the plane. (AP)

An Aeroflot plane diverted to Iceland on Saturday after a drunken man tried to start a fight with the crew and other passengers on a Toronto-Moscow flight. (Reuters)