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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

4 Liberal Parties Unite

A handful of liberal parties announced plans Tuesday to unite ahead of December elections to the Moscow City Duma, while former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov reiterated an offer to run for president in 2008 as a candidate of liberal forces.

Yabloko, the Union of Right Forces, the Green Party and the United People's Party of Soldiers' Mothers have agreed to run for City Duma jointly on Yabloko's ticket with a pledge to fight President Vladimir Putin's "authoritarian and bureaucratic regime. Democracy has frozen, its needs to be rebooted," Union of Right Forces leader Nikita Belykh told a news conference, using computer slang.

The leaders called for a broader coalition of liberal forces to take part in the 2007 parliamentary and 2008 presidential campaigns. (AP)

Ivanov Sees No Asia Alliance

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov rejected suggestions that recent joint maneuvers with Chinese and Indian troops were intended to pave the way for a new military alliance in Asia, according to an interview published Tuesday.

The August exercise involving Russian and Chinese troops and last month's joint drills of Russian and Indian forces were intended to practice joint action against international terrorists and to showcase state-of-the-art Russian weapons to traditional customers, Ivanov told Izvestia.

The exercises "didn't threaten interests of any third nation and didn't signal an intention to create a new military-political bloc in the region," Ivanov said. (AP)

Trawler Captain Investigated

Murmansk prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation against the captain of a trawler that fled Norwegian coast guard vessels with two Norwegian inspectors trapped on board, the Prosecutor General's Office said Tuesday.

"Elektron's captain deliberately deprived two Norwegian citizens of their freedom and opportunity to leave the ship," it said in a statement.

The trawler, Elektron, had been seized Oct. 15 by a Norwegian coast guard vessel for suspected fisheries violations, but it fled the cutter that was escorting it to port and reached Russia's waters with the inspectors still on board. The inspectors were later handed over. (AP)

Khodorkovsky's Friends Fret

JERUSALEM -- Three Israel-based partners and friends of Mikhail Khodorkovsky said Tuesday that the imprisoned businessman feared there was a conspiracy to kill him.

"Khodorkovsky said he feared he would be physically harmed," Leonid Nevzlin said, attributing his information to Khodorkovsky's friends, family and business associates in Russia.

Nevzlin, Mikhail Brudno and Vladimir Dubov -- all wanted by Russia on fraud and tax charges -- also accused President Vladimir Putin of going after Khodorkovsky because he financed opposition parties. (AP)

Adamov Appeals Extradition

ZURICH, Switzerland -- Former Nuclear Power Minister Yevgeny Adamov, who faces charges of stealing up to $9 million intended to improve nuclear security, on Tuesday filed an appeal against Switzerland's decision to extradite him to the United States, his lawyers said.

The appeal was filed a day before Wednesday's deadline for Adamov to request a review of a Swiss Justice Ministry decision to extradite him to the United States rather than to Russia. Moscow has protested the Swiss decision. (AP)

Bush Grenade Probe

TBILISI, Georgia -- A man who admitted throwing a grenade toward U.S. President George W. Bush during a rally in Georgia acted alone and had no links to foreign nations, the interior minister said in an interview published Tuesday.

Vladimir Arutyunyan, who was indicted in September by a U.S. grand jury on charges of trying to assassinate the president, will face trial in Georgia soon, Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili told the 24 Hours newspaper. "Arutyunyan was a terrorist acting alone," he said. "We haven't found any evidence of his links to any foreign special services."

Arutyunyan faces terrorism and murder charges in Georgia stemming from the May 10 incident in Tbilisi and the killing of a policeman in a shootout before his arrest in July. (AP)

Lenin Square to Open

A new square in Kaliningrad will be named after Vladimir Lenin, complete with a restored statue of the Bolshevik Revolution leader, Itar-Tass reported.

Kaliningrad Mayor Yury Savenko told reporters Monday that a square being created in the center of the city would be called Lenin Square and that a statue that had been taken down from another square for restoration would be erected there, Itar-Tass reported.