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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Chechen Sisters Killed

Two Chechen sisters have been shot and killed in Podolsk, just south of Moscow, Interfax reported Thursday.

Yakha Bakayeva, 17, and her 16-year-old sister, Petimak, were killed by an unidentified assailant at the Podolsk train station on Wednesday, Interfax said. The girls' parents live in Podolsk with two other sisters and a brother.

Police were investigating. (MT)

Illness Called Psychological

GROZNY -- A senior Chechen doctor said Thursday that the mysterious illness that has hit scores of schoolchildren appeared to be of psychological origin.

At least 70 people, 53 of them children, fell ill this week in several towns with breathing trouble and headaches. Some officials said the symptoms could indicate a form of nerve-gas poisoning.

But the head of Chechnya's narcology service, Musa Delsayev, said preliminary analysis pointed to a psychological cause and that "the picture we are observing does not point to any form of illness whatsoever." (AP)

Moscow Hauls Away Snow

More than 260,000 cubic meters of snow have been removed from Moscow streets over the past 24 hours, following the heaviest snowfall so far this winter, Interfax reported Thursday.

Almost 10,000 trucks and other vehicles were deployed to clear the streets, and they were delivering the snow to 48 snow-melting facilities, said Marina Orlova, a spokeswoman for the city's community services department.

About 8 more centimeters of snow was forecast to fall on the city between Thursday night and Friday afternoon. Ten centimeters fell Wednesday. (MT)

Belarussian Recruiter

MINSK -- Spanish police have arrested a Belarussian citizen along with 14 other people on suspicion of recruiting and indoctrinating fighters for the Iraqi insurgency.

Belarus' state security agency, the KGB, on Thursday identified the suspect as Andrei Misyura, originally from Minsk. KGB spokesman Valery Nadtochaev said that Misyura had not lived in Belarus since 1999. (AP)

Kazakh Newspaper Stopped

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh court has stopped an opposition newspaper from printing because it allegedly insulted the president, a senior editor said Thursday.

Zhuma-Times' deputy editor Bakhtygul Makenbai said that a printing press refused to print the weekly paper's latest issue on Wednesday because of a court order. (AP)

Stalin's Relative Writes Putin

Josef Stalin's great-grandson, Yakov Dzhugashvili, has petitioned President Vladimir Putin to grant him Russian citizenship to make it easier for him to visit his father, Interfax reported Thursday.

Dzhugashvili, who uses Stalin's real family name, must apply for a visa to travel to Russia from Georgia, where he is a citizen, Interfax said.

Stalin was born in the Georgian village of Gori.

Dzhugashvili said his father, a Russian citizen, applied to Georgia for dual citizenship seven months ago and had not received an answer. (Bloomberg)