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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Russia-EU Progress

Kremlin envoy Sergei Yastrzhembsky said Monday that progress had been made in Moscow's relations with the European Union, but cautioned that many disagreements persist.

Yastrzhembsky said Russia and the EU could enact a treaty on easing visa restrictions by 2007 as well as reach agreement on Russia readmitting illegal migrants who entered the EU from its territory.

However, he reiterated Russia's complaints that the EU failed to protect the rights of Russian-speaking minorities in ex-Soviet Baltic states.

Yastrzhembsky also defended the German-Russian project to build a natural gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, and praised the decision to invite former German Chancellor Gerhard Schr?der to take a leading position in managing the pipeline. (AP)

Adoption Bribe Charges

Education officials in several regions have been charged with taking bribes from foreign families to facilitate adoption procedures, prosecutors said Monday.

Investigations in the Irkutsk, Perm and Kurgan regions found that officials were receiving between $400 and $9,000 for helping foreign families expedite the procedure for adopting Russian children, according to a statement posted on the Prosecutor General's Office's web site.

"Money was being wired to directors of orphanages, social workers and intermediaries," the statement said. (AP)

St. Pete Football Fans Fight

Seventeen people were arrested and about a dozen were hospitalized after a party for football fans in St. Petersburg late Sunday night turned into a violent street fight, and police used tear gas to disperse the revelers.

About 300 fans of the city's Zenit football club were celebrating its 25th anniversary outside a nightclub opposite the Mariinsky Palace, a city police spokeswoman said.

About 180 police used tear gas and fired several warning shots into the air, the police spokeswoman said. Six policemen were hospitalized with injuries including concussions and severe bruising.

Local prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into the fight. Seventeen people, aged 17 to 25, remained in custody Monday, the spokeswoman said. (MT)

Samara FSB Touts Work

The Samara regional branch of the Federal Security Service, or FSB, touted its accomplishments for the year Monday, saying it had exposed 87 foreign intelligence operatives, Interfax reported.

The Samara FSB also said it opened three criminal investigations into employees of a local space research enterprise and the Samara airport on suspicion of divulging state secrets.

The heads of the passport and visa departments in Samara and Syzran city police forces were handed prison terms after being found guilty of illegally issuing 800 passports to foreigners, it said.

Four members of the outlawed Islamist Hizb-ut-Tahrir group were sent to prison, and five foreign activists with the international Muslim organization Tabligh were expelled from the country for proselytizing, it said. (MT)