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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Russia Demands Adamov

Russia demanded on Wednesday that Switzerland return former Nuclear Energy Minister Yevgeny Adamov, who was arrested in the Swiss capital this month, and said it would not grant a U.S. extradition request.

Adamov, 66, was arrested in Bern on a request from the United States, which wants to try him on fraud charges.

His lawyer has said Adamov was willing to face justice in the United States if Russia was happy for him to do so.

But Russia's Foreign Ministry said in a statement it had told Switzerland of its "serious concern" over the arrest, which it believed did not comply with international law. (Reuters)

Lawmakers Bill Signed

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed into law a bill ending the election of independent lawmakers to Russia's lower house, part of widely criticized electoral reforms he initiated after a wave of terrorist attacks last year.

Beginning with the next elections in late 2007, all 450 members of the State Duma will be elected from candidate lists published by political parties.

Critics of the reform, which Putin asserted would help bolster Russia's political parties and strengthen the country in the face of terrorism, say it will decrease dissenting voices in the already Kremlin-controlled parliament. (AP)

3 Georgians Kidnapped

TBILISI, Georgia -- Three Georgians were kidnapped Thursday in the breakaway region of Abkhazia, and one was later released with a note from the abductors demanding a ransom, officials said.

The kidnapping stoked tensions between Tbilisi and the separatist province, which the federal government hopes to bring back into the fold. The three men were kidnapped Thursday morning in the province's Gali district, when the car they were driving was stopped by unknown people, regional security official Temur Gabunia said. (AP)

Poland to Expel Belarussian

WARSAW -- Poland said Wednesday that it would expel a Belarussian diplomat, a tit-for-tat move that came hours after Poland's foreign minister said Minsk was expelling a Polish diplomat for unspecified reasons.

"We have made a decision to expel a counselor of the Belarussian embassy from Warsaw, from our country, in an identical procedure," the deputy foreign minister, Andrzej Zalucki, told reporters in Warsaw. (AP)

Plane Crash in Urals

A light plane crashed Thursday in the Smolensk district in Russia's Ural Mountains region, killing the pilot, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

The Aviatika-890U plane was owned by the Russian Space Agency, said Viktor Beltsov, a ministry spokesman.

Investigators were trying to determine the cause of the crash. (AP)

Lake Vanishes

A Russian village was left baffled on Thursday after its lake disappeared overnight.

NTV television showed pictures of a giant muddy hole bathed in summer sun, while fishermen from the village of Bolotnikovo looked on disconsolately.

Officials in Nizhegorodskaya region, on the Volga river east of Moscow, said water in the lake might have been sucked down into an underground water-course or cave system, but some villagers had more sinister explanations.

"I am thinking, well, America has finally got to us," said one old woman, as she sat on the ground outside her house. (Reuters)