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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Solar Sail Launch Fails

The world's first solar sail-powered spacecraft failed to reach its planned orbit after the Russian rocket carrying it shut down seconds after launch, the Federal Space Agency said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The unique solar sail spacecraft was not delivered to its planned orbit because the engine of the first stage of the Volna rocket shut itself down 83 seconds into the flight," the agency said.

But it was unclear if the privately funded Cosmos 1 was in space or had crashed to earth, with the U.S. backers of the project saying the craft was sending faint signals. (Reuters)

Spanish Crime Group

Spanish prosecutors have issued an international warrant for the arrest of alleged Georgian crime boss Tariel Oniani after a crackdown on alleged members of organized crime groups from former Soviet countries, Kommersant reported Wednesday.

Oniani is wanted by Spanish authorities on charges of money laundering, running an organized crime group and bringing illegal immigrants from Georgia to Spain, Kommersant reported.

Last weekend, Spanish police arrested 28 suspected members of criminal groups, with Oniani being the prime target, Kommersant reported. (MT)

Organ-Stealing Case

The Moscow City Court has postponed until Aug. 1 the beginning of the retrial of four doctors accused of illegally removing organs for transplantation from a patient at City Hospital No. 20, Interfax reported on Wednesday.

Yury Kostanov, a lawyer for one of the defendants, said that the trial date had been pushed back because the lawyers of two of the other defendants were on vacation, Interfax reported. (MT)

Prison Transfer Plan

Detention facilities run by the Federal Security Service, including the legendary Lefortovo high-security prison, will be transferred under the jurisdiction of the Justice Ministry by Jan. 1, 2006, Justice Minister Yury Chaika told Interfax Wednesday.

Such transfer is a prerequisite to Russia's admission into the Council of Europe, which demands that agencies involved in investigations not own detention facilities where they can exercise pressure on inmates, he said.

The transfer will require a special edict to be issued by President Vladimir Putin, which is expected soon, Chaika said. (MT)

Crimean Beach Landslide

KIEV -- Rescuers using bulldozers continued their search Wednesday for victims of a landslide that swept onto a Black Sea beach just outside Sevastopol on Tuesday, killing at least one Russian tourist and injuring four other people.

The landslide killed a 16-year old Russian girl and seriously injured another person. On Wednesday, rescuers were still trying to verify claims from survivors that "four to five people could still be buried under the mud," Boguslavskiy said. (AP)

Jailbreak in Far East

Four convicts escaped Wednesday from a jail in the city of Khabarovsk, the second major jailbreak in the Far East region this month, police and prosecutors said. More than 2,000 police officers were involved in the search for the fugitives -- three murderers and a drug trafficker, Itar-Tass reported.

The inmates sawed through the bars of their cell and had a cell phone, and they were met by a getaway car near the jail, Itar-Tass said. (AP)