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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

University Fire Case

Moscow People's Friendship University deputy rector Yevgeny Kunitsyn and three other officials have been charged with negligence and violating fire safety rules in a 2003 blaze that swept through a dormitory, killing 44 students, Interfax reported.

If convicted, the four face five to 10 years in prison.

The City Prosecutor's Office said Monday that it had completed an investigation into the blaze and sent the case to the Gagarinsky District Court, Interfax reported.

No date for the trial has been set yet.

A pre-dawn blaze on Nov. 24, 2003, ripped through the university dormitory in southwestern Moscow, killing 44 students -- most of them from Asia, Africa and Latin America -- and injuring 156 others.

The investigators found that the 1960s-era dormitory building, which was a quarantine facility for recently arrived students, lacked a fire alarm system and there was no evacuation plan for its residents, many of whom did not speak Russian. (MT)

Beslan School Robbed

NALCHIK -- Unknown perpetrators have ransacked and robbed a school that is being built in Beslan to replace the one destroyed in last year's siege, officials said Tuesday.

One suspect has been detained after thieves on Monday afternoon made off with computers worth 156,000 rubles ($5,470), said Ronald Kurbanov, a spokesman for the regional Interior Ministry.

City police estimated the losses were greater. Beslan officer Kira Chedemova, who is investigating the robbery, said the stolen equipment cost as much as 185,000 rubles.

Mairbek Tuayev, the leader of a Beslan citizens' group, said the school was being constructed under tight control and that it was possible to access the building only during construction hours after having passed a thorough security check. (AP)

Gongadze Suspects Named

KIEV -- Prosecutors said they had identified the three police officers they say were responsible for the beheading of journalist Heorhiy Gongadze nearly five years ago.

The Prosecutor General's office said Monday that Valeriy Kostenko, Mykola Protasov and Oleksandr Popovych are suspected of abducting and killing Gongadze. A fourth suspect, Oleksiy Pukach, is being sought on an international warrant.

Under Ukrainian law, the evidence will be forwarded to the court only after the three suspects and Gongadze's mother and widow have read all the files about the case.

Prosecutors have said they would begin identifying who ordered Gongadze's death after the investigation into his killers is concluded. (AP)