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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016


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Africa Reports First Cases of Bird Flu

The virus has been found in three northern Nigerian states, a region ill-equipped to deal with a bird flu crisis.

Attacks Kill Dozens in Pakistan

A suspected suicide bombing and gunfire killed at least 29 minority Shiite Muslims in northwestern Pakistan on Thursday and gunmen killed at least four more people in an attack on a bus, officials said.

Internet Suicide Pacts Increasing in Japan

The number of Japanese killing themselves in groups after meeting through the Internet -- strangers afraid to die alone -- soared to a record 91 last year, nearly double that of 2004, police said on Thursday.

We're All Brothers and Sisters

I am reconstructing this from memory, but in the made-for-TV version of Alex Haley's ""Roots,"" the African-American author goes to interview George Lincoln Rockwell, leader of the American Nazi Party, for Playboy.

The Trick of Taking in a Show

It's Thursday night, and you and your significant other are discussing plans for the weekend.

S&P to Lift Gazprom Weighting

Gazprom is set to become the single largest stock in the Standard & Poor's emerging markets index by April 23, almost doubling Russia's weighting in the index to 10.2 percent, a Standard & Poor's official said Thursday.

Business in Brief

Reserves Rise to Record The country's foreign currency and gold reserves, the world's fifth biggest, rose to a record $188.5 billion as revenue increased from oil exports. The reserves added $0.3 billion in the week ending on Feb. 3, the Central Bank said in an e-mailed statement Thursday. Russia's reserves surged 46 percent, or about $58 billion, in 2005. (Bloomberg) Stabilization Fund Grows The stabilization fund, which gathers the country's windfall oil revenues, grew to 1.46 trillion rubles ($51.66 billion) as of Feb. 1, from 1.24 trillion rubles a month earlier, the Finance Ministry said Thursday. The fund was set up to cover any budget deficits arising from a possible slump in oil prices. (Reuters) 2006 GDP Forecast Upped The Economic Development and Trade Ministry said Thursday that it had raised its 2006 gross domestic product growth forecast to 6.0 percent from 5.8 percent. A ministry spokesman gave no further details.

Sibneft Output, Profit to Drop

Oil firm Sibneft said its profits, dividends and production would fall this year, while owner Gazprom has hired Western consultants to decide what to do with its $13 billion acquisition.

350 Takeovers Investigated

Police investigated nearly 350 questionable company takeovers last year, double the number in 2004, the Interior Ministry said Thursday.

Court Asks Authorities Why Khodorkovsky Sent to Chita

A Moscow court has ordered prison authorities to explain why Mikhail Khodorkovsky was sent to serve eight years for tax evasion and fraud in a prison camp six time zones from Moscow, his lawyer said Thursday.

Arms Trade Reaches Post-Soviet Record

Russia registered a new post-Soviet arms sales record last year, exporting $6.1 billion worth of weapons, a top government official said Thursday.

Utilities Rates to Worsen Inflation

Russia's suppression of utilities costs, a throwback to the old Soviet command economy, threatens an inflationary backlash that could make it tough to get retail price growth sustainably into single digits.

Kudrin Pledges Early Debt Repayment

Russia hopes to repay $11 billion to $12 billion of Paris Club debt this year on the same terms as its 2005 deal and also lift all remaining capital controls ahead of schedule before year's end, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Thursday.

Sistema Seeks Partner to Buy Svyazinvest

Sistema is seeking a partner to bid for Svyazinvest, the national fixed-line phone company, if the government sells it this year as planned.

News in Brief

PEN Center Decries Tax Bill Russian PEN Center, a writers' human rights group and a local branch of the International PEN Club, said Thursday that it might be forced to close after being asked to pay a back tax claim that it called politically motivated. PEN Center head Alexander Tkachenko said tax inspectors had abruptly demanded 2 million rubles for land where the group's building was located. He said the claim was unfounded, explaining that the group did not own the land and used the building rent-free for 16 years under an agreement with the Moscow city government. Calls to the city tax service went unanswered Thursday. Tkachenko said the demand was an attempt to clamp down on the group for its human rights activity and criticism of the new law restricting NGOs. (MT) Soldier Undergoes Surgery Moscow doctors on Thursday operated on the left kidney of a conscript whose legs and genitals were earlier amputated following a brutal New Year's Eve hazing, Interfax reported.

National Protests Set for Sunday

In a possible sign of things to come, two grassroots organizations are planning separate demonstrations.

Carmaker Struggles to Shed Soviet Cobwebs

Walking through the maze of main production lines for Ladas at AvtoVAZ is like traveling back in time. Workers in mismatched plaid shirts put together the outdated models under Soviet-style banners that read, ""Conscience is the best controller"" and ""Quality is the path to perfection.""

Olympic Team Hopes for Fair Shot at Medals

It was 50 years ago this month that the Soviet Union swept to victory in its first Winter Olympics in the Italian Alpine resort of Cortina d'Ampezzo, immediately establishing itself as a winter sports powerhouse.

Putin Will Invite Hamas Leaders to Moscow

President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he would invite Hamas leaders to Moscow, opening a crack in a wall of U.S.-led opposition to dealing with the Palestinian election winner until it recognized Israel.

Beslan Suspect Should Be Put to Death, Shepel Says

Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Shepel on Thursday demanded the death penalty for the man suspected of being the sole surviving attacker of the Beslan school attack.
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