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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Putin Signs Detention Law

President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill on Monday that transfers control over pretrial detention centers from the Federal Security Service, or FSB, to the Justice Ministry, Interfax reported Monday.

FSB-controlled centers, including Moscow's Lefortovo, were the last prison facilities to be placed under the jurisdiction of the Justice Ministry. The Interior Ministry transferred its prisons and pretrial detention centers to the Justice Ministry in 1998.

The State Duma gave a final nod to the bill last month, while the Federation Council approved it on April 7. (MT)

Pamfilova Reassures NGOs

Ella Pamfilova, the head of a presidential human rights council, promised that a restrictive new law on nongovernmental organizations that came into force Monday would not be abused.

"We will make sure it is not applied selectively," Pamfilova said of her Presidential Council for the Promotion of Civil Institutions and Human Rights, Interfax reported. (AP)

Former Czech Envoy Dies

PRAGUE -- Rudolf Slansky, a former ambassador to Russia, died Monday after a long illness, the CTK news agency reported. He was 71.

Slansky, whose father had been a leader of the Communist Party, had been jailed early in his life when his father was sentenced to death during the Stalinist purges of the 1950s.

Slansky later joined the Prague Spring reform movement led by Alexander Dubcek in the late 1960s, and went on to sign the Charter 77 human rights manifesto inspired a decade later by Vaclav Havel.

Havel, who became president in 1989, appointed Slansky as ambassador to Moscow. After the peaceful 1993 breakup of Czechoslovakia, Slansky continued his diplomatic mission to Moscow and later became ambassador to Slovakia.

Slansky is survived by his wife and two sons, CTK said. (AP)

British Adventurer to Appeal

A British adventurer attempting a round-the-world walk is expected to appeal a verdict ordering his deportation this week, a judge said Monday.

Karl Bushby and an American travel companion, Dmitri Kieffer, will file their appeal on Wednesday or Thursday in Chukotka's capital, Anadyr, said Yury Ivanov, a judge from the village of Lavrentiya.

"The two foreigners will file a complaint with a district court in Anadyr, from where it will be passed over to a higher court," he said, Interfax reported.

He did not say which court would hear the appeal. (AP)

Peacekeepers to Go to Sudan

Russia will send more than 100 servicemen to Sudan this week to participate in a United Nations peacekeeping operation, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Monday.

Ivanov told President Vladimir Putin that Russia would begin sending an aviation unit in three days, Interfax reported. He said the Russian contingent would comprise 117 servicemen, pilots and technicians, and four Mi-8 cargo helicopters, and that Moscow would send a planeload of blankets and tents.

The UN Security Council voted in March 2005 to send 10,700 peacekeepers to southern Sudan to monitor an accord ending a 21-year civil war between the government and rebels, and Russia's parliament last December approved Putin's proposal to send some 200 troops, four helicopters and other equipment. (AP)

Kiosk Explosion Kills 3

ST. PETERSBURG -- Three people died after an explosion at a food kiosk in St. Petersburg that authorities attributed to a gas leak.

Two people had died at the scene of the blast Sunday at a stand serving hot food in an outlying district of St. Petersburg. A duty officer at the local branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry said that a third victim died in the hospital Monday and that 13 people remained hospitalized with injuries. Authorities say they believe a leak from gas canister caused the explosion. (AP)

Uzbek Criticizes Christians

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- An Uzbek official on Monday accused two Christian denominations of illegal missionary activities.

Bekhzod Kadyrov, of the State Committee on Religions, said in an article posted on the government-run web site that followers of the Pentecostal Church and Jehovah's Witnesses were holding illegal gatherings and private religious lessons.

Kadyrov said that the Pentecostal Church missionaries held sermons in Uzbek and Tajik languages in order to convert local Muslims. He accused Jehovah's Witnesses of holding non-sanctioned religious gatherings to celebrate Christian holidays.

Kadyrov also said illegal imports of religious literature was on the rise. Authorities last month seized 126 tapes and other video material with religious content from a Pentecostal Church follower. (AP)