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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

2,000 Rally Over Slaying

ST. PETERSBURG -- More than 2,000 people, including youth activists and African students, held a rally against neo-fascists Tuesday following the shooting death of a Senegalese student.

The demonstrators held banners, shouted anti-fascist slogans and marched in central St. Petersburg, where Lamzar Samba, 28, was fatally shot outside a nightclub Friday.

The rally was organized by Nashi, the pro-Kremlin youth group, and some of its members wore black-and-white face paint to symbolize racial unity. (AP)

Russia Pressed Over Belarus

STRASBOURG, France -- European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Tuesday that the European Union would rely on Russia to pressure Belarus to end its crackdown on the political opposition and its supporters.

"We hope that Russia will use its considerable influence to persuade Belarus to take measures that will allow that country to re-enter the European family of democracies," Barroso told the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly, a gathering of several hundred lawmakers from the council's 46 member states.

Russia takes over the rotating six-month presidency of the Council of Europe in the second half of the year, the first time Russia will preside over a pan-European organization. (AP)

Lavrov Backs Mideast Aid

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Tuesday that the European Union's decision to halt aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian government was a mistake.

Lavrov said Russia would not be halting aid but that Hamas must meet the demands of international mediators to recognize Israel, end violence and accept peace accords.

"But in order for that to happen, we need to work with Hamas and not boycott them," he said. (Reuters)

UN Official Visits Chechnya

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres said Tuesday that the situation in Chechnya was improving in some aspects but that security concerns prevented his agency from maintaining offices there.

Guterres, who visited Chechnya on Monday, said that establishing the rule of law was a key issue for Chechnya.

Officials in Chechnya's Moscow-backed government told Guterres during his visit that crime and kidnappings had decreased. (AP)

Rights Activist Disappears

An employee of the Chechen office of a human rights group, the Civil Support Committee, was detained in the Chechen village of Sernovodsk during a search Sunday by police and security forces for suspects in the killings of three residents, including an anti-terror official, Interfax reported Tuesday.

The activist, Gilat Chilayev, has not been heard from since, the report said, citing human rights campaigners. (AP)

3 Killed in North Caucasus

ROSTOV-ON-DON -- Two servicemen and a policeman have died in clashes with suspected militants in Chechnya and Ingushetia.

A firefight between police and suspected militants Tuesday in Nazran, the main city in Ingushetia, left one officer and two rebels dead. Two other policemen were hospitalized in grave condition, and a third suspected rebel was wounded, said Roman Shchekotin, spokesman for the Interior Ministry's southern branch.

Meanwhile, on Monday, eight to 10 rebels fought a gunbattle with Defense Ministry troops in Chechnya's southeastern Shali district, the Chechen Interior Ministry said. Two servicemen from the ethnic Chechen Vostok battalion died and four others were wounded. One militant was killed and the others escaped into the forest. (AP)

Romanovs Appeal

Descendants of Russia's last tsar, Nicholas II, have appealed against prosecutors' refusal to recognize him and his family as victims of political repression, a lawyer for the family said Tuesday. (AP)