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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Putin Meets Nashi Activists

President Vladimir Putin met a group of Nashi youth activists in Sochi on Thursday to thank them for their active participation in the country's public life and their work with World War II veterans, Interfax reported.

In his second meeting with Nashi in less than a year, Putin spoke about mandatory army service, family, violence, child rights and proposals to introduce tolerance classes in secondary schools.

Putin, who is on a working vacation in Sochi, first met with Nashi, known for its well-orchestrated, pro-Putin rallies, in his Zavidovo residence in July. (MT)

Khakasia Balks at Ouster

Members of Khakasia's legislature refused to endorse the ouster of their representative in the Federation Council in a show of defiance to the Kremlin.

The Siberian republic's legislature voted 45-15 against Council Speaker Sergei Mironov's move to dismiss Senator Arkady Sarkisian, NTV television reported Wednesday. The vote followed debates during which Sarkisian said that he had not been told the reason for his ouster.

Mironov relieved Sarkisian of his seat, along with three other upper house members last week in a move interpreted as part of a Kremlin shakeup in which several officials also lost their jobs. (AP)

Donetsk Picks Russian

KIEV -- The eastern Ukrainian region of Donetsk granted special status Thursday to the Russian language despite warnings from President Viktor Yushchenko that such moves violated the constitution, which declares Ukrainian the official language.

More than 120 of the regional legislature's 133 members voted to make Russian a regional language, allowing it to be used together with Ukrainian in state and public institutions and at universities and cultural institutions, said Irina Tarana, spokeswoman for the council.

The move was inspired by the fact that about 75 percent of the region's population believe Russian to be their native language, Tarana said. (AP)

Coast Guard Fires on Ship

A Russian coast guard cutter fired at a ship whose Russian-Ukrainian crew was suspected of poaching crabs in the Sea of Okhotsk on Thursday, injuring its captain.

The shooting occurred after the crew of the Cambodia-registered ship ignored orders to surrender and tried to evade the patrol boat off the Kamchatka Peninsula, starting a chase that lasted more than an hour, Itar-Tass and NTV television reported.

The coast guard boat first fired warning shots and then targeted the ship, injuring the captain and prompting the crew to let officers board for an inspection in which they found 3 tons of live crabs in the hold. (AP)

No Pretty Folk Dancers

ASHGABAD, Turkmenistan -- Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov reprimanded authorities for failing to find good-looking folk dancers and singers and properly train them.

"In many musical collectives there are no well-built men and women like we had in the past -- some are small, some are fat and others too thin," Niyazov said in a televised speech at a Cabinet session on Wednesday.

He said that the Institute of Culture, where singers and dancers study, had low admission criteria and many of its graduates were admitted to folk dance and song groups through bribes. (AP)