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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Deputy Backs Adventurer

Artur Chilingarov, a State Duma deputy speaker and a senior United Russia member, opposes the deportation of a British adventurer who walked into Russia from Alaska, Interfax reported Thursday.

Chilingarov, a former Arctic explorer, said Karl Bushby would not "do any harm to anyone" and should be allowed to continue his trek around the world.

A court in Chukotka has ordered Bushby deported for illegally entering Russia, and a higher court is to consider Bushby's appeal on Friday. (MT)

FSB Uncovers Baby Ring

The Federal Security Service said Thursday that it had uncovered a ring selling newborn babies in Grozny.

One of the apartments used by the alleged ring was outfitted with gynecological and obstetric equipment, agency spokesman Yury Rossinsky said on NTV television. He said it was the second such ring discovered in Chechnya in the past two years.

Interfax quoted Rossinsky as saying the mothers were paid in jewelry or cash for their babies: $5,000 for boys and somewhat less for girls.

Demand for babies has grown in Chechnya due to the growing incidence of childless families in the aftermath of two wars, Interfax said. (AP)

North Ossetia on High Alert

MAKHACHKALA -- Police and security forces in North Ossetia have been placed on high alert because of fears of possible terror attacks, officials said.

Beefed-up police patrols were on the streets and guards were deployed to schools and kindergartens in the region, where the Beslan school was seized in 2004.

A statement by the regional branch of the Interior Ministry published in a local paper urged local residents to be vigilant and organize patrols around their apartment buildings. It also asked people to quickly tell police about suspicious cars and unattended bags.

The statement said the security measures were taken because of an increased danger of terror attacks, but did not give further specifics.

Some of the rebel attacks in the past have been timed to coincide with the Victory Day festivities on May 9. (AP)

For the Record

Amnesty International said in a report Thursday that racist attacks were happening with shocking regularity in Russia and the government was shirking its responsibilities and failing to confront the problem. (Reuters)

Russia has apologized for the violation of Finnish airspace two weeks ago by a military aircraft, Finland's Foreign Ministry said Thursday. (AP)

Russian and Ukrainian diplomats on Thursday argued over bases and other facilities used by the Russian Navy in Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, saying tense talks had failed to bring their positions closer. (AP)

Vadim Rabinovych, head of the All-Ukrainian Jewish Congress, said Thursday that last month's attack on Volodymyr Katsman, the Jewish editor of Stolichniye Novosti newspaper, was carried out by foes of his crusade against anti-Semitism. (AP)

A Belarussian youth activist went on trial Thursday for scrawling graffiti that criticized President Alexander Lukashenko, and police detained more than 20 opposition supporters who protested against the government's tight control over the media. (AP)

Uzbek authorities on Thursday shut down the local office of Counterpart, a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization that runs humanitarian projects, the group said. (Reuters)

Kazakhstan's information minister accused the former director and staff of a state-controlled television channel of allowing the station to fall under the influence of an Islamic sect. (AP)

A Tajik court sentenced the director of a Dushanbe orphanage to 15 years in prison on Thursday after he was convicted of charges related to the deaths of 13 children in a fire at the children's home in January. (Reuters)

Sports in Brief

Davydenko Beats Safin

OEIRAS, Portugal -- Nikolai Davydenko beat Marat Safin for the first time in three tries this year, knocking the Russian out of the Estoril Open 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 Wednesday.

The second-seeded Davydenko twice broke Safin's serve in the second set on his way to the quarterfinals.

The Russians broke each other's serves in the opening two games of the final set. Then Davydenko squandered a break point in the third game but took the fifth and seventh games.

Safin, a two-time Grand Slam champion who was the runner-up at Estoril in 2004 but unseeded this year, beat Davydenko at Dubai and Indian Wells, California. (AP)

Ukraine League Showdown

KIEV -- Dynamo Kiev and Shakhtar Donetsk, going to the wire in Ukraine's Premier League championship, have decided to draft in a team of foreign match officials for their decisive game in Kiev next week.

Web site said club presidents Igor Surkis of Dynamo and Shakhtar's Rinat Akhmetov -- Ukraine's wealthiest business magnate -- had agreed in a discussion on Tuesday to bring in the foreign referee and assistants.

Requests for the May 10 showdown had been processed through Ukraine's football federation and the Professional Football League, but it was unclear from which countries the referees would come.

With two matches to go in the championship, Dynamo Kiev has 73 points, two more than Shakhtar. (Reuters)