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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Ministry Official Arrested

A Foreign Ministry official based in Irkutsk has been arrested and charged with corruption for allegedly trying to extract a bribe from a travel agency, Itar-Tass reported Thursday.

FSB officers arrested Sergei Kulik, head of the Foreign Ministry's representative office in Irkutsk, on June 7 after a sting operation in which he purportedly demanded a bribe from a travel agency director in exchange for issuing foreign passports to the company's employees.

Kulik, 55, was charged with corruption Tuesday, Itar-Tass said. (MT)

Basayev Talks of Kadyrovs

Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev said in a newly released video that he paid $50,000 to organize the assassination of former Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov in May 2004, reported Thursday.

The video, filmed with a cell phone camera, shows Basayev talking with warlord Doku Umarov and saying he would pay a similar amount for the assassination of Kadyrov's son, Ramzan, who is now Chechnya's prime minister, said.

The video was posted on a rebel web site, It could not be immediately accessed due to its size.

Authorities placed a $10 million bounty on Basayev's head after he claimed responsibility for the Beslan school attack in September 2004. The video was filmed in late March or early April, Kavkaz Center said. (MT)

Bombing Acquittal Reversed

The Supreme Court on Thursday overturned the acquittal of a man convicted in a 1999 apartment bombing that killed 64 people and helped spark the second war in Chechnya.

Dagestan's high court in February acquitted Magomed Salikhov of organizing the explosion that destroyed a building housing military officers and their families in Buinaksk. The court sentenced him to more than four years in prison for membership of a rebel group and falsifying documents.

The Supreme Court, however, on Thursday overturned his acquittal on the bombing charges and ordered the investigation reopened. (AP)

Earth-Mapping Satellite

Russia sent a land-mapping satellite into a low-Earth orbit Thursday, a Federal Space Agency official said.

The Resource-DK satellite was launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard a Soyuz-U rocket. The probe will spend three years mapping Russia's land mass and other areas for natural-resource management and environmental monitoring. (AP)

3 Killed in Ingush Sweep

ROSTOV-ON-DON -- Federal forces killed three rebels in a security sweep Thursday in Ingushetia, the regional Interior Ministry said.

The three were among a band believed to be hiding out in a wooded area in the region, which helicopters rocketed Wednesday in an attempt to wipe out the men.

The Ingush Interior Ministry identified one of the dead as Adam Nalgiyev, whom it blamed for police killings and leading a group in a brazen 2004 rebel attack on Ingushetia's largest city, Magas, in which some 90 police and security officials were killed in a single night.

Channel One television showed the rebels' alleged belongings in the aftermath of the battle: shell-launchers, several mobile phones and Snickers chocolate bars. (AP)

Kazakh Trial Starts

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A Kazakh official and nine others went on trial Thursday, accused of involvement in the slaying of a prominent opposition leader.

The closely watched trial opened with lawyers on both sides arguing that the case be moved from the remote town of Taldykorgan to Almaty. Opposition parties have accused authorities of holding the trial in Taldykorgan to minimize public attention.

The Feb. 11 killing of Altynbek Sarsenbayev, a 43-year-old former government minister and ambassador to Russia, along with Senate administration chief Erzhan Utembayev's alleged involvement in the murder, has roiled politics in the nation. (AP)

Swedes Honor Belarussians

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Two Belarussian human rights activists have been honored in Stockholm with prizes praising their struggle for democracy.

Aliaksandr Bialiatsky, 43, founder of Human Rights Center VIASNA, was presented with the Per Anger Prize, while Tatsiana Revjaka, 38, a member of the same group, received the Anna Lindh prize on Wednesday. (AP)