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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Kazakh Blast Was Accidental

ASTANA, Kazakhstan -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Thursday that an explosion in a coal mine owned by Mittal Steel that killed 41 people was a tragic but unforeseeable accident.

The blast on Wednesday morning ripped through a shaft deep below ground in the Lenin mine in Shakhtinsk near Karaganda, one of eight mines supplying coal to Mittal's huge Temirtau factory, one of the world's biggest steel plants. (Reuters)

Probe Into Coal Pit Deaths

DONETSK, Ukraine -- Prosecutors opened a probe on Thursday to determine if safety rules were violated at a coal pit in eastern Ukraine where a methane gas leak killed 13 miners.

The accident early Wednesday at the Zasyadko mine in Donetsk region also injured 61 workers and raised new fears about Ukraine's accident-prone mining sector. (AP)

Call for Former PM's Return

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- Lithuanian officials on Thursday asked Russia to hand over a former cabinet minister as part of an investigation into political corruption.

The Prosecutor General's Office sent an extradition request to Moscow for Viktor Uspaskich, who resigned last year as economy minister amid corruption allegations.

Uspaskich fled Lithuania in May after giving up his parliamentary seat and position as chairman in the Labor Party, which he founded. He now lives in his native Russia. (AP)

Fundraising for Al-Qaida

A report released Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence listed Russia among the countries engaged in fundraising for al-Qaida.

The United States, Canada and most Western European countries were also listed in the 40-page report.

Gennady Gudkov, member of the State Duma Security Committee, agreed with the report's finding Thursday, telling Interfax that "donations come from individuals, not from governments." (MT)

Mladic Ally Arrested

BELGRADE, Serbia -- A suspected aide of war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic was caught Thursday while trying to flee to Moscow, officials said.

Retired Bosnian Serb security officer Marko Lugonja, a close ally of Mladic, was arrested at Belgrade airport moments before he was due to board a flight to Moscow. (AP)

Davis Cup Draw

Marat Safin plays Andy Roddick at 12:00 on Friday in the opening game of the Davis Cup World Group semifinal at the Olimpiisky Sports Complex. The game is followed by Mikhail Yuzhny vs. James Blake.

The doubles takes place Saturday, with Nikolai Davydenko/Dmitry Tursunov vs. Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan starting at 13:00.

Yuzhny plays Roddick on Sunday at 12:00, followed by Safin vs. Blake.

Tickets start from 200 rubles ($7.47) for games played Friday and Sunday and from 150 rubles for the game on Saturday. Tickets for the entire weekend start from 550 rubles. (MT)

Ukraine/Poland Euro 2012

KIEV -- The joint bid by Ukraine and Poland to stage the 2012 European championship has many elements in its favor and is worthy of serious consideration, a UEFA official was quoted as saying Wednesday.

Giorgio Marchetti, a member of the UEFA delegation that toured four Ukrainian cities last week, told the daily Kommanda that inspectors found "many positive elements" during their visit.

"You must understand that the demands for staging Euro 2012 will be more stringent than they were for the world championship which just took place." (Reuters)