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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Luzhkov Sues Limonov

Mayor Yury Luzhkov has filed a lawsuit against writer and opposition leader Eduard Limonov over an interview in which Limonov accused him of controlling local courts.

Luzhkov is seeking 1 million rubles ($40,000) in damages: half of the sum from Limonov, the other half from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which aired the interview in April, Alexander Averin, a spokesman for the banned National Bolshevik Party, told on Thursday. Limonov said in the interview that Luzhkov had Moscow courts "in his grip." Hearings in the case are scheduled to begin Nov. 2 at Moscow's Babushkinsky District Court. (MT)

Education Reform Signed

President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill that will bring Russia's higher education system more into line with Europe's, the Kremlin said in a statement Thursday.

The bill replaces the current degree system -- based on a five-year program -- with separate bachelor's and master's degrees that would take four and two years to complete, respectively. Supporters of the reform say it will make it easier for graduates of Russian universities to get their degrees recognized in Europe. The reform will go into effect on Sept. 1, 2009. (MT)

Ingush Rights Abuses

Human rights violations in Ingushetia have soared, and a repeat of the systematic abuses in neighboring Chechnya is unacceptable, Amnesty International said Thursday.

Gun attacks, bombings and murders have intensified in the republic this year, and the developments show signs of the same disregard for the rule of law as in Chechnya, the London-based human rights group said in a statement.

"The Russian and Ingush authorities must not repeat mistakes made in Chechnya," Amnesty International said. "An increasing number of forced disappearances, abductions and other human rights violations mark the rapidly deteriorating situation in Ingushetia."

The Interior Ministry declined to comment. (Reuters)

Prague Opposes Soldiers

PRAGUE -- The Czech Republic will not allow Russian soldiers to be stationed at a planned U.S. radar base in the country but might permit Russian inspections, Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said Thursday.

U.S. Defense Minister Robert Gates touched a raw nerve during his visit to Prague this week when he said Russians might be allowed to have a presence at the radar base that would be part of a planned U.S. missile defense shield.

"Of course there will be no Russian soldiers here, and there were never supposed to be," Topolanek said on Czech television. (Reuters)

Venezuela to Open Institute

Venezuela plans to create a nuclear physics institute in Russia two years after announcing plans to establish a civilian nuclear program.

"We want to shape Venezuelan nuclear physicists in Russia, since for the last while, we haven't had this potential," Alexis Navarro, Venezuela's ambassador to Russia, said in remarks broadcast on state television Wednesday.

He said the goal was "to improve the technical and scientific quality of our students."

President Hugo Chavez last year defended Iran's nuclear program, which the U.S. government says is meant to develop weapons. (Bloomberg)