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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

7 Illegal Miners Dead

At least seven people have died and one was missing after going below ground to work illegally in a derelict Siberian tungsten mine, Interfax reported Sunday.

A group of local residents went missing after going down the mine in the Buryatia republic for tungsten ore last week, prompting a major search operation.

The mine, known as Razvedochnaya, was closed in 1996 but residents had been working the deposit illegally, rescuers said.

Tungsten is one of the hardest known metals and has a very high melting point. It is used in tools, weapons and light bulbs. (Reuters)

Police Ambushed in Grozny

ROSTOV-ON-DON -- Unidentified gunmen have ambushed a police vehicle in Chechnya, killing one officer and wounding two others, officials said Sunday.

The attack occurred late Saturday in Grozny, when the militants fired at the police vehicle from a ruined building, the regional branch of the Interior Ministry said in a statement. The attackers fled.

On Sunday, a police explosives expert was killed while trying to defuse an explosive device left outside a local official's house in Vladikavkaz, the capital of nearby North Ossetia, said Sergei Petrov, a spokesman for the local branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry. (AP)

Russians Abroad to Vote

More than a million Russians living abroad will be able to vote in State Duma elections, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said.

Kamynin told reporters Friday that there were 1.68 million Russians abroad who can vote at Russian consulates. He said up to 347 polling stations would be organized abroad for the Dec. 2 vote. "We expect them to actively participate in the elections," Kamynin said. (MT)

2 Parties Would Win Seats

Only two parties -- United Russia and the Communists -- would have cleared the 7 percent threshold to get into the next State Duma if the elections had been held this month, according to a new nationwide poll.

The independent Levada Center said the Oct. 12 to 16 poll indicates that 68 percent of voters would have chosen the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, while some 17 percent would have voted for the Communist Party. The Liberal Democratic Party would have received 6 percent, while the pro-Kremlin A Just Russia party would have received 4 percent, according to the poll, reported by Interfax on Friday. The elections are to take place Dec. 2.

Some 1,600 people were questioned in the poll, which had a margin of error of 3 percentage points. (MT)

Deputies Get to Campaign

The State Duma has adjourned until Nov. 7 to allow deputies to meet voters ahead of Dec. 2 elections, Interfax reported Friday.

At the first plenary session when it reconvenes, the topic for discussion will be the ratification of legislation on withdrawing from the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. (MT)

Judge Suspected of Rape

Irkutsk authorities are investigating a judge on suspicion of raping an intern.

Mikhail Dobrenets, head of the east Siberian region's Cheremkhovsky District Court, is suspected of raping the female intern in 2006, Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigative Committee at the Prosecutor General's Office, told Interfax on Friday.

The judge enjoys immunity from prosecution, but the Supreme Court could lift the immunity if it deems that there is sufficient evidence. If tried and convicted, Dobrenets could spend up to six years in prison. (MT)

Helicopter Crash Kills 4

A privately owned helicopter crashed Sunday in the Kemerovo region, killing all four people on board, emergency officials said.

The MD-600 helicopter crashed near the village of Mundybash, said Oksana Kosheleva, a spokeswoman for the regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry. The reason for the crash was not clear, she said. (AP)

For the Record

Nine schoolchildren in Vologda were rushed to a hospital Friday after the roof of their 100-year-old school building collapsed. (Reuters)

Rescue workers have pulled six more bodies from the rubble of an apartment building destroyed in a natural gas explosion a week ago in Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, bringing the death toll to 23, officials said Friday. (AP)

Azerbaijan's parliament voted 86-2 on Friday to double the size of its contingent in the NATO force in Afghanistan to about 45 soldiers. (AP)