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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Moscow Racism Warning

Moscow is on the brink of an explosion if racist skinheads are not confronted, First Deputy Mayor Lyudmila Shvetsova said Friday.

"The issue of skinheads attacking certain groups of Muscovites is very acute," Shvetsova told a news conference in Baku, Interfax reported. "If we fail to act the situation in the city could explode."

Twenty-one people were killed in racist attacks through August this year, and another 111 injured, according to the Sova Center, which tracks hate crimes. There were 37 such killings last year in total, 16 in 2005 and 17 in 2004, it said.

"We should instill tolerance in the public's mind," Shvetsova said. (Reuters)

Mine Reopens After Blast

The Ulyanovskaya mine has reopened after being closed since a methane gas explosion killed 110 people on March 19, Interfax reported Friday.

"Gradually coal output will grow," said Dmitry Makiyevsky, spokesman for Yuzhkuzbassugol, the company that owns the mine.

The mine was authorized to resume work after all safety violations were eliminated, said the Kemerovo branch of the federal agency that oversees safety in mines. (MT)

Illarionov Criticizes Putin

Former senior Kremlin adviser Andrei Illarionov warned late last week that President Vladimir Putin was building a regime of absolute power that would make the Soviet era pale in comparison.

Illarionov, who was fired as Putin's economic adviser in fall 2005, said Putin's move earlier in the week to top United Russia's ticket in December's State Duma elections would turn the vote into a plebiscite on public confidence in Putin.

"It will give a legal frame to a new political regime. The main characteristic of it will be the concentration of unprecedented absolute power in the hands of one man," Illarionov said at a news conference Thursday. (AP)

Germany to Get Trophy Art

The Cabinet has approved the return to Germany the last of a set of 14th-century stained glassed window panels taken from a church by the Red Army at the end of World War II.

The return of the last six of 117 panels to Frankfurt an der Oder's Marienkirche church would be the latest step by both countries to resolve the problem of "trophy art" -- art and other valuables that Russia has claimed as retribution for the damage the Soviet Union suffered in the war.

In 2002, 111 of the 12-meter-high panels, which are believed to be one of the only surviving medieval depictions of the Bible, were returned to the church in eastern Germany in one of the first major exchanges of looted art. On Thursday, the Cabinet proposed a bill to return the last six panels. (AP)

For the Record

Three gunmen killed a police officer, Nabi Gitinomagomedov, on a Makhachkala street Saturday, police said -- the fourth such killing this month in the region. (AP)

Azeri newspaper editor Eynulla Fatullayev went on trial Friday in Baku on charges of terrorism-related offenses that he calls politically motivated. (AP)