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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Channel Five Goes National

President Vladimir Putin has granted federal status to TRK Peterburg, which owns the rapidly expanding Channel Five television.

The St. Petersburg-based Channel Five became the country's fourth federal channel -- along with Channel One, Rossia and NTV -- after Putin awarded federal status Sunday to TRK Peterburg.

Rossia Bank, controlled by Putin's longtime friend Yury Kovalchuk, owns a 35 percent stake in TRK Peterburg. Kremlin-friendly companies Severstal and Surgutneftegaz each own 20 percent in the company, Kommersant reported Tuesday.

Federal status greatly increases a channel's coverage and comes with discounts for using state facilities. (MT)

Nursing Home Toll Hits 32

Searchers and sniffer dogs combing through the wreckage of a Tula region nursing home Tuesday found the body of a victim, bringing to 32 the death toll from a devastating weekend fire, an emergency official said.

The body was found in the early afternoon, Emergency Situations Ministry spokeswoman Veronika Smolskaya said, nearly 48 hours after the fire broke out at the home for the elderly and disabled.

Emergency officials said the building was not equipped with a fire alarm or a system to alert firefighters of a blaze. Authorities said they believed a short circuit caused the fire. (AP)

Duma to Freeze CFE Treaty

The State Duma is set to approve a moratorium on Russian participation in the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe, RIA-Novosti reported Tuesday.

Deputies will vote on the moratorium Wednesday, Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said, RIA-Novosti reported. President Vladimir Putin introduced the legislation after announcing a suspension of the treaty in July.

Deputies from the majority United Russia faction will back the moratorium, Gryzlov said. (Bloomberg)

Suspect Extradited to Berlin

BERLIN -- Prosecutors have extradited to Germany a man suspected of kidnapping a Russian student and holding him hostage in Berlin for 12 days last year, authorities said Tuesday.

The 40-year-old, identified only as Ihar M., is the main suspect in the August 2006 kidnapping of Vadim Freinkman, then 20, who has long lived in Germany and also holds Israeli citizenship.

The suspect was arrested in Moscow in January and has been flown to Berlin, said Michael Grunwald, a spokesman for Berlin prosecutors. He is accused of kidnapping Freinkman and demanding nearly $1.5 million in ransom from his family. German authorities hope to try him along with three suspected accomplices at a Berlin court, but no date has yet been set. (AP)

Crimean Buildings Razed

KIEV -- Ukrainian police tore down several buildings illegally erected by Tatars on a mountain in Crimea on Tuesday and detained nearly 30 people who tried to obstruct the demolition, officials said.

A court had ruled that a restaurant and six other structures had been built there illegally and had to be demolished. Authorities deployed about 1,000 police officers, including members of an elite riot police unit, to tear down the buildings, local police spokesman Olexander Dombrovsky said. (AP)