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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

3 Die in a Moscow Garage

Three people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a garage in northern Moscow, Interfax reported Sunday.

Law enforcement sources told Interfax that the bodies of two civilian drivers and a young woman had been found in a temporary garage on the grounds of a military unit on Khoroshyovskoye Shosse.

An investigation is under way into how the young woman managed to enter the military installation. (MT)

Miner Dead in Pit Accident

One miner died when a shaft collapsed at the Dzerzhinsky pit in the Kemerovo region, Valery Korchagin, chief spokesman for the regional branch of the Emergency Situations Ministry, told Interfax on Sunday.

Korchagin said that 11 miners were in the collapsed section of the shaft. As of Sunday afternoon, all but one of the miners had been accounted for.

Sergei Cheremnov, head of public relations for the Kemerovo regional administration, said the collapse had not been caused by an explosion or methane leak, Interfax reported. (MT)

2 Russian Tourists Killed

BANGKOK -- Two female Russian tourists were shot dead and left on lounge chairs on a beach in Thailand's eastern resort town of Pattaya, Thai police said Saturday.

The bodies of the women, aged 25 and 30, were found at dawn on Pattaya's Jomtien Beach, a popular destination for foreign tourists located 150 kilometers from Bangkok.

"We have no idea what was the motive for the shooting," said Pattaya Police Major Srettha Maklon, although he added that their mobile phones and wallets had not been taken. (Reuters)

5 Chechen Policemen Die

At least five policemen died in an explosion in Chechnya on Friday, Interfax reported.

The blast occurred on an Interior Ministry base in Chechnya's Gudermes region, a law enforcement source told Interfax.

In neighboring Dagestan, at least two insurgent fighters were killed in a skirmish with law enforcement agents, Interfax reported Saturday. (MT)

Heat Restored to Elektrostal

Nearly 39,000 residents in 371 apartment buildings in the Moscow region city of Elektrostal were left without heat early Friday after a major heating pipe burst, Interfax reported.

The accident occurred after power was cut off to a main boiler house in the city, causing what is known as a "water hammer" -- the shock wave produced in a pipe when water flow is abruptly stopped.

Heat was restored to all of the affected buildings by 3:30 p.m. Sunday, a spokesman for the regional Emergency Situations Ministry told Interfax. (MT)

4 Convicted of Extremism

A court in the Tyumen region has sentenced four men to between 14 months to 2 1/2 years in prison after they confessed to being members of the banned extremist group Hizb ut-Tahrir.

The Tobolsk City Court sentenced Alim Timkanov and Rustam Nazyrov to 2 1/2 and two years in a penal colony respectively, Itar-Tass reported Thursday.

Two other men, Artur Nabeyev and Vladislav Boikov, were sentenced to 14 months and one year in a penal settlement. (AP)

Election Law Proposal

Central Elections Commission chief Alexander Veshnyakov told reporters in St. Petersburg on Friday that the time had come to consider changing the registration process for political parties in legislative elections at all levels, Interfax reported.

Veshnyakov said the federal law on political parties rendered obsolete two requirements in the current election law: the submission of signatures to support a party's registration application, and the payment of a deposit.

The elections chief said either both provisions in the law should be scrapped altogether, or limits should be set on the size of the deposit and the time parties are given to collect signatures. (MT)

Putin to Meet With Pope

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Benedict XVI will meet with President Vladimir Putin in Vatican City on March 13 in the highest-level Kremlin-Vatican talks in more than three years, the Holy See said.

Putin will also be holding bilateral talks with Italian leaders in southern Italy and will meet Benedict in Rome, Vatican spokesman Ciro Benedettini said Thursday.

When Putin last visited the Vatican, in November 2003, for a meeting with Pope John Paul II, the president said he wanted to help end the dispute between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church, but he did not invite the pontiff to Moscow. (AP)

Lavrov Skeptical on Kosovo

BERLIN -- Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov underlined Moscow's skepticism about plans to resolve Kosovo's status, saying Russia would not sign on to any solution imposed by outsiders.

"A decision on Kosovo can only be reached by the parties," Lavrov said following a meeting Thursday with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. "No one can impose this decision -- at least Russia will not participate in such a scheme."

A United Nations proposal would give Kosovo internationally supervised self-rule and all the trappings of statehood, including a flag, an anthem, an army and a constitution.

Ethnic Albanians think it does not go far enough, while Serbia considers it an illegal attempt to pry away the region. (AP)

Turkmen Stays in Bulgaria

SOFIA, Bulgaria -- A Bulgarian court has ruled to keep an arrested opposition activist from Turkmenistan in detention for another 40 days before it decides whether to extradite him.

Annadurdy Khajiyev, a senior member of the exiled Watan party, was detained Feb. 19 in the Black Sea city of Varna.

The district court in Varna said Khajiyev was wanted by Interpol. Authorities in Turkmenistan have accused him of misappropriating $20 million.

"The court decided to keep Khajiyev for 40 days … He has been accused of misappropriation of large sums of money from the national bank of his country," the court said in a statement Thursday. (Reuters)

Azeri's Sentence Upheld

BUDAPEST -- The Budapest Appeals Court on Thursday upheld a life sentence given to an Azeri officer who killed an Armenian classmate at a NATO training course.

Lieutenant Ramil Safarov of Azerbaijan confessed to hacking Lieutenant Gurgen Markarian of Armenia to death with an ax in February 2004 in a dormitory.

The dormitory had been used by participants in a NATO Partnership for Peace English-language course in Budapest.

In April 2006, the Budapest Municipal Court sentenced Safarov, 29, to life in prison.

The sentence carried a 30-year minimum before any parole hearings. (AP)