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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Litvinenko Detectives Meet

LONDON -- Scotland Yard said investigators from Russia were in London on Tuesday to discuss the inquiry into the poisoning death last November of Alexander Litvinenko.

"Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service's inquiry team are currently meeting representatives from the Russian Prosecutor General's Office to discuss the progression of their request for mutual legal assistance regarding the death of Alexander Litvinenko," a Scotland Yard official said on condition of anonymity in line with force policy.

The Russian Embassy in London confirmed that a Russian official had arrived to talk to police, adding that he was making a preparatory visit ahead of the possible arrival of a larger team of investigators. (AP)

5 People Die in House Fire

Prosecutors in the Primorye region city of Partizansk have opened a criminal investigation into a fire that claimed the lives of five people, including three children, Interfax reported Tuesday.

The fire broke out in a private home in Partizansk on Monday evening. After extinguishing the blaze, firefighters discovered the bodies of two women aged 28 and 50 and that of a 10-month-old baby.

Two other children aged 2 1/2 and 9 died in a local hospital from carbon monoxide poisoning. (MT)

Party Put Back on Ballot

The St. Petersburg City Court on Tuesday ordered the city's election commission to put the United Socialist Party of Russia back on the ballot for the March 11 election to the Legislative Assembly, Interfax reported.

The order in which parties appear on the ballot will be determined in a random drawing, said city elections comission chief Alexander Gnetov.

The party had been stricken from the ballot for exceeding the limit for invalid signatures submitted in support of its registration application. (MT)

Vandals Deface Monument

KIEV -- A monument to Holocaust victims and 240 Jewish graves have been defaced with swastikas in southern Ukraine, an activist with a local Jewish community said Tuesday.

Unidentified vandals desecrated the Holocaust Monument late Sunday with red swastikas, the inscription "Congratulations on the Holocaust" and painted swastikas on 270 graves in a Jewish cemetery in the Black Sea port of Odessa, said Boleslav Kapulkin, a spokesman for Odessa's Jewish community.

"It is awful. They insulted all Ukrainians and hurt Ukraine's image," Kapulkin said. The monument was erected at the site where thousands of Jews were killed and burned by the Nazis from 1941 to 1944. (AP)

Zakayev Invited to Perform

Acting Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov has invited rebel envoy Akhmed Zakayev to return to the republic from London and perform in a local theater, Interfax reported.

"Zakayev is a good actor. Everyone knows that," Kadyrov said.

"I know him very well. I know that he's not a fighter; he is an actor. The renovation of our theater is nearly finished. We'll find work for him," he said.

"If he isn't guilty of anything, if his conscience before the Chechen people and Russia is clear, we're offering for him to come to Grozny to work in our republic," Kadyrov said.

Zakayev told Ekho Moskvy radio that he had no intention of commenting on Kadyrov's offer of employment, Interfax reported. (MT)