Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Human Trafficking Charges

Moscow prosecutors Friday charged seven men with involvement in a scheme to smuggle people into Europe where they were forced into ­prostitution.

The Federal Security Service said Thursday that up to 20 people, including citizens from Moldova and Ukraine, had been detained in the scheme.

The Prosecutor General's Office said in a statement that Moscow district prosecutors had filed charges, including human trafficking and membership in a criminal group, against the seven, which it said was headed by armed forces Lieutenant Colonel Dmitry Strykanov.

Defense lawyer Ruslan Koblev said in televised comments that Strykanov's arrest was illegal and that the Moscow district court that approved his arrest had no jurisdiction. (AP)

Children Tied to Cribs

Moscow region prosecutors are investigating allegations that workers at a hospital abused two toddlers by tying them to their cribs, officials said Friday.

The investigation has found evidence that workers at City Hospital No. 1 in the town of Orekhovo-Zuyevo, just east of Moscow, used bed sheets to tie an 18-month-old girl and a 2-year-old boy to their beds, said Yelena Rossokhina, a spokeswoman for the ­regional prosecutor's office.

The workers apparently did so to avoid having to care closely for the children, who had been abandoned by their parents, Rossokhina said. (AP)

Soviet Dissident Killed

MOUNT LAUREL, New Jersey -- A man fatally beat a former Soviet political prisoner at a U.S. highway rest stop after the victim declined an offer to buy his religious CDs, police said.

Brian White, 26, stopped at a rest stop along the New Jersey Turnpike on Thursday and approached Mikhail Makarenko, 75, who was traveling from his home in Virginia to New York to see friends, and asked him whether he wanted to buy religious CDs, police said.

When Makarenko declined, authorities said, White picked up a rock and started striking him in the head.

Makarenko, who spent 11 years in prison for anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda, died before a medical helicopter could reach him. White was charged with murder. (AP)

Walker Resumes Trek

British walker Karl Bushby has returned to Chukotka to resume his trek around the world from the place where he was detained nearly a year ago, his father said Friday.

A court last year ordered former paratrooper Bushby and his temporary U.S. traveling companion to leave Russia because they had crossed the border illegally after walking from Alaska across the ice of the Bering Strait.

But they won on appeal, enabling Bushby to restart his 60,000-kilometer trek from the bottom tip of South America back home to Britain.

From Chukotka's capital, Anadyr, Bushby and his U.S. companion will travel to the village of Uelen where they were detained, said his father, Keith Bushby. (Reuters)

New Vedomosti Editor

Elizaveta Osetinskaya has replaced Tatyana Lysova as editor of ­Vedomosti, the business newspaper said ­Friday.

Lysova has been promoted to oversee all publications put out by ­Vedomosti, which is co-owned by The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and Independent Media Sanoma Magazines, the Finnish group that is the parent company of The Moscow Times. (MT)

NATO Plan Approved

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate has approved legislation to endorse the enlargement of NATO to include the admission of Ukraine, Georgia, ­Albania, Croatia and Macedonia.

The measure was approved Thursday night by voice vote. A similar bill was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on March 6.

Senator Richard Lugar said Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia have been making progress on reforms through their participation in the NATO Membership Action Plan since 2002.

"Unfortunately, Georgia and Ukraine have not yet been granted a Membership Action Plan but nevertheless have made remarkable progress," Lugar added. (AP)

Posts for Nazarbayev Kin

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Two close relatives of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev have been named to key jobs.

Nurbol Nazarbayev, 23, the president's nephew, has been appointed prosecutor of the city of Kapchagai, a town the government plans to transform into a major gambling center this year, a prosecutor's office official said Friday.

Separately, Daniyar Khasenov, 30, the husband of the president's youngest daughter, Aliya, was made vice president of the national railway company, a company official said.

Khasenov doubles as a striker at the Kazakh football club Kairat Almaty, which the state railway company ­sponsors. (Reuters)

Belarus Opposition Is Split

MINSK -- Belarus' opposition failed to heal a split in its ranks Friday, with some senior members refusing to attend a rescheduled strategy congress.

Groups led by veteran opposition figure Anatoly Lebedko on Friday said the strategy congress would be held April 22-23. But former opposition presidential candidate Alexander Milinkevich said that he wanted nothing to do with it. (Reuters)

Abkhazia Holds Runoff

SUKHUMI, Georgia -- Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia voted in a parliamentary election runoff Sunday after an election two weeks ago failed to form a new assembly.

Voting in the often-violent region was calm, and the only disruption was an ­explosion that tore through a border guards' post and killed one of the guards, an Abkhaz official said. The blast was believed to have been caused by a mishandled grenade. (Reuters. AP)

300 March in Riga

RIGA, Latvia -- About 300 people marched in downtown Riga on Friday to honor Latvians who fought in a Waffen SS unit during World War II.

Dozens of police in riot gear flanked the procession to prevent a repeat of clashes that have marred the annual commemoration in recent years. No incidents were reported during the march, which ended at the Freedom Monument in the center of Riga. (AP)

Grenade in Honey Pot

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakh border guards have arrested a man for trying to smuggle a homemade grenade in a pot of honey, local media reported Friday.

The man, a Russian citizen, was traveling by train from Omsk.

"The pot seemed too heavy so it had to be checked," a senior Kazakh border official told the Kazakhstan Today news agency.

The man told police he did not know it was a grenade and that his wife had given it to him as a present for her relatives in Kazakhstan. (Reuters)