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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Tregubova Seeks Asylum

Former Kremlin pool reporter Yelena Tregubova has applied for political asylum in Britain, Internet news site reported Tuesday.

After the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya last year, Tregubova wrote an open letter to Western leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in which she called on them to demand that Putin stop political murders, human rights abuses and restrictions on the press, reported.

Tregubova refused to comment on the report, the web site reported. (MT)

Ren-TV Hires Abakumov

Ren-TV television has hired Alexei Abakumov, former director of Radio Rossia, to head up its news coverage, the station announced Tuesday.

Abakumov previously worked as news director of Vesti, the news show on state-owned Rossia television.

Formerly an independent station, Ren-TV is now controlled by businessmen loyal to the Kremlin. (MT)

Radioactive Materials Seized

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- A metal box containing radioactive material has been seized on the border with Belarus, Lithuanian officials said Tuesday.

Vilnius city prosecutors said two Belarussian citizens had been detained Sunday after border police discovered a container hidden in their car as they tried to cross from Lithuania into Belarus.

Police did not specify what materials were seized, saying only that the container was marked with the Russian word for "uranium." (AP)

Opposition Leader Detained

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyz opposition leader Omurbek Suvanaliyev has been detained by security services investigators as part of a crackdown on government opponents after law enforcement officers forcibly ended more than a week of rallies in the capital, opposition leaders said Tuesday.

Felix Kulov, the former prime minister who now leads the opposition United Front alliance, said Suvanaliyev, a former interior minister, had been detained Monday after lengthy questioning by security services investigators on suspicion of organizing mass disorder.

The detention, Kulov said, was "an attempt by authorities to intimidate political opponents." (AP)

3 Convicted in Mugging

WARSAW, Poland -- A regional court convicted three Polish men on Monday of mugging Russian diplomats' children and stealing their mobile phones in a 2005 incident that strained relations between Poland and Russia, the PAP news agency reported.

The assailants, identified only as Pawel B., Filip P. and Grzegorz L. because of Polish identity laws, were convicted of mugging three children of Russian diplomats and a Kazakh friend in a Warsaw park in July 2005.

The court ruled that the assault had no political motive, but was instead an act of hooliganism, PAP said. (AP)

Islamist Militants Convicted

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- Tajikistan's highest court has convicted 11 members of an Islamic militant group that has been linked to al-Qaida of a series of bomb attacks in the capital, murders of policemen and armed robberies, a judge said Tuesday.

The Supreme Court found the 11 men, including two Uzbek nationals, guilty of terrorism, murder and robbery and sentenced them to terms of seven years to life, said the judge, Nur Nurov.

He said the men were linked to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and were behind three bombing attacks outside the Emergencies Ministry in 2005 that killed two people and injured three. (AP)

Closer Ties With Russia

MINSK -- Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko called on Tuesday for improved ties with Russia despite what he called Moscow's "unjustified" increases in energy prices.

In his annual state-of-the-nation address to the parliament, Lukashenko urged Russia to resume efforts to build the "union state" first undertaken in the 1990s.

"The unjustified steep increase in energy prices, combined with unfriendly talk from certain political figures, has dealt a painful blow to our relations," Lukashenko told the chamber, in which Belarus' opposition holds no seats. (Reuters)