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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

50 Join Hunger Strike

Fifty defrauded apartment buyers in Ulyanovsk on Wednesday joined a planned nationwide hunger strike to raise awareness of their plight.

A similar hunger strike in Moscow involving 15 people entered its second day Wednesday. The strikers are from Moscow, the Moscow region and Smolensk, said Boris Kosarev, head of the Unified Coordinating Council of Victimized Co-Investors, which is organizing the strike.

About 150 people staged a protest on Tsvetnoi Bulvar on Tuesday, after which seven of them moved to an office building on Skhodnensky Tupik in northern Moscow, where they began their hunger strike at 1 p.m. (MT)

Dagestani Policeman Killed

MAKHACHKALA -- Gunmen killed one policeman and wounded two others in exchanges of fire in Dagestan on Wednesday, authorities said.

The fighting erupted when police were seeking to capture or kill a group of what were believed to be more than five suspected militants hiding out in a wooded mountain area near the village of Gubden, about 60 kilometers south of Makhachkala, the Dagestani Interior Ministry said.

The police operation continued after the death and injuries, and there was no word about casualties among the suspected militants. (AP)

Signed Birdhouse Stolen

A birdhouse bearing the signature of Mayor Yury Luzhkov has been stolen from Troparyovsky Park in southwest Moscow.

"It was a big mistake [to sign my name on a birdhouse]," Luzhkov said Tuesday in comments aired on TV Center. "Someone stole it the next day even though the bird house was pretty high up."

Luzhkov hung the birdhouse in a tree last Saturday during the first subbotnik of the year, when volunteers help to clean up their neighborhoods, Itar-Tass reported. (MT)

Hijab Banned in Schools

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- Tajik education authorities are introducing a new dress code that reinforces a ban on Islamic head scarves and bars female students from wearing revealing Western clothing.

"The hijab [head scarf] is not a student's uniform. If religion means more to you than studies, you should study at a religious school," Education Minister Abdudjabor Rakhmonov told students at Tajik State University on Tuesday.

The ministry introduced a ban on hijabs in 2005. (AP)

Training Seals to Save Subs

Marine biologists are training seals to defend the country's fleet of nuclear submarines, Izvestia reported.

Seals are the animal of choice to defend submarine bases on the Arctic coast because they can weather the icy temperatures, biologists told the paper.

Little military funding has so far been given to the scientists, the paper reported Tuesday. (Reuters)

Dzerzhinsky Mon Amour

It seems Felix Dzerzhinsky, founder of the secret police network that became the KGB, had a soft side.

The Federal Security Service plans to publish Dzerzhinsky's letters to the love of his life, Margarita Nikolayeva, in a book called "I Love You."

"He is an interesting and complex person and, with the help of the archived material, readers will be able to understand more about him," said Alexander Plekhanov, of the FSB's academy, Interfax reported. (Reuters)