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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Car Explodes in Moscow

A car exploded in central Moscow on Thursday morning, Interfax reported. No one was injured.

The force of the blast, which occurred in the trunk of the car, was equivalent to 400 grams of TNT, police said.

The car was parked on Ulitsa Zamoryonova. The street remained closed as of Thursday afternoon. A criminal investigation is under way. (MT)

Open Letter to George Bush

The leaders of 13 prominent human rights groups sent an open letter to U.S. President George W. Bush this week in which they demanded an explanation of his recent meeting with retired Lieutenant General Vladimir Shamanov, whom they accuse of human rights abuses in Chechnya.

The letter was signed by the leaders of Memorial, Moscow Helsinki Group, Civil Assistance and others.

Shamanov, a former commander of the federal troops in Chechnya, was in Washington in his capacity as co-chairman of a U.S.-Russian commission on missing soldiers. (MT)

Postal Chief Blackmailed

Television producer Alexei Osipov, arrested for extorting $20,000 in exchange for not airing compromising footage of a senior federal official on NTV television, was blackmailing Igor Syrtsov, head of the postal service, Kommersant reported Thursday.

NTV has denied any contact with Osipov, the newspaper reported. (MT)

New Speaker in Dagestan

MAKHACHKALA -- The parliament of Dagestan elected Magomed Suleimanov as speaker on Wednesday, a move seen as strengthening Moscow's control over the volatile, mostly Muslim republic.

Analysts said Suleimanov, a low-profile mayor of a small town, was expected to work in tandem with Kremlin-backed President Mukhu Aliyev to ensure stability in the region. (Reuters)

May-December Annulment

A court in Pskov has annulled the marriage of an 81-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man after a request from the regional prosecutor's office, Interfax reported Thursday.

The court declared the marriage bogus, as it was not consummated and the couple did not live together. The man lived with the woman's granddaughter.

The only reason for the marriage was to allow the man to gain control of the elderly woman's 11.3-square-meter room, which he subsequently privatized and sold, prosecutors said. (MT)