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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Deputy's Aide Killed

An unidentified gunman on Monday shot and killed an aide to State Duma Deputy Viktor Pokhmelkin of the pro-Kremlin A Just Russia party, the deputy told Interfax.

Alexander Kostaryov was shot in the head and shoulder in Perm.

The killing was "quite evidently a contract killing," Interfax cited Pokhmelkin as saying. He said Kostaryov was "a close friend" as well as a political aide. (Bloomberg)

Iran Bomb 'Matter of Time'

The nation's leading nuclear scientist said Monday that it was just a question of time before Iran developed a nuclear weapon and it should be stopped.

Iran, facing a showdown with the United States over its nuclear ambitions, clearly has the know-how to make atomic weapons, said Yevgeny Velikhov, a leading physicist and close associate of President Vladimir Putin.

"From a scientific point of view, of course they could create nuclear weapons," Velikhov, president of the Kurchatov Institute and head of the Public Chamber, told reporters. "When they could do it is a more difficult question." (Reuters)

Armenian Prime Minister

YEREVAN, Armenia -- Armenia's leading Republican Party on Monday nominated its acting head and the country's Defense Minister Serzh Sarksyan for the post of prime minister, paving the way for his official appointment, the party said.

Armenian President Robert Kocharyan is now widely expected to sign a decree endorsing Sarksyan's candidacy. Previous Prime Minister Andranik Margaryan, who also led the Republican Party, died of a heart attack March 25. (Reuters)

9 Dead in Avalanches

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan -- A woman and her seven children, ages 5 to 20, were killed by an avalanche that came down on their house in eastern Tajikistan, the government emergencies agency said Monday.

Another avalanche killed a teenager in a neighboring village. Both avalanches occurred Sunday. (AP)

Estonian Coalition Signed

TALLINN, Estonia -- Three Estonian political parties on Monday signed an agreement to form a center-right coalition government that will be led by the current prime minister, Andrus Ansip.

Representatives of the Reform Party, the IRL union and the Social Democratic Party, signed the deal at the Riigikogu, or parliament, the parties said. (AP)HIV Scandal in Kamchatka

A 17-year-old woman in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is suspected of intentionally infecting dozens of men with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, Interfax reported Monday.

Two of her sexual partners turned to the police after learning that they had contracted HIV. The woman, whose name has not been made public, earlier told investigators that she had had sex with some 30 men after being diagnosed with HIV.

Police have opened a criminal investigation into the allegations. If convicted, the woman could face five years in prison. (MT)

Snow Possible by Mid-Week

Moscow may see snow by mid-week, the Moscow weather service said Monday, Interfax reported.

A spokesman for Moscow's weather bureau told Interfax that the mercury would dip to 2 to 4 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, followed by rain and possibly intermittent snow on Wednesday.

From Thursday through Saturday, temperatures will fall to minus 2 to 4 C at night, rising to 5 to 7 C during the day. Easter Sunday is expected to be cool and dry. (MT)

3 Cops Face Felony Charges

Four men, including three police officers, have been charged with armed robbery, Itar-Tass reported Monday.

The four had been arrested March 13 after an investigation into the March 2 killing of Moscow traffic police Captain Dmitry Zhuchkov by an unidentified man in a police uniform. (MT)

Bakiyev Retains Ministers

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev kept key ministers in place Monday as he continued to review his Cabinet after opposition groups rejected overtures to join.

Bakiyev has faced pressure from the opposition to step down amid accusations of corruption and cronyism. In an effort to appease opponents, Bakiyev appointed a former opposition leader, Almazbek Atambayev, as new prime minister last week and invited opposition members to join his Cabinet. (AP)