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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Putin, Bush Discuss G8

President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President George W. Bush discussed international issues and the upcoming Group of Eight summit in a telephone conversation Monday, the Kremlin said.

Putin's press service did not reveal details of the discussion, which came amid severely strained ties between Russia and the United States.

The Kremlin said the two leaders "exchanged opinions on current international issues." They spoke as part of preparations for the June 6 to 8 meeting of G8 leaders in Germany's Baltic Sea resort of Heiligendamm. (AP)

$600,000 Bank Heist

Bank robbers in Barnaul made off with almost $600,000 in cash and large amounts of promissory notes in a heist on a Zernobank branch that left one security guard dead, police said Monday.

Unidentified robbers broke into the bank late Saturday night and strangled the security guard before making off with the cash and promissory notes from 37 safety deposit boxes, police said, Interfax reported.

No suspects had been detained as of Monday, police said.

The robbery comes on the heels of the May 12 robbery of a Sberbank branch in Chita that left two security guards -- one a suspected accomplice -- and another suspected accomplice dead.

Five suspects have been arrested, and authorities say they have recovered almost all of the $1.5 million that was stolen. (MT)

9 Killed in Van Crash

Nine people died when a van crashed into a river in the Tuva republic Sunday night, Interfax reported Monday.

Five adults and four children drowned after the van, carrying 27 passengers, fell from a bridge into a mountain river in the republic's Mongun-Taiginsky district, emergency officials said.

Regional prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into whether reckless driving or safety violations led to the accident. (MT)

Uncertainty in Ukraine

KIEV -- An aide to Ukraine's prime minister said Monday that it would depend on the president's parliamentary allies whether an agreement to hold early elections in September would be honored -- reflecting uncertainty over the hard-won deal that Ukrainians hoped would defuse a months-long crisis between the two feuding leaders.

President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych on Sunday agreed to hold parliamentary elections on Sept. 30.

But Vyacheslav Kolesnichenko, a lawmaker from Yanukovych's Party of the Regions, cast doubt over the necessity of the vote. "Today there are no political or economic grounds for an early election," Kolesnichenko said. (AP)

Russian Takes Cannes Prize

Russian actor Konstantin Lavronenko won the Best Actor award Sunday at the 60th Cannes film festival.

Lavronenko, 46, took the prize for his performance in "The Banishment," directed by Andrei Zvyagintsev. In the film, Lavronenko plays a husband who discovers that his wife is pregnant, possibly by another man.

Lavronenko's best-known film role to date was his part in "The Return," also directed by Zvyagintsev. In that film, which took the top prize at the 2003 Venice Film Festival, Lavronenko played the estranged father of two boys. (MT)