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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

2 Tajiks Beaten to Death

Unidentified assailants beat two men from Tajikistan to death and injured another Sunday in what Moscow prosecutors believe might have been a hate attack, Interfax and Itar-Tass reported.

The bodies of two Tajik citizens, with fatal head injuries, were found on Kharkovsky Pereulok in southern Moscow early Sunday, and another victim of the same attack was hospitalized, city prosecutors said. The men worked at the local Pokrovsky market. (AP)

Appeal Over Erkel Ransom

THE HAGUE -- The Dutch government has appealed a Swiss court's ruling that Doctors Without Borders does not have to pay back 770,000 euros used to secure the release of an aid worker kidnapped in Dagestan, the Foreign Ministry said Friday.

"The ruling gives the impression that the Dutch state cooperates in the paying of ransoms," the ministry said.

The Dutch Embassy in Moscow paid a total of 1 million euros, including 230,000 euros of the aid agency's money, to a group of former Russian intelligence agents who brokered the release of Arjan Erkel in April 2004. Dutch authorities said the 770,000 euros they put up was a loan. (AP)

Kidnapping in Nigeria

PORT HARCOURT, Nigeria -- Gunmen kidnapped a Belarussian woman in Nigeria's oil-rich southern region, police said Sunday.

She was abducted Saturday night as she returned home from working as a caterer for a company that supplies food to oil workers, police spokeswoman Irejua Barasua said.

The Belarussian Foreign Ministry said it would ask Russia for help because it has no embassy in Nigeria.

An official at the Russian Embassy in Lagos, Viktor Goncharov, said nobody claiming to have kidnapped the woman had contacted her husband or the company she works for. She is about 45 and married to a Nigerian who operates a private medical clinic. They have four children, Goncharov said. (AP)

3rd Term for Gromov

The Moscow regional legislature approved incumbent Governor Boris Gromov for a new term Friday.

Gromov, whose second term would have expired in December 2008, asked President Vladimir Putin to nominate him for a new term last month. The legislature backed Putin's nomination 50-0.

Gromov will be inaugurated in Moscow's House of Unions this Friday, Interfax reported. (MT)

Rostropovich Remembered

WASHINGTON -- The cellists of the National Symphony will open a tribute concert to cellist Mstislav "Slava" Rostropovich, the orchestra's former music director who died in Moscow on April 27 at age 80.

The free concert, scheduled for May 19 at the Kennedy Center, will begin with an ensemble arrangement of the Sarabande from Bach's D major suite for unaccompanied cello.

The program, with music director Leonard Slatkin leading the orchestra, will include the Largo from Symphony No. 5 by Shostakovich, whom Rostropovich considered as his musical father.

Also on the program: Bernstein's overture "Slava!," which was composed to honor Rostropovich's first season with the National Symphony; and the finale from Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" Symphony. (AP)