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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Sale of Traffic Police Booth

The Tyumen region's top traffic police official has been charged with abuse of office after prosecutors said he sold a roadside post for more than $5,000.

Valery Smolin, head of the Tyumen region traffic police, has been charged with selling a traffic patrol post situated on a highway between Tyumen and Omsk for 140,000 rubles ($5,400) to an unidentified company in 2002, the regional prosecutor's office said in a statement Monday, Interfax reported.

It was unclear exactly why the company would have purchased the post. Traffic police based at such roadside posts often flag down cars for traffic violations -- encounters that commonly involve bribes.

Smolin was detained May 21. If convicted, he could face up to four years in prison. (MT)

Fire-Related Deaths Fall

More than 7,300 fired-related deaths occurred in the first five months of this year, down 13 percent from last year, the Emergency Situations Ministry said Monday.

There were 88,161 fires registered nationwide from January through May that left 7,368 people dead, including 274 children, and 5,775 people injured, the ministry's press service told Interfax.

Negligence accounted for almost half of the fires, the ministry said. The amount of fires dropped by 8 percent compared with the same period last year, while deaths were down 13 percent, the ministry said. (MT)

Queen Awards Ex-KGB Man

Oleg Gordievsky, the highest-ranking KGB official to defect to the West during the Cold War, has received an honor from Queen Elizabeth II.

The former KGB colonel, 68, was named a Companion to the Order of St. Michael and St. George, an award usually reserved for British diplomats, in a list of knighthoods and other honors published by Buckingham Palace on the queen's official birthday Saturday.

Gordievsky was the KGB's deputy station chief in London when he was exposed as a double agent in 1985. He was recalled to Moscow but escaped to the West with the help of British intelligence. (AP, MT)

Helicopter Crash Kills 14

ULAN BATOR, Mongolia -- A helicopter on a firefighting mission has crashed in northern Mongolia, killing 14 people and critically injuring four of the eight survivors, the Mongolian government said Monday.

The Russian-made Mi-8 crashed into a forest glade Thursday and split in two on impact. The survivors had to walk several kilometers to reach a rescue helicopter, which had been unable to get closer to the crash site because of rain and fog. They arrived in Ulan Bator for treatment Monday. The pilot was among the survivors, but was in shock and has yet to provide information on what caused the crash. (Reuters)

Russians Trapped in Gaza

More than 100 Russian women are waiting to be evacuated from Gaza in the wake of recent bloody clashes between the Islamic Hamas movement and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement, the Russian envoy to Palestine said.

A majority of the 120 names on the list to be evacuated are Russian women married to Palestinian men, envoy Alexei Pogodin told Interfax on Monday.

The evacuation of the women has been complicated by Israel's closure of the Erez crossing at the northern end of the Gaza Strip, the main crossing point into Israel, Pogodin said. (MT)

Communists Lose Chisinau

CHISINAU, Moldova -- Moldova's ruling Communist Party, in power since 2001, has lost control of the capital to a charismatic pro-Romanian politician in the run-off round of a local election, results showed Monday.

State radio said Liberal Party candidate Dorin Chirtoaca, who stands for closer ties with Romania, took 62 percent of the vote in Sunday's election, while Communist incumbent Veaceslav Iordan took 38 percent. (Reuters)