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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Putin Signs Committee Bill

President Vladimir Putin signed into law on Wednesday a bill on creating an investigative committee that will operate independently of the Prosecutor General's Office, the Kremlin said.

Like local prosecutor's offices, the investigative committee will have branches in every city and region. It will focus on preliminary criminal investigations into suspects, the presidential web site said. Its chief will be First Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Buksman.

The Prosecutor General's Office will retain "the function of oversight for adhering to the law during preliminary investigations," the web site said. (MT)

Traffic Deaths on the Rise

More than 10,000 people have died in traffic accidents in the first five months of this year, an increase of 14 percent from the same period last year, the country's top road safety official said Thursday.

From January to May, 10,038 people died in traffic accidents, while 95,087 were injured, Viktor Kiryanov, head of the Interior Ministry's road safety department, told reporters, Interfax reported.

Traffic accidents were up 13 percent from last year, Kiryanov said, although no total figure was given. Kiryanov said speeding was the leading cause of accidents. (MT)

Naryshkin Made CIS Envoy

President Vladimir Putin has appointed Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Naryshkin as his special envoy to the Commonwealth of Independent States, Interfax reported Thursday.

Naryshkin, who also serves as Cabinet chief of staff, was promoted to deputy prime minister in a government shuffle earlier this year. (MT)

Ammonia Leak Kills One

Two tons of ammonia leaked from a fishing trawler in the Kamchatka region Thursday, killing one person and injuring four others, emergency officials said.

The incident occurred in the Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky port when the gas used for cooling and refrigeration escaped from the ship's freezer plant, regional emergency official Sergei Viktorov said.

A mechanic died on the spot and four fishermen were hospitalized with gas burns, Viktorov said.

The trawler, the Koyo Maru, had been confiscated from Japan on suspicion of poaching and was now operated by a Russian company. (AP)

Geysers Reappear in Far East

Some of the geysers in the Kamchatka Peninsula have reappeared four days after a weekend mudslide put them out, news reports said Thursday.

NTV and Vesti-24 channels showed footage of a white steam rising from the ground in the hard-to-reach valley.

"These events testify to the fact that it is not necessary to take aggressive measures to restore the valley," the environmental group WWF said in a statement. "Nature will heal its own wounds and come to life once again."

Kamchatka is one of five places in the world where geysers -- springs ejecting hot water and steam into the air -- can be found. There were about 90 active geysers in the valley. (Reuters)