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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Soldier Kills Officer



ROSTOV-ON-DON -- A drunken Russian soldier celebrating his 20th birthday while deployed in Chechnya opened fire after being reprimanded, killing his commanding officer and wounding three other servicemen, officials said Thursday.

The private, who was not identified, was celebrating his birthday Wednesday night at a military base in Shali. After a 32-year-old major told him to stop drinking, the soldier grabbed an assault rifle and fired several shots, the Chechen Interior Ministry said.

The private then tried to kill himself and was hospitalized with a head wound, it said. (AP)




Ethnic Clash in Far East



Russian and Chinese youths battled each other with knives on a river beach Wednesday night in Khabarovsk, mirroring similar recent outbreaks of inter-ethnic fighting that have occured in European Russia.

"During the fight, four Russians were wounded and one taken into intensive care," a local law enforcement source told Interfax.

The fight occurred on a beach on the Amur River in the southern part of the city, located about 30 kilometers from the Chinese border

A city government spokeswoman confirmed a fight had occurred but declined to give further details.

The Far East, home to thousands of economic immigrants from China, has so far been less affected by racial tension than in other parts of the country. (Reuters)




FSB Impersonator Detained



Police in St. Petersburg on Thursday detained a man suspected of trying to swindle a German businessman out of $100,000 by posing as a Federal Security Service officer, Gazeta.ru reported.

The businessman, Andreas Weissmüller, told police that two men approached him Thursday and identified themselves as FSB officers with orders to arrest him, the report said. They offered to let him go in exchange for $100,000 and let him go to retrieve the cash, it said.

Instead, Weissmüller went to police. The second suspect remained at large, Gazeta.ru reported. (MT)




Official Charged for Bribery



A senior city tax official has been arrested on suspicion of accepting a $50,000 bribe, police said Thursday.

Vladimir Gabeyev, head of the legal department at City Tax Inspectorate No. 33, was arrested Wednesday walking out of a restaurant on Kutuzovsky Prospekt after accepting the money in a sting operation, police spokesman Filipp Zolotnitsky told Interfax.

Gabeyev is suspected of demanding a $160,000 bribe from a businessman in exchange for dropping an audit of the construction company he heads, Zolotnitsky said. He said the $50,000 was the first installment.

If charged and convicted with taking the bribe, he could face up to 12 years in prison. (MT)




Turkish Girl Disappears



A Turkish girl has gone missing in Moscow, Interfax reported, citing the Turkish Embassy.

Elif Su Ilmaz, 17, was touring the city with her mother Tuesday when their tour group noticed she was missing after they returned to their hotel, Interfax said Wednesday.

The last anyone heard from the girl was a text message sent to her mother at around 7 p.m. Tuesday, Interfax reported.

The embassy is requesting the help of anyone who has information about the girl's whereabouts. (MT)

Georgian Visa Ban Eased



TBILISI, Georgia -- Russia eased a visa embargo for Georgia on Thursday in a bid to lessen tensions after a series of bitter disputes.

Russia stopped issuing visas to Georgians in September after a group of Russian officers were arrested in Georgia.

A Russian Embassy spokeswoman in Georgia said visas would be granted for study, work, transit and business. (Reuters)




Bomb in Dagestan Kills 4



MAKHACHKALA -- A homemade bomb exploded Wednesday morning on a school playground in Dagestan where policemen had gathered to do calisthenics, killing four and wounding three, officials said.

The bomb -- an artillery shell with a radio-controlled detonator -- exploded on a playground in the town of Kizilyurt, regional Interior Ministry spokeswoman Anzhela Martirosova said. (AP)