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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

U.S. Missionary Detained

Police on Sakhalin Island have detained a U.S. missionary on suspicion of bribing a local official, prosecutors said.

Hio Sun Pak, a 65-year-old U.S. citizen and Pentecostal pastor, and his interpreter were detained in a sting operation after offering a local immigration official 300,000 rubles ($11,700) to halt an investigation into the purported use of illegal laborers by the missionary's church, local prosecutors said in a statement.

An official for the U.S. consulate in Vladivostok said the consulate was "aware of [the arrest] and is following the case." (Reuters)

Tyagachyov Named Senator

Federation Council senators Wednesday approved Olympic chief Leonid Tyagachyov to represent the Rostov region in the upper house.

Tyagachyov intends to keep his post as head of the Russian Olympic Committee, Interfax reported. (MT)

100 Car Deaths Every Day

About 100 people are killed and 600 injured in automobile accidents every day in Russia, Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Chekalin said Wednesday.

More than 12,500 have died in road accidents so far this year, and more than 123,000 were injured, Chekalin said, Interfax reported.

In 55 percent of accidents victims die before first aid arrives, Chekalin said. (MT)

60% Voter Turnout

Elections chief Vladimir Churov said Wednesday that he expected voter turnout to be at least 60 percent for State Duma elections in December.

"I'm confident that 60 percent will come, and 65 percent is a cautious prediction," Churov told reporters, RIA-Novosti reported.

Churov said voter interest in the elections was increasing, largely thanks to media coverage. A study released last week by 7/89 Group, an association of regional polling centers, predicted a 50 to 52 percent turnout. The study was based on a survey of 8,500 people in 14 cities conducted in May 2006. (MT)

Senators Pass Extremism Bill

A controversial bill that toughens the penalties for extremism cleared the Federation Council on Wednesday and will now be sent on to President Vladimir Putin to be signed into law.

Supporters say the bill is directed against skinheads and nationalists, but opposition activists say it could be used against them in the run-up to State Duma elections in December and the presidential election in March.

Senators passed the bill 116-2 with 13 abstentions. (MT)

U.S. Businessman Cleared

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- A court in Kazakhstan acquitted a U.S. executive of theft charges Wednesday in a case that had raised concerns among some foreign investors.

Menachem Seidenfeld, 38, was charged with the theft of $27,000 while buying equipment for telecommunications company Arna.

He was arrested in 2005 in Russia, where he worked as mergers and acquisitions director for Golden Telecom, and was extradited to Kazakhstan last year.

Seidenfeld has said he believes the case against him was brought in retaliation for his insistence on selling a large stake in Arna through an open auction, forcing its present owner to pay more than he had wanted. (Reuters)