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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Hunger Strike Takes Toll

BAKU, Azerbaijan -- A jailed opposition Azeri journalist is in critical condition after going on hunger strike to protest his imprisonment, his wife and a media rights campaigner said on Wednesday.

An Azeri jail official confirmed that Faramaz Allahverdiyev, jailed for two years in January, was on a hunger strike but gave no information on his health.

Allahverdiyev, who writes for the independent Nota Bene paper, was jailed after a court found him guilty of insulting Interior Minister Ramil Usubov and the head of a government agency in his articles. (Reuters)

A Not So Happy Winner

Winning in the European Court of Human Rights is usually a cause for celebration, but for former journalist Alexander Kislov, it could prove a bit embarrassing.

Six years ago, Kislov filed a suit saying his right to free expression was violated because he was fined for libeling Penza region Governor Vasily Bochkaryov in a newspaper.

But the wheels of justice in Strasbourg move slowly, and by the time the court ruled in Kislov's favor Tuesday, he had made up with the governor and is now working as his press secretary, Ren-TV station reported Wednesday.

The station said Kislov was unavailable to comment as he was out of town on a fishing trip. (Reuters)

Sverdlovsk Gets Dress Code

The Sverdlovsk regional administration has implemented a new dress code for employees and visitors in government buildings, Vremya Novostei reported Wednesday.

Under the new rules, women must wear "minimal" cosmetics and jewelry, while men must wear ties at all times, Vremya Novostei said. Bright and pastel colored outfits, jeans, miniskirts and T-shirts are also banned, it said.

Several journalists were barred from entering Sverdlovsk Governor Eduard Rossel's monthly press conference Tuesday because they were wearing T-shirts, the newspaper said.

The rules also prohibit children from entering government buildings.

Some government employees protested the new dress code by wearing jeans and brightly colored shirts to work, Vremya Novostei said. (MT)

Real Estate Suspect Nabbed

Police have detained a Yekaterinburg businessman suspected of scamming a Moscow real estate company out of almost $1 million, Interfax reported Wednesday.

The owner of the company went to authorities after the suspect entered his office and "obtained 25 million rubles ($980,000) in a fraudulent manner," a law enforcement source told Interfax.

It was unclear exactly how the suspect is purported to have obtained the money.

Neither the company nor the suspect's name was given. City-FM radio reported the suspect is the 45-year-old head of a Yekaterinburg company. (MT)

Metro Stations to Close

Three metro stations will be closed for two days in mid-August for repairs, RIA-Novosti reported Wednesday.

The Krylatskoye, Molodyozhnaya and Kuntsevskaya stations -- all on the Light Blue Line -- will be closed Aug. 18 and 19, a metro spokesman said.

A special bus will run on these two days from Krylatskoye to the Pionerskaya metro station to mitigate inconveniences for commuters, the spokesman told RIA-Novosti.

The schedules for all other types of public transportation in these areas will also be affected, the spokesman said. (MT)

Hamas Gets an Invitation

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Russia has invited a Hamas delegation to visit Moscow in the next few days, a Hamas official said Wednesday, just a day after it publicly embraced moderate Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The announcement from Hamas lawmaker Khalil al-Haya came a day after President Vladimir Putin told Abbas in Moscow that he was the "legitimate leader of the Palestinian people."

Al-Haya said the Russian government had officially invited a Hamas delegation headed by Khaled Meshaal, the Islamic group's exiled leader, who is based in Syria. Al-Haya would not specify the date, but said the visit would be "in the coming days."

The Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that it had no information on a visit by a Hamas delegation. (AP)

Trial Opens in Karaganda

KARAGANDA, Kazakhstan -- Thirty alleged leaders of a banned Islamic group went on trial Wednesday in a court in central Kazakhstan, authorities said.

The accused were arrested over the past several months and are charged with inciting religious discord and membership in a banned organization, the Karaganda regional branch of the National Security Committee said .

The men are believed to be leaders and activists with the group, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, and are suspected of trying to recruit new members, authorities said.

The trial will be closed to the public court officials said. (AP)

Washington Briefs Moscow

WASHINGTON -- U.S. officials gave an intelligence briefing for a Russian delegation Tuesday on the threats the United States believes justify building a missile defense system in Europe.

Military and political officials from both sides discussed proposals for cooperation on an issue that has become the greatest source of tension in deteriorating U.S.-Russian relations.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Rood said Russia recently accepted a U.S. invitation to view missile interceptors at a base in Alaska.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak along with Russian military and intelligence officials also briefed the United States on details of an alternative proposal first made by President Vladimir Putin in June. (AP)