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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Russia Worries Merkel

BERLIN -- Germany shares Georgia's concerns about Russian actions in the breakaway region of Abkhazia and is ready to play an active role in settling the dispute, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Wednesday.

Speaking at a news conference with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili in Berlin, Merkel backed the presence of Russian peacekeepers in the region but said alternatives could be explored.

"We support, I want to say this very clearly, the territorial integrity of Georgia, and we share the concern about specific steps from the Russian side," Merkel said. (Reuters)

Metro Cars Go Off Rails

Four metro cars went off the rails Wednesday evening at the Vladykino metro station, on the gray Serpukhovsko-Timiryazevskaya line in northern Moscow, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Yevgeny Bobylev said, Interfax reported.

None of the passengers evacuated from the station were seriously injured in the incident, though eight of them sought medical assistance, Bobylev told Interfax. One woman was hospitalized with hypertension, he said.

Metro spokesman Dmitry Golovin said trains on the gray line were delayed during the evacuation, RIA-Novosti reported. Bobylev denied reports that a fire had broken out at the Vladykino station, Interfax said. (MT)

Thousands of Cars Removed

Moscow authorities have removed 1,500 abandoned cars from city streets and courtyards over the past week, a city official said Wednesday.

Since January, a total of 8,500 cars have been towed and taken to 15 compounds outside Moscow, where car owners have two months to claim their vehicles before the cars are sold off as scrap metal, said Yevgeny Zhbanov, spokesman for the city's technical inspection union.

Authorities have targeted cars with broken wheels, missing parts and license plates and even excessive dust, Zhbanov said. (MT)

Food Stamps Considered

Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev said Wednesday that the country might introduce food stamps to help low-income people as consumer prices soar, Interfax reported.

This is the "most effective way" of making food affordable, Gordeyev told reporters in the southern town of Vyselki, in the Krasnodar region, the news service reported.

Food stamps may become available to 13 million Russians, allowing them to purchase 1,000 rubles ($42) worth of food a month, Interfax reported. The government will allocate 120 billion rubles ($5.1 billion) for food stamps in the 2009 budget if the measure is adopted. (Bloomberg)

Olympic Spending Boosted

The government will allocate an additional 36 billion rubles ($1.53 billion) to prepare for the 2014 Winter Olympics because of inflation, Audit Chamber chief Sergei Stepashin said, Interfax reported Wednesday.

Extra spending is needed because of rising prices, for fuel and other goods, and not because "someone is inflating" costs, he said in Sochi, which will host the Games. (Bloomberg)