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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Leading Nationalist Quits

Alexander Belov, leader of the Movement Against Illegal Migrants, or DPNI, said Wednesday that he was resigning because of an ongoing trial against him, in which a conviction might lead to authorities branding the ultranationalist group as extremist.

Belov, who said DPNI would be headed by a seven-member council, is accused of inciting ethnic hatred by insulting Caucasus ethnic groups at a nationalist Russian March in 2007.

Separately, Dmitry Dyomushkin, leader of the radical Slavic Union, said he would quit but stay active as a member of its new leadership council. (MT)

Lead in Frenchman's Murder

Investigators have established the identities of suspects involved in the slaying of a French winemaker and his family April 20 and are looking for them, Interfax reported Wednesday.

The report did not provide any additional details.

French businessman Thierry Spinelli, his wife and 2-year-old daughter were discovered dead in their burned-out apartment in central Moscow on April 20 in an apparent case of murder and arson.

Spinelli was well-known in the domestic wine sector and was in charge of finances at Chateau le Grand Vostok when the company was launched in 2003 as the upscale successor to Avrora, a former Soviet collective grape farm. (MT)

Medvedev Signs Curfew Law

President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a law allowing regions to introduce 10 p.m. curfews for unaccompanied minors, RIA-Novosti reported Wednesday.

The law, aimed at curbing crimes involving children, prohibits those younger than 18 from being on the streets without an adult and forbids them from entering liquor and sex shops, nightclubs and other places deemed adult-oriented.

More than 126,000 minors were the victims of crimes nationwide last year, while more than 55,000 children were reported missing, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported in late March. (MT)

Thai Testifies in Bout Trial

BANGKOK -- Thailand's government said Wednesday that it would not interfere in the extradition hearing of suspected Russian arms smuggler Viktor Bout, whom the United States wants to put on trial.

A senior Thai Foreign Ministry official was called to testify after the presiding judge said he wanted the ministry's input because relations with Washington and Moscow could be at risk. "The decision should be made with no regard to the relations between countries," Foreign Minister permanent secretary Veerasakdi Futrakul told the court.

The court had said Wednesday would be the final day for testimony in the extradition hearing, which started over a year ago. But the judge adjourned the proceedings until May 19 for further ministry testimony. (AP)

Bishkek Denies U.S. Talks

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyz Prime Minister Igor Chudinov said Wednesday that his government is not in talks with Washington on the possibility of allowing U.S. forces to remain at an air base that provides support for military operations in Afghanistan.

Chudinov spoke a day after Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell reported progress in negotiations on maintaining the U.S. presence at Manas air base. Morrell would not describe the negotiations in detail but said he hoped that agreement on a lease was getting closer.

"There was not, and is not, any order and authorization for any government official to conduct such negotiations," Chudinov told reporters. (AP)

2 Metro Stations Renamed

Two Moscow metro stations will be renamed by June 1, Interfax reported Wednesday.

Bittsevsky Park on the orange line in Moscow's south and Delovoi Tsentr on the blue line in the city's west will be named Novoyasenevskaya and Vystavochnaya, respectively, the Moscow metro press service told Interfax.

The names Bittsevsky Park and Delovoi Tsentr will be given to two new metro stations that haven't yet been put into service, the press service said.

The Bittsevsky Park metro station stands on Novoyasenevsky Prospekt, while Delovoi Tsentr is situated near Vystavochny Proyezd. (MT)