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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Council of Europe Vote Fails

Backed by Russia, the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly took the unusual step Monday of refusing to elect a new head for Europe's oldest human rights watchdog.

Delegates voted 98 to 90 against electing either of the two candidates for the post of the Council of Europe's secretary-general, the organization said on its web site.

The decision means that after current Secretary-General Terry Davis steps down in August, his deputy Maud de Boer-Buquicchio will lead the 47-member organization. The Parliamentary Assembly can vote again when it next meets in September.

Seven of Russia's 10 delegates voted against the election Monday. Delegation head Konstantin Kosachyov warned in April that the election would be put off to protest a decision by the Committee of Ministers, which represents member's governments, to reduce the list of candidates from four to two. (MT)

2 Detained Over Komi Fire

Komi authorities detained and questioned two men over the weekend in connection with a 2005 fire at the Passazh shopping center in Ukhta that killed 25 people and injured 10, RIA-Novosti reported Monday.

The suspects, brothers Asret Mahmudov, 38, and Fakhrudin Mahmudov, 43, are residents of Ukhta and own businesses there, the report said.

The Mahmudovs were detained Saturday, a day after the Komi Supreme Court sentenced Alexei Pulyalin and Anton Korostelyov to life in prison for what authorities described as racially motivated arson. (MT)

For the Record

The Foreign Ministry said Monday that it views all issues linked to Iran's presidential election as the Islamic Republic's internal affair. (Reuters)

The absence of UN and OSCE monitors from Georgia's breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia could aggravate tensions and lead to new "full-blown hostilities," the Brussels-based International Crisis Group said Monday. (Reuters)

Ukrainian prosecutors want to question Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as a witness in the poisoning of President Viktor Yushchenko in the run-up to his 2004 election, Kommersant-Ukraine reported Monday. (Bloomberg)