Russians Told to Avoid U.S.
Russia's top public health official has advised Russians to avoid traveling to the United States because of the risk of infection with the A/H1N1 influenza virus, also known as swine flu, Interfax reported.
Gennady Onishchenko, head of the Federal Consumer Protection Service, said late last week that Russians should delay all trips that aren't necessary to avoid the virus, which has killed at least 49 people, including 45 in Mexico, two in the United States and one each in Canada and Costa Rica. Onishchenko earlier in the week advised against traveling to Mexico and Canada. (MT)
Ballerina Dies in Car Crash
Ninel Kurgapkina, a famous ballerina and the first partner of ballet icons Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov, died in a traffic accident Saturday outside St. Petersburg, the Mariinsky Theater said in a statement. She was 80.
No details about the accident were reported in the Russian media as of Monday afternoon. President Dmitry Medvedev issued condolences Sunday.
Kurgapkina was born in Leningrad in 1929 and graduated from the Leningrad Choreography School in 1947.
Kurgapkina was the Mariinsky Theater's prima ballerina from 1947 to 1981 and taught in the theater from 1982 to 1999. Among her students were three Mariinsky Theater prima ballerinas, Ulyana Lopatkina, Irma Nioradze and Zhanna Ayupova. She will be buried Tuesday after a memorial at the Mariinsky Theater. (MT)
Military Commissions Arms
The military commissioned intercontinental ballistic missiles and rockets for its newest air-defense systems last year as the government stepped up funding to restore its might.
The army added 17 ICBMs, four short-range Iskander missile complexes and 34 rockets for the S-400 air-defense systems, Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov told Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on May 6, according to a transcript posted on the Cabinet web site.
This year, the country plans to spend 1.3 trillion rubles ($40 billion) on weapons, upgrades, as well as fuel and food for the military, he said, without giving comparative figures. (Bloomberg)
Lebedev Sorry for Coverage
Business tycoon Alexander Lebedev is apologizing for his newspaper's past coverage.
London's The Evening Standard, which Lebedev bought earlier this year, has started an ad campaign around the British capital with billboards reading, "Sorry for being negative," for "losing touch," "being predictable" and "being complacent."
The ads are part of an effort by Lebedev to remake the newspaper in order to attract more readers.
"We want to reconnect with the greatest city in the world," editor Geordie Greig said in a statement.
In Russia, Lebedev owns the opposition-minded newspaper Novaya Gazeta. (MT)
Destroyer Repels Pirates
Navy destroyer the Admiral Panteleyev has helped repel an attack by pirates in the Gulf of Aden on the Russian oil tanker Spirit, the tanker's owners said.
The Admiral Panteleyev sent a helicopter to help the Spirit after the tanker crew spotted a group of armed men moving toward them in a speedboat, the Novorossiisk Shipping Co. said. (AP)
For the Record
Norway said Monday that it rescued all 12 crew aboard the Petrozavodsk freezer ship after the vessel ran aground in the Norwegian Arctic. (AP)
One person was killed and four were seriously injured in a mass brawl involving up to 1,500 people from two villages in Dagestan who disputed the result of a wrestling contest Saturday. (AP)
Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin is expected to be named speaker after the parliament convenes for its first session Tuesday . (MT)