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$4M 'Deputy Mayor' Sale, Russia Points Finger at Kiev, Ice-Age Lion Skull: News in brief

$4M 'Deputy Mayor' Sale

A pair of con artists was busted in a Moscow cafe trying to sell the top job in the city's lucrative real estate sector, that of Deputy Mayor Marat Khusnullin, for 3 million euros ($4.1 million), police said Monday.

The fraudsters — a man and a woman — were caught red-handed accepting a 500,000-euro payment from a police informant in a Shokoladnitsa cafe on southwest Moscow's Profsoyuznaya Ulitsa, police said.

The duo now faces a decade in prison for fraud.

The pair, who police say did not actually have any connections in City Hall, had promised to get the current deputy mayor, in charge of granting permission for new construction projects throughout Moscow, to be fired within three weeks.

Khusnullin had not commented as of Monday evening, but his department's press office was cited by the Izvestia newspaper as rueing that "citizens possessing such large sums of money could be so naive and gullible."  (MT)

Woman Emerges From Forest

A young woman who was lost in the far-eastern wilderness for nearly a month has found her way out of the forest, a week after rescuers had given up on finding her, a news report said.

The 28-year-old, who was reported missing on June 13 — a day after she had gone into a forest with two male companions to gather wild plants in the north of Sakhalin Island — re-emerged over the weekend just three kilometers away from where she had entered the woods, a spokesperson for the local emergency situations service said, Interfax reported Monday.

The woman told rescuers that she and her companions — one of whom is still missing — had nothing to eat while they were in the forest, and managed to survive by drinking water and covering themselves with tree branches for warmth at night, the spokesperson was quoted as saying. (MT)

Russia Points Finger at Kiev

Russia's Foreign Ministry on Monday called for an "adequate response" from the European Union to the deaths of civilians during heavy fighting in eastern Ukraine.

"It makes no sense to again and again demand a halt to the shelling of civilian sites by Kiev," the ministry said in a statement. "Kiev turns a deaf ear to calls to save people's lives."

"We hope in this regard for an adequate response by European Union member states to denounce the criminal policy of the Kiev authorities," it said. (Reuters)

Ice-Age Lion Skull Found

The skull of an Ice-Age cave lion, believed to be between 20,000 and 30,000 years old, has been found in a nature preserve in the Siberian republic of Sakha, also known as Yakutia.

The "rare find," which still holds a canine tooth, two molars and parts of the upper jaw, is believed to have belonged to a female cave lion about the size of a modern Amur tiger, lead researcher Gennady Boeskorov said, Interfax reported.

Cave lions were large carnivorous mammals that lived at the time of mammoths and woolly rhinoceroses, Boeskorov said.

Single bones of cave lions have previously been found in northern and central Sakha districts, on islands in the Novosibirsk region, and in other parts of Siberia. The latest skull was found in the Ust-Buotama preserve.(MT)

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