The mystery over the disappearance of a presidential candidate deepened Monday. \nMoscow's prosecutor's office announced that it had opened a murder investigation in the case of the candidate, Ivan Rybkin, only to have federal prosecutors overrule them and close the case within an hour, saying there was no evidence yet to suggest foul play in his disappearance. \nRybkin, one of five challengers to President Vladimir Putin in the election on March 14, has not been seen or heard from since Thursday night, the police and campaign advisers said. On Sunday, the police began a search for him, interviewing his wife and others and searching places he was known to frequent. \nBy Monday night, a spokesman for the Moscow police, Kirill Mazurin, said investigators had made no progress, despite a statement by a member of parliament, Gennady Gudkov, that Rybkin was hiding in a spa outside Moscow. Gudkov's remark proved unfounded, Mazurin said. \nGudkov, a member of the pro-Kremlin party that controls parliament, said in an interview that he had heard "informal reports" about Rybkin's whereabouts, but had no detailed information. \nEarlier, he told the Interfax news agency that he believed the patron of Rybkin's party, the businessman and former Kremlin insider Boris Berezovsky, had orchestrated Rybkin's disappearance -- apparently to attempt to discredit the presidential elections. \n"I am 99 percent certain that this is yet another political stunt organized by Berezovsky," he told Interfax. \nRussian and foreign news agencies that reported Rybkin's "discovery" based on Gudkov's remarks had to retract the reports. \n"They lost Ivan Rybkin again," the news Web site Lenta.ru reported. \nRybkin's campaign manager, Kseniya Ponomaryova, described assertions that his disappearance was a hoax as "philistine." She said investigators were taking his disappearance seriously. \nBerezovsky, who lives in self-exile in London after escaping a Russian criminal investigation he says is politically motivated, said he last spoke to Rybkin, whose presidential campaign he is supporting, last Wednesday afternoon. He, too, dismissed questions that Rybkin or others had concocted his disappearance. \n"I am concerned about his fate," Berezovsky said in a telephone interview from London. \nRussia's Central Elections Commission officially registered Rybkin as a candidate on Saturday, putting him in a field of six challengers to Putin, who is universally expected to win re-election. At the same time, the commission said that Rybkin faced a criminal investigation for falsifying signatures required to qualify him for the ballot. \nOn Monday, the official Russian Information Agency reported that one of Rybkin's campaign workers had been arrested in connection with the accusations of falsifications of his petitions.
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‘COVIDIOTS’: Politicians condemned the protest that came amid surging infections in the country, while a marcher said government-induced fear weakened the body Loudly chanting their opposition to masks and vaccines, thousands of people on Saturday gathered in Berlin to protest against COVID-19 restrictions before being dispersed by police. Police put turnout at about 20,000 — well below the 500,000 organizers had announced as they urged a “day of freedom” from months of virus curbs. Despite Germany’s comparatively low toll, authorities are concerned at a rise in infections over the past few weeks and politicians took to social media to criticize the rally as irresponsible. “We are the second wave,” shouted the crowd, a mixture of hard left and right and conspiracy theorists, as they converged
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete