Pussy Riot member isolated
Jailed Pussy Riot punk protester Maria Alekhina has been moved to a single-person cell for her own protection because of tension with other prisoners, her lawyer and Russia’s federal penitentiary service said on Friday. Alekhina, 24, is serving a two-year sentence for a raucous protest against President Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main Russian Orthodox cathedral. Prison authorities said Alekhina was moved at her own request. A federal prison service spokeswoman dismissed Russian media reports Alekhina argued with inmates over religion at the Ural Mountains prison about 1,150km northeast of Moscow. Pussy Riot’s protest offended many members of Russia’s Orthodox Church. The spokeswoman also said she had no information regarding a report on the tabloid-style Life News Web site that Alekhina had received violent threats from cellmates.
Airstrike kills seven
An official said Sudan carried out aerial bombardments of the northern part of South Sudan in the past three days, killing seven people and wounding more than a dozen. Military spokesman Colonel Philip Aguer said on Friday that Sudanese Antonov planes dropped more than 27 bombs in a disputed region near the village of Kiir Adem in northern Bahr el Ghazal State. Aguer said the attack was in violation of a security agreement signed between the two countries 54 days ago to end hostilities. The country is also accusing Sudan of frustrating its efforts to resume oil production.
Koroma promises more jobs
President Ernest Koroma vowed to transform the fortunes of the war-scarred nation with more jobs and development after his convincing re-election victory. Koroma swept to a second term with 58 percent of votes in a poll last week that observers praised as peaceful and transparent, triumphing over his main rival, Julius Maada Bio, who trailed with 37.4 percent. By winning more than 55 percent of the vote, the incumbent managed to avoid a second round of voting. Koroma was sworn in on Friday immediately after the results were announced. He called on all Sierra Leoneans, including the opposition, to unite in moving the country forward. The US swiftly congratulated Koroma on his re-election, noting the democratic progress the west African country has made since the end of a civil war a decade ago.
Jailed scientist walks free
Scientist Valentin Danilov walked free on parole yesterday after serving eight years of a 14-year sentence on charges of spying for China during President Vladimir Putin’s first term. Danilov, 66, said shortly after his release in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk that he had regarded himself as a political prisoner, because the information he passed on was declassified. “I would really appreciate it if somebody finally told me what state secret I sold,” he said. Danilov smiled, joked and laughed with reporters. Asked about his health, the physicist said: “I’m fine. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here.” Human rights activists saw Danilov’s case as an example of the Kremlin’s use of the courts against opponents, although Putin has denied influencing the courts. Danilov was sentenced in 2004, but had already been held in detention before and during his trial. A Krasnoyarsk court granted him parole earlier this month.
Restaurant blast kills 14