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In Brief

In Brief

Russian forces battle suspected militants
CHERKESSK, Russia
Russian security forces battled a group of suspected militants holed up in an apartment building in a troubled southern province yesterday, officials and witnesses said.
The early morning siege in the city of Cherkessk was the latest in a string of similar police operations across southern Russia. The region is plagued by violence, some seen as connected with criminal gangs and some seen as a spillover from separatist fighting in the republic of Chechnya.
Authorities surrounded the building where the four alleged militants were believed to be hiding and opened fire with guns, grenades, armored vehicles and flame-throwers.
Some building residents said security forces had taken one man from the building before the raid and speculated that the battle could have been staged to divert attention from a high-profile murder case in which a verdict was expected yesterday.
Surgeon sees Castro
MADRID, Spain
A renowned Spanish surgeon has been rushed to Cuba to try to stop a steady deterioration in Fidel Castro's health, a Spanish newspaper reported on Sunday.
Jose Luis Garcia Sabrido, an intestinal specialist, travelled to the Caribbean island on Thursday on an aircraft chartered by the Cuban government, according to Spain's left-leaning El Periodico de Catalunya.
Garcia Sabrido was due to carry out tests on Castro to see if he needs another operation after undergoing emergency surgery for intestinal bleeding in July, the newspaper said, citing hospital sources.
Egypt detains 25
CAIRO, Egypt
Egyptian authorities detained 25 people in raids on businesses owned by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, the strongest opposition movement, security and Brotherhood sources said on Sunday.
The raids targeted Islamic bookstores, a publishing house, a pharmaceuticals company, a contracting firm and a furniture store, all of which are wholly or partially owned by Muslim Brotherhood members, Brotherhood sources said.
Muslim Brotherhood lawyer Abdel Moniem Abdel Maqsoud said police arrested five members who managed or owned the companies, and confiscated large sums of money from the businesses raided.
Police also rounded up 20 of one company's employees, all of whom were unaffiliated with the Brotherhood, Abdel Maqsoud said.
Cocaine on cash
MADRID, Spain
Traces of cocaine can be found on 94 percent of banknotes in Spain, a country that has one of the world's highest rates of users, according to a study published on Sunday.
The 100 notes tested were collected in gyms, supermarkets and pharmacies across Spain, where increased affluence and falling street prices have made the drug more and more accessible.
Cocaine now sells for as little as 60 euros (US$80) a gram, or 5 euros (US$7) a line, and it is regularly used by 1.6 percent of Spaniards, up from 0.9 percent in 1999, a government report said this month.
It was not clear how many of the notes had been used to snort cocaine and how many had picked up traces from other bills, according to the study by the Sailab laboratory, published in the daily El Mundo.


Updated : 2021-05-17 10:00 GMT+08:00