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    Russian Press - Behind the Headlines, December 17

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    US Embassy Denies Link Between Komsomolskaya Pravda Editor-in-Chief’s Canceled Visa and Magnitsky Bill/ Ex-State Duma Deputy's Car Explodes in Orenburg Region/ US Ambassador Thanks Muscovites for Support over Connecticut Shooting

    MOSCOW, December 17 (RIA Novosti)


    US Embassy Denies Link Between Komsomolskaya Pravda Editor-in-Chief’s Canceled Visa and Magnitsky Bill

    The US Embassy in Moscow has denied allegations that Komsomolskaya Pravda Editor-in-Chief Vladimir Sungorkin’s US visa was canceled because of the recently adopted Magnitsky Bill.

    The US Embassy said that none of its diplomats had faxed Mr Sungorkin. Moreover, Aleta Kovensky, whose name appears on the fax, is in fact the American consul in Turkmenistan.

    Last Friday, the Komsomolskaya Pravda Editor-in-Chief announced that his US visa had been suspended because of the Magnitsky Bill. Only three months ago, he was issued with a two-year entry visa to the United States. He stressed that he has no connections with the Magnitsky case.

    Russia Today Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan had earlier posted a copy of the fax on her Twitter account.

    Last Friday, US President Barack Obama signed the law which brings in the Magnitsky list and repeals the Jackson-Vanik amendment.


    Rossiiskaya Gazeta

    Ex-State Duma Deputy's Car Explodes in Orenburg Region

    A car belonging to former State Duma Deputy Boris Plokhotnyuk exploded on Sunday morning in the Orenburg Region, the local department of the federal Investigative Committee said.

    The deputy’s Kia Magentis careered into a ditch at the side of the road and burst into flames. The driver died at the scene.

    “According to preliminary data, the accident may have been caused by an unidentified explosive device. We found a severely burned body, which could not be identified at the scene. It will be identified following the requisite expert examination,” a spokesperson for the Investigative Committee said.

    An identity card found at the scene belonged to Boris Plokhotnyuk, Deputy of the State Duma of the fourth convocation in 2003-2007, and Deputy Governor of the Orenburg Region from 2000 to 2003.

    The police are interviewing witnesses, including members of Plokhotnyuk’s team.

    They have initiated a criminal case under the article on “murder committed in a manner endangering the public.”

    Officers with the local federal Investigative Committee, investigators and explosives specialists from the regional department of the Federal Security Service and the Interior Ministry, and experts from the Emergencies Ministry are at the crime scene.



    US Ambassador Thanks Muscovites for Support over Connecticut Shooting

    The US Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul thanked the Russians who gathered outside the US Embassy in Moscow on Saturday to remember the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

    “On behalf of the Embassy and the American people, thank you for your support on this sad and tragic day for my country,” he wrote on Twitter on Saturday.

    On Friday morning, a man identified by law enforcement officials as 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, killing 20 children aged between five and ten, and six adults. Separately, Lanza was reported to have shot his mother earlier that day, and he eventually shot himself, thereby bringing the death toll for the Connecticut tragedy to 28.

    A four-day period of mourning has been announced in the United States following one of the deadliest school shootings in the country's history.

    On Saturday morning people started laying flowers by the US Embassy building in central Moscow.


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