Russian reporter's drug case dropped
MOSCOW -- In a turnaround, Russia's Interior Ministry dropped drug-dealing charges against a prominent investigative reporter Tuesday and promised to go after police officers who are accused of trying to frame him.
Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev announced that all charges against Ivan Golunov were dropped after police found "no proof of his part in a crime." Golunov was arrested Thursday.
Kolokoltsev said he would ask the Russian president to dismiss two senior police officials and suspend the officers who detained the journalist Thursday. Among those who are likely to be dismissed is the anti-drugs chief of the Moscow police.
"I believe that the rights of any citizen, whatever his professional affiliation, ought to be protected," the minister said.
Golunov, who works for the independent website Meduza, faced drug-related charges that could have put him in prison for up to 20 years.
Prominent journalists and politicians welcomed the decision to abandon the case.
The speaker of the upper house of the Russian parliament was the first top official on Tuesday to raise concerns about the case.
Valentina Matviyenko, who is Russia's third most senior official, after the president and prime minister, said the law enforcement agencies' "mistakes and violations ... have given rise to distrust in the investigation."
"People are either being unprofessional, or sloppy, or preparing a setup," she said in comments carried by Russian news agencies. "I don't know right now what to call it."
Fighting in Syria keeping aid away
Syrian warplanes struck rebel-held towns and villages in the country's northwest Tuesday, and the World Food Program said weekslong violence has hampered some of its activities in the area.
The program said in a statement that because of the latest wave of violence that began April 30, the U.N. organization and its partners at times have had to "temporarily interrupt distributions in the southern parts of Idlib due to the conflict."
It added that since May, it has not been able to reach some 7,000 people in the area of Qalaat al-Madiq that witnessed intense fighting recently.
Six weeks of violence has driven nearly 300,000 people from their homes. Many are living under olive trees, in tents or unfinished buildings, crammed into overcrowded shared rooms. Aid groups fear that figure could spiral to 700,000.
More than 300 civilians have been killed, according to opposition activists and war monitors. At least 61 children are among those killed since April, according to Save the Children, though Idlib health authorities put the figure at 75 children killed in May alone.
Congo child takes Ebola to Uganda
KAMPALA, Uganda -- A child in Uganda has tested positive for Ebola in what is the first cross-border case of the deadly virus since an outbreak started in neighboring Congo last year, Uganda's Health Ministry said late Tuesday, in a blow to efforts by health workers who for months sought to prevent contamination across the heavily traveled border.
The patient, a 5-year-old Congolese boy, has been isolated at a hospital in a district near the Congo border, Ugandan Health Minister Jane Aceng told reporters.
The announcement puts new pressure on the World Health Organization to declare the Ebola outbreak -- the second-deadliest in history -- a global health emergency.
International spread of a disease as contagious as Ebola is one of the major criteria WHO considers before declaring a situation to be a global health emergency.
There have been more than 2,000 confirmed and probable cases of the Ebola virus in Congo since August, with nearly 1,400 deaths.
A Section on 06/12/2019
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