In the World

Activists march in Moscow with portraits of Russian adoptees who died in the United States.
Activists march in Moscow with portraits of Russian adoptees who died in the United States. (AFP / Getty Images)
Posted: March 03, 2013

Russia doubtful over boy's death

MOSCOW - Russian officials remained suspicious Saturday about the circumstances surrounding the death in Texas of an adopted 3-year-old boy despite an autopsy report that determined he died accidentally.

Max Shatto, who was born Maxim Kuzmin in Russia, died Jan. 21 from a torn abdominal artery, officials said at a news conference Friday in Odessa, Texas. Four pathologists - three employed by the county medical examiner and one independent - agreed the death was an accident, Ector County District Attorney Bobby Bland told reporters.

Two weeks ago, Russian officials informed their public about his death, saying Max had been abused and given psychiatric drugs. No evidence was presented, but that description quickly became an emotional element of anti-American rhetoric and colored the explosive question of adoptions.

"The bruises disappeared, the drugs vanished, the adoptive parents have been cleared, the authorities backtracked," Pavel Astakhov, Russia's ombudsman for children, wrote on his Twitter account Saturday. "The 3-year-old boy fell victim to big politics."

- Washington Post

Chad: Terrorist killed in Mali

N'DJAMENA, Chad - Chad's military chief announced late Saturday that his troops in northern Mali had killed Moktar Belmoktar, the terrorist who orchestrated the attack on a natural gas plant in Algeria that left 36 foreigners dead.

Officials in Kidal, the northern town being used as the base for the military operation, cast doubt on the assertion, saying Chadian officials were trying to score a PR victory to make up for the significant losses they suffered in recent days.

Belmoktar's profile soared after the mid-January attack and mass hostage-taking at a huge Algerian gas plant. His purported death comes a day after Chad's president said his troops had killed Abou Zeid, the other main al-Qaeda commander in northern Mali. - AP

Chavez getting chemo, VP says

CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez has been receiving chemotherapy since recovering from a severe respiratory infection in mid-January and "continues his battle for life," his vice president said late Friday.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro made the disclosure after a Mass for Chavez in a new chapel outside the military hospital where authorities say the socialist leader has been since being flown back to Caracas from Cuba on Feb. 18.

The vice president quoted Chavez as saying he decided to return to Venezuela because he was entering "a new phase" of "more intense and tough" treatments and wanted to be in Caracas for them.

- AP

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