ST PETERSBURG -- Today the Troitksy Cathedral, built from 1828 -- 1835, burst into flames. Evidence indicates that a cigarette butt likely left behind by a construction worker initiated the blaze, which then raced through the wooden scaffolding surrounding the Cathedral's great dome. Even under renovation, the Cathedral fits 3,000 worshipers and remains a prominent St. Petersburg landmark visible from 13 miles away.
Just three minutes after a report of flames, the first fire truck arrived. In the end, 40 fire trucks and a helicopter helped battle the blaze. Firemen, cathedral priests, and employees managed to save all the icons and furniture inside. The building, designed by Vasiliy Stasov, survived abuse from fire and water without sustaining any major structural damage. While the cathedral is a federal historic site, it is managed by the city of St. Petersburg. This raises the question of who is going to pay for major repairs.
Novosibirsk Citizen Returns $750 Million
Novosibirsk, Siberia -- Yesterday Yevgeny Borodin, a former police officer, noticed a 20 million ruble surplus in his bank account. He found the astonishing balance during a routine ATM transaction. Immediately, he entered the bank and told a teller that he shouldn't have that much money in his account. The teller dismissed Borodin's concerns.
Today, Borodin went to his ATM again and discovered 40 million rubles. Borodin withdrew 690 thousand rubles ($33,000) and went to a bank supervisor with the money and his receipt. A small army of tellers and managers went to the magical ATM to find out that Mr. Borodin had 20 billion rubles ($750 million) available in his account.
Mr. Borodin suspected that someone was using his account to launder money. Additionally, as a former senior city policeman he knew that he wasn't going to get away with stealing money from the bank, and he thought that would simply be unethical. The local bank immediately shut down its ATMs and fixed a rare computer bug. The retired officer is going to get a fat cash reward from the bank for his act of good citizenship.
Former Ukrainian PM Sentenced to 9 Years of Prison
SAN FRANCISCO -- Pavel Lazarenko, a former Prime-Minister of Ukraine, was sentenced to 9-years of prison and $10 million dollars in fines for corruption and money laundering in a San Francisco Federal Court.
Mr. Lazarenko held his government position in Ukraine from June 1996 until July 1997. He was arrested while visiting America in 1999 and spent 4 years in jail awaiting trial. He was released from jail and placed under house arrest in 2003 after paying a $65 million bond so that he would not flee the country. The former Ukrainian Prime-Minister will now trade in his home for for another prison cell.
This is just another revelation of major corruption which took place in former Soviet Republics during the 1990s.