Plus, Poland's ruling party takes another hit and investigators find a huge mass grave in Bosnia.by S. Adam Cardais and Ioana Caloianu 13 September 2013
Incumbent Sergei Sobyanin was sworn
Addressing more than 70,000 people at the city's World War II museum, Sobyanin had a populist message, promising to improve safety, transportation, and social services, Radio Free Europe reports. President Vladimir Putin acknowledged the many challenges facing Moscow but praised Sobyanin as a "hard-working, business-like, and honest man," according to RIA Novosti.
Sobyanin won the 8 September polls with 51.4 percent of the vote. Navalny finished second with a surprisingly strong 27 percent in what he called a "victory" heralding the emergence of "a great opposition" in Moscow.
At the same time, Navalny said multiple irregularities and violations gave Sobyanin just enough votes to clear the 50-percent threshold to avoid a run-off. One of Navalny's key fraud accusations regards votes cast by housebound or hospitalized residents, which he claims are easier to manipulate and pushed Sobyanin over the threshold.
Just before Sobyanin's inauguration 12 September, Navalny filed a lawsuit to overturn the election results, but the Moscow city court quickly rejected it. The judge said the request, which also demanded Sobyanin's inauguration be annulled, was disproportionate and could violate voter rights, RIA Novosti reports.
Navalny, a lawyer and anti-corruption blogger, has begun filing an additional 951 lawsuits with Moscow district courts alleging irregularities at city polling stations, RIA Novosti reports, citing a blog post. A leader in the protests that swept Russia after parliamentary elections in December 2011, Navalny has not called for demonstrations.
Putin hailed the election as the most transparent in Russia's history. The Moscow Electoral Commission dismissed all complaints of violations and rejected calls for a recount, according to RIA Novosti.
Kyiv has extradited a Russian ultranationalist allegedly involved in the killing of a judge, among other high-profile murders, Radio Free Europe reports.
Arrested in Ukraine in May, Mikhail Volkov has been handed over to Russian officials pending trial, a Russian prosecutor said 12 September. The former member of the Militant Organization of Russian Nationalists was charged in absentia with several murders motivated by racial and other prejudices, as well as arms trafficking.
Volkov is implicated in the 2010 killing of a judge who had handed down stiff prison sentences to several members of the ultranationalist group. He also stands accused in the 2009 shooting death of Stanislav Markelov, a lawyer who participated in an anti-fascist movement, RIA Novosti reports.
In July, a Ukrainian court approved Volkov's extradition and dismissed a subsequent appeal.
A mass grave dating from the Bosnian war was unearthed in the country's northwest last week, AFP reports. The grave, in the Prijedor region, is believed to contain the remains of Muslims and Croats killed in 1992, according to Bosnian officials.
Bosnian Serbs carried out mass executions in Prijedor. AFP writes that DNA analysis has helped identify more than 2,000 of the roughly 3,300 people who went missing from the region.
According to a statement from the Bosnian prosecutor's office, the excavation brought to light a "several-meter-thick layer composed of human remains." The exact “number and identity” of the victims is to be establish after a detailed forensic analysis, AFP reports.
Local officials in Prijedor and at the Balkans war-crimes tribunal in The Hague estimate that more than 3,000 Muslims and Croats were killed there and all of their villages were destroyed in the 1992-1995 conflict. After the war, Serb extremists attacked returnees to the largely depopulated area and pressured them to leave again. Until this year, the city's Serb administration had prohibited commemorations of the Prijedor massacre, which is considered the war's worst atrocity after the Srebrenica massacre.
Poland's Civic Platform has lost its third member of parliament in three weeks as the government struggles to hold on, Bloomberg reports.
Much of the discontent centers around public spending and a plan by Prime Minister Donald Tusk for the state to take over many assets of private pension funds in what Gowin called "nothing more than nationalization of private savings."
The Civic Platform-led coalition now has a slim parliamentary majority of two seats. It would be one seat, but a new party legislator was appointed 11 September to replace a recently deceased lawmaker, The Wall Street Journal reports.
In power since 2007, Civic Platform is struggling largely due to Poland's sluggish economy, which barely skirted recession this year amid the euro-zone crisis and Warsaw's belt-tightening efforts. Frustrated by the weak economy, Poland's largest labor unions have organized a four-day protest in Warsaw this week calling for the government's ouster.
The lengths people go to for a nod from Guinness World Records these days.
In a bid to win entry, a Bulgarian man has swum over 1.25 miles completely tied in an orange bag across Lake Ohrid, in southern Macedonia, the BBC reports.
Swimming on his back like a dolphin, arms and legs bound, 59-year-old Jane Petkov crossed the lake in two hours and 55 minutes, an event organizer told AFP. Other reports put the time at two hours and 47 minutes, the BBC points out.
"I was very cold for the first kilometer but after that it was all fine – no problem whatsoever," Petkov said after the feat.
Though the event organizers claimed to properly document the swim for official recognition, a representative from Guinness World Records did not attend. And it had not commented publicly at press time.