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Khodorkovsky has been in prison since his arrest in 2003 on charges seen as punishment for challenging the power of Vladimir Putin, who was president at the time.


Brazilian elected chief of U.N. food agency

ROME — Jose Graziano da Silva of Brazil was elected Sunday as director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the U.N. agency tasked with reducing world hunger at a time of high food prices.

Mr. Graziano, currently FAO’s regional representative for Latin America and the Caribbean, won on the second ballot with the support of 92 of the 180 FAO member states voting.

He beat out Miguel Angel Moratinos of Spain, his main challenger, and four other candidates to replace Jacques Diouf of Senegal, whose 18-year tenure prompted a change in the agency’s rules to set term limits.

He takes over the agency at a time when high food prices are putting the lives of millions of already hungry and malnourished people at further risk and raising fears of a repeat of the high-price-driven social unrest of 2007-2008.

The FAO’s food price index hit an all-time high in February. It has since decreased slightly, but experts warn that food prices remain far too high for many poor communities. The agency put the number of hungry people in 2010 at 925 million, the overwhelming majority living in developing countries.

The Rome-based FAO is the largest U.N. agency, with an annual budget of about $1 billion. It has faced long-standing calls from top donors such as the United States for bureaucratic reform, budget cuts and better prioritizing of projects.


Plane crash death toll rises to 47

MOSCOW — Two people who survived a fiery Russian plane crash have died in a Moscow hospital, bringing the death toll to 47.

The Tu-134 plane slammed into a highway just minutes before landing at the Petrozavodsk airport in Russia’s northwest last Monday.

Eight people initially survived the crash, dragged from the burning aircraft by people on the ground, but a 9-year-old boy died a day later.

Dmitry Beloyartsev, a surgeon at the Vishnevsky hospital, said a woman died late Saturday and a man on Sunday. Both had been severely burned in the crash and brought to Moscow for treatment.

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