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Mayor Confirms Closure Of Russian Newspaper Over Cartoon --> The newspaper published the controversial cartoon on 9 February (ITAR-TASS) 17 February 2006 -- Local authorities in Russia's southern city of Volgograd confirmed today they are closing down a newspaper which published a religious cartoon.

Acting Mayor Andrei Doronin told a news conference that his order to close the "Gorodskiye vesti," newspaper, was intended to prevent incitement of religious hatred, and also "abuse of media freedom."

Officials had been ordered to liquidate the newspaper within a month.

"Gorodskiye vesti"on 9 February published a cartoon depicted Jesus, Moses, Buddha, and the Prophet Muhammad watching on television two groups of people about to engage in a fistfight. The caption said, "We did not teach you that."

The local branch of the pro-Kremlin Unified Russia party accused the newspaper of inciting religious hatred.

The paper's editor accused politicians of creating a scandal to score political points.

(RIA Novosti, ITAR-TASS)