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Russian Duma Approves Slightly-Modified NGO Bill


Russian lawmakers have slightly modified a bill that critics say would undermine operations of non-governmental organizations in the country.

The State Duma overwhelmingly approved on second reading the measure that would expand oversight of non-governmental groups and ban their acceptance of foreign funds for political activities.

The lawmakers approved a set of amendments suggested by Russian President Vladimir Putin, including doing away with a clause that would require foreign NGO's to register as Russian entities.

The United States repeatedly has expressed concern over the bill. A State Department Spokesman Sean McCormack said the changes met some of these concerns. But he said U.S. officials will withhold final judgment until they analyze the bill in depth.

One more vote in the Duma is needed for final approval.

Human rights groups have condemned the measure as a reflection of the Kremlin's crackdown on civil society institutions.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

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