News in Brief

Medvedev Will Visit Cuba

NICE, France -- President Dmitry Medvedev will visit Cuba on a tour of Latin American states later this month, his spokeswoman said Friday.

"As part of his trip to Latin America … this month, the president will also visit Cuba," spokeswoman Natalya Timakova told reporters on the sidelines of an EU-Russia summit in the French resort of Nice.

Medvedev had been scheduled only to visit Venezuela, Brazil and Peru on his tour of the region. His spokeswoman did not give an exact date for the Cuban leg of the trip.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday that Medvedev would visit his country Nov. 26. The trip will mark the first time a Russian president has visited Venezuela. (Reuters, AP)

Sudan Bought MiG-29 Jets

Sudan, now under a United Nations weapons embargo, has bought 12 Russian MiG-29 fighter jets, Interfax reported Friday, citing the African nation's defense minister.

Sudanese Defense Minister Abdel Rahim Mohammed Hussein made the announcement after talks in Moscow.

"Yes, it's all concluded; the planes were bought," he was quoted as saying. Hussein did not specify when Russia delivered the aircraft, Interfax said.

Russian Defense Ministry officials could not be reached for comment Friday. (Bloomberg)

Khodorkovsky Wins Suit

A Chita court ruled Friday that prison authorities' decision to place jailed former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovky in solitary confinement for granting an interview to Esquire magazine was illegal.

Khodorkovsky was sent to solitary confinement for 12 days last month after prison authorities said he had broken the rules by receiving correspondence from Boris Akunin, who wrote the interview for Esquire's Russia edition. The magazine is owned by Moscow Times' parent company, Independent Media Sanoma Magazines.

The Chita court on Friday agreed with Khodorkovsky's lawyers, who argued that their client had not received or sent any unauthorized mail. (MT)

Russia Warns West on Treaty

Russia will pull out of the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe if Ukraine and Georgia are set on the path to NATO membership, a senior military official said Friday.

"If Ukraine and Georgia are granted NATO Membership Action Plans, then the revised CFE treaty will be doomed," the unidentified official told Interfax. "If MAP starts being implemented for Ukraine and Georgia, Russia will not only continue the moratorium it imposed on the CFE but will ultimately pull out of it." (Reuters)

Talks Start on Arms Pact

GENEVA -- U.S. and Russian officials are holding weeklong talks in Geneva on the landmark 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, which expires in a year, spokesmen from both sides said.

"I can confirm that the meetings have started," Dick Wilbur, a spokesman at the U.S. mission in Geneva, said Thursday.

Officials from Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, where Soviet nuclear weapons were withdrawn under the treaty, are also taking part, a Russian diplomat said.

The technical-level talks are expected to conclude around Nov. 21.

Washington sent Moscow a proposal last month for a follow-up to the Cold War-era pact, which expires Dec. 5, 2009. (Reuters)

Hockey Death Inquiry

Emergency medical personnel acted properly in treating ice hockey player Alexei Cherepanov after he collapsed during a game last month, a preliminary league investigation found Friday.

Continental Hockey League vice president of operations Vladimir Shalayev said the inquiry would continue.

Cherepanov, 19, died soon after he collapsed in Chekhov in the Moscow region. He apparently had chronic ischemia, a medical condition that means not enough blood gets to the heart or other organs. (AP)

Germany Gets Trophy Art

BERLIN -- The last panels in a set of 14th-century stained glass windows seized by Soviet soldiers after World War II will be returned soon to a German church, the government said Friday.

The six panels were taken from Marienkirche church in the city of Frankfurt an der Oder, near the Polish border, and held in Moscow's Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts for more than 60 years. The State Duma voted this year to return the remaining panels, all of which make up a picture Bible. Germany's Culture Ministry said they will be handed back to the church Monday. (AP)

For the Record

Major world powers remain divided over new sanctions against Iran after a meeting late last week on the nation's nuclear program, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Friday. (AP)

Azerbaijan's parliament voted 86-1 Friday to pull the country's 150-member peacekeeping force out of Iraq. (AP)