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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Secretive Japan Letter

The Associated Press

A Japanese parliamentary delegation on Tuesday gave Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov a letter from new Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to President Vladimir Putin, news reports said.

The letter's contents were not disclosed, but Japan's Yomiuri newspaper reported it held a proposal by Koizumi that the two sides discuss the return of the four Kuril islands to Japan.

The two nations have been at a standoff over the islands, which Russia occupied at the end of World War II and which both countries claim as their own.

Troshev Heads Fight

The Moscow Times

Colonel General Gennady Troshev was appointed Tuesday as the commander of the federal troops in Chechnya.

Troshev, who commanded eastern units in Chechnya in 1999 before being named head of the North Caucasus military district, flew to the military base of Khankala on Tuesday, the Military News Agency reported. The agency said Troshev would lead the troops for three months and then return to his duties as district commander.

He replaces Colonel General Valery Baranov, who was to take a vacation before reporting to district headquarters in Rostov-on-Don as its first deputy chief, Military News said. The agency did not say why Baranov was removed.

Tymoshenko Ruling

The Associated Press

KIEV — Ukraine's Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that prosecutors had acted illegally when they imprisoned opposition leader Julia Tymoshenko ahead of her trial on corruption charges.

Judge Stanislav Mishchenko said Tymoshenko's detention had broken Ukrainian law, but gave no details.

Gorbachev Aide Dies

The Associated Press

Georgy Shakhnazarov, a renowned political observer and close aide to Mikhail Gorbachev before, during and after the 1991 Soviet collapse, has died at age 77.

Shakhnazarov was on his way to the town of Yasnaya Polyana south of Moscow after a giving a speech in the nearby city of Tula when he died suddenly, media reported Tuesday. The cause and date of death was not reported.