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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Flood Deaths Hit 9

VLADIVOSTOK, Far East (AP) — Nine people drowned in floods in and around Vladivostok, officials said Wednesday.

Torrential rains Tuesday swept away houses and cut power and water supplies to the city. Rail and auto traffic was disrupted, and emergency workers said Wednesday they would need three days to fix a damaged segment of the Trans-Siberian railroad.

The regional government declared a state of emergency, saying 25,000 people were affected by the disaster. Fifty people in Vladivostok spent Tuesday night on their rooftops, refusing to evacuate, apparently for fear of marauders. Armored personnel carriers sent to clear roads and rescue stranded residents were inundated.

The rains largely ceased Wednesday. Authorities said the deluge destroyed 14 auto bridges and flooded more than 1,500 homes. Repair efforts are expected to continue till the end of the month.

Russia in NATO?

BERLIN (AP) — German Chancellor Gerhard Schr?der sees Russia eventually becoming a full NATO member, according to a magazine interview published Wednesday.

Russia is now connected to NATO through the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council, created in 1997. But in an interview in Stern magazine, Schr?der said that council "can’t be the last word in the relationship between NATO and Russia."

"Thinking in long-term historical dimensions, Russia’s NATO membership can’t be ruled out," he was quoted as saying.

President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit Germany in the fall. Putin has also said either Russia should be allowed to join NATO or the alliance should disband altogether.

Defense Talks ‘Positive’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Talks between American and Russian defense teams on U.S. missile defense plans and prospects for closer security cooperation have been "very positive," a senior Pentagon official said Wednesday.

The official, who asked not to be identified, spoke as the delegations began the second of two days of Pentagon meetings before a visit to Moscow by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for talks next week with Russian counterpart Sergei Ivanov.

"The atmosphere has been very good and very positive," the official said, adding that the United States had provided detailed information to a visiting 10-member Russian delegation headed by General Yury Baluyevsky, first deputy chief of the military staff.