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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Uzbeks Offer Bases

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AP) ? Uzbekistan may consider lending its military bases to U.S. forces for staging strikes against terrorist targets in neighboring Afghanistan, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

"Uzbekistan is ready to discuss any form of cooperation in the struggle against international terrorism in our region, including the deployment of U.S. forces," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bakhodyr Umarov said.

But Umarov said it was too early to discuss specifics, since the United States had not yet asked Uzbekistan for permission to deploy forces to the Central Asian nation. Earlier, Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov told The Washington Post that the former Soviet republic was ready to consider all "possible forms of cooperation," including the presence of U.S. troops in Uzbekistan.

Border Drug Bust

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan (AP) ? Russian border guards on the Afghan-Tajik border, on high alert since the U.S. terrorist attacks, intercepted more than 100 kilograms of heroin being smuggled into Tajikistan on Monday, a border guards spokesman said.

Border guards saw three people illegally cross the border but failed to detain them, border guards? spokesman Colonel Pyotr Gordiyenko said. As they fled, the trio left behind 10 bags containing 109 kilograms of heroin.

Gordiyenko said Russian forces were "ready to face any development in the situation on the Tajik-Afghan border." He added that Russian border guards had learned about the terror attacks in the United States only from television reports and had not received any special orders because they were already on maximum alert.

Azeris to Host NATO

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) ? Azerbaijan will host three weeks of NATO exercises in November, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Monday.

Defense Ministry spokesman Eivaz Dzhafarov said the maneuvers, from Nov. 1 to 20, would be the biggest NATO exercises in the Caucasus region. He said they demonstrated Azerbaijan?s continued desire to join NATO.

"The recent events in the United States showed that we should unite efforts to preserve stability in the world and in the region as a whole," he said.

Representatives from NATO countries were in the Azeri capital on Monday for discussions on the exercises.

ISS?s New Arrival

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) ? A Russian docking compartment arrived late Sunday at the international space station, two days after its launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

Named Pirs, the 5-meter-long compartment is the sixth habitable module of the space station and the third to be launched by the Russian Aviation and Space Agency. Besides providing extra docking ports for space station Alpha, the new module is to serve as a portal for astronauts and cosmonauts. It will be a backup for the U.S. air lock that was delivered by space shuttle Atlantis in July.

Policeman Dies

MOSCOW (MT) ? A high-ranking traffic police officer died Saturday after spending almost two days tied up by burglars, city police said Monday.

Alexander Cherkasov, 40, the chief of the city traffic police?s information and communication department, was at his dacha north of Moscow last Thursday when three robbers broke in, police said. Brandishing a gun, they tied Cherkasov with ropes before leaving in his car with his police ID card, mobile phone and $300 cash, Interfax reported.

Cherkasov?s wife found him alive two days later. He was treated by ambulance workers but refused to be hospitalized, and died two hours later. A city police spokesman said by telephone Monday that Cherkasov died of high toxicity following a large swelling of tissues, caused by a prolonged break in circulation. Moscow region police opened an investigation into the case Monday, the spokesman said.

Trolleybus Stolen

MOSCOW (MT) ? Two men were detained in connection with the theft of a trolleybus, Interfax reported local police as saying Monday.

The trolleybus disappeared Sunday from its spot in the depot on Malaya Pirogovskaya Ulitsa in the city?s south-west. It was intercepted before traveling far, and police detained a 26-year-old resident of the Komi republic and a 21-year-old student from a local institute. A criminal case has been brought against the pair, one of whom was to be detained for three days; the second was released after providing a written guarantee that he would not leave the city.

ORT Elects Chairman

MOSCOW (MT) ? Hermitage Museum director Mikhail Piotrovsky was elected the new chairman of ORT?s board of directors Friday, ORT said in a press release. First Deputy Press Minister Mikhail Seslavinsky became deputy chairman.

Since Boris Berezovsky sold his 49 percent stake in ORT earlier this year, the government, which controls 51 percent, has been unsure whom to appoint to the board. Earlier this month, government officials, ORT managers and cultural figures were appointed to oversee the nation?s largest television channel. It remains unclear who now holds the other 49 percent.

Traditionally, the board has had little or no role in running ORT.

"It is a consultative body whose function is to advise the management," ORT spokesman Igor Burenkov said Monday.

He said the presence of cultural figures was meant to enhance the public service component of ORT?s activities.

Piotrovsky, who was stranded in New York in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, did not attend the meeting Friday but voted by proxy, Burenkov said.