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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Japan Plan Agreed

MOSCOW (AP) -- Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi said after meeting Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on Saturday that signing a treaty to formally end World War II hostilities would be key to strengthening ties.

Kawaguchi said she and Ivanov agreed on a six-point plan for developing relations. The top points she named were strengthening political dialogue and increasing efforts to settle the territorial dispute over four islands in the Kuril chain.

She said the dates for a visit by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, planned for January, would likely be announced after her meeting Monday with President Vladimir Putin.

Utah Youth Olympics

MOSCOW (AP) -- Hundreds of young Utah athletes will go to Moscow next year to compete against Russians in an Olympic-style summer competition to be followed by one during the winter in Salt Lake City.

Under an agreement signed Friday by Utah Governor Mike Leavitt and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, about 275 Utah athletes 18 and younger will travel to Russia to compete in 11 sports, ranging from soccer to swimming. About six months later, some 200 young athletes from Moscow will go to Utah for the winter games. They will compete at many of the same venues used in the 1980 Moscow Olympics and the 2002 Salt Lake City Games.

Leavitt's four-day trip to Moscow capped an initiative that began during an informal gathering at Russia House, the home used by the Russian Olympic Committee as its temporary headquarters during the Winter Games.

Leavitt said Luzhkov proposed the idea of the games. The athletes, who will be recommended by their school coaches, will be expected to pay for their own airfare, but they can get sponsors. The host cities will pay for most of the travel, meal and lodging expenses. The tentative dates are July 19-26, and Feb. 7-14, 2004.

Georgia-Russia Ties

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) -- Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze pledged on Friday to uphold his country's fragile territorial integrity and said tense relations with Russia were improving.

"Georgia has gone an enormous way from the total international isolation of the country to integration in practically all international and European structures," Shevardnadze said in a state of the nation speech. He said troubled relations with Russia had improved markedly after his talks with President Vladimir Putin last week.

Shevardnadze said Georgia would continue to seek entry to international institutions including NATO, but that his country would not become "an arena for the struggle between two big countries," the United States and Russia. Hours after he spoke, however, Russia said it had sent a note of protest to the European Court of Human Rights over Georgia's failure to extradite eight alleged Chechen rebels captured on its territory, Interfax reported.

For the Record

Ingush President Murat Zyazikov and Alexander Dzasokhov, president of neighboring North Ossetia, signed a friendship agreement Friday, hoping to bring an end to a decade of interethnic strife that robbed tens of thousands of people of their homes. (AP)

Former President Boris Yeltsin and his wife, Naina, arrived in Yerevan on Saturday for a six-day visit at the invitation of the Armenian president. (AP)

The navy, air force and space forces successfully test-fired a number of missiles Saturday, The Associated Press reported, citing defense officials. (MT)