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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

4 Peacekeepers Nabbed

TBILISI, Georgia (Reuters) -- Four Russian peacekeepers have been abducted from a checkpoint in Georgia's breakaway province of Abkhazia, Georgia said Tuesday.

The three officers and one soldier were kidnapped from their post near Abkhazia's border with Georgian government-controlled territory on Monday evening, said Interior Ministry spokesman Paata Gomelauri.

"We don't know who the kidnappers are but we are working to ensure the release of the peacekeepers."

President Eduard Shevardnadze said the abduction was likely retaliation for a kidnapping the soldiers had staged themselves.

Putin Praises Jews

MOSCOW (AP) -- President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday honored the contributions of Russian and American Jews, and expressed hope the United States would soon lift Soviet-era trade restrictions tied to Jewish emigration.

Putin met with Russia's chief rabbi, Berl Lazar, and a delegation of Jewish leaders from across the country.

He praised Jewish contributions to Russian art, science and culture.

Putin also thanked Jewish leaders for their efforts to abolish the U.S. Jackson-Vanik amendment, which ties emigration policies to trade relations.

18M Ruble Heist

MOSCOW (MT) -- Unidentified burglars stole jewelry worth 18 million rubles ($580,000) from a Moscow apartment of Ksenia Sobchak, the daughter of late St. Petersburg Mayor Anatoly Sobchak, police said, Interfax reported.

Sobchak, a student at the Moscow Institute of Foreign Relations, discovered her jewelry gone Monday. Police have opened an investigation.

Drug Addiction Up

MOSCOW (AP) -- The number of drug addicts in Russia has increased sevenfold over the past 10 years and now stands at more than 1.5 million people, Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matviyenko said Tuesday.

Matviyenko said most alarming is the increasing number of young people taking drugs and the rapid spread of AIDS. She said that in 1999 there were only 18,000 cases of AIDS registered in Russia, and in 2001 the number grew to 85,000, Interfax reported.

For the Record

Police are investigating the murder of Furukawa Takashi, a Japanese student, who was found dead this week in the Pacific port of Vladivostok, Vladivostok district prosecutor Vladimir Kondratenko said Tuesday. (AP)

Relatives of those killed when a passenger jet was shot down in a Ukrainian air defense exercise in October will drop their case against the plane's owner, Sibir, and pursue it with the Ukrainian Defense and Finance ministries, Interfax reported Tuesday. (MT)

A court in the Leningrad region has postponed until April 10 hearings to determine if businessman Alfred Kokh's appointment to the Federation Council is valid, Interfax reported Tuesday. (MT)