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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Diplomat Son Beaten

MOSCOW (AP) -- Police arrested six teenagers accused of attacking the 16-year-old son of a Cameroon diplomat, a police official said Tuesday. It was the latest in a spate of attacks against dark-skinned foreigners in Moscow.

A Moscow police spokesman insisted that the motive behind the late Monday night attack was hooliganism and not racism.

The six teens, who were not further identified, allegedly beat the diplomat's son during a soccer game, the police spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Police arrested the teens later in a nearby courtyard.

The victim, who was identified only as the son of the Cameroon Embassy's first secretary, appeared on NTV television and showed light bruises to his face and chest.

Evad Logan, spokesman for the Cameroon Embassy, told NTV that the attack appeared to have been racially motivated and was not the first time that a Cameroon citizen had been assaulted in Russia.

Russia has seen a number of high-profile racist and anti-Semitic acts recently, including the April slaying of an Afghan interpreter by skinheads. In May, a booby-trapped sign reading "Death to Yids" exploded in the face of a woman who tried to remove it from a roadside outside Moscow.

Turkey Denies Deal

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Turkey's foreign minister on Tuesday strongly denied a newspaper report that Turkey and Russia have secretly agreed to block the formation of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq if the United States moves to oust Saddam Hussein.

Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel denied the report, published Tuesday by the liberal daily Radikal. Gurel made his remarks before departing for Jordan to discuss Turkey's concerns over a military operation against Iraq.

Radikal claimed that Turkey and Russia reached a secret deal over Iraq last week during a visit by Russia's deputy foreign minister Alexander Sultanov.

"It is natural that we might have discussed mutual concerns over regional matters but a secret agreement with Russia … is out of the question," Gurel told reporters at the airport.

Tax Evasion Appeal

MINSK, Belarus (AP) -- A top leader of the Belarussian opposition and former prime minister entered an appeal Monday against a tax evasion conviction that he has said was politically motivated.

Mikhail Chigir, 54, who served as prime minister from 1994-96, was given a suspended sentence last month of 3 1/2 years and ordered to repay back taxes of $4,500 on money he earned while working in Moscow for a German firm.

Under the sentence, he was also banned from taking a leading position in a business for the next five years.

Chigir, a major figure in the opposition to President Alexander Lukashenko, has said the court decision was personally ordered by Lukashenko.

On Monday, Chigir maintained his innocence and said he was pessimistic his appeal would get anywhere because he said Belarussian courts were not independent.

Chigir had argued that under Belarussian law, he was not required to pay income tax when he was working in Moscow because he spent more than 183 days out of the country.

Cambodian Awards

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia (AP) -- Prime Minister Hun Sen was made a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences at a ceremony Tuesday in the Cambodian capital.

Deputy Prime Minister Sar Kheng and Cabinet Minister Sok An, one of Hun Sen's closest confidantes, were also admitted to the 2,500-member academy, which was founded in 1990 as a creative scientific organization uniting naturalists and humanitarians.

The United Nations-accredited academy recognizes Hun Sen's "priceless contribution to restoring peace, national reconciliation and the survival of the Cambodian people," Russian Ambassador Viktor Samoilenko said in a speech to more than 500 guests.

Hun Sen, once a former Khmer Rouge guerrilla, defected to fight against the genocidal regime in the late 1970s.

Hun Sen, 50, thanked Russia for its support in the '80s when Cambodia was occupied by the Vietnamese army and shunned by the West, including the United Nations. Phnom Penh received millions of dollars in aid from Moscow.

Uzbek Terror Arrests

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan (AP) -- Uzbek authorities paraded before journalists on Tuesday two Uzbek nationals captured during anti-terrorist operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Security officials said Ilkhom Mamadjonov and Khamidulla Kudratov were fighters of the radical opposition Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Both underwent terrorist training in Chechnya, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, officials said.

Mamadjonov, 37, was handed to Uzbekistan by Afghan authorities in late May. He was captured while fighting alongside the Taliban.

Kudratov, 33, was captured by Pakistani police in Karachi and surrendered to U.S. officials in June.

Condoms Stickup

MOSCOW (MT) -- Armed with a single gun, six robbers made off with more than 1 million condoms during a raid on a medical warehouse in St. Petersburg, Agence France Presse quoted police as saying Monday.

In addition to the 88 boxes of condoms, each containing some 12,000 contraceptives, the robbers also stole a photocopier, the report said.

Before escaping in a car, the thieves tied up two female warehouse employees, the agency reported. Police said there were no immediate leads in the case.

Russian in Audio

MOSCOW (MT) -- London's oldest open-top bus tour operator is for the first time offering audio guides in Russian to cater to a boom in tourists from the former Soviet Union, the London Evening Standard reported.

The Original London Sightseeing Tour, launched in 1951 for the Festival of Britain, has also had to ditch Hebrew because there is only a finite number of headphone sockets to plug into, the newspaper reported Monday.

The tour operator stressed that the decision was made for economic, not political, reasons.