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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Shevardnadze Calls

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) -- Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze, facing massive protests demanding his resignation, called President Vladimir Putin on Saturday to update him on the escalating tension in his country.

It was their second conversation in as many days, and appeared to be a further sign of Shevardnadze's attempt to shore up support from neighboring countries.

Georgia has been gripped by tension since Nov. 2 parliamentary elections that opposition leaders criticized as fraudulent. Thousands of Georgians protested all week in Tbilisi, dispersing Friday to begin what one opposition leader called a campaign of civil disobedience.

In Moscow, Aslan Abashidze, leader of the opposition Revival party that tends to support the government on key issues, met with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and later consulted with Putin's chief of staff in Moscow on Friday.

Lithuania Crisis Grows

VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) -- Another of Lithuanian President Rolandas Paksas' top aides resigned Friday as his nearly nine-month-old presidency looked increasingly fragile amid claims his office was linked to Russian organized crime.

Political adviser Dalia Kutraite-Giedraitiene said she could no longer work for Paksas, a day after presidential spokesman Rosvaldas Gorbaciovas, foreign affairs adviser Alvydas Medalinskas and economic adviser Jonas Ragauskas resigned.

Kutraite-Giedraitiene was considered one of Paksas' closest confidants and supporters, and analysts said her resignation was a serious blow to him.

5 Papers Can't Print

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) -- Five opposition newspapers in Azerbaijan could not publish on Saturday due to a lack of newsprint, a problem their editors called a government attempt to silence them.

The administration of newly elected President Ilham Aliyev denied that the government was involved.

All five newspapers -- Azadliq, Yeni Musavat, Baki Xabar, Hurriyyet and Yeni Zaman -- are published by the same printing house, Cap Evi, which ran out of newsprint Friday. The newspaper editors said, however, that government printing house, Azerbaijan, had a surplus.

India to Build Base

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan (Reuters) -- Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee said Friday that his country will help Tajikistan rebuild a military airport near Dushanbe as part of a $40 million aid packet.

Vajpayee would not be drawn on the purpose of funding the airport at Ayni, while Tajik officials played down its military function.

U.S.-Russia Ties

MOSCOW (AP) -- Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Saturday that Russia and the United States have made significant progress in building a new, post-Cold War relationship but still have more work to do.

"We are laying the principles for recognition of each other's interests, openness, predictability and a readiness to search for reasonable compromises," Ivanov said, speaking at a round-table meeting to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the formal establishment of diplomatic ties between the United States and Russia, Interfax reported.

The forum was attended by U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow, alongside former diplomats.

Plushenko Wins Title

PARIS (AP) -- Reigning world figure skating champion Yevgeny Plushenko won the Lalique Trophy on Saturday with a flamboyant program that opened with a quick chain of jumps requiring nine rotations in the air.

The Russian did what he needed to do to win the event, sailing through his long program with ease and not falling or faltering once. He opened with an impressive quadruple-triple-double jump and never let his pace drop.