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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Georgia Slams Russia

TBILISI, Georgia (AP) -- Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze on Monday assailed Russia for having unilateral contacts with Georgia's separatist region of Abkhazia -- a statement that highlighted new tension in long-strained relations.

Shevardnadze, speaking on national radio, said he had sent President Vladimir Putin a letter protesting Russian policy. "I consider the double standards of the Russian leadership categorically unacceptable," he said.

He added that Moscow's action violated the decision of a 1996 summit of an alliance of leaders of former Soviet republics, which called for ending unilateral contacts with the Abkhaz separatists.

Shevardnadze's statement followed a trip to Abkhazia by senior State Duma Deputy Dmitry Rogozin, who hinted at the possibility that Abkhazia could become part of Russia.

Interfax quoted a senior Kremlin official, who was not identified, as saying that Putin had not received the letter. The official sarcastically said that "maybe the envelope had an incorrect address or the stamp fell off," and fumed at Shevardnadze for publicly commenting on his letter before it was delivered.

Hostage Hearings

MOSCOW (AP) -- A Moscow court postponed hearings Monday in 18 lawsuits against the city government by victims of last year's hostage-taking raid by Chechen rebels, a lawyer said.

The suits seek compensation for survivors and relatives of victims of the theater siege, in which 129 hostages died -- the vast majority from a narcotic gas that authorities used to knock out the captors before storming the building.

Lawyer Igor Trunov said the Tverskoi district court was to consider 14 claims for material compensation and four for moral compensation, but postponed them all until Sept. 9 because a representative of the city's financial department failed to show up.

Later Monday, NTV television reported that another lawyer, Venera Kamalova, had won a total of about $50,000 in compensation from the city for a client also suing over the hostage raid. NTV said the court ordered authorities to pay the woman and her 3-year-old daughter $200 per month until the girl is 14.

Ex-President Rejected

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) -- The Azeri Central Election Commission on Monday rejected an application for former President Ayaz Mutalibov to run in the presidential election this fall.

Mutalibov, who lives in Russia, was deposed in 1992. Azeri authorities have accused him of negligence in connection to an Armenian attack in February 1992 in which hundreds of Azeris were killed, and last year they said he was suspected of involvement in an alleged coup plot in 2001.

The election commission said that Mutalibov's candidacy was rejected because the application stated that he was a resident of both Baku and the Vladimir region in Russia.

The commission also said that the application was submitted by representatives of a group called Khilaskar, or Liberator, while by law it should have been submitted by representatives of Mutalibov himself.