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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Russia on Nuke Ban

VIENNA, Austria (Reuters) -- Russia on Thursday accused the United States and 11 other countries of holding hostage a global pact banning all nuclear bomb tests and urged them to ratify the treaty as soon as possible.

Russian envoy Grigory Berdennikov made the remarks on the second day of a conference on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

The CTBT was adopted in New York in September 1996. To date, 168 states have signed the treaty and 104 have ratified it, but it will only come into force once 44 states deemed capable of producing nuclear weapons ratify it. Of the 44 states, 32 have ratified the pact. The 12 that have not include China, North Korea, India, Iran, Israel and Pakistan.

Missiles for Belarus

MOSCOW (AP) -- Russia is planning to provide Belarus with sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to help protect Russia's western borders, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Thursday.

Ivanov said the S-300 missiles will likely be provided to Belarus on lease, the Interfax-Military News Agency reported.

"They will defend our common airspace," he said.

Ivanov said the deployment was part of close military cooperation between the two nations, which signed a union agreement in 1996 envisaging extensive political, economic and military ties.

He said that the deployment was long planned, apparently seeking to fend off any allegations that it came in response to NATO's eastward push.

Bush Sr. to Visit

MOSCOW (MT) -- Former U.S. President George Bush will arrive next week for a private visit, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said Thursday.

Bush, 79, the father of U.S. President George W. Bush, will arrive Wednesday and also visit St. Petersburg, the spokesman said.

No Dalai Lama Visa

MOSCOW (AP) -- The Foreign Ministry said Thursday that the Dalai Lama had not applied for a Russian visa despite a claim by Kalmyk leader Kirsan Ilyumzhinov that the Tibetan Buddhist leader had accepted an invitation to visit his southern region.

Ilyumzhinov said last week that he had invited the Dalai Lama to visit in late September.

Surprise Gay Marriage

MOSCOW (MT) -- The first gay marriage in the Russian Orthodox Church has been carried out after a man told a priest he wanted to marry his bride in secret but turned up with his boyfriend instead, local media reported.

Denis Gogolev and Mikhail Borozov were married in a ceremony at a church in Nizhny Novgorod, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported Wednesday.

Gogolev had first approached the priest, Father Vladimir, and told him he wanted to keep his bride's identity secret until the last minute because her parents did not agree with their wedding.

But he arrived at the ceremony with his boyfriend, Borozov, and asked the priest to carry on with the wedding service.

Father Vladimir initially protested that he had been expecting Gogolev to arrive with a woman but finally married the couple, the newspaper said.

Church officials condemned Father Vladimir's actions. "The Russian Orthodox Church does not accept homosexual marriage. An Orthodox priest simply does not have the right to marry a homosexual couple," Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, deputy head of the Moscow Patriarchate's external relations department, was quoted by as saying.