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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Iranian Embassy Explains

The Iranian Embassy in Moscow tried Friday to soften the impact of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's comment that Israel should be "wiped off the map."

"Mr. Ahmadinejad did not have any intention to speak in sharp terms and engage in a conflict," the embassy said in a statement. It said that Ahmadinejad "underlined the key position of Iran, based on the necessity to hold free elections on the occupied territories."

The statement came after Moscow, a key ally of Iran, joined global criticism of Ahmadinejad's statement and summoned the Iranian ambassador to ask for an explanation. (AP)

Andijan Suspect Ruling

A Khanty-Mansiisk court has ruled that a suspect in the May uprising in Uzbekistan had forged documents to obtain a Russian passport -- the verdict paving the way to his extradition, a regional legislator said Friday.

Sergei Valkov, a member of the Ivanovo regional legislature, said that the court ruled Thursday that Khatam Khadzhimatov had falsified documents when applying for Russian citizenship in 1993. Khadzhimatov had lived in Khanty-Mansiisk at the time and was granted Russian citizenship in 2000.

Uzbek prosecutors have charged Khadzhimatov, 43, with involvement in the May 13 uprising in Andijan. (AP)

Ukraine Church Protest

KIEV -- Supporters from two competing branches of Ukraine's Orthodox Church briefly scuffled over control of a church building in western Ukraine, a police spokesman and parishioners said Friday.

The conflict erupted Thursday in the town of Ostrog after St. Voskresenskaya Church's council and senior priest decided to join the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kiev Patriarchate. (AP)

Navy Ships Visit Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- A Russian naval squadron arrived on Friday in Indonesia for the first time in nearly four decades as the two countries boost military ties.

"There are no problems in enhancing cooperation between us," said Vice Admiral Sergei Avramenko, who commands the five-ship squadron from the Pacific Fleet led by the missile cruiser Varyag. The vessels will remain in Jakarta for six days. (AP)

Navy Captain Sentenced

ST. PETERSBURG -- A military court sentenced a Navy captain to five years in prison Friday for negligence involving the death of six sailors during a training exercise in the Gulf of Finland.

Captain Maxim Gavrilov was directing the June exercise when the yawl with oars and a sail capsized in high winds west of St. Petersburg. (AP)

2 Sailors Die From Alcohol

TOKYO -- Two Russian sailors died and two others were hospitalized after drinking industrial-use alcohol on board a freighter in waters off northern Japan, a coast guard official said Saturday.

The hospitalized sailors were treated for severe diarrhea and headache, but were in stable condition.

They told Japanese officials the four mistook methanol, a common industrial substance used as a transportation fuel, for drinkable alcohol. (AP)

For the Record

The Vatican's foreign minister, Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, held talks Friday with Russian Orthodox Church leaders and government officials, in an effort to expand ties between the Holy See and Moscow. (AP)

Norwegian officials released two Russian ships on Friday after receiving a bank guarantee for fines imposed on the ship for fishing violations in the Barents Sea. (AP)

An Mi-8 helicopter carrying a doctor, a patient and three crew members crashed while trying to land in the Tyumen region on Saturday. No one was killed. (AP)

Azeri lawmakers on Friday passed a bill allowing foreign-funded nongovernmental organizations to monitor next month's parliamentary elections. (AP)