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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

U.S. Asked to Set Deadline



A top official in a regional security group dominated by Russia and China said Thursday that it wants the United States to set a precise deadline for its withdrawal from bases in Central Asia.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization was not trying to put an ultimatum on Washington, said Zhang Deguang, the group's executive secretary.

"It is only a matter of deadlines. We wonder when that would happen, but this is not an ultimatum," he said.

In July, the organization called on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawing its forces from bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. (AP)




Pakistan's Ambitions



Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said Thursday that his nation was striving to become a full member in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The country now has observer status.

Aziz, who was in Moscow for a meeting of the group, also said he did not believe that the organization was aiming to counter U.S. influence in Central Asia, Interfax reported. (MT)




Andijan Uprising Trial



TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- The judges in the trial of 15 men accused of organizing a May uprising in eastern Uzbekistan retreated for final deliberations Thursday, after the defendants repented and said they deserved a death penalty in a carefully orchestrated trial.

The judges did not say when they would deliver their verdict, but Supreme Court spokesman Aziz Obidov said a date for the next court session would be announced next week.

Prosecutors accused the defendants Wednesday of being Islamic extremists who sought to overthrow the government and carve out an Islamic state during the May 13 uprising in the city of Andijan. The prosecutors asked the court to give the men sentences ranging from 15 to 20 years. Defenders asked Thursday that their clients be given milder sentences because they had admitted their guilt. (AP)




Peruvian Murder Charge



A student has been charged with the murder of a Peruvian student beaten to death earlier this month in Voronezh, Interfax reported Thursday.

Prosecutors charged another 13 youths suspected of taking part in the attack with lesser crimes, Interfax said.

"Some of the detained say the motive for the attack was revenge and others that it was because they were foreigners," a prosecution official told Interfax.

Enrique Angeles Hurtado, 18, was killed Oct. 9. (Reuters)




Vatican Seeks Ties



VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican and Russia should establish full diplomatic relations because the current ties do not correspond to the weight each wields in the world, the Vatican's foreign minister said in comments released Thursday.

Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo also said he was convinced that the "difficult" relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church were not "unresolvable" and said he prayed that the time becomes ripe for a visit to Russia by Pope Benedict XVI.

The Vatican on Thursday released transcripts of interviews Lajolo gave to two Russian news outlets; he arrived in Moscow on Wednesday and called for upgrading diplomatic relations with Moscow. He is to meet with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Friday. (AP)