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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Russia-Belarus Constitution

A Russian-Belarussian commission will by mid-November complete drafting the constitution of the Russia-Belarus Union, a document that would pave the way for creating the union's executive and legislative bodies, State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov said Thursday.

The commission will submit the draft to the Supreme Council of the Union State by Nov. 15, which will consider it before calling a referendum in the two countries, Gryzlov said after a session of the commission, Interfax reported.

If adopted, the constitution, which calls for a two-chamber parliament, a Cabinet and the Supreme Council of the Union State, will enter into force 30 days after being published in Russian and Belarussian newspapers, he said. (MT)

2 Norwegians Transferred

Two Norwegian fisheries inspectors on Thursday were transferred to a Norwegian naval ship from the Russian trawler where they had spent five days in a sea chase.

John Espen Lien, a spokesman for Norway's Northern Defense Command, said the inspectors had shared evidence with Russian counterparts before the transfer.

The exchange in the Barents Sea followed days of maneuvering by both sides to defuse the diplomatic incident, which began when the Elektron was accused of illegally fishing off Norway and evading prosecution there by fleeing with the inspectors aboard. (AP)

Ballistic Missile Test-Fired

An intercontinental ballistic missile was launched Thursday from a silo in Kazakhstan and hit its target on Kamchatka, a military spokesman said.

The RS-18 Stiletto missile, also known as the SS-19, blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at around 11:30 a.m. Moscow time, Space Forces Colonel Alexei Kuznetsov said. The missile hit its target on Kamchatka in the Far East about 25 minutes later.

Kuznetsov said the launch tested the missile's tactical and technical characteristics, as well as its performance, after being on standby for 25 years. (AP)

China's Wen to Visit

BEIJING -- Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao will fly to Russia next Wednesday for a regional security conference, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

Russia and China are leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which links them to most of the Central Asian states. At a meeting in July, it demanded a deadline for U.S. troops to leave Central Asia. (Reuters)

NATO Chief Pleased

KIEV -- NATO's secretary general on Thursday called his visit this week to Ukraine an important step toward changing negative views left over from the Cold War about the Western military alliance that the country hopes to join.

But a small protest was held in Donetsk, with protesters waving posters reading "NATO: Ukraine's Grave" and shouting "NATO Out!" (AP)

Uzbek Uprising Trial

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- Prosecutors showed uncut amateur videos of the first hours of a May uprising in eastern Uzbekistan on Thursday, as the trial of 15 men accused of organizing the uprising entered its second month.

Prosecutors also showed a government-edited version of the videos, which included a voiceover giving commentary and unsubstantiated accusations regarding the events in Andijan. (AP)