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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

CPJ: Media Under Threat

WASHINGTON -- Russia's media are more severely restricted than ever, with a purge of independent voices on national television and a suppression of news during dramatic events such as the Beslan school siege last year, said a report released Monday by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

"President Vladimir Putin increasingly exerted Soviet-style control over the media," the group said.

Its analysis of the 15 former Soviet republics showed strong press freedom traditions were established in only three countries -- Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Developments in Ukraine offered hope, but elsewhere the press operated with less freedom than in the last years of the Soviet Union, it said. (Reuters)

Russia to Raise Baltics at UN

The Foreign Ministry said Monday that Russia would fight what it called double standards at this year's UN Human Rights Commission meeting, throwing a spotlight on allegedly unfair treatment of Russian-speakers in Latvia and Estonia.

"Russian representatives intend to actively use the commission tribune to draw the attention of the international community to the negative humanitarian situation in Latvia and Estonia, in particular, to the policy of open discrimination against the nontitular population by the given states," the ministry said. The commission's session opened Monday. (AP)

Russian Detainees in Iraq?

The Foreign Ministry said Monday that it had no information to confirm an Iraqi official's claim that Russian citizens had been detained by authorities in Iraq.

The ministry said it had asked the Iraqi authorities and the U.S.-led coalition to check the claim made by Bakhtiar Amin, Iraq's human rights minister, that foreigners detained by Iraqi authorities included two Russians. (AP)

Georgians Rally for Base

TBILISI, Georgia -- About 1,500 residents of a southern Georgian town gathered Monday to protest the future withdrawal of a Russian military base, Rustavi-2 television reported, in a sign of local objections to Georgia's firm intention to close down the last two remaining Soviet-era bases.

Participants in the rally called on the Georgian government not to rush the pullout of the 62nd Russian military base, saying they feared for their livelihood. Many residents of the town of Akhalkalaki, close to the border with Armenia, work at the base.

They adopted an appeal to Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to help solve the region's social and economic problems. (AP)

Kazakhstan Puts 15 on Trial

ASTANA, Kazakhstan -- Fifteen alleged members of an al-Qaida-linked terror group accused of plotting to carry out suicide attacks and assassinate senior Uzbek authorities went on trial in southern Kazakhstan on Monday.

The defendants in the country's first terrorism trial are alleged members of the Jamoat Mujahedeen, blamed for last year's attacks in Uzbekistan that killed dozens of people, said the Zhambul regional security department. (AP)