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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Moldova Charges

MOSCOW (MT) -- The Moldovan Prosecutor General's Office has charged two Russian women with money laundering, RIA-Novosti reported Thursday.

An investigator at the office, Ilya Kitoroage, said a court in the Moldovan capital of Chisinau would likely rule to hold the two Russians -- identified only as two sisters called Romashchenko -- in detention for 30 days, the agency reported.

The sisters were detained in mid-February and accused of campaigning illegally ahead of Moldova's parliamentary elections held last Sunday, and also of smuggling more than $500,000 into the country.

New Leftist Group

MOSCOW (AP) -- State Duma Deputy and former Communist Party faction leader Gennady Semigin on Thursday said he planned to create a shadow Cabinet including a broad array of nationalists and other hard-liners, and would work to field a leftist-nationalist candidate in the 2008 presidential election.

Semigin said that the "people's government" that he was organizing would offer alternative draft bills and work on social, economic and cultural projects.

The group would include about two dozen members, including former Defense Minister Igor Rodionov, former presidential candidate Sergei Glazyev and Sergei Baburin, a leading member of the nationalist Rodina party.

North Korean Nukes

MOSCOW (AP) -- The deputy head of the Federal Atomic Energy Agency on Thursday dismissed claims by North Korea that it possesses nuclear weapons.

"Pyongyang has no possibilities to produce weapons-grade" material, Sergei Antipov told Itar-Tass in Tokyo, where he was holding talks on the decommissioning of nuclear submarines.

Gorbachev Warning

MOSCOW (AP) -- Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev warned that Vladimir Putin could face serious unrest if he pursues economic policies that are tough on the people, and urged the president to fire Cabinet members over unpopular benefit reforms that prompted widespread protests.

Speaking at a presentation of an opinion poll on attitudes 20 years after he began his 1980s perestroika reforms, Gorbachev expressed concern Wednesday over rising prices and rates for basic needs.

Lavrov on Sudan

MOSCOW (AP) -- Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday spoke by telephone with his Sudanese counterpart, Mustafa Oman Ismail, about a new UN resolution aimed at support a peace accord ending a 21-year civil war in the southern part of the African country, the Foreign Ministry said.

The two foreign ministers agreed on the need to dispatch a UN peacekeeping force to southern Sudan.

Belarus Restrictions

MINSK (AP) -- Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko on Wednesday placed new, tight restrictions on Belarussians' trips abroad and foreign adoptions, adding to a web of stringent government controls in the country.

Lukashenko's office said his decree was intended to prevent human trafficking, but some opposition leaders said the move would add to the country's isolation.