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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Rollback of Drug Law

The Cabinet on Thursday agreed to roll back legislation passed last year that significantly softened penalties for minor drug offenses, Interfax reported.

The change approved Thursday would remove the concept of an "average single dose" from the Criminal Code, because it is too difficult to define the amount of such a dose for different drugs, Justice Minister Yury Chaika said.

A law that came into effect last May greatly increased the amount of drugs a person can possess without facing jail time. The change -- sought by the Federal Drug Control Service -- would require the State Duma to set new amounts. (MT)

Nazarbayev Eyes Revolutions

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Thursday that the leaders of Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan were toppled by popular uprisings because of economic hardships under their rule, and suggested he would not meet the same fate.

"We perfectly understand the underlying reasons behind those events," Nazarbayev told the international Eurasian Media Forum. "Poverty and unemployment due to the lack of a development strategy and concrete results of economic reforms are a good breeding ground for public discontent with authorities." (AP)

Sharon to Lobby Putin

JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Thursday that Russia's plan to sell anti-aircraft missiles to Syria is a danger to Israel and that he plans to bring it up with President Vladimir Putin next week -- even though Russia says it is a done deal.

Putin, who will visit Israel next week, told Israel TV on Wednesday that the missile sale would not upset the balance of power in the region. (AP)

German Faces 5 Years

Tatarstan prosecutors have asked a court to hand a five-year prison sentence to a German citizen accused of attempting to buy explosives to blow up his home in Berlin and collect the insurance money, Interfax reported.

Uwe Krueger was arrested in Nizhnekamsk, Tatarstan, in May 2003 on suspicion of trying to buy about 20 kilograms of explosives.

Krueger's lawyer was to present his closing argument to the court Thursday, Interfax said. (MT)

Koizumi at Victory Day

TOKYO -- Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi will visit Moscow from May 8 to 10 to attend celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II, Japan's top government spokesman said Thursday.

Koizumi also may meet with President Vladimir Putin, chief Cabinet secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said. He said details of the meeting were still being worked out.

Japan was one of the Axis powers with Germany and Italy during the war, while Russia was among the Allies with the United States and Britain. (AP)

Ukrainian Official Detained

KIEV -- Authorities have detained the head of a regional legislature in western Ukraine, police said, in the second high-profile arrest in less than a month of a figure apparently linked to the new government's political opponents.

Anatoly Zhukinsky, of the Ternopil regional council, has been charged with large-scale misappropriation of state-owned property, Interior Ministry spokeswoman Inna Kysel told reporters.

She offered no further details about the case, including when he was detained. (AP)