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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Putin to Visit Egypt, Israel

President Vladimir Putin will travel next week to Egypt and to Israel, where he will be the first Russian or Soviet leader to visit the Jewish state, the Kremlin said Tuesday.

Putin will arrive in Egypt on April 26, and travel on to Israel on April 27 for a two-day visit that will be followed by talks with Palestinian leaders on April 29, a statement said.

Putin is expected to meet with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, President Moshe Katsav and other senior Israeli officials for talks on advancing Middle East peace negotiations, Israeli officials said last month. The Kremlin said Putin was visiting the Palestinian territories at the invitation of new Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas. (AP)

Beslan Court Hearings

ROSTOV-ON-DON -- A court held preliminary hearings Tuesday in the trial of the only surviving suspected hostage-taker in the Beslan school attack last September.

The trial of Nur-Pashi Kulayev will start on May 17 at the Supreme Court of North Ossetia, and it will be open to the public, Deputy Prosecutor General Nikolai Shepel said. (AP)

Troops Raid Militant Base

GROZNY -- Federal troops raided a militant base in Chechnya, destroying the hideout, the military said Tuesday.

Federal forces opened up with artillery fire Monday on the well-equipped base about four kilometers from the village of Dyshne-Vedeno, said Major General Ilya Shabalkin, chief spokesman for the federal forces in the North Caucasus region.

The number of dead was not immediately clear. Shabalkin told Interfax that preliminary reports suggested that seven suspected rebels were killed in the assault. "Some of the guerillas, including several injured militants, managed to escape," Shabalkin said. (AP)

Car Explodes in Dagestan

MAKHACHKALA, Dagestan -- A car exploded Tuesday in the Dagestani capital, Makhachkala, killing two people in what investigators believe was a botched attempt to kill a prosecutor.

The blast occurred at around 6 a.m., killing one occupant instantly, officials said. The second occupant died shortly afterward in the hospital.

Prosecutor Makhmud Isayev said the two appeared to have detonated the bomb by accident.

A little-known radical Islamic group claimed responsibility Sunday for a bomb attack that sparked a fire and injured six people at a prosecutor's office in Makhachkala two days earlier. (AP)

Appeal to Putin for Mercy

Relatives of jailed youth activists who took part in seizing a Kremlin-controlled building in December urged President Vladimir Putin to pardon them Tuesday.

Parents were permitted into a government building to hand over a letter for Putin, begging him to show mercy and free members of the radical National Bolshevik Party, arguing the youths were trying to help their country.

The activists, who were protesting social policies, were arrested after blockading themselves in a room. (AP)

Lukashenko Eyes Uprisings

MINSK -- Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko said in a state of the nation address Tuesday that "colored revolutions" that overturned governments in Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan would make no inroads in Belarus.

Lukashenko promised "tough and appropriate measures" to preclude any repeat of the protests that toppled the governments in the other countries. (Reuters)

EU Says Georgia Is on Track

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Georgia is on track to adopt an overhaul of its judicial system by July when a European Union legal assistance mission is due to end, the head of the EU team said Tuesday.

Georgian authorities will adopt new guidelines covering the whole judicial system, from police investigations to prisons, said Sylvie Pantz, a French judicial official leading the yearlong EU mission.

The reform plan is based on a system drawn up by Lithuania. (AP)