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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Rice Rejects Troop Demand

BEIJING -- U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Sunday rejected a call from a regional group led by China and Russia for U.S. forces to leave Central Asia, saying Afghanistan still needed American troops.

The six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization called last week for U.S.-led coalition forces to withdraw from bases in Central Asia. (AP)

Ethnic Minority Wins Plea

A dwindling Karachayevo-Cherkessia ethnic minority won its key demands on Saturday after the Kremlin stepped in to defuse tensions in the wake of a three-day protest last month.

The regional parliament voted to repeal a recently passed local law that the Abazin minority say deprived them of traditional lands. (AP)

Kaspiisk Suspects Jailed

Dagestan's Supreme Court on Friday convicted two suspects in the May 2002 bomb attack on a Victory Day parade in Kaspiisk on other charges, Interfax reported.

Murad Abdurazakov was sentenced to 18 years in prison and Abdulkhakim Abdulkarimov to 11 years on charges of participating in illegal armed formations, illegally purchasing weapons and attempted murder. The court cleared the men of charges of helping organize the Kaspiisk attack on July 2.

The court is still hearing the case of a third suspect in the attack, Khanapi Umakhanov. (MT)

Putin's Request to Canada

GLENEAGLES, Scotland -- President Vladimir Putin asked Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin on Thursday to intervene with his country's finance officials, whom Moscow has accused of obstructing negotiations on Russia's accession to the World Trade Organization, a Kremlin adviser said.

Putin and Martin met on the fringes of the Group of Eight summit. Sergei Prikhodko, Putin's foreign policy adviser, told reporters that Putin had complained to the Canadian leader that his country's current trade negotiators had forgotten previously agreed elements of the draft bilateral accord.

Prikhodko said there was a gap between Canada's previous statements of support for Russia's WTO accession and its negotiators' stance. Martin agreed to ask his Finance Ministry why it was "zig-zagging," Prikhodko said.

No one in the Canadian G8 delegation was available for comment. (AP)

Putin on Japan Visit

GLENEAGLES, Scotland -- President Vladimir Putin said Friday that his visit later this year to Japan was necessary to build up the trust necessary for the two countries to conclude a treaty formally ending World War II.

Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi set a Nov. 20-22 date for Putin's visit to Tokyo, which is expected to focus on the two countries' dispute over a string of islands. "As to the main thing, territorial problems, which I'd call problems of concluding a peace treaty, I think that if we want to solve it … we have to work on it, and to work on it, we have to meet, understand each other and trust one another. And trust in one another can be achieved through cooperation," Putin said. (AP)

For the Record

Georgia has foiled at least four attempts to smuggle highly enriched uranium out of the country over the last two years, said Soso Kakushadze of the Environment Ministry. (Reuters)

Gunmen fired on two police cars in Grozny on Saturday night, killing one law enforcement officer and wounding nine others. (AP)

Negotiators met Saturday and Sunday to discuss efforts to resolve the conflict over Georgia's breakaway region of South Ossetia. The conference was attended by European, U.S. and other officials, but South Ossetian authorities refused to participate. (AP)

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov headed to Spain on Sunday for three days of talks. (AP)

Speaking a day after deadly attacks in London, Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski on Friday urged closer cooperation among NATO, the EU and Russia in combating terrorism. (AP)

An Uzbek court sentenced 20 men Thursday to prison terms of five to 17 years on charges of extremism and participation in bombings last year. (AP)

A UN officer said Saturday that Uzbek authorities who were demanding extradition of asylum seekers who fled a government crackdown had failed to provide evidence against them. (AP)