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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Weapons Destruction Date

Viktor Kholstov, deputy head of the Federal Industry Agency and a top arms control official, said Wednesday that Moscow was on track to destroy 20 percent of its chemical weapons arsenal by April, the target date set by the world body overseeing the campaign to rid the world of the toxins.

Kholstov said Moscow had already eliminated 13 percent of its 40,000-ton chemical weapons stores.

"By April 29, 2007, Russia is to eliminate 8,000 tons of toxic agents, or 20 percent of the arsenal," Kholstov said, Interfax reported. (AP)

2 Ukrainian Ministers Out

KIEV -- Ukrainian lawmakers on Wednesday accepted the resignations of two ministers allied to President Viktor Yushchenko amid a growing rift between the president and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych.

Yanukovych immediately proposed replacements for the justice minister and the culture minister. He asked, however, that two other Yushchenko-allied ministers -- in charge of the Health Ministry and youth and sports -- remain in their jobs. All four ministers had submitted their resignations last month after talks broke down over the president's Our Ukraine bloc joining Yanukovych's governing coalition. (AP)

Latvia Refuses KGB List

RIGA, Latvia -- Latvian President Vaira Vike-Freiberga on Wednesday rejected for the third time a bill that calls for publishing a list of former KGB agents in the Baltic country.

The bill calls for publishing the names of nearly 4,500 people listed as agents or informers in archives that once belonged to the former Committee for State Security.

Aiva Rozenberga, the president's spokeswoman, said Vike-Freiberga's firm stance against the idea of making agents' names public remained unchanged. "Parliament has not come up with any new ideas" for dealing with the issue, she said, adding that the president intended to send a letter to the parliament explaining her decision. (AP)

ISS Generator Fixed

The international space station's crew has fixed an oxygen generator that overheated and spilled a toxic irritant last month, mission control said Wednesday.

The station's crew -- cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, U.S. astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria and German astronaut Thomas Reiter -- fixed the Elektron oxygen generator using spare parts delivered last week by the cargo ship Progress, Mission Control spokesman Valery Lyndin said. (AP)

'Borat Not Funny'

BERLIN -- Kazakhstan will probably not show a British comedian's film poking fun at the country, the country's foreign minister said, adding that he did not find it funny.

Kasymzhomart Tokayev told a German newspaper that he hoped German moviegoers would also keep straight faces when Sacha Baron Cohen's satirical film, in which he plays fictional Kazakh television reporter Borat, opens in their cinemas Thursday.

Asked by the Bild newspaper if he had had been able to laugh at the snippets of the film "Borat," which he had seen, Tokayev said: "Honestly, no.

"Apart from the name of our country and our flag, it has nothing to do with us," he said. (Reuters)

Gazzayev's Virtual Joke

During a news conference before Wednesday's Champions League match between CKSA Moscow and Arsenal in London, CSKA manager Valery Gazzayev surprised reporters with an off-color joke, Tribuna newspaper reported on its web site.

After Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger complained that a referee's decision had robbed Arsenal of a goal in the first encounter between the two teams in Moscow, Gazzayev replied:

"A son goes up to his father and asks: 'What does the word virtual mean?' The father advises him: 'Go ask your mother and your older brother if they would sell themselves for $2,000.' The boy asked. Both replied in the affirmative. The boy told his father, who concluded: 'You see, son, you and I are virtually $4,000 richer, but in reality your mom is a prostitute and your brother's a fag.'"

Gazzayev concluded CSKA was the "best team in Europe." (MT)