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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Georgian Minister Visits

A Georgian Cabinet minister held talks with officials in Moscow on Thursday, a day after the Georgian parliament ordered Russian peacekeepers to withdraw from the breakaway region of South Ossetia and be replaced by international forces.

Georgia's minister for conflict resolution, Georgy Khaindrava, said his government would have to respect the resolution but ruled out the use of force, the Interfax reported. (AP)

Man Sentenced in Extortion

The Moscow military district court on Wednesday sentenced the former director of a retail chain owned by the Defense Ministry to seven years in jail on charges of extorting $16,000.

A Moscow businessman, whose name was not released, told investigators that former Mosvoentorg director Saidakhmed Ramazanov had demanded money and threatened not to extend the rent contract for his office in a Defense Ministry building.

Ramazanov was also fined 40,000 rubles ($1,400) and demoted from the rank of colonel. (MT)

Muscovites Like Luzhkov

Muscovites want Mayor Yury Luzhkov, one of the country's longest-serving leaders, to stay in power after his term ends in 2007, a poll showed.

Sixty-six percent of the city's residents want Luzhkov to stay, while 26 percent want someone new, the Levada Center said, citing its poll of 1,000 people conducted Feb. 3-12. The survey's margin of error was plus or minus 3 percent. (Bloomberg)

Mine Collapse Kills 1

A miner was killed and another injured when rocks collapsed in a part of mine Thursday morning in the Kemerovo region, local officials said.

Rescue workers have recovered the body of the killed man, and the other has been hospitalized with injuries of moderate severity, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said, Interfax reported. (MT)

No Gay Parades in Moscow

City authorities are not considering allowing a gay parade to take place in Moscow, Mayor Yury Luzhkov's press secretary said Thursday.

Sergei Tsoi said recent media reports about homosexual activists' plan to hold a demonstration in May "incited indignation among the public and, in particular, among religious leaders." (AP)

UNHCR Slams Ukraine

GENEVA -- The United Nations refugee agency accused Ukraine on Thursday of forcibly deporting 11 Uzbek asylum-seekers to their homeland in violation of international law and said it feared they might be tortured there.

Uzbekistan requested the extradition of the men for alleged involvement in protests in Andijan last May. (Reuters)

U.S. Warned on Iran

General Yury Baluyevsky, the chief of the General Staff, on Thursday warned the United States against a military strike against Iran. He was quoted as saying by news agencies that military action "may stir the whole world, and it is crucial to prevent anything like that."

Also on Thursday, a Foreign Ministry official said close cooperation with China on a proposal to shift Iran's uranium enrichment activities to Russian territory could help resolve the crisis, Interfax reported. (AP)

For the Record

Police in Yekaterinburg shot and killed two men who took an woman officer hostage during their court appearance, media reported Thursday. (AP)

Kazakhstan asked the United States on Thursday to help investigate the murder of opposition leader Altynbek Sarsenbaiuly, whose body was found Monday, to allay concerns about transparency. (Reuters)

Azerbaijan said Thursday that it had asked the European Commission for help in fighting bird flu. (AP)

Belarus' main opposition presidential candidate, Alexander Milinkevich, on Thursday urged Russia to drop what he called its shortsighted policy of support for longtime Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko. (AP)