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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Ivanov on Hazing

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov on Tuesday reiterated pledges to toughen army regulations after a brutal hazing in which a conscript was beaten so badly by fellow soldiers that he had to have his legs and genitals amputated.

Ivanov said officers concealing crimes or other grave incidents would face more serious punishment and the work of the Defense Ministry's educational agencies would be revised.

Meanwhile, Public Chamber members arrived in Chelyabinsk to question the conscript's fellow servicemen as well as superiors. They are also slated to meet with the conscript, now being treated in a hospital, and his family. (AP)

Assad, Baluyevsky Meet

DAMASCUS, Syria -- Syrian President Bashar Assad and General Yury Baluyevsky held talks Tuesday on strengthening military ties, the Syrian state news agency reported.

SANA said Assad and Baluyevsky, chief of the General Staff, reviewed "historical relations between the two countries, friendly relations between the Russian and Syrian armies and ways to strengthen and develop them." It did not give further details. (AP)

Asylum for Banker

VILNIUS, Lithuania -- A banker linked to Yukos has been granted asylum in Lithuania, the country's migration service said Tuesday.

Igor Babenko, 55, was detained in Vilnius in June on an international warrant from Russia, where he is charged with laundering some 333 million rubles ($11 million).

Babenko claimed he was a target of a political vendetta surrounding Yukos.

Russian prosecutors say Babenko appropriated money from a gas company in the Stavropol region and from a bank connected to Yukos, Menatep SP. (AP)

Belarus Protests Promised

BRUSSELS -- The Belarussian opposition leader said Tuesday that his supporters would stage street demonstrations against March's presidential election if the voting was deemed as rigged in favor of President Alexander Lukashenko.

Alexander Milinkevich, the founder of Belarus' largest network of nongovernmental organizations, predicted the March 19 vote would be flawed, saying it was impossible for any election under Lukashenko to be free, fair and transparent.

"If you call such demonstrations a revolution, then I think that that will in fact be a revolution," Milinkevich told reporters at the European Parliament in Brussels, where he was holding talks for several days with EU officials, seeing support for his cause. (AP)