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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Mironov Warns 2 Nations

Federation Council Speaker Sergei Mironov indicated Friday that Georgia and Ukraine could suffer financial losses if they withdrew from the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Mironov suggested Georgian and Ukrainian leaders should think twice before quitting the CIS, a Kremlin-led loose grouping of 12 former Soviet republics.

"One should not count on economic preferences for countries whose leadership decides to leave the CIS," Mironov said. "In that case, without doubt, all these preferences would cease to exist." (AP)

Rakhmonov Thanks Putin

Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov thanked President Vladimir Putin on Friday for helping train and supply his nation's border guards, who last year took over control from Russian guards.

In televised comments following a meeting with Putin at his residence in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, Rakhmonov said Tajikistan appreciated Russia's assistance in creating a "normal, civilized" border force and its help with training and supplies. (AP)

Georgia Fetes Independence

TBILISI, Georgia -- Georgians celebrated the 15th anniversary of the country's independence from the Soviet Union with a military parade, warplanes flying overhead and the inauguration of a museum about repressions suffered under the Soviet regime.

More than 18,000 troops and 40 jet fighters took part Friday in the biggest military parade in the past decade, meant to showcase Georgia's military capabilities.

"We did everything possible to create military forces that all of Georgia could be proud of," President Mikheil Saakashvili said. (AP)

Bush Replaces Envoy

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President George W. Bush is replacing the United States' ambassador to Armenia, who apparently misrepresented U.S. policy by classifying as "genocide" the deaths of large numbers of Armenians at the hands of the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1915.

The White House nominated Richard Hoagland, a career diplomat who currently is ambassador to Tajikistan, to replace Ambassador John Evans in Yerevan. (AP)

'Iron Felix' Bronze Unveiled

MINSK -- A monument to the founder of the Soviet secret police, Felix Dzerzhinsky, was unveiled Friday in Minsk, provoking protests from human rights defenders and opposition politicians.

The 3.20-meter bronze, an exact copy of the statue of "Iron Felix" that pro-democracy crowds tore down from its pedestal opposite KGB headquarters in Moscow in 1991, now occupies a spot inside the grounds of the Military Academy. (AP)

Suspected Bus Joyrider Held

Police have detained a man on suspicion of taking an empty trolleybus for a joyride in the city of Lipetsk, Interfax reported Friday.

Police believe the 25-year-old man, whose name was not disclosed, sneaked into the local trolleybus depot and drove out in a bus. The bus was later found abandoned on a street.

The suspect was detained a few days later, and he told police that he had wanted to drive a trolleybus at some point in his life, Interfax said. He faces a suspended sentence if charged. (MT)

For the Record

Estonian Interior Minister Kalle Laanet issued an order Friday banning rallies near a statue commemorating the Red Army's victory over Nazi Germany, saying he wanted to ease recent tensions between some ethnic Estonians and native Russian-speakers. (AP)

The prosecutor in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk on Friday appealed the decision of the city's municipal council to grant special status to the Russian language, Interfax reported. (AP)

A private Mi-2 helicopter carrying six people crashed in the Krasnodar region on Saturday, killing the pilot, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. (AP)

Sports in Brief

Davydenko Wins Hypo

POERTSCHACH, Austria -- Top-seeded Nikolai Davydenko won back-to-back Hypo Group International tennis tournament titles on Saturday, defeating Andrei Pavel of Romania 6-0, 6-3.

The 24-year-old Russian picked up his sixth career title in winning the outdoor clay-court tournament.

Play had been going for just 25 minutes when Pavel double-faulted at 0-5 on set point.

Davydenko eventually won the match in 1 hour, 2 minutes.

Davydenko said he would go to Paris on Sunday "with a good feeling" about his French Open chances.

He added that he barely felt the ankle he twisted in Friday's semifinal.

"It's not so bad -- I only had a little pain," Davydenko said. (AP)

Myskina Loses Final

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- Shahar Peer rallied to beat top-seeded Anatasia Myskina of Russia 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (3) Saturday to win the Istanbul Cup.

It was the third title for the 19-year-old Israeli this year, after winning in Pattaya City, Thailand, in February and in Prague two weeks ago.

Myskina had an injured right arm in the final.

Venus Williams won last year's inaugural Istanbul Cup against Nicole Vaidisova. (AP)

Shevchenko Leaves Milan

ROME -- Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko is leaving AC Milan, which will start negotiations with English champion Chelsea over his transfer, according to a statement on AC Milan's web site on Friday.

"I'm leaving for family reasons," Shevchenko, a former European footballer of the year, said.

"It's a victory of the English language over the Italian language," Adriano Galliani, Milan's vice president, said in the same statement. "I tried to persuade him to stay up until the last minute. It is certainly the most painful separation during my time at Milan."

Shevchenko's American wife, Kristen, is reported to have asked her husband to move to London as she would prefer their son Jordan to grow up in an English-speaking country. (Reuters)