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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Kozak as Justice Minister?

Dmitry Kozak, presidential envoy to the Southern Federal District, could be appointed justice minister in the wake of Yury Chaika's nomination for prosecutor general, Noviye Izvestia reported Tuesday.

Chaika is the current justice minister.

Kozak, a former Kremlin deputy chief of staff, led efforts to reform several of the country's law enforcement agencies. He was widely seen as a possible prosecutor general until Chaika was nominated Monday. (MT)

Putin Wants More Babies

President Vladimir Putin renewed his call Tuesday for authorities to try to reverse the continuing depopulation of Russia.

"We are at a critical point," Putin told his Security Council, citing estimates that the number of deaths in Russia have exceeded the number of births by 11.2 million in the past 13 years.

First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said the government intended to spend 195 billion rubles ($7.2 billion) on a raft of measures to boost the population, including help for young families. (MT)

Kolesnikov in Duma Bid

Vladimir Kolesnikov, one of former Prosecutor General Vladimir Ustinov's most outspoken deputies, announced Tuesday that he would run for the State Duma in 2007.

Kolesnikov said he had not decided which party ticket he would run on.

Ustinov stepped down in early June. President Vladimir Putin has nominated Justice Minister Yury Chaika to replace him. (MT)

Putin Hopeful on Iran

President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that he was hopeful that an international package of incentives aimed at defusing the nuclear standoff with Iran would succeed in returning the issue to the UN nuclear watchdog.

Also Tuesday, Igor Shuvalov, Putin's envoy to the Group of Eight, said Russia hoped G8 leaders would adopt a common stance on the Iranian nuclear crisis and energy security at next month's summit in St. Petersburg. (AP)

Ivanov Talks of New Arms

Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Tuesday that the military would deploy new strategic weapons capable of penetrating any missile defense in the "foreseeable" future.

Ivanov told the session of the Security Council that the new, "highly accurate strategic weapons, maneuverable warheads that are currently under development, could penetrate any missile-defense system thanks to their unpredictable trajectories." (AP)

French Diplomat Accused

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan -- Turkmenistan's security chief accused a French diplomat of providing eyeglasses fitted with a hidden video camera to a dissident working in cahoots with a U.S.-funded radio station to videotape public protests.

Turkmen National Security Minister Geldymukhamed Ashirmukhamedov said in remarks televised Tuesday that Henri Tomasini, a cultural adviser at the French Embassy, used rights activist and former convict Annakurban Amangyldyzhov to get "video material of slanderous and provocative nature intended for foreign special services and subversive centers."

The French Embassy in the capital, Ashgabat, refused to comment. (AP)

For the Record

The pro-Russian Party of the Regions warned Tuesday that it would try to take control of the Ukrainian parliament if no quick deal is made in coalition talks with President Viktor Yushchenko's bloc. (AP)

The U.S. Treasury Department on Monday added President Alexander Lukashenko and several other Belarussian officials to a list of foreign nationals whose U.S. assets must be frozen. (AP)