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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Lavrov Has Hope for Iran

There is still hope Iran will comply with an international call to freeze uranium enrichment activities that have deepened concerns it seeks nuclear weapons, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Vremya Novostei in an interview published Monday.

Iran's response to incentives offered by the five UN Security Council nations and Germany to persuade it to halt enrichment activities left room for dialogue on its nuclear program, Lavrov said.

"Although this answer cannot be called fully satisfactory, it still contains the possibility of a continuation of dialogue that would allow for the beginning of talks on the basis of the proposal of the sextet," Lavrov said. (AP)

Uzbek Singer Convicted

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- A dissident Uzbek folk singer has been given a three-year suspended sentence for writing a song about last year's bloody crackdown of the Andijan uprising, his lawyer said Monday.

Dadakhon Khasanov was convicted Friday by the Tashkent Criminal Court, which suspended his sentence provided he did not write politically motivated songs or poems, defense attorney Surat Ikramov said. Ikramov dismissed the trial as "theatrical" and "absurd."

Khasanov, 66, was forced to sign away ownership of his house and car and turned down legal defense after pressure from the Interior Ministry, Ikramov said. Khasanov faced accusations of insulting President Islam Karimov and disseminating illegal information. (AP)

TV Station Accuses Moldova

CHISINAU, Moldova -- A private Romanian television station on Monday accused the Moldovan government of political pressure after its sales director was arrested on charges of soliciting a bribe.

Ghenadie Braghis, a Moldovan who also holds Romanian citizenship, was arrested Thursday on charges that he demanded a bribe of $1,000 from a private Moldovan transportation company in exchange for airing a favorable report.

Pro-TV, however, claimed the arrest was in retaliation for reports the station had broadcast about Moldovan Interior Minister Gheorghe Papuc, alleging he obtained a degree under false pretenses and that he illegally bought cars for ministry employees. The reports also said the police force, which is run by the ministry, was involved in torture in at least one case and extortion. (AP)

Nuclear Reactor Shut Down

KIEV -- A safety system automatically shut down a nuclear reactor in eastern Ukraine on Monday, and there was no increase in radiation levels, officials said.

The cause of the shutdown of the reactor No. 6 at the Zaporizhsky nuclear power plant was not immediately clear, the state-run nuclear operator Energoatom said in a statement. Four other reactors at the plant are in operation now, and another is undergoing planned repairs, it said. (AP)

U.S. Regrets Nuclear Treaty

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- The United States on Monday again expressed regret over a new treaty to set up a nuclear weapon-free zone in Central Asia, saying the agreement had possible loopholes.

Under the treaty signed Friday, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan committed not to produce, buy or allow the deployment of nuclear weapons on their soil.

The United States, Britain and France, however, warned that the language of the treaty was ambiguous and could give previous security agreements precedence over the treaty. (AP)