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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Azeris Detain Wahhabis



BAKU, Azerbaijan -- Azerbaijan detained a group of militant Islamists who were preparing an attack near the U.S. Embassy, the National Security Ministry said Monday.

"Several people belonging to a Wahhabi group have been detained," ministry spokesman Arif Babayev said. One suspect was killed and several others detained, the ministry said. (AP)




Sutyagin in Ill Health



Russian arms control researcher Igor Sutyagin -- convicted of treason and serving a 15-year prison sentence -- has developed severe health problems since being placed in a punishment cell earlier this year, said his mother, Svetlana Sutyagina after a recent visit.

Sutyagin, 42, was convicted in 2004 of passing information on nuclear submarines and missile-warning systems to a British company investigators claimed was a CIA cover.

He insists the information he provided for a book on Russian nuclear weapons was obtained from open sources. (AP)

U.S. Citizen Detained



A U.S. citizen was detained at Sheremetyevo Airport on suspicion of smuggling expensive watches into the country, the Federal Customs Service said in a statement Monday.

Customs officers detained the man, who had arrived on a flight from Toronto, after discovering seven Swiss watches worth more than $160,000 in his backpack, the statement said. He tried to pass through the airport's green channel, where he told officials that he had nothing to declare, it said.

It was unclear exactly when he was detained. If charged and convicted of smuggling the watches, he could face up to five years in prison. (MT)




Missile Launch Successful



Russia test launched an intercontinental ballistic missile from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Monday, the Rocket Forces said.

The rocket -- an RS-18 -- successfully hit its target at a military testing site on the Kamchatka Peninsula, said Vadim Koval, a spokesman for the Rocket Forces.

The test launch was conducted as part of Russia's program to test the combat-preparedness of its older missiles, Koval said. (AP)




Officer Guilty of Treason



The Moscow Military District Court on Monday found an officer guilty of treason for selling state secrets to Poland and sentenced him to seven years in prison, a court spokesman said.

Major Sergei Yurenya admitted to having provided Polish special services information on the location and number of soldiers based in the Moscow Military District in exchange for money, court spokesman Alexander Minchanovsky said.

Yurenya was arrested in March after trying to join the Federal Security Service, the spokesman said, citing testimony given during the trial by military prosecutor Ramil Shakurov.

Yurenya was recruited by Polish agents in 2005, Shakurov said. His goal was to become a double agent, he added. (AP)




Reporter Killed by Uzbek



BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- An independent Uzbek journalist who was shot dead in Kyrgyzstan last week was probably killed by attackers who came from neighboring Uzbekistan, a senior Kyrgyz official said Monday.

Alisher Saipov, an ethnic Uzbek who has Kyrgyz citizenship, was shot three times by unknown gunmen as he left his office in the city of Osh on Oct. 24.

Saipov, 26, reported for the U.S.-funded Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and ran an Uzbek language newspaper in which he described human rights abuses in the region. (Reuters)




Nuclear Leak in Urals



YEKATERINBURG -- Safety breaches have caused a radiation leak at a major nuclear reprocessing plant in the Ural Mountains, emergency officials announced Monday, but officials said there was no danger to humans.

Local Emergency Situations Ministry officials said a faulty tap allowed radiation to leak from a tank holding liquid radioactive waste onto 1.5 kilometers of a road at the Mayak plant. The incident happened four days ago.

"No one was injured," the ministry said in a statement. "The radioactive levels at the plant and outside it are normal and absolutely harmless." (Reuters)