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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

A Just Russia Loses Support

The Sverdlovsk regional branch of A Just Russia will abandon the pro-Kremlin party because the party refused to consider its candidates for the Dec. 2 State Duma elections, Duma Deputy Yevgeny Roizman said Wednesday.

The party, widely seen as a Kremlin project to take votes from the Communists, has been reeling from defections in recent weeks, compounding its serious troubles since President Vladimir Putin, the country's most popular politician, announced that he would head the United Russia party list in the Duma elections.

Roizman said candidates from the Sverdlovsk branch were "simply ignored" at the party congress in September, Interfax reported.

A Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov said he was disappointed but that he respected Roizman's decision. (MT)

Putin's Iran Proposal

TEHRAN, Iran -- President Vladimir Putin made an unspecified proposal concerning Iran's controversial nuclear program to the country's top leader at a private meeting during his brief stay in the country, Iran's state news agency said Wednesday.

The supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has the final say on all government matters in Iran, said Iran would give Putin's proposal serious thought before giving a response. Officials close to hard-liners within Iran's ruling Islamic establishment said they believed the proposal was a type of "timeout" on sanctions against Iran if Tehran suspends uranium enrichment. (AP)

Olmert to Visit Moscow

JERUSALEM -- Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will hold talks in Russia with President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, the Israeli leader's office said Wednesday.

"The prime minister intends to discuss with the Russian president a series of regional issues, including the peace process with the Palestinians and Iran's threats and its attempt to equip itself with nuclear weapons," the announcement said.

Olmert will return to Israel on Thursday evening. (Reuters)

Extension for Kosovo Talks

A Russian envoy said Wednesday that talks over the future of the breakaway Serbian province of Kosovo should not end Dec. 10, the date after which Kosovar Albanians have threatened to declare independence.

"The negotiation process does not end on Dec. 10. ... We do not see Dec. 10 as some kind of a watershed. It is just a completion of a stage," Vladimir Chizhov, Russia's envoy to the European Union, told reporters. Dec. 10 is the deadline for the Troika of international mediators to submit its report to the United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon. (Reuters)

Sheep Purchase Goes Awry

German Sterligov, a former would-be presidential candidate who has turned to raising animals, was detained Monday by Afghan security services while trying to purchase a sheep for breeding purposes in the Afghan region of Harat, reported Wednesday. He was released Wednesday.

"He went to Afghanistan to buy sheep for his flock," Sterligov's friend, Vladimir Samoilov, said by telephone Wednesday. Sheep are very good there. They have really good wool."

After failing to get on the 2004 presidential ballot, Sterligov now raises sheep, chickens and rabbits. (MT)

Yarov to Head Ship Builder

The Industry and Energy Ministry said Wednesday that Yury Yarov, general director of state-owned ship designer Severnoye PKB, has been nominated to head the United Shipbuilding Corporation, Interfax reported.

The corporation, which will group all the country's major shipyards, will be officially registered in St. Petersburg in the next 10 days, the report said. Its board will headed by Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Naryshkin. (MT)

Bush Calls Putin 'Wily'

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President George W. Bush said Wednesday that he had pressed Vladimir Putin about his plans for a handover of power next year but the Russian president has been "wily" and offered little information.

"I have no idea what he's going to do," Bush said at a news conference.

Bush said he had raised the issue with Putin when the two met at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Sydney last month. (AP)