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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Duma Warns Turkey on Iraq

The State Duma on Tuesday called on Turkey not to launch an offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq and said the U.S. invasion of Iraq was a "gross violation of international law."

In a resolution, Duma deputies said the 2003 invasion had "done irreparable damage to civil society" in Iraq.

"In the absence of convincing evidence of Iraq's production, storage or use of prohibited forms of weapons, this step by the United States and its allies ... has become a gross violation of international law," the resolution said.

"A military operation in northern Iraq will further destabilize the already tense situation in the region," said the resolution, which passed 338-0. (AP)

Bodybuilders Stuck in Perth

PERTH, Australia -- Russian bodybuilders who illegally imported steroids into Australia will remain in jail until they are able to pay their fines.

Dmitry Artamonov, 40, and Arkady Semiletov, 44, were convicted of importing steroids into Australia without appropriate permits, an Australian customs official said Tuesday.

Customs officers stopped the pair at Perth International Airport when they arrived on a flight from Moscow on Oct. 9. A luggage search revealed 11 vials containing steroids.

Customs spokesman Richard Janeczko said the two men were convicted in Perth Magistrates Court on Monday and each fined $2,245. (AP)

McCain Wants Russia Out

WASHINGTON -- Republican U.S. presidential candidate John McCain said Monday that if elected he would push to exclude Russia from the Group of Eight to punish Moscow for rolling back political freedoms.

"We need a new Western approach to this revanchist Russia," McCain wrote in a Foreign Affairs magazine article outlining his views on foreign policy looking ahead to the 2008 election.

McCain, who frequently denigrates President Vladimir Putin, said the G8 should again become "a club of leading market democracies: It should include Brazil and India but exclude Russia." (Reuters)

UN to Remain in Georgia

UNITED NATIONS -- The UN Security Council renewed the mandate of the United Nations Observer Mission peacekeeping force for Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia on Monday for six months.

The Security Council resolution, approved without debate, expressed serious concern about "all recent armed incidents that have afflicted the conflict resolution process in Georgia, deploring in particular those in which lives were lost."

Numbering around 150 peacekeepers, the mission was established in August 1993 to verify compliance with a cease-fire agreement between the government of Georgia and the Abkhaz authorities. (Reuters)

U.S. Issues Ash Warning

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is warning pilots in Alaska to beware of ash from a Russian volcano.

Bezymyanny volcano on the Kamchatka peninsula put a 9,100-meter cloud of ash into the atmosphere Sunday and Monday.

The ash traveled along the Aleutian Islands and is expected to reach as far east as Cold Bay, Alaska, before winds take it southeast into the North Pacific, said Tony Hall, meteorologist in charge at the National Weather Service's Alaska Aviation Unit in Anchorage. (AP)

Media Ranking Still Poor

PARIS -- Russia is the only member of the Group of Eight that failed to improve in an annual ranking of press freedom in 169 countries, a media rights group said in its annual report Tuesday.

The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said Russia remained a black spot, noting that the killers of Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist critical of the Kremlin, had not been brought to justice and that the country's television and radio news lacked diversity.

Russia placed 144th on the list.

European countries claimed the top 14 places in the survey, with Iceland and Norway sharing the lead. (Reuters)

9 Killed in Minibus Crash

A minibus collided with a truck in Tatarstan early Tuesday, killing at least nine people and injuring another seven.

The collision occurred around 7:30 a.m. just east of Kazan, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said.

He said the circumstances of the crash were not immediately clear but that nine people died on the spot. Another seven were hospitalized. (AP)