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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Drugs Kill 80,000 Per Year

Drug addiction kills 80,000 Russians each year, a senior Federal Drug Control Service official said Friday.

About 70,000 Russians die annually from diseases linked to drug addiction, and another 10,000 are killed by overdoses, said Alexander Yanevsky, head of the agency's department overseeing prevention of drug use, RIA-Novosti reported.

"Russia is situated in a drug belt," Yanevsky said at a conference on preventing drug use among young people.

"There is heroin in the south, synthetic drugs coming in from the West and rising internal production of drugs," he said. (Reuters)

Russian Jets Concern U.S.

WASHINGTON -- Six U.S. senators on Friday urged the Pentagon to increase its fleet of Lockheed Martin F-22 fighter jets, saying they were concerned by the development of rival aircraft by Russia, India and China.

The senators said they were worried about Russian work on a radar-evading next-generation fighter jet known as the Sukhoi T-50, citing media reports that it was being developed to directly confront the F-22.

India's participation in the project was "especially disconcerting," they said, given how well Indian Air Force fighters performed during recent joint military exercises with U.S. forces and "the propensity of the Russian government to sell advanced weapons to our potential adversaries." (Reuters)

2 Azeris Held Over Plot

BAKU, Azerbaijan -- Azeri authorities have detained two Azeri citizens, Kyamran Asadov and Farid Dzhabbarov, on suspicion of preparing an armed attack near the U.S. Embassy last month, the National Security Ministry said Saturday.

It said Asadov, a former Azeri army officer, had deserted from a military unit with stolen grenades, automatic rifles and other ammunition to prepare the attack.

Security forces earlier detained two groups of Islamist militants, including a purported al-Qaida fighter, in connection with the foiled plot. (Reuters)

Spacewalk Successful

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson and her Russian crewmate, Yury Malenchenko, spent seven hours outside on Friday getting the international space station's newest addition ready for its big move.

The two cleared cables from the spot where the Harmony compartment will be relocated this week and unfastened or plugged in nearly 40 power and data connections. It was a struggle to loosen some of them.

The only trouble, other than tight connectors, was a hand rail that could not be bolted down and flaking-type damage to the mittens over Malenchenko's gloves, possibly a manufacturing defect. (AP)

For the Record

Lithuania's Soviet-built nuclear power station was shut down late last week because of an electrical malfunction but there was no danger of any radiation, officials said. (Reuters)

The former son-in-law of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Rakhat Aliyev, went on trial in absentia on Friday in a case that has exposed deep-seated divisions among the ruling elite in the country. (Reuters)

David McHugh, who served as news editor of The Moscow Times from 1997 to 2000, will become The Associated Press' business editor for Europe on Jan. 1, AP announced Friday. (AP)