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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Yushchenko Eyes EU

BERLIN -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko underlined his aim of winning European Union membership Thursday on a visit to Germany, which holds the EU's rotating presidency.

Yushchenko said after meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel that he had "no doubts that Ukraine will become a member in the European structures," but acknowledged that the process would take time. (AP)

New Kyrgyz Cabinet

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyzstan's president on Thursday appointed foreign, economy and energy ministers as he continues to form a new cabinet following parliamentary approval of an ally as the country's new prime minister.

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev signed a decree replacing Foreign Minister Alikbek Jekshenkulov with Ednan Karabayev, the head of the international relations department at the Kyrgyz-Slavonic University in the capital, Bishkek.

The head of state natural gas distributor Kayrgyzgaz, Igor Chudinov, became the new minister of industry, energy and fuel resources, and the Industry Ministry's administration chief, Sabyrbek Moldokulov, became the new minister of economic development and trade, according to presidential decrees. (AP)

Rape, Robbery in Moldova

CHISINAU, Moldova -- Four soldiers have been charged with desertion and the robbery and rape of a woman after a drinking spree at a nightclub in Moldova, prosecutors said Thursday.

According to a statement from the Prosecutor General's Office, the four deserted their military unit Jan. 30 and headed to a nightclub in Chisinau.

After leaving the club, they allegedly attacked a 26-year-old woman and stole jewelry, money and a cell phone worth 9,000 lei ($700), the statement said.

The four will be charged with robbery and raping the woman, and face up to 15 years in prison if convicted. (AP)

Tashkent Slams Aid Groups

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- Uzbek authorities have accused Human Rights Watch and several foreign aid groups of legal violations and threatened unspecified steps against them amid a continuing crackdown on Western-funded NGOs.

The Justice Ministry said the groups had violated law by failing to submit by the Feb. 1 deadline their annual reports, in which they must specify their funding sources, a statement posted Wednesday on a government-run web site said. (AP)

Camel-Smuggling Ring

Russian law enforcement officials believe they have uncovered a criminal ring that made a business out of smuggling camels into the country from Kazakhstan, police said Thursday.

Police in the Astrakhan region, a land of grassy steppes along the Volga River, are investigating a group of local residents and Kazakh citizens suspected of smuggling 14 camels from Kazakhstan and believe there may have been more cases, regional police officials said.

The 14 camels were brought across the Russian-Kazakh border without going through customs or facing quarantine, the police said.

The purpose of the alleged smuggling was unclear. (AP)