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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Agent Gets Harder Sentence

Moscow's Tagilstroyevsky District Court on Friday tightened sentencing conditions for Mikhail Trepashkin, a convicted former Federal Security Service agent, his lawyer said.

Trepashkin, convicted of divulging state secrets, had been serving a four-year sentence in a so-called "settlement colony," which allowed him to roam free within the confines of a village near the Ural Mountains town of Nizhny Tagil.

The court ordered Trepashkin transferred to a higher-security "general-regime colony" after ruling that he had violated sentencing regulations, defense lawyer Yelena Liptser said. (AP)

Students Beaten in Voronezh

Three foreign students have been beaten up in recent days in Voronezh, which has seen repeated attacks against foreigners, police said Sunday.

Nine people armed with wooden rods attacked a Yemeni student early Sunday, apparently after arguing with him and a Palestinian student at a nightclub, police said.

Three men were suspected of beating a Nigerian medical student Saturday night, and three teens were suspected of beating an Iraqi student Friday night, the police said in a news release. (AP)

Simplified Visa Rules Signed

President Vladimir Putin on Saturday signed a law that simplifies visa rules for some European Union citizens in line with a 2006 EU-Russia agreement, Itar-Tass reported.

The agreement makes it easier for members of official delegations, businessmen, drivers and members of train crews, journalists, athletes, scientists, teachers and students to obtain visas.

The law also makes it easier to obtain short-term visas, Itar-Tass reported. People seeking short-term visas will now have to wait no more than 10 days for a response from the Russian authorities. (MT)

Hard Time for Bomb Hoax

A policeman was jailed for phoning an airport with a bomb warning to help acquaintances of his employer make a flight, Kommersant reported Friday.

A senior police officer, who was seeing off two businessmen in Yekaterinburg in February 2006, told his subordinate to fix the problem when they almost failed to board the plane on time.

The police officer and his subordinate were each sentenced to 21 months in prison, the newspaper reported. Witnesses cited by Kommersant said the businessmen had been drinking in the airport. (Reuters)

Yushchenko Talks Up EU

KIEV -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko appealed to the country's political parties to do more to ensure that Ukraine makes it into the European Union.

Yushchenko's call came amid disappointing results in talks with the EU, which has agreed to work toward closer political and economic ties with Ukraine, but stopped short of recognizing it as a future candidate for membership. (AP)

Less Pomp in Ashgabat

ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan -- Turkmenistan's new leader called for abolishing state-funded dance and music concerts honoring the president when he tours the country, state media reported Saturday, signaling his intention to keep a lower profile then his autocratic predecessor.

Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, who succeeded the late Saparmurat Niyazov, said the money spent on the shows should be used rather to fund youth festivals and competitions. (AP)

Opposition Threatens Rally

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan -- Kyrgyzstan's largest opposition movement threatened Friday to stage large-scale rallies demanding President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's resignation if he fails to carry out liberal constitutional reforms within one month.

The ultimatum from the For Reforms movement increased pressure on Bakiyev, who suffered a major blow last month when former Prime Minister Felix Kulov joined opposition amid a persistent and bitter power struggle.

For Reforms, led by several opposition lawmakers, accused Bakiyev of lacking the political will to implement the reforms and creating tension and instability by allowing cronyism and corruption. (AP)