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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Putin Congratulates Sarkozy



President Vladimir Putin has congratulated Nicholas Sarkozy on his election as France's new president.

"The Russian-French relationship has reached a very high level of confidence and mutual understanding," Putin said in a statement Tuesday. "I expect your election to strengthen this further."

Sarkozy has signaled that he might take a harder line toward Russia than his predecessor, Jacques Chirac. (AP)




Former Minister Detained



Former Armenian Foreign Minister Alexander Azrumanyan was detained on suspicion of money laundering Monday, Armenia's National Security Service said Tuesday.

The agency said Azrumanyan traveled to Moscow late last month and agreed with a Russian citizen who is wanted in Armenia for fraud to transfer thousands of dollars to Armenia. (AP)




Uzbek Free After Confession



TASHKENT, Uzbekistan -- The Tashkent City Court on Tuesday gave a suspended sentence to human rights activist Umida Niyazova after she read out a confession that also impugned the U.S. group for which she worked.

Niyazova, a translator for Human Rights Watch, was convicted last week of distributing Islamic extremist propaganda. (AP)




For the Record



A methane gas explosion in a coal mine in Ukraine's Donetsk region killed two miners and injured 13 early Wednesday, emergency officials said. (AP)

Latvian voters have approved a call for a July 7 referendum on national security legislation, which President Vaira Vike-Freiberga sought after twice refusing to approve government-sponsored amendments to national security laws. (AP)

Azerbaijan's parliament on Tuesday passed an amnesty bill that would pardon about 9,000 people over the age of 60, women, minors, war veterans, invalids and others, but not several opposition journalists who had been convicted recently. (AP)