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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

The Games Begin

BEIJING — The leaders of Russia, China and four Central Asian states will observe joint war games being held this month by their countries’ armed forces, China’s foreign ministry said Thursday.

The Aug. 9-17 exercises, called “Peace Mission 2007,” in the Chelyabinsk region will coincide with an annual summit of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Li Hui told reporters.

“This is the first time that all the leaders of SCO nations will attend the war games,” Li said. “All the member countries put a high value on these drills.”

The exercises are to provide training for counterterrorism operations, including a scenario in which militants occupy a town, requiring SCO forces to retake it by force — a scenario similar to threats faced by Russia in the Caucasus. (AP)

Little Faith in Chamber

Almost 50 percent of Russians believe that the Public Chamber is a “decorative” commission, according to a new Levada Center poll, Interfax reported Thursday.

The poll, conducted in July, found that 48 percent of Russians believe Public Chamber has no influence on politics, up from 40 percent in an identical poll conducted last year, Interfax said.

Sixteen percent replied that the chamber has some influence on politics, while 19 percent said they knew anything about it. The poll of 1,600 Russians had a margin of error of 3 percent.

The Public Chamber is a consultative body of prominent citizens ostensibly aimed at bridging the gap between the authorities and the public. (MT)

Lucrative Apartment Heist

Burglars broke into a woman’s central Moscow apartment and made off with fur coats, a gold watch around $40,000 in cash, fleeing the scene in the woman’s Hummer, a law enforcement source said, Interfax reported Thursday.

The 34-year-old woman told police that the burglars knocked down the door of her apartment Wednesday on 1st Tversakya-Yamskaya, near the Belorusskaya metro station, and stole 1.4 million rubles, a number of mink coats and a gold Frederick Constant watch, the source told Interfax.

They also took the keys to her Hummer, which was parked outside, and drove off in the large sports utility vehicle, she told police.

The woman claimed more than 3 million rubles ($118,000) in damages, the source said. (MT)