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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Senior Diplomat Arrested

A senior Foreign Ministry official was placed under arrest Wednesday on suspicion of accepting bribes, Itar-Tass reported.

Alexander Gusev, deputy head of the ministry's department on relations with federation subjects, the parliament and public associations, was detained by the Federal Security Service on Tuesday night, a ministry source told Rosbalt news agency.

Gusev is suspected of taking bribes in exchange for foreign travel passports and for placing people on official delegations traveling abroad, the report said.

Moscow's Tverskoi District Court issued an arrest warrant for him Wednesday, Itar-Tass said. (MT)

Duma Backs Red Stars

State Duma deputies on Wednesday reversed an earlier decision to have Soviet-era red stars on military aircraft repainted in the three colors of the national flag.

The Duma voted 408-0 with one abstention to keep the five-pointed stars red and only add stripes in the national colors around their contour.

The move reverses the preliminary approval in December of a bill that called for repainting the stars in red, white and blue.

Sergei Shishkarev, chairman of the Duma's Transportation Committee, said the original measure had drawn public protests.

"People feared … depriving Russians of a symbol of their great victories," Shishkarev said, Itar-Tass reported. (AP)

Appeal for Calm in Georgia

TBILISI, Georgia -- Georgia's government and the influential Georgian Orthodox Church appealed for calm Wednesday as the opposition prepared mass demonstrations to demand the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili.

The opposition expects to bring tens of thousands into the streets of Tbilisi on Thursday at the start of daily protests aimed at ousting Saakashvili.

Prime Minister Nika Gilauri promised that police would tread lightly. "Police have been given orders not to aggravate protesters," he told reporters.

Opposition protests in 2007 ended in a violent police crackdown. (Reuters)

For the Record

Ukraine may impose visa requirements on European Union citizens to protest the EU's refusal to dispense with visas for Ukrainians. (AP)

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has appealed to the Constitutional Court over parliament's decision to hold a presidential election in October. (Bloomberg)