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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Paratrooper Chief Fired

The commander of Russia's airborne forces has been fired, Interfax reported Wednesday.

Lieutenant General Valery Yevtukhovich was fired because he had reached the maximum age ceiling of 55 for his rank, the report said, citing a source in the Defense Ministry.

Spokesmen for airborne troops and the Defense Ministry declined to comment on the report. A Kremlin spokeswoman said she had not seen any document on Yevtukhovich's resignation.

Nikolai Ignatov, chief of the airborne forces' staff, was appointed acting commander of Russian paratroopers on Wednesday, Interfax said. (Reuters)

Clinton, Lavrov to Meet

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Washington on Thursday, their second major meeting since ice-breaking talks when they symbolically pressed a reset button on U.S.-Russian relations.

But since the Geneva meeting in March, signals coming from Moscow have been uneven, and it is unclear how far Russia wants to go in improving ties, a senior U.S. official said.

"The challenge now is whether we can put meat on the bones and fulfill the promise of the positive part of the relationship, leading with arms control," the official said. (Reuters)

Mother to Be Extradited

A Budapest court on Wednesday ordered that Russian citizen Irina Belenkaya be extradited to France to face charges of kidnapping her 3-year-old daughter from her French ex-husband, Interfax reported.

Belenkaya's lawyers immediately filed an appeal, said Anatoly Kucherena, a lawyer and member of the Public Chamber who attended Wednesday's hearing, Interfax reported.

Belenkaya snatched her daughter in France in March and was detained with her on the Hungarian-Ukrainian border. The girl is now living with her father in France. (MT)

Student in Internet Inquiry

Investigators have opened a criminal case against a student from the Arkhangelsk region on charges of inciting ethnic hatred through pictures and comments he posted on the Internet.

The student posted pictures "humiliating Africans and Jews as ethnic groups," as well as comments inciting ethnic and national hatred and "accessories resembling Nazi ones" on the social network, the Investigative Committee said on its web site on Wednesday.

The student, whose name wasn't released, faces up to two years in prison if convicted of the charges. (MT)

New Khabarovsk Governor

Khabarovsk regional lawmakers confirmed former State Duma Deputy Vyacheslav Shport as governor Wednesday, the governor's web site said.

Shport, who had served as acting governor since April 30, replaces Viktor Ishayev, who President Dmitry Medvedev has appointed as his envoy to the Far East Federal District.

Shport, 54, worked as a senior regional official from March 2 until April 30, the governor's web site said. From January 2008 to February 2009, he was a department head at Sukhoi, the aviation holding. Shport served as a Duma deputy from 1999 to 2007. (MT)

Afghan Drugs Worry Duma

State Duma deputies urged NATO and the United Nations on Wednesday to step up efforts to stem a tide of drugs from Afghanistan.

The Duma passed a statement urging Afghan authorities, NATO and UN members to take stronger action to combat drug production and trafficking.

Federal Drug Control Service chief Viktor Ivanov told deputies that a "heroin tsunami" from Afghanistan posed a major threat to Russia. (AP)

Film Schools Get $122M

The government will spend 4 billion rubles ($122 million) developing Russia's cinematography schools, President Dmitry Medvedev said Wednesday.

The government will invest the funds in VGIK, the state cinematography institute, and other institutes, Medvedev said during a meeting with Oscar-winning director Nikita Mikhalkov, head of Russia's Filmmakers' Union, RIA-Novosti reported. (Bloomberg)

No Salaries at Novaya Gazeta

Billionaire Alexander Lebedev said he withheld pay for staff at his Novaya Gazeta newspaper after his Blue Wings airline lost its operating license for two months.

Blue Wings has regained its license to operate in Germany, where it is based, Germany's LBA aviation authority said Wednesday. Lebedev said he delayed pay at Novaya Gazeta for more than a month. "It's not about coming up with some extra money out of the pocket," he said. (Bloomberg)