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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

News in Brief

Tbilisi Police Beat Protesters

TBILISI, Georgia -- Masked police beat dozens of opposition protesters in the Georgian capital on Monday in the latest flare-up during a street campaign lasting several weeks against President Mikheil Saakashvili.

Dozens of black-clad police officers armed with truncheons confronted a protest of about 50 people at Tbilisi's main police station demanding the release of six opposition activists detained since Friday. Several protesters and one photographer were severely beaten.

The Interior Ministry said protesters were hampering traffic and resisted police efforts "to unblock the entrance to the police station and restore traffic movement." (Reuters)

Child Sex Bill Sent to Duma

President Dmitry Medvedev has sent a bill to the State Duma that would extend prison terms for the sexual abuse of children, RIA-Novosti reported Monday.

The amendments would mandate a prison term of 12 to 20 years for acts of sexual violence against children under 14. Current law provides for a sentence of eight to 15 years.

Defendants convicted of other forms of sexual abuse of children under 16 would face a maximum prison term of five to 15 years, depending on the child's age, instead of the current maximum of three years.(MT, AP)

Israeli Peace Plan Criticized

The Foreign Ministry has criticized a new Israeli peace plan that was welcomed by the European Union, RIA-Novosti reported Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country would recognize Palestine as an independent state if Palestine demilitarized and recognized Jerusalem as an Israeli territory.

A Foreign Ministry source told RIA-Novosti that the conditions offered by Israel were "unacceptable" for the Palestinians.

The foreign minister of the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating EU presidency, called Israel's proposal a "step in the right direction." (MT)

Moldova Calls New Election

Moldova's outgoing president, Vladimir Voronin, dissolved the parliament on Monday, called an early election to the chamber and warned voters that opposition parties wanted to sow chaos in the country.

Voronin announced the July 29 election on state television, issuing a decree in accordance with Moldova's constitution after parliament twice failed to endorse his choice of successor in the aftermath of an April election to the assembly.(Reuters)

U.S. Closing Kyrgyz Base

MANAS, Kyrgyzstan -- A U.S. air base in Kyrgyzstan has started to shut down and will close by mid-August as ordered by the country, its outgoing commander said Monday.

Kyrgyzstan gave the United States six months from February to shut the base, but U.S. officials have expressed hope that Kyrgyzstan might change its mind. Speaking to reporters after a change-of-command ceremony, Colonel Christopher Bence said the base had started to wind down operations. Asked when U.S. forces would leave, he said, "On Aug. 18, as the Kyrgyz government has asked us." (Reuters)