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International brief ~ Closing arguments made in Berlusconi corruption case

[JURIST] A Milan prosecutor made her closing argument Friday in the corruption case against Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Prosecutor Ilda Boccassini summed up the evidence against Berlusconi, saying that there was more than enough to convict him of accepting bribes and bribing judicial officials. If convicted, Berlusconi faces up to 8 years incarceration. Boccassini presented records of a $400,000 plus bank transfer that she claimed was 'documentary proof' of Berlusconi's widespread bribery. Deutsche Welle has more.... A government commission set up by British Prime Minister Tony Blair released its report Thursday on recommendations for action in the African continent. The Commission for Africa was developed in February as part of Blair's promised focus on Africa during the UK's term as head of both the EU presidency and the leadership of the G-8 nations. The Commission called for an increase in international activism from both govermental and non-governmental organizations in such areas as national debt, poverty, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and fair trade. Read the official report here. The UK's Government News Network has the official announcement of the report here.... Officials from Japan and North Korea announced Friday that talks between the two nations concerning the abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1960's, 70's and 80's have been extended. The talks, which began Tuesday, are the third round of meetings between the two countries to discuss the possible return of any Japanese citizens still living. The Kyodo News has more.... Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov announced Friday that a large portion of Russian troops currently tasked to Chechnya would be withdrawn, and that conscript soldiers would no longer be used in the area. The Russian military will be withdrawing over 1000 personnel from the area, leaving the 42nd Motorized Division as the only Russian military presence in the area. The decision comes on the same day as Russian human rights group Memorial announced that its studies have shown 126 Chechnyan citizens are still being held captive by rebel forces. Memorial also stated that over 250 citizens have been killed in what it called 'terrorist-related incidents'. The Guardian has more on the troop decrease. The Washington Times has more on Memorial's report.

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