*A Georgian opposition leader who has worked for two years to improve ties with Russia announced he was halting his efforts as President Mikheil Saakashvili had declared his readiness to start talks with Moscow
*Moscow dismissed the U.S. state secretary's remarks about Georgia's occupation by Russian troops as "baseless."
*The head of Tehran's nuclear program acknowledged that the new UN sanctions imposed on Iran were having an effect but vowed the work would continue, ISNA news agency reported.
*Georgian schoolchildren will receive a new history schoolbook on 200 years of Russian occupation by the beginning of the new school year, the Russian Vremya Novostei daily reported
*Russia could swap a scientist jailed for spying for the West for one of the suspected Russian agents detained in the U.S. high-profile spy scandal.
*The Iranian telecommunications minister announced plans to launch a new domestically-developed satellite into orbit at the end of August, the Mehr news agency said
*Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has signed laws on the ratification of a number of documents on the Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh Customs Union code, the Belarusian national Internet website dealing with legal issues said
*Bulgaria has agreed to participate in the South Stream project, and the agreement will be signed on July 16, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said
*Costa Rica's police seized 1.09 metric tons of cocaine on the Latin American country's Pacific coast, the EFE news agency reported
*The results of a public vote to choose a World War II monument to be built in Moscow to replace one blown up in the central Georgian city of Kutaisi last year will be announced next Monday
*Five children and an adult drowned at a summer camp in southern Russia, a spokesman for the regional investigation department said.
*Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov accused Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin of failing to modernize the country and suggested the president should tear his head off.
*Russia will modernize about 200 T-72 main battle tanks for the Libyan Army over the next few years, a Russian defense industry source said
*Russia instructed its embassy in Thailand to clarify the nature of child sex abuse charges against acclaimed pianist Mikhail Pletnev
*Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed a decree establishing a working group for the creation of an international financial center in Moscow, the Kremlin said
*A fake Twitter account making fun of some of President Dmitry Medvedev's initiatives appeared a few days after the Russian leader opened his account on Twitter.