TOKYO (AP) - Japan is relaxing restrictions on U.S. beef imports that had been in place due to fears of mad-cow disease. The Foreign Ministry announced Monday that Japan and the United States have agreed that imports of beef from cows up to 30 months old will be allowed, up from the current 20-month age limit, effective Feb. 1. The change matches international standards and applies to beef imports from the U.S., Canada, France and the Netherlands. It is expected to cover 90 percent of beef processed in the U.S. Japan's Health Ministry had approved the step following public hearings. Japan banned U.S. beef imports in 2003 after the fatal brain disease was discovered there. In 2005 Japan allowed imports of beef 20 months or younger.
MOSCOW (AP) - Russia is preparing to put lawyer Sergei Magnitsky on trial, even though he is dead, in the latest twist in a case that has severely strained U.S.-Russian relations.
Magnitsky, a lawyer for the Hermitage Capital fund, died in jail in 2009 after accusing Russian officials of colluding in stealing $230 million from the state. He was arrested on suspicion of tax evasion by the same Interior Ministry officials he accused.
His death became an international cause-celebre and the United States passed a law in his name calling for sanctions on Russians accused of involvement in the fraud.
Russia took deep offense and retaliated with measures including banning the adoption of Russian children by Americans.
A Moscow court on Monday set preliminary hearings in the posthumous trial for Feb. 18.
HELSINKI (AP) - Finnair CEO Mika Vehvilainen has announced he will step down on Feb. 28 to head the international cargo handling company Cargotec.
The Finnish carrier said Monday that during Vehvilainen's three-year tenure he had been a leader of change who helped make the struggling airline "viable in the face of the aviation industry's transformation."
Finnair, which has been battling falling demand and fierce competition, made a record third-quarter net profit of €51 million after years of losses. In October, it announced a plan to save €140 million ($180 million) by 2014.
Vehvilainen's predecessor resigned in 2010 in what he called "crisis conditions" as pilots and personnel staged strikes amid cutbacks and layoffs.
Last year, Finnair PLC and FlyBe formed a joint venture after buying Finnish Commuter Airlines.