Main news of April 8


* Greek journalists took to Athens’ streets and marched on the national parliament demanding the halt on layoffs and reductions in salaries, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported

* Syrian media reported 19 police and security force members have been killed in clashes in the southern city of Daraa

* All five Russian journalists abducted earlier on Friday by Libyan rebels have been released, Komsomolskaya Pravda and NTV news channel said on their websites

* The reactor at Iran’s Bushehr Power Plant is being loaded with nuclear fuel again after an inspection and a clean-up of the reactor and the plant’s circulation piping, Russia’s Atomstroyexport company said

* Baghdad does not want the United States to maintain troops in Iraq after 2011, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said

* The death toll from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan has risen to 12,690, and more than 14,700 people are missing, police told Kyodo news


* Russian Communications Minister Igor Shchegolev said the government had no plans on banning foreign online communications services such as Skype, gmail or hotmail, which are very popular in Russia

* The controversial Russian art collective Voina (War) has won a state prize for contemporary art, in a massive embarrassment for the Federal Security Service (FSB), the powerful successor to the KGB

* Russian tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov has called for a new labor code which would include “the possibility for the employer to manage his labor force freely,” in a speech published on the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs’ website

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has dismissed Igor Yusufov as the Kremlin envoy for international energy cooperation


* Russia will not start complying with its WTO obligations until it has been admitted to the World Trade Organization, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said

* Bank of Moscow core shareholder and President Andrei Borodin told RIA Novosti he has sold his 20.3% stake in the bank, owned jointly with his aide Lev Alaluyev, to an unidentified investor

* Turkey has permitted Russia’s gas giant Gazprom to carry out offshore prospecting under the South Stream pipeline project, designed to carry gas to Europe under the Black Sea, Pavel Oderov, head of Gazprom’s external economic activities department, said

* A Stockholm court extended its injunction suspending a $16 billion share swap between BP and Russian oil major Rosneft indefinitely, as BP said it was looking at a possibility of extending the swap deal which will soon expire.

* Russia’s state-controlled VTB, which owns 46.48% in Bank of Moscow, has gained enough support from its minority shareholders to control the bank and has no plans to make an offer to them, VTB head Andrei Kostin said

* A new British anti-corruption law will prevent British companies from cooperating with corrupt Russian firms, a Russian lawyer said

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