Main News of February 13


*At least four people were killed as an An-24 plane made a crash landing and caught fire in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region on Wednesday, the press secretary of the country’s emergencies service said

*North Korea had informed the United States that it planned to conduct a nuclear test prior to its underground detonation of an atomic device Tuesday, a US State Department spokeswoman said

* Whitney Olson and her husband, Doug Little, needed only one piece of paper – a birth certificate – to complete Russia’s highly bureaucratic adoption process and take their three-year-old daughter-to-be home to Montana. But officials in the scenic old city of Pskov, on Russia’s western rim, suddenly balked

*US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday 34,000 American troops will return from Afghanistan over the next year

*On Monday, two years after former President Hosni Mubarak was ousted, thousands of people in Cairo and across Egypt went out onto the street in protest, calling for an end to Islamist President Morsi’s rule

*US President Barack Obama laid out an ambitious legislative vision in his State of the Union speech Tuesday, calling for a raft of measures to bolster the ranks of America’s middle class and urgently address issues like climate change and gun control

*The United States is shifting toward Russia’s position on Syria, in fear of a repeat of the “Afghan scenario” with an Islamist regime coming to power there, a senior Russian lawmaker said on Wednesday

*The new Kazakh-Russian space launch facility, Baiterek, will be modified for the launch of Zenit carrier rockets, Kazakhstan’s National Space Agency Kazcosmos head Talgat Musabayev said on Wednesday, indicating that the two sides have reached a compromise on the project

*Ukraine wants to restart direct natural gas deliveries from Turkmenistan, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said on Wednesday after talks with his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and signing of a memorandum of understanding to broaden oil and gas cooperation

*Russia’s state-run arms dealer Rosoboronexport is supplying air-defense missile systems and maintenance and servicing equipment to Syria but not combat aircraft, the company’s director Anatoly Isaikin said on Wednesday

* Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem and opposition leader Al-Khatib will visit Moscow in late February, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said on Wednesday

* A partial roof collapse at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant reported late on Tuesday does not pose any health hazard, officials from the power station said on Wednesday


* Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft signed a deal with ExxonMobil on Wednesday, giving the US energy giant access to explore Russia’s Arctic shelf in return for the ability to acquire a stake in the Alaska gas field

*US claims that the livestock feed additive ractopamine is safe are not convincing, Russia’s chief state sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko said 

*An unknown assailant  attacked a police officer in the Russian North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, wounding him, the Interior Ministry reported

*YouTube LLC on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Russian consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor over a controversial Russian content-restricting law, internet company Google’s video sharing unit said

*German doctors say the health of the Bolshoi Ballet’s artistic director Sergei Filin, who undergoes treatment in Germany after being nearly blinded in an acid attack last month, is improving, the chief ophthalmologist of the Russian Health Ministry said

*Russia’s northern republic of Komi is in mourning for those killed in a recent gas blast at the Vorkutinskaya coal mine, with all 18 victims identified

*The president of the Russian Olympic Committee Alexander Zhukov says he intends to appeal to the IOC to reverse a decision to remove wrestling from a list of core Olympic sports

*The pilots of a Red Wings Tu-204 airliner which crashed at a Moscow airport in December had not received sufficient simulator training, Russian prosecutors said on Wednesday

*Russia is close to approving a plan to turn Moscow into an international financial center, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday

* Investigators have completed an inquiry into a mine blast in Russia’s Kemerovo region in 2007 which killed 110 people, they said on Wednesday

* Russia’s presidential anti-corruption council proposed additional sanctions against corrupt state officials, at a meeting on Wednesday led by Kremlin administration chief Sergei Ivanov

* Russia signed a total of 1,309 arms contracts with 65 countries worth $17.6 billion in 2012, the head of state-run arms dealer Rosoboronexport Anatoly Isaikin said on Wednesday

* Vladimir Pekhtin, a member of the ruling United Russia party and head of the parliamentary ethics commission, asked for his official duties to be suspended for the duration of a probe into allegations that he owns real estate in the United States, the party’s press service said on Wednesday

* Moscow’s Basmanny Court has ruled to release opposition activist Konstantin Lebedev and place him under house arrest instead, the court’s press secretary said

* Three armed men broke out a female patient from one of Moscow’s most famous psychiatric hospitals in a daring raid believed to have been led by the woman’s fiancé, one Anton Brin, Russian media reported this week

* Foreign customers have shown high interest in Russia’s advanced Amur-1650 class submarine, state-run arms dealer Rosoboronexport said on Wednesday

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