* Belarus’ total foreign debt may exceed the safety threshold of 55 percent of GDP in 2013, if the government continues its policy of massive state support to its enterprises, Economics Minister Nikolai Snopkov said in a report.
* Workers at the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site are wrapping up the cleanup of the area affected by a recent partial roof collapse, the Chernobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) press service said on its website.
* A Syrian bomb squad defused a car bomb in central Damascus that was supposed to have been detonated next to the scene of a powerful explosion that killed at least 40 people earlier in the day, an eyewitness said.
* The ultranationalist Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR) has submitted a bill imposing fines of up to 50,000 rubles (about $1,700) on officials for using foreign words that have Russian equivalents in public, the State Duma press service said.
* The estimated cost of fraud from the illegal sale of Russian Defense Ministry property in the Oboronservis case has risen to over 13 billion rubles ($433 mln), Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin said.
* Celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the Romanov House began in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, where the last Russian emperor and his family were executed in 1917, the press service of the local eparchy said.
* State-run VTB Bank, Russia’s second largest lender by assets, is ready to grant a $1 billion loan to Rosatom civilian nuclear power corporation to build Vietnam’s first nuclear power plant, VTB Management Board Member Valery Lukyanenko said.