Main News of January 15


* Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said his country’s economy has stabilized and dismissed the idea of an excessively fast integration of former Soviet republics

* Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer, delivered a message to US veterans looking for work: We want you!

* The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed the request by a few dozen countries that the Syria crisis be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC)

* The Russian Consulate General in the northwestern Syrian city of Aleppo has suspended operations, the Russian Foreign Ministry said


* A judge of the Supreme Court of the Russian North Caucasus republic of Dagestan has been killed in the Dagestani capital Makhachkala, investigators said

* A German court started the trial of a German-based couple accused of spying for Russia on NATO and the European Union, German media reported

* Russia has launched three Cosmos series military-purpose satellites, the Aerospace Defense Forces spokesman said

* A raft of bilateral deals in nuclear energy and gas extraction, defense and other sectors were signed at a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

* Russia’s former top representative at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Yelena Kotova, has been charged with seeking a bribe of $1.4 million, Russia’s Interior Ministry said


* The State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, kicked off its spring session with promises to consider, within weeks, a raft of bills on everything from the return of independent candidates in legislative elections to bans on smoking and the “propaganda” of homosexuality


* American cycling superstar Lance Armstrong, who overcame cancer to win the elite Tour de France competition seven consecutive times, and has defiantly denied using performance-enhancing drugs, has admitted to doping in an interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey, according to numerous sources cited by American media


* Russia’s state-controlled oil and gas giants, Rosneft and Gazprom, are set to receive licenses to develop 12 and 17 continental shelf sectors, respectively, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said

* Russia’s national railway company filed a lawsuit with a Moscow court for two million rubles (some $65,000) against the US-based Apple Inc. over what it said was a case of copyright infringement

* Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev called for more intensive exploration of Russia’s oil- and gas-rich continental shelf, stressing that all shelf development projects should be long-term

* Russian metals and mining giant Mechel has closed a $508 million deal to buy the port of Vanino on the Russian Pacific coast, the company said


* Around 500 protesters blockaded a school in the Indian state of Goa to protest the rape of a seven-year-old female pupil in a school bathroom, NDTV television reported

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