Main News Of January 24


* The White House called North Korea’s plans to hold nuclear tests “needlessly provocative


* The thrust-reversal system failed on a Red Wings Tupolev Tu-204 airliner, which crashed at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport on December 29 killing five crewmembers, investigators said

* The opposition party A Just Russia threatened to expel two lawmakers from its ranks unless they cut ties with political movements involved in protests against the rule of President Vladimir Putin

* Council of Europe (CE) Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland praised Russia’s decision to request publication of a report into torture, which makes a critical assessment of treatment of detained people in Russia’s North Caucasus region

* St. Petersburg’s unique children’s cancer treatment center is not on the list of possible facilities to be converted into a hospital for Russian judges, a presidential administration spokesman said


* A senior Russian defense industry official described as “absurd” on Thursday a previously-agreed deal to purchase two French-built Mistral assault ships for the Russian Navy


* Yandex, known as the Russian equivalent of Google, has launched Wonder, a voice social search app, on Apple’s iOS platform for the United States, the Russian internet company said

* Bulgarian ex-prime minister King Simeon II has urged his fellow countrymen to vote in a referendum on the future of the Belene nuclear power plant project, according to a statement posted on his website


* Russian security forces have killed two key insurgent leaders in Chechnya, the Interior Ministry said

* Police have uncovered the embezzlement of hundreds of millions of rubles of state funds from Russia’s Strategic Missile Forces (RVSN), the Interior Ministry said


* Islamic relics connected with the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, have been delivered by a special flight from the United Arab Emirates to Grozny, the capital of the Russian North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, where they will be put on show, the republic’s Muftiyat reported


* Sport is a crucial weapon for Russia to fight its demographic crisis by keeping people healthy, President Vladimir Putin said

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