Main News of January 28


* Iran and Western powers should stop behaving “like little children” and agree on a venue for future nuclear talks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

* The leaders of African Union (AU) member states have agreed to boost their military presence in the anti-Islamist operation in northern Mali, Russian presidential envoy to Africa Mikhail Margelov said.

* Iran has successfully launched a bio-capsule with a live monkey into space, the country’s Press TV channel reported.

* Belgium is ready to provide logistic and informational support to France’s military operation in Mali starting March 1, 2013, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said.

* A bipartisan group of eight US senators has agreed on principles for sweeping US immigration reform and will unveil ideas for new legislation on matters ranging from border security to guest worker programs and pathways to citizenship, US media reported.

* Over 100 Thai taxi drivers staged a protest against Russian companies on Phuket, a popular resort island in Thailand, local media reported.



* One of the most troubled regions in Russia’s restive North Caucasus got a new leader, in a Kremlin-backed reshuffle that garnered a wide range of early interpretations.

* The State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, decided not to push ahead with the controversial bill banning foreign citizens from working for Russian state-run broadcast media.

* A Moscow court had to postpone a preliminary hearing in the posthumous trial of Sergei Magnitsky, following a boycott from his relatives.

* Russia and China are pushing for a new agreement to combat cybercrime, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said.

* Russian Defense Minister, Army Gen. Sergei Shoigu, arrived in the Armenian capital Yerevan on an official visit, the minister’s spokeswoman Darya Zatulina said.

* A bill to double the number of regional representatives in Russia’s Public Chamber has been introduced to the Russian State Duma, the bill’s author said.

* Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the flamboyant leader of Russia’s Liberal-Democratic Party, was pelted with cabbage during a news conference in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.

* Russian opposition figurehead and anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), seeking compensation for his detention at a camp-out staged to protest President Vladimir Putin’s third term, his lawyer said.

* At least eight sailors are presumed dead after a Russian fishing vessel sank in the Sea of Japan on Sunday, possibly because of safety violations, Russian officials said.

* Russia’s Defense Ministry is planning to buy seven multirole AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters for 630 million rubles (about $20 million) this year, the Federal Agency for Arms Procurements said.

* A Russian court sentenced a prisoner to 24 years in jail for his Hollywood-style helicopter escape from a high-security prison, the General Prosecutor’s office announced.



* Debt-laden Cyprus, which has yet to secure bailout funds from international creditors, may spark a new flare-up of the debt crisis in Europe, Russia’s former finance minister Alexei Kudrin said.

* Russia’s largest oil company Rosneft has signed a deal to acquire private oil firm Surgutneftegaz’s stake in the National Oil Consortium developing the giant Junin-6 oil field in Venezuela, Rosneft said.

* Russia’s budget will receive an additional 100-150 billion rubles ($3-5 billion) in 2013 from payments for licenses to develop continental shelf and other deposits, Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said on Monday.



* Football’s world governing body FIFA has cancelled celebrations marking 500 days until the start of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil after a night club fire killed more than 230 people.

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