* Belarus, which sharply devalued its national currency in spring amidst an acute financial crisis, will spend the first $800 million tranche of a stabilization loan from the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) on stabilizing its currency market.
* Russian human rights activists said Russia must not remain indifferent to the brutal treatment of opposition protests in neighboring Belarus.
* U.S. President Barack Obama announced his plans to withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan this year and bring home all 33,000 U.S. “surge” troops by next summer.
* Moscow reacted angrily to Washington’s possible involvement in the Russian-Japanese territorial dispute over to the Kuril Islands.
* Preliminary analysis of information from flight recorders has shown that the engines of the Tu-134 passenger jet that crashed on Monday near the northern city of Petrozavodsk were operating normally.
* President Dmitry Medvedev said he expects to lead a political party “sooner or later.”
* Russia and China will switch to trade in rubles and yuan to boost bilateral trade and economic cooperation, following an agreement signed between the central banks of both countries.
* The Russian Football Union toughened disciplinary measures for racism after a fan threw a banana in the direction of Brazilian footballer Roberto Carlos.