Main news of March 18


* U.S. President Barack Obama said the ceasefire in Libya must be implemented immediately otherwise there would be “consequences” for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi

* Russian forces will not take part in a possible military operation against Libya, First Deputy Defense Minister Vladimir Popovkin said

* Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will visit Russia between on March 22-24, the Kremlin said, although it is not clear if he will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, who is due to visit on March 24

* The confirmed death toll from the earthquake and tsunami in northeastern Japan has risen to 6,405, police said

* Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan urged his nation to unite to rebuild their earthquake-ravaged country

* Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said he wished that all of the opposition leaders who ran for the presidency in 2010 would leave the country

* The head of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service proposed expanding the UN anti-drug mission in Afghanistan


* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet his Polish counterpart, Bronislaw Komorowski, in Smolensk on April 11, a year after the previous Polish president died in a plane crash near the western Russian city.

* A meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant would pose no radiation threat to Russia, the state-controlled nuclear corporation Rosatom said

* Norway deported to Russia a Russian former fighting-without-rules world champion who is charged with armed robbery, the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said

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