Main news of March 24


* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama that preventing civilian deaths was an overriding priority for the international community in Libya

* French fighter jets shot down a Libyan warplane, which violated the imposed no-fly zone, the ABC TV channel reported

* The number of dead and missing after Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami has reached 27,000, the NHK TV channel reported

* Two workers at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant were hospitalized after being exposed to high levels of radiation, Kyodo news agency reported

* The United States has started the deployment of more than 4,000 marines and sailors to the Mediterranean Sea to support the ongoing military operation in Libya, the U.S. Navy news service said


* The grandson of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin has taken liberal Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy to court for alleging that his grandfather “strangled small children,” a spokesman for the station said

* A Russian court sentenced six people involved in a pirate attack on the Arctic Sea vessel in July 2009 to terms from seven to ten years in a high-security jail

* Russia  suspended food imports from six Japanese prefectures as a result of the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare said

* The Moscow subway chief has been charged with siphoning off 112 million rubles ($4 million) in public funds, prosecutors said


* A Stockholm arbitration panel ruled that the interim injunction issued on a deal between BP and Rosneft should continue, Alfa-Access-Renova (AAR) CEO Stan Polovets said

* Russia’s biggest independent natural gas producer, Novatek, has executed an option to buy a 25.1% share in Yamal LNG, a company operating a Yamal liquefied natural gas project in the Arctic, for $526 million, Novatek said in a statement without disclosing the seller

* Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot has sold its debt-saddled subsidiary Nordavia, an airline operating in the country’s northwest, to the world’s top nickel and palladium producer Norilsk Nickel for just $7 million, Kommersant business daily said


* Russia will be the host of 2011 Figure Skating World Championship after Tokyo was forced to pull out due to the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11, the head of Russia’s figure skating federation said

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