* Vladimir Putin was sworn in as Russian president on Monday in a glittering Kremlin ceremony that took place less than 24 hours after protesters opposed to his rule had battled police in downtown Moscow.
* Russian police say they detained 300 people in downtown Moscow on Monday as demonstrators gathered to protest the return of Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin for a third term
* Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday urged the Foreign Ministry to stick to the provisions of the new Russia-U.S. Start treaty and push for guaranties that the U.S. missile shield in Europe will not be aimed against national nuclear facilities
* Francois Hollande, an opposition leader of the French Socialist Party, was elected France’s new president with more than 80 percent of ballots counted, French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said
* Greek conservative party leader Antonis Samaras on Monday said he cannot form a coalition government, adding yet more uncertainty to the debt-ridden country’s political situation
* Polling stations opened across Syria on Monday for the country’s first multi-party parliamentary elections in half a century amid reports of ongoing violence that has jeopardized the UN-backed peace plan designed to end the 14-month bloody conflict