* Eurozone finance ministers said in a statement that the next tranche of financial aid for crisis-hit Greece will be disbursed next month.
* Tens of thousands of people converged on Tahrir Square in Cairo to protest the highly-controversial decree that grants Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi sweeping new powers.
* North Korea may carry out a test launch of a long-range ballistic missile in the next two months, S. Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported citing recent intelligence data.
* Palestinian authorities will have to wait a few months before learning whether the late Yasser Arafat was indeed poisoned, chief investigator Tawfik Tirawi said.
* Tehran dismissed media reports about secret talks with Washington, saying that the alleged talks were an attempt by US politicians to encourage a bigger turnout in November presidential polls.
* A Spanish admiral was appointed to lead the EU anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden, the Council of the European Union said.
* The authorities in Tajikistan blocked access to Facebook after criticism of the Central Asian country’s leadership began spreading on the popular social networking site, the head of the Tajik communications service said.
* Members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot were nominated by influential magazine Time for the 2012 Person of the Year.
* An ethnic Dagestani mixed martial arts world champion was convicted of killing a student in a case that brought Russia’s fraught ethnic tensions to the surface.
* Russia’s anti-drug chief criticized NATO for failing to combat drug-trafficking from Afghanistan.
* A court in central Russia’s Voronezh region has sentenced a former officer of the Federal Drug Control Service to eight and a half years in prison for drug trafficking, the Investigative Committee said.
* Two doctors have been detained in Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Dagestan on suspicion of trading in children, the Nira Aksakal news portal reported.
* One in five Russians are ready to sleep their way to their dream job, though men are markedly more willing than women, a poll showed.
* The Russian Defense Ministry’s new leadership will press ahead with the reforms begun under the previous minister, Anatoly Serdyukov, making some adjustments as needed, a ministry spokesperson said.
* The Russian Caspian Flotilla’s naval infantry will get three modern Project 11770 Serna amphibious assault ships over the next two years, a Navy official said.
* International audit firm Ernst Young has valued state-run Minsk Automobile Plant (MAZ) at $1.1 billion in a joint venture deal with Russian truck giant KamAZ, Ernst Young Managing Partner for Belarus Pavel Lashchenko said.
* State-controlled hi-tech corporation Rostekhnologii (Russian Technologies) is selling its 45.42 percent stake in the world’s largest titanium producer VSMPO-Avisma to a joint venture of VSMPO managers and Gazprombank for $965-970 million, VSMPO-Avisma’s CEO Mikhail Voevodin said.
* Russia has delivered the first Mi-171 multirole helicopter to Indonesia, Russian Helicopters holding announced.
* World No. 4 Rafael Nadal has given his word he will be ready to play at the Australian Open in January, tournament director Craig Tiley told R-Sport.
* Steel tycoon Vladimir Lisin was re-elected as president of the Russian Shooting Union in a secret-ballot vote.
* Tottenham Hotspur midfielder David Bentley is back in training with his loan team FC Rostov, the Russian club said.