Main News of January 2


* The US House of Representatives voted to approve a Senate last-minute deal averting a combination of wider tax rises and massive budget cuts known as the “fiscal cliff”

* Seven NGO employees, six of them women, have been killed in a drive-by shooting in northwestern Pakistani town of Swabi, the Pakistan Daily Times said 

* Dozens of Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli servicemen, who arrested a member of a radical Islamist group in the West Bank, the local Maan news agency reported

* Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty President and CEO Stephen Korn said in a statement on Tuesday he resigns “solely for personal reasons” starting from January 25

* At least 60 people died in a stampede in Ivory Coast’s main city Abidjan

* During its session, the US House of Representatives examined the tax deal, needed to avert a combination of wider tax rises and massive budget cuts, but failed to vote on it

* Egyptian political parties approved amendments to the law on elections to the lower chamber of the Egyptian parliament, the People’s Assembly, presidential administration spokesman Yasser Ali said

* Venezuelan Vice-President Nicolas Maduro rejected media speculations that President Hugo Chavez’s health was deteriorating after a new cancer surgery in Cuba

* Lithuania will pay compensation to Lithuanians who refused to serve in the Soviet Army after the Baltic republic announced its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990 and were punished for their decision, the Lithuanian Defense Ministry said

* A metro tunnel under construction collapsed in the southern Chinese city of Nanning, trapping an unknown number of workers, Xinhua news agency reported 

* Egypt’s opposition coalition officially announced it is planning to run on a single joint list in an effort to win majority in the lower house of parliament

* A man in Kansas who donated his sperm to help a lesbian couple have a baby in 2009 is now fighting efforts by the state to force him to pay child support, a move he said has already prompted some men not to become sperm donors, local media said

* At least 60,000 people have been killed in Syria’s conflict, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay has said citing a new analysis released by the United Nations

* Israel has completed the construction of a 230-kilometer (143 mile)-long security fence along the Egyptian border, a spokesman for the country’s prime minister said

* Venezuela’s opposition has called on the government to tell the “truth” about the condition of President Hugo Chavez amid growing rumors of his deteriorating health



* Russia will hold large-scale naval drills in the Mediterranean and Black Seas in late January with the involvement of warships from the Northern, Baltic, Black Sea and Pacific Fleets, the Russian Defense Ministry’s press office reported

* Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on issuing visas for foreign businessmen valid for up to five years, the Kremlin website said

* Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law increasing the retirement age for Russia’s senior government officials to 70, the Kremlin website said

* One gunman was shot dead when he attacked a police station in Russia’s North Caucasus Republic of Karachayevo-Cherkessia, a local police spokesman said



* World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka overcame the first hurdle of the new season Wednesday with a straight-sets win over former Wimbledon semifinalist Sabine Lisicki at the Brisbane International

* Former world amateur boxing champion Yuri Alexandrov has died at the age of 50, the Russian Boxing Federation said

* Russia reached the semifinals of the world junior hockey championships Wednesday after a tense 4-3 shootout win over Switzerland

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