Main News of January 31


* The United States said Wednesday that it regrets the Russian government’s decision this week to scrap a decade-old bilateral agreement under which it received financial aid from Washington to fight crime, including drug trafficking

* The defense team of Russian businessman Viktor Bout, convicted for arms trafficking in the United States, has filed an appeal against the guilty verdict, his lawyer told RIA Novosti


* The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed outgoing US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday for a recent statement which referred to Russia’s “unwillingness” to assist in settlement of the Syria conflict, saying it was symptomatic of America’s obstructive attitude to resolving the crisis


* Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday slammed Russia for its poor human rights record and a crackdown on political freedoms, but the Russian Foreign Ministry dismissed the criticism

* Moscow is “deeply concerned” over reports of Israeli air strikes on Syrian territory on Wednesday and is seeking confirmation of what could be a serious violation of the UN charter, the Foreign Ministry said


* Russia’s largest airline, Aeroflot, has been forced to cancel the first commercial flights by its new Boeing 777-300ER airliners scheduled for Friday due to lack of a type certificate for the plane, Aeroflot said

* The United States is “deeply concerned” by Russia’s decision this week to ban US beef and pork imports containing the feed additive ractopamine, a move Washington believes could undermine bilateral ties, a spokeswoman for the White House’s chief trade adviser said

* Latvia’s Sejm (parliament) has passed a bill on the introduction of the single European currency in a final reading, the parliament’s press office reported

* The Russian government must turn the country’s enormous investment potential into a real flow of foreign capital, President Vladimir Putin said


* North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has issued a secret order to put the country under martial law in preparation for a third nuclear test in its history, a South Korean newspaper reported

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