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The latest news and stories from Russia. Stay tuned for updates and breaking news on defense, politics, economy and more.

Morning re-cap of main news, April 6

* Atomstroyexport, the Russian contractor for the Bushehr NPP construction, said a Russian delegation will leave for Tehran next week to continue talks on completing the construction of the nuclear power plant

* Russia's Industry and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko said:

- no gas cartel agreement should be expected at a forum of gas exporters in Doha Monday, and called for cooperation between all energy market participants

- Gazprom's deal to buy a stake in the Sakhalin II oil and gas project will be completed in April

* The lower house of Russia's parliament ratified protocols on changes to agreements between Russia and Kazakhstan on the lease of four military test sites in the Central Asian state

* British sailors and marines recently released from Iranian captivity insisted at a news conference that they had been detained in Iraqi territorial waters, saying they had been put under "constant psychological pressure." But the Iranian TV said the news conference had been obviously staged by the U.K. government

* Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said U.S. policy in the Middle East has failed dismally, and called on Muslims all over the world to stand up to the "arrogant powers" that are striving to ferment interethnic and communal discord among the followers of Islam

* The Ukrainian presidential press service reported President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych have met to discuss ways out of the ongoing political crisis

* Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said the country needs no outside mediation to resolve its political crisis

* Vasiliy Kiselev from the Ukrainian Party of Regions faction said Ukraine's ruling coalition, in the center of a political brawl with the president and opposition, will return to its original lineup

* Ukraine's parliament backed the president-proposed bill to allow foreign troops to take part in exercises on Ukrainian territory in 2007

* Viktor Yushchenko endorsed the decision of the National Security and Defense Council that orders the government to finance early parliamentary elections, the Ukrainian president's press service said

* Russian lawmakers overwhelmingly condemned the Ukrainian president's order to dissolve "a legitimately elected parliament" as a way of settling political differences

* The committee of Yukos creditors has formed three more lots to be sold at auction of the bankrupt company's assets, the press secretary for Yukos's bankruptcy manager said

* Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said in an interview with RIA Novosti he was ready for political dialogue with any political force in the republic and willing to implement reasonable political reforms

* A spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said Russia hopes that an Estonian court will make an impartial decision in a lawsuit filed by relatives of Soviet soldiers buried in Tallinn

* Russia's lower house of parliament unanimously issued a statement expressing concern over NATO military buildup near Russia's borders, accusing the alliance of blocking an updated version of Europe's main arms control treaty

* Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Alexander Saltanov said Russia calls for an end to the economic blockade of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), and urges a new international conference on Iraq

* Sergei Ryabkov, director of the Russian Foreign Ministry's department for European cooperation, said the ministry hopes Poland will cancel its veto on talks to forge a new EU-Russian strategic partnership agreement by the Russia-EU summit in May

* Kirill Androsov, a deputy Russian economic development and trade minister, said the Russian government will soon approve the establishment of a consolidated air carrier that will compete with flagship carrier Aeroflot

* Andrei Klepach, the director of the Russian economics ministry's macroeconomic department, said the ministry has revised forecasts for 2007 GDP growth from 6.2 to 6.5%

* Vitaly Savelyev, a deputy Russian economic development and trade minister, told a government meeting that the ministry has proposed that the government consider closing six federal target programs due to ineffective implementation

* Sergei Ignatyev, the chief of Russia's Central Bank, said the real effective ruble rate grew 2.6% in the first three months of 2007 compared with 6.2% in the same period of 2006

* Greek authorities confirmed that two French passengers on a cruise ship that ran aground off a Greek island Thursday and sank the next day were missing

* Washington did not launch air strikes against Iran early Friday despite recent media reports, but expectations of the attack have driven Brent price to $70 per barrel

* A 13-year-old Cambodian girl has died of bird flu, the local media reported

* Radio reports from New Zealand and Australia said the official death toll from the tsunami that hit the Solomon Islands in southern Pacific early this week has risen to 37, with 100 still missing

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