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Main news of January 24

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RUSSIA

* Russia's Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said that the country's banks are not suffering from low liquidity, and should be able to cope with any upcoming upsets on world markets

* A joint Russian-French naval exercise has started in the northeastern Atlantic, a Russian Navy spokesman said

* Russian Democratic Party leader Andrei Bogdanov received election authorities' final approval of his bid to run in the March 2 presidential election

* Russia's election authorities said that they had grounds for refusing ex-premier Mikhail Kasyanov registration as a candidate for the March 2 presidential polls

* A rescue center in Russia's Far East said a cargo vessel with 17 Russian crew on board was missing in the East China Sea

* Two people died and another 15, including 13 children, were injured when a school bus crashed into a car in the Sverdlovsk Region in Russia's Urals

WORLD

* Russia delivered a sixth fuel shipment to the Bushehr nuclear power plant it is building in southern Iran, the Islamic Republic's state-run media said, citing Iranian nuclear officials

* Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili said the country's veto on Russia's admission to the World Trade Organization can be lifted if the sides negotiate

* The Latvian Foreign Ministry named the second secretary of the Russian Embassy in Riga, vice consul Alexander Rogozhin, as the diplomat expelled by Latvia on espionage charges

* The Swiss Supreme Court in Lausanne upheld Swiss trading firm Noga's claim against Russia, according to the country's ATS news agency

* Expected economic turbulence in 2008 could push up the worldwide number of unemployed by 5 million people, to almost 195 million, the International Labor Organization said in a report

* The Chinese economy grew by 11.2% in the fourth quarter of 2007 as annual growth hit a 13-year peak, the country's government said

* A new outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu was detected in northern Thailand, according to the Xinhua news agency

* A survey carried out by Ukraine's Democratic Initiatives foundation said over 50% of Ukrainians would vote against joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

* Chinese archaeologists have uncovered a 100,000-year-old fossilized human skull in central China which may throw new light on the origins of the human race, national media said

* The French president's girlfriend, the singer and former supermodel Carla Bruni, has posed naked for a Spanish glossy men's magazine, French media reported

BUSINESS

* An iron ore deposit with estimated reserves of at least 1 billion metric tons has been discovered in northeast China's Liaoning Province, Xinhua news agency said, citing local authoritie

* The Russian state-run corporation Development Bank (VEB) announced plans to grant state oil company Rosneft [RTS: ROSN] a $2 billion loan for an upgrade of the Russian south's largest refinery

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