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Main news of January 25

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RUSSIA

* A counter-terrorist operation has been launched in parts of the Republic of Ingushetia due to the threat of an imminent large-scale terrorist attack, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said

* A man detained late on Wednesday by Moscow police alongside the owner of a major Russian cosmetics retailer is wanted by the FBI for fraud, money laundering and extortion, police sources said

* Russian lawmakers terminated an agreement with Ukraine on early warning and space monitoring systems, citing Ukraine's failure to provide adequate technical support to radar facilities located on its territory

* A 5% stake held by Russian state-run corporation Development Bank (Vnesheconombank) in the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) is not among Russian assets frozen in France, the corporation's head said

* The Moscow City Court acquitted police officers accused of illegal phone taps

* Russia will expel a Latvian diplomat following the expulsion of a Russian Embassy official from the Baltic state earlier this week, the Foreign Ministry said

* Russia's Space Forces will launch a new relay satellite in 2009, the forces' commander said

* A regular session of the Russia-Belarus Union State Council will be held in Minsk on March 21, the Russian prime minister said at talks with his Belarusian counterpart

* The Russian state-run bank, Sberbank, will set up a macroeconomic research institute to help forecast future economic problems, a former economics minister and the CEO of Russia's largest bank said

* Russia and Serbia signed an oil and natural gas cooperation agreement on the construction of the Serbian section of the South Stream gas pipeline system

* The Simonovsky Court of Moscow will begin hearing the case of a former Yukos executive, Vasily Aleksanyan, on January 30, his lawyer said

* Moscow condemns the terrorist attack in Beirut, which killed at least four people, and urges swift presidential elections in Lebanon, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said

* Gazprom may be granted a license to develop Kyrgyzstan's hydrocarbon reserves, and start prospecting in March, Prime Minister Igor Chudinov said

* No new Russian Central Bank assets in Switzerland have been frozen in a legal claim by trading company Noga, the Russian Finance Ministry said

WORLD

* Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi has resigned after narrowly being defeated in a vote of confidence in the Italian Senate, the upper house of parliament

* Pakistan conducted a successful test launch of a medium-range nuclear-capable ballistic missile, national media said, citing military sources

* At least four Palestinian militants were killed during two separate Israeli air attacks on cars in Rafah, south Gaza, local radio said

* An estimated 1,000 people took to the streets of the Ukrainian capital to protest against moves by the country's leadership to join NATO

* Over 40 Washington D.C. municipal employees have been fired or suspended from work for visiting pornographic websites during working hours, WTOP News said

* At least ten people were killed and many more injured when a powerful explosion shook a Christian area in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, local media said

* Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed a number of documents outlining the legal basis for a Customs Union as agreed in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in October 2007

* Egypt moved to seal off its border with the Gaza Strip triggering clashes with Palestinians caught up in a week-long Israeli blockade of the Hamas-controlled enclave

* Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski criticized Poland's former prime minister, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and his cabinet for souring relations with Russia

* The OSCE's election monitoring arm will make a decision whether to send observers to Russia's presidential polls on March 2 after receiving an invitation from Moscow, a spokesman said

* The U.S. will not attack Iran, but will prevent the country from getting nuclear weapons, the country's homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, told RIA Novosti

* Ukraine's billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, who owns Ukrainian Shakhtar Donetsk FC, plans to buy Bulgaria's CSKA Sofia FC, Bulgarian media said

* Famous Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho said the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort town of Davos was more about talking than predicting

* A Georgian court ordered a freeze of the assets of Imedi television channel founded by opposition billionaire Badri Patarkatsishvili, the court's press service said

* The first soccer match between female teams has taken place in Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, the Al-Watan newspaper said

BUSINESS

*  Russia's Central Bank said the country's narrowly defined money supply (M1) was 4 trillion 8.2 billion rubles ($162.7 billion at the current exchange rate) as of January 21, down 46.2 billion rubles ($1.9 billion) since January 14

* Russia's most popular Internet search resource, Yandex, has become one of the world's Top 10 search engines, according to a report by ComScore, a leading Internet market research company

* A Russian tax amnesty launched in March 2007 has raised 3.66 billion rubles ($150 mln) in tax with over 83% of the total being declared in December alone, the Federal Treasury said

* Evraz Group said it had completed a deal to buy U.S.-based carbon plate producer Claymont Steel

* Russia's state-run gas giant Gazprom and OMV, an Austrian oil and gas company, signed a cooperation agreement in Vienna to set up a gas trading platform and storage facility in Europe

* Ukraine's Naftogaz failed to reach an agreement during debt talks on gas supplies with Swiss trading company RosUkrEnergo, which is its sole gas supplier, co-owned by Gazprom, the trader said

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