Main news of February 29

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RUSSIA

* Russian Tu-95 Bear strategic bombers have successfully conducted a 10-hour routine patrol flight over the Atlantic Ocean, an Air Force spokesman said

* Gazprom could cut gas supplies to Ukraine by 25% from March 3 now that talks with Kiev have failed to bring results, a spokesman for the Russian gas monopoly said

* Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said:

- The planned EU police and justice mission to Kosovo is "illegal"

- The UN Security Council will not sanction using force against Iran over its controversial nuclear program, including a draft resolution that could be adopted Saturday

* President Putin has signed a decree establishing a federal government-sponsored Rocket and Space Industry Research and Test Center, the Kremlin press service said

* Countries recognizing the unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo are encouraging separatist tendencies all over the world, Russia's envoy to the European Union Vladimir Chizhov said

* Russia's MiG aircraft manufacturer transferred 12 MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters, modernized in line with NATO standards, to the Slovak Air Force

* Russia welcomes a power-sharing agreement between Kenya's leaders, the Russian Foreign Ministry said

* Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service called ungrounded reports that terminally-ill former Yukos executive Vasily Aleksanyan's basic human rights were being infringed upon

* Unified Energy Systems (UES) intends to sell its main office building in Moscow for $175 mln, the utility giant's chief executive, Anatoly Chubais, said

* A shepherd in Russia's southwestern Siberian Altai Republic is to seek over $40,000 in damages from the Russian space agency Roscosmos over a fragment of rocket that fell into his yard on February 5

WORLD

* The Turkish Army has ended a major ground offensive against Kurdish militants in northern Iraq, the General Staff said

* Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh announced the partial mobilization of the de facto independent republic's military, citing fears that Georgian troops could cross over into the breakaway region

* Fidel Castro has said his brother Raul, who recently replaced him as president of Cuba, has "all the legal and constitutional abilities" to lead Cuba, the Granma paper said

* Britain's Prince Harry is to be withdrawn from Afghanistan after media coverage put both him and his unit in danger, a Ministry of Defense (MOD) spokesman said

* The former Polish president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Walesa has successfully undergone heart surgery, Polish TVN24 said

* The European Union plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% of 1990's levels by 2020, the EU said in a program to fight climate change presented in Moscow

* The deadly H5N1 bird flu strain has been confirmed in another wild bird in Dorset, southern England, agriculture officials said

BUSINESS

* The car manufacturing giant Renault-Nissan bought a blocking stake of 25% plus one share in Russia's largest carmaker AvtoVAZ for $1 billion

* Russia's Antimonopoly Service approved a bid from a subsidiary of global steel giant ArcelorMittal to buy Russian coal assets

* Russian energy giant Gazprom and the German company E.ON are to build a 1,200 MW power-generating plant in Germany, the companies said in a joint news release

* Several thousand BlackBerry smart phones are to go on sale in Russia this year through the country's two leading mobile operators, the companies' press services said

* The Nizhny Novogrod-based Krasnoye Sormovo shipyard has launched the construction of five Project RST22 tankers for the Turkish shipping company Palmali Group, the company's press service said

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