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Main news of March 31



* Russia's president signed a federal law ratifying a maritime border treaty with Norway, the Kremlin press service said

* Russia envoy to the UN slammed a recent decision by the U.S. administration to supply arms to Kosovo calling it a mistake and disrespect for international law

* Former deputy foreign minister Alexander Losyukov has been appointed to oversee international contacts in Russia's state nanotechnology corporation as a board member, the corporation chief said

* Russia's ex-prime minister and opposition leader, Mikhail Kasyanov, said his summoning for questioning to the Prosecutor General's Office was a sign of further pressure on the opposition

* International terrorist organizations are attempting to shift their operations to Russia, the Federal Security Service (FSB) director said

* The launch of a modified Zenit rocket to put an Israeli communications satellite into orbit has been scheduled for April 24, Russia's Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) said

* Police in Russia's Urals region of Orenburg have seized more than 43 kg (95 lbs) of heroin hidden in a wood, local police said

* All six fragments of a rocket that fell near villages in southwest Siberia after liftoff from Kazakhstan in mid-March have been deemed harmless, a leading Russian scientist said

* The collapse of the edge of the Wilkins ice shelf in Antarctica will not cause sea levels to increase, Russian experts from a St. Petersburg research institute said


* Ukraine and the U.S. signed an agreement on cooperation in trade and investment paving the way for Tuesday talks between the two countries' leaders, a Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman said

* The Olympic torch has been relit in Beijing and will now travel around the world before returning to the Chinese capital for the start of the Games in 130 days' time

* Indonesian and Malaysian officials have demanded the banning of a film that juxtaposes verses from Islam's holy book, the Koran, with graphic images of violence

* Thousands of people gathered on Kiev's main square to protest against the U.S. president's visit, and the Ukrainian leadership's drive for NATO membership

* Belarus's Foreign Ministry announced it would be making additional cuts to its Embassy staff in Washington and urged the United States to do the same

* Two British troops from the NATO-led force in south Afghanistan were killed by a bomb explosion while on a routine patrol on Sunday, the British Defense Ministry said

* The United States backs the creation of a new army in Kosovo with NATO's assistance and on the basis of the Kosovo Protection Corps, a Polish daily reported

* Poland's foreign minister denied rumors that Warsaw had decided to allow the placement of a U.S. missile interceptor base on its territory

* Israel is continuing to build settlements despite agreeing to freeze construction at a U.S.-hosted peace conference last November, an Israeli paper said citing a report by an Israeli peace movement

* The Tajik Interior Ministry rejected suggestions that the recent murder of Russian journalist Ilyas Shurpayev was related to his professional activities

* Islamist group Hamas has taken control of the Al-Azhar University in Gaza, associated with rival movement Fatah, who were forced out of the Gaza Strip last year by Hamas, a deputy principle said

* Neither the Duke of Edinburgh nor the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) were involved in the death of the Princess Diana, the coroner at an inquest into her death said

* The Greek Foreign Minister said that Greece would veto Macedonia's NATO membership until the former Yugoslav republic changes its name

* A man in Baltimore, in the U.S. state of Maryland, has reportedly killed his three children in a hotel room after a long-running custody dispute with his ex-wife, national media said


* Russia's largest diamond producer Alrosa [RTS: ALRS] said its diamond output increased 1.6% year-on-year to $2.37 billion in 2007

* Ukraine's nuclear power utility Energoatom said it had signed a contract with the U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Company on fuel supplies for its nuclear power plants

* Russian oil company Surgutneftegaz said its net profit calculated to Russian Accounting Standards (RAS) increased 14.94% year-on-year in 2007 to 88.63 billion rubles ($3.7 billion)

* The Irkutsk aircraft-manufacturing plant, a subsidiary of the Irkut corporation [RTS:IRKT], said it had delivered two multi-role Su-30MKA Flanker fighters to Algeria

* Gazprom could coordinate the price for Central Asian natural gas which it supplies primarily to Ukraine by July 1, a senior official at the Russian energy giant said

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