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Main news of January 15

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RUSSIA

* Four people were killed, five injured, and one went missing as two Il-76 Candid airlifters collided on the runway of the airport in the capital of the southern Russian republic of Daghestan, police said

* The leader of the banned National Bolshevik Party called on Thursday on two other opposition leaders to unite their efforts

* Russia's Federal Penitentiary Service confirmed that former Russian officer Yury Budanov convicted of murdering a young Chechen woman was released from prison

* A summit to discuss the gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine that have led to gas shortages for Europe will be held in Moscow on Saturday, the Russian president's press secretary said

* The Pyotr Veliky nuclear-powered missile cruiser has left the South African port of Cape Town after a three-day visit, a Russian Navy spokesman said

* Ukraine's national energy company Naftogaz has for a third time refused to transit Russian gas to European consumers, Russian gas monopoly Gazprom said

* Russian investigators said on Thursday they had closed their probe into the 1918 murder of the last tsar and his family, and the identification of their remains discovered in the Urals in 1991 and 2007

WORLD

* Ukraine will restart Russian gas transit to Europe if Moscow provides 320 million cubic meters of gas a day and the necessary technical gas, President Viktor Yushchenko said

* The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg on Thursday ordered Russia to pay 81,000 euros ($106,000) in connection with the disappearance of two Chechens in 2002 and 2004

* Palestinian militants on Thursday fired three rockets into the Israeli city of Beersheba, injuring at least six, an ambulance employee told RIA Novosti as Israel continued to pound the Gaza Strip

* Ukraine's president urged his Russian counterpart on Thursday to ensure gas transit to Europe by pumping 330 million cubic meters of gas into the Ukrainian transit system, his press service said

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday he hoped the United States would develop constructive relations with Moscow after president-elect Barack Obama's inauguration on January 20

* A Russian-made Mi-17 helicopter crashed in west Afghanistan's Herat province on Thursday morning killing all 13 people who were on board, the country's Defense Ministry said

* Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Thursday called on President-elect Barack Obama to change U.S. policy toward Iran and to end Washington's interference in the internal affairs of other countries

* Ukraine's Foreign Ministry urged on Thursday Russian energy giant Gazprom to sign a temporary agreement on the transit of gas to Europe

* Pakistani authorities have arrested 124 activists from radical organizations suspected of involvement in the November terrorist attack in Mumbai, a top official said

* UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the number of victims in Israel's military operations in Gaza "unbearable" during a meeting with Israel's foreign minister

* North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has tapped his third son to be his successor and sent his nomination to the leadership of the ruling party, a South Korean news agency reported

* The National Iranian Oil Company and China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) signed on Wednesday a $1.76 billion contract on developing Iran's North Azadegan oil field, local media reported

BUSINESS

* Russia's prime minister proposed on Thursday that the European Union set up a consortium to buy from Russian energy giant Gazprom the gas Ukraine says is necessary to resume transit to Europe

* Russia's new air carrier Rosavia has been officially registered, the chief of the Russian Technology Corporation said

* The Ukrainian presidential representative believes a price of around $200 per 1,000 cubic meters for Russian natural gas supplies to Ukraine would be economically justified

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