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Main news of January 23

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RUSSIA

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Georgia's expanding military presence on the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia continued to be a matter for grave concern

The Russian Navy rejected media reports that the Baltic Fleet's Neustrashimy missile frigate is in an unsatisfactory technical condition, a Navy spokesman said

Muscovites paid their last tribute to lawyer Stanislav Markelov and a trainee journalist Anastasia Baburova who were gunned down in Moscow this week

Cuban leader Raul Castro will visit Moscow later this month, with the official part of his visit scheduled for January 30, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin announced

The founder and former co-owner of Russia's top mobile phone retailer Euroset, Yevgeny Chichvarkin, has been put on the federal wanted list, a respected business daily said

Ukraine and Russia will hold a further round of talks on demarcating maritime boundaries between the two countries in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov in Moscow in June, the Russian Foreign Ministry said

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that Moscow was ready to cooperate with NATO over Afghanistan

WORLD

Only 50% of agreed Russian gas supplies, transited via Ukraine to Europe, have reached Poland, a spokeswoman for the Polish energy company PGNiG said

Bulgaria estimates its losses from recent cuts in Russian gas supplies at about $320 million and is demanding compensation from Russia's Gazprom, the country's economy and energy ministry said

Israel's Defense Ministry said international journalists will be allowed into Gaza for their first independent look at the results of Israel's assault on the Palestinian enclave

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert set up a special commission to deal with possible international lawsuits over Israel's three-week military operation in the Gaza Strip, local media said

Indonesia's General Election commission (KPU) has chosen July 8 as the date for presidential elections in the country, the national news agency Antara said

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez hosted his Argentine counterpart, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, signed a host of bilateral cooperation agreements in the energy, industrial, agricultural, and health spheres during an official visit, Argentine press reported

Japan successfully launched a satellite that will monitor greenhouse gases as part of global efforts to understand climate change, Japan's space agency said

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il met with Chinese communist party official Wang Jiarui in the capital Pyongyang, China's Xinhua news agency said

Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev continued his Cabinet reshuffle, removing the first deputy prime minister and two ministers, a presidential spokesman said

A man was detained in connection with the deaths of two children and an adult during a knife attack at a daycare center in the northwest Belgian town of Dendermonde, police said

BUSINESS

Gazprom plans to sell $9.5 billion worth of gas to Ukraine in 2009, a senior official at the Russian gas monopoly, Valery Golubev, said

Uzbekistan is ready to sell Russia up to 31 billion cubic meters of natural gas this year, President Islam Karimov said

SPORTS

A Zenit St. Petersburg board meeting is to discuss Arsenal's bid for Andrei Arshavin today, with the club's general director telling Sport Express that a decision would be taken in the next 48 hours

Russia's Vera Zvonareva, Nadia Petrova, Dinara Safina and Alisa Kleybanova progressedto the round of the last 16 of the 2009 Australian Open in Australia's Melbourne, while Marat Safin suffered a defeat

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