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Main news of January 26

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RUSSIA

* The Russian and U.S. presidents, Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama, agreed during a telephone conversation on Monday to hold a bilateral meeting in the near future, Russia's Channel One television reported

* Russia's Polyus Zoloto and Canada's Kinross Gold Corporation signed on Monday an agreement on joint gold exploration in Eastern Siberia

* Russia's envoy to NATO resumed informal talks on Monday with NATO ambassadors in Brussels, the Russian mission at NATO headquarters said

* The founder and former co-owner of Russia's top mobile phone retailer Euroset, Yevgeny Chichvarkin, has filed an appeal against being put on the wanted list, his lawyer said

* Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said he is "cautiously optimistic" about future relations with the United States under President Barack Obama

* Fourth-seeded Elena Dementieva had no trouble dispatching her opposition on Monday to move into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open at Melbourne Park

WORLD

* Abkhazia's deputy interior minister, Zakan Dzhugelia, was killed on Monday evening in Sukhumi, Abkhazian Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba said

* Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski denied on Monday plans to put himself forward for the post of NATO secretary general

* Poland is still receiving just half the contracted volumes of Russian natural gas via Ukraine, a spokeswoman of the Polish oil and gas company PGNiG said

* The possibility of Georgian sabotage in Abkhazia makes the breakaway republic push forward talks with Russia on hosting a base for the Russian Black Sea Fleet, the Abkhazian president said

* The next Ukrainian presidential election should be held on January 17, 2010, a deputy head of the president's office said

* Angela Davis, famous in the Soviet Union and today's Russia as a revolutionary firebrand but virtually forgotten in her U.S. homeland, turned 65

* Ukraine's national gas company denied on Monday its chief, Oleh Dubyna, who played a central role in ending the recent gas dispute between Kiev and Moscow, underwent heart surgery

* The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council for Europe has said in a draft report that Russia has failed to comply with the majority of demands made in its October 2008 resolution on South Ossetia and Abkhazia

* Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev appointed on Monday a leading opposition politician as first deputy prime minister in the latest round of a Cabinet reshuffle, a presidential spokesman said

* Around 60% of Bolivians have voted for a new left-wing Constitution which will hand more power to the country's Indian population and introduce more economic and land reforms, national television reported citing exit polls

BUSINESS

* Russia's 30 largest banks have reported a 7.3% drop in pretax profit for the first 11 months of 2008 on the same period of 2007 to 293.3 billion rubles ($8.9 billion), the Central Bank said

* Gazprom lost $2 billion during its recent gas dispute with Ukraine, a senior executive at the Russian energy giant said

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