Main news of January 27

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RUSSIA

* Metropolitan Kirill has been elected head of the Russian Orthodox Church, becoming the 16th Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia

* Russia dismissed claims by Ukraine that the Black Sea Fleet is violating a 1997 bilateral agreement on the deployment of warships at naval bases on Crimean Peninsula , a Russian Foreign Ministry source said

* The Kremlin will not reinstate direct popular elections for regional governors in Russia, deputy head of the presidential administration Vladislav Surkov told journalists

* Russia supports the development of common standards for the world economy, as well as unified principles for international financial markets, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said

* A Russian NCO has been captured by Georgian special service personnel in South Ossetia, a Russian Defense Ministry spokesman said

* Russia is not planning to limit the outflow of capital, and will continue to welcome foreign investors, the country's prime minister said in an interview

* Russian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Filaret has withdrawn his candidacy for the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, declaring his support for Metropolitan Kirill, the Moscow Patriarchy said

* Russia is ready to discuss the transit of non-lethal supplies for NATO troops in Afghanistan at any time, but the alliance needs to resolve the issue with other transit states, Russia's NATO envoy said

* Russia's Supreme Court upheld a life sentence for former Yukos shareholder Leonid Nevzlin, sentenced to life in absentia for murder and attempted murder

* Russia's Reserve Fund now stands at 4.7 trillion rubles ($142.5 billion) and the National Wealth Fund at 2.6 trillion rubles ($79 billion), Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said

* Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has denied that he deliberately set out to "destroy" the country's billionaires

* Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said that his biggest fault is that he is too trusting

* St. Petersburg is marking on Tuesday the 65th anniversary since the end of a 900-day Nazi blockade, one of the most dreadful sieges in modern world history

* Russian women continued their dominance of the Australian Open in Melbourne with both Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonareva winning their quarterfinal matches

* An emissary of Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev, who was in Russia's North Caucasus to revive the militant movement, has been killed by Russian forces, the FSB said

* Zenit St. Petersburg said that an agreement had been reached with Arsenal on a transfer fee for Andrei Arshavin, but that the player's demands were holding up the conclusion of the deal

WORLD

* The Ukrainian gas transportation system is a guarantee of Ukraine's energy independence and will remain in state hands, the country's Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Turchinov announced

* An armed man, who held almost 40 bus passengers hostage for some two hours in Bulgaria has surrendered to police, none of the hostages were injured, the novinite.com news portal said

* Iran has achieved self-sufficiency in manufacturing combat missiles of various modifications, the country's defense minister said

* Tehran is expecting to see a real change in the policies of U.S. President Barack Obama towards Iran, an Iranian government spokesman announced

* The trial of Vlastimir Djordjevic, a former general accused of war crimes against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in 1999, began on Tuesday at the Hague, the court said on its website

* The Russian and Indian navies have started joint naval exercises in the Arabian Sea off the Indian coast, an Indian military source said

* A pro-government party, United Abkhazia, was established on Tuesday in Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia

* Russia has no right to make a unilateral decision on rearming its Black Sea Fleet, based in Ukraine, a senior Ukrainian diplomat said

* The Ukrainian president has assured the EU that a recently signed agreement on natural gas transits from Russia to Europe through Ukraine will be fully implemented, the European Commission president said

* The death toll from Zimbabwe's worst cholera epidemic in decades is nearing 3,000, the World Health Organization said

* A summit of countries interested in the construction of a gas pipeline from Central Asia to Europe officially opened on Tuesday in Budapest

BUSINESS

* The Moscow Arbitration Court quashed on Tuesday back tax claims against auditing firm Ernst & Young totaling 390 million rubles ($11.8 million)

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