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Main news of February 4

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RUSSIA

* A decision on the delivery of advanced air defense systems to Iran can only be taken by the Russian leadership, the head of Russia's state arms exporter said

*  Russian financial assistance to Kyrgyzstan is not linked to the Central Asian country's decision to close a U.S. military base, a deputy Russian foreign minister said

* Two Russian Tu-95MS Bear-H strategic bombers carried out a routine patrol flight over the Norwegian Sea last night, an Air Force spokesman said

* The Russian Air Force has resumed flights of MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters, grounded after a December 2008 crash in East Siberia

* A preliminary investigation into a recent Mi-24 combat helicopter crash in Russia's Volga Federal District has indicated that it was caused by a technical failure, a military prosecutor said

* Russia and India are negotiating a new contract on the delivery of additional Project 11356 frigates for the Indian navy, the head of Russia's arms exporter said

* In his first Russian comments since finally signing for Arsenal soccer club, Andrei Arshavin said moving to the Emirates Stadium was "a dream come true."

WORLD

* Washington hopes to hold talks in the near future with Moscow on the reduction of nuclear weapons, U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood said

* A post-Soviet regional security bloc has agreed to create a collective rapid reaction force, the Armenian president said

* A Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will be completed by the end of 2009, the Kazakh president said

* Iran's first indigenous satellite will stay in orbit for at least two months as it sends processed technical data back to Earth, the head of the Iran Aerospace Organization said

* The Japan Skating Federation (JSF) has given permission for Japanese-born figure skater Yuko Kawaguchi to represent Russia at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Canada

* Police in Uzbekistan have seized a total of 22.5 kg (50 lbs) of heroin in the southeastern province of Surkhandarya, a spokesman for the republic's Interior Ministry said

* A three-year-old Chinese girl, diagnosed with the H5N1 strain of bird flu in January, has become the youngest person in China to recover from the disease, local media said

* Oil production in Turkmenistan will increase to 10.9 million tons in 2009, regional media said citing an announcement at a Turkmen-British Energy Business Forum

BUSINESS

* The Russian government is planning to allocate another $40 billion to recapitalize the domestic banking system, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said

* Russian arms sales to China could shrink from 40% to 10%, the head of a state-controlled arms exporter said

* Russia's shipbuilding industry will see a 20% rise in sales this year to 180 billion rubles ($5 billion) compared with 150 billion rubles in 2008, the industry and energy minister said

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