Main news of January 20

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A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours

WORLD

* Iran Six mediators are discussing the transition from talks to new sanctions in response to Iran's refusal to fold its controversial nuclear program, a senior U.S. diplomat said

* Ukrainian presidential frontrunner Viktor Yanukovych refused on Wednesday to hold debates with his opponent, saying Yulia Tymoshenko should either take responsibility for every word as prime minister, or go to the kitchen

* Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said on Wednesday she had offered the post of prime minister to Sergei Tigipko, who came third in the first round of presidential elections, in exchange for his support in the runoff vote on February 7

* A new earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale hit Haiti on Wednesday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey

* The first round of Ukraine's presidential elections held on January 17 was democratic and legitimate, incumbent President Viktor Yushchenko said

* Serhiy Tyhypko, the third-place candidate in Ukraine's first round of presidential elections, said on Wednesday he would not support either opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych or Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in the February runoff

* Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has cancelled all foreign trips over fears that the country's vice-president, who has openly joined the opposition, will seize power, local media said

* The death toll in an explosion that partially destroyed a hospital in eastern Ukraine on Monday has risen to 16, Ukrainian news agency UNIAN said, citing the local emergency service

* At least eight people were shot dead by a gunman in the U.S. state of Virginia near the city of Lynchburg, the Washington Post reported, citing state police

RUSSIA

* The heads of Russia's leading media outlets on Wednesday sent an open letter to the interior minister demanding protection for journalists and society against police arbitrariness after a court fined a photographer for covering an anti-government rally

* New charges have been brought against a Russian police officer who posted video messages online urging a nationwide crackdown on corruption, a top investigator said

* A Russian journalist who spent almost two weeks in a coma after he was beaten and sexually assaulted at a sobering-up facility died on Wednesday, a doctor in the West Siberian city of Tomsk said

* Thailand, a major chicken exporter in Southeast Asia, is prepared to supply poultry to Russia to compensate for U.S. imports that fail to comply with Russian standards, Russia's agricultural regulator said

* RIA Novosti on Wednesday expressed its strong disagreement with the decision of a Moscow court, who found one of the agency's photojournalists guilty of taking part in an unsanctioned protest in Moscow

* The U.S. may be allowed to continue poultry exports to Russia, but will have to review its chlorine treatment technologies in two or three months, a respected Russian business daily said

RELIGION

* The Nice Superior Court in France has declared Russia to be the rightful owner of St. Nicholas Orthodox Cathedral

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