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Main news of April 2

A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours


* A court in eastern Ukraine ruled that former President Viktor Yushchenko's decree to award onetime Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera the title of a national hero was illegal

* U.S. President Barack Obama has spoken to his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao about the importance of "working together" on the issue of Iran's nuclear program

* The former Georgian republic of Abkhazia hopes Bolivia and Ecuador will soon recognize its independence


* The Russian Pacific Fleet's Udaloy-class missile destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov started escorting civilian vessels off Somali coast to protect the ships from pirates, a Russian Navy spokesman said

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that he would not have introduced the death penalty moratorium in Russia in 1996 but Moscow will stick to its international obligations

* A Russian presidential aide highlighted how Moscow's concerns had been dealt with by some of the key provisions of the new Russian-U.S. arms control pact

* The organizers of the recent terrorist attacks in Moscow and Kizlyar and some of the suicide bombers have been identified, the Russian counter-terrorism committee said

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for a crackdown on people who provide any form of assistance to terrorists

* Another victim of bombings in the Moscow metro has died, bringing the total death toll to 40, a spokesman for the Russian health ministry said

* Russian professional boxer and ex-heavyweight WBA champion Nikolai Valuyev has joined the United Russia party

* The Russian armed forces and security troops has seen a sharp rise in corruption-related crimes this year, Russia's chief military prosecutor said

* A Soyuz-FG rocket bearing a Soyuz TMA-18 piloted spacecraft blasted off for the International Space Station (ISS) on Friday morning from Russia's Baikonur space centre.


* Russia's National Oil Consortium paid Venezuela a bonus of $600 million for participation in the development of the Junin-6 deposit, the head of a company making part of the consortium said

* Venezuela is currently in talks with Russia on the purchase of 50 aircraft, a source in the Russian delegation in Caracas said

Daimler to pay $185 million after admitting bribery


* Thousands of people came to downtown Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral on Holy Friday when divine services in churches across Russia are dedicated to Jesus Christ's crucifixion and burial


* CSKA Moscow and Zenit's Russian Premier League match, which was due to take place on Saturday, has been moved to a later date after twin suicide bombings hit the Russian capital

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