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Main News of March 22

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A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours

 

WORLD

 

* China called for an immediate end to a Western-led military operation in Libya

 

* Russia welcomes the success of NATO-led coalition forces and the stabilization of the situation in Afghanistan, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said

 

* Police in Japan say the death toll in the devastating earthquake and subsequent tsunami has exceeded 9,000 people, the Kyodo news agency reported

 

* U.S. President Barack Obama has reiterated U.S. demands for Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to step down, stressing that the goal of the international military operation in Libya was to protect citizens

 

RUSSIA

 

* There is no rift in Russia's ruling tandem over the conflict in Libya, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said

 

* Russian gas giant Gazprom and Slovenia's Geoplin Plinovodi signed a deal on Tuesday to set up a joint venture to build the Slovenian section of the South Stream gas pipeline.

 

* The board of Russia's state-controlled Gazprom has extended the contract of its Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller, who has headed the gas giant for almost a decade, for another five years, Gazprom said

 

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