Main news of January 29

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A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours.

RUSSIA

* Russia calls for increasing the number of foreign observers in Syria amid an ongoing standoff between the Syrian government and the opposition, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said

* At least one trillion rubles ($32 billion) left Russia last year in apparent money laundering schemes, First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said

* Hundreds of cars flying white ribbons drove around a major Moscow thoroughfare on Sunday to protest against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's expected return to the presidency in March

WORLD

* Afghan President Hamid Karzai plans to meet with the Taliban in Saudi Arabia in an attempt to restart peace talks, the BBC reported

* A delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Iran to discuss the Islamic Republic’s controversial nuclear program, the Iranian media reported

* The fate of the disputed Kuril islands in the Pacific Ocean should be decided in a referendum, Russia’s foreign minister said during a visit to Japan

* Greece has rejected suggestions it should cede control over its own budget to an EU outsider, the BBC reported

* South Ossetia opposition leader Alla Dzhioyeva told RIA Novosti on Sunday she had scheduled her inauguration as president of the former Georgian republic for February 10

* At least 33 people were killed after the Syrian government’s troops shelled a Damascus suburb under rebel control, the Jerusalem Post reported

* An EU embargo on oil imports from Iran may push world oil prices to $150 per barrel, the head of Iran’s state oil company said

SPORTS

* Defending champion Novak Djokovic won his third Australian Open title on Sunday by overcoming Rafael Nadal in a gladiatorial final lasting nearly six hours

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