Main News of February 29

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

WORLD

* North Korea has agreed to suspend nuclear activities and allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor compliance, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said

* Syrian troops have almost retaken the Baba Amr neighborhood in Homs, a stronghold of anti-government forces, Al Jazeera reported

* Saif al-Adel, a man of Egyptian descent who is believed to have briefly taken over Al-Qaeda leadership after Osama bin Laden’s death, was arrested at Cairo airport on Wednesday, the Al-Ahram newspaper said

* The Unites States has expressed “deep regret” over the Belarusian authorities’ decision to expel two European Union diplomats in retaliation for new EU sanctions imposed on Belarusian officials over alleged human rights violations

* A swap deal between Russia and Israel in 2008 provided the Russian military with secret codes for Georgian drones, while Jerusalem obtained access to information on Iranian missile systems, according to fresh publications by Wikileaks

RUSSIA

* EU sanctions in regard to Belarus will not affect the integration processes underway between Moscow and Minsk, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said

* Improving the quality of life of ordinary citizens throughout Russia outside Moscow must be a priority, Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday at a meeting with supporters

* Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has said he wants to scrap visa requirements for Russians, Rossiya 24 state television reported

SOCIETY

* Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin is the world’s most interesting politician, a British journalist whose book about Putin is coming out on Thursday said

* The opposition may stage provocations, including “bumping off” some high-profile figure and blaming it on the authorities, Russian Prime Minister and presidential hopeful Vladimir Putin said

* The opposition should submit to the majority and fight for its rights using legal methods, Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Vladimir Putin said

* St. Petersburg’s Legislative Assembly passed a law penalizing the dissemination of material promoting homosexuality and pedophilia among minors

DEFENSE

* Construction of a Project 11356 frigate was launched at the Yantar shipyard in Russia’s Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad

* Russia has seen no progress in missile defense talks with NATO, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said

CRIME

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed into law a bill that provides tougher penalties for recidivist pedophiles, including life imprisonment and chemical castration, the Kremlin said

SCIENCE

* Russian Mission Control specialists on Wednesday readjusted the orbit of the International Space Station (ISS) by 2.1 kilometers to ensure the best conditions for the docking of Russia’s Progress M-15M cargo spacecraft

 

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