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Main News of April 12

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A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours

WORLD

* The UN-backed Syrian ceasefire plan took hold on Thursday, lifting hopes for an end to the deadly clashes between opposition and pro-government forces that have killed over 9,000 people in the past year

* Convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, who has been sentenced to 25 years in a U.S. jail, called on Russia to file a lawsuit against the United States and Thailand to the International Court of Justice

* A Ukrainian court sentenced former acting Defense Minister Valeriy Ivashchenko to five years in jail for abuse of office

* The planned 2014 withdrawal of international coalition forces from Afghanistan will only aggravate the situation in the country and the region, the head of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) said

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov strongly rejected attempts by some U.S. lawmakers to link the repeal of the Soviet-era Jackson-Vanik amendment hampering Russian-U.S. trade with the adoption of new “anti-Russian laws” related to the death of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky

* Russian children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said a lawsuit had been filed against him by an American woman who sent her adopted son back to Russia

* Russia’s largest private oil company LUKoil has signed agreements to buy 46 filling stations in the Netherlands and 13 in Belgium, LUKoil said

* Notorious U.S. mass murderer Charles Manson has been denied parole in his 12th and possible final bid for freedom

RUSSIA

* The number of Russians with incomes below the minimum cost of living increased by an estimated 1.1 percent in 2011 to 18.1 million people, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rostat) reported

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's income was stable in 2011, while Prime Minister Vladimir Putin became poorer, according to the income declarations of the ruling tandem unveiled on Thursday

* The richest Federation Council member was Buryatia Senator Vitaly Malkin, who earned over $34 million last year, according to his tax declaration for 2011

* Russia needs to invigorate its efforts to implement commercial space projects jointly with the European Space Agency and individual space powers, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said

* There will be no export duties for new hydrocarbon development projects on the Russian shelf, President-elect Vladimir Putin said

* The Russian Foreign Ministry recommended its citizens to avoid visiting Georgia, saying that the country’s special services “oppress” Russians

* A group of youths was found guilty of a series of attacks in Moscow, including throwing Molotov cocktails at a district Federal Security Service office

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