Main News of March 16

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

RUSSIA

* Russia’s space agency Roscosmos and NASA may opt against sending music star Sarah Brightman to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2015, Russian agency’s head Vladimir Popovkin said

* A district court in Astrakhan, south Russia, sanctioned the arrest of the man, who had held four people hostage at a local college

* The number of daily web users in Russia grew 13 percent to 50.1 million adult population over the past winter, according to a new study published by the state-run Public Opinion Foundation

* Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that he is opposed to liquefied natural gas supplies to Gazprom-dominated European market, citing Asia-Pacific as a priority market for LNG exports

* Members of the Russian Opposition Coordination Council have announced their decision to hold two mass rallies in April and May, the council’s member Alexei Navalny announced on Instagram

* A military helicopter crashed in the Russian republic of Chechnya, killing three of four people on board, a law enforcement official said

WORLD

* The Venezuelan government has decided not to embalm the body of late president Hugo Chavez, Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said

* The newly elected pope explained what inspired him to pick the name Francis, which has never been used in papal history before

* The Soyuz TMA-06M manned spacecraft touched down ending its three-and-a-half hour voyage to bring three International Space Station (ISS) crew members to Earth after 142 days in orbit

* The United States announced it will add additional ballistic-missile interceptors on the West Coast in response to what Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called “irresponsible and reckless provocations” from North Korea.

* The World War II standoff was resurrected in music, when Latvian veterans of the Waffen-SS had to hold a rally to old Soviet tunes played by an ideology-conscious street musician

* Prison guards foiled a daring Hollywood-style attempt to spring two inmates from a penal colony in central Ukraine, the country’s penitentiary service said on its website

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