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    A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours

    WORLD

    * World powers expressed their support for Afghanistan's desire to channel more international aid through the state budget, but warned that there must be tangible results in the fight against corruption in the country

    * J.D. Salinger, the reclusive author of “The Catcher in the Rye,” has died at his home in New Hampshire aged 91, his agent said

    * Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko will beat opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych in western Ukraine but will not do well enough in the east to win the presidential election, a survey said

    * Ukrainian presidential frontrunner Viktor Yanukovych flexed his muscles in parliament as MPs voted to dismiss the interior minister, a close ally of his opponent, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko

    * An international conference on how to bring an end to the conflict in Afghanistan opened in London

    * North Korea has fired several artillery shells toward a South Korean island in the Yellow Sea following a recent exchange of fire near the disputed maritime border, the Yonhap news agency said

    * Ousted former Honduran president Manuel Zelaya has left the country for exile in the Dominican Republic amid hopes that his departure will end seven months of political turmoil, the BBC said

    * The Georgian government has adopted a new strategy toward S. Ossetia and Abkhazia which excludes any use of military force against its former breakaway regions

    RUSSIA

    * Over a thousand employees of the Baikal pulp and paper mill, which closed last October amid environmental concerns, have returned to work, a company board member said

    * Russia on Thursday put a new military satellite into orbit, a spokesman for the Space Forces said

    * There is nothing to stop Russia from selling military equipment to Iran, the head of Russia's state-run arms exporter said

    SPORT

    * The head of the Russian Orthodox Church held a prayer service in downtown Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral on Thursday to see Russia's Olympic competitors off for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver

    * President Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday wished the national Olympic team success as 175 Russian athletes left for the 2010 Winter Games in Canada's Vancouver

    BUSINESS

    * Russian state-run oil company Gazprom Neft signed on Thursday a contract to develop the Badra oil field in Iraq, the company announced

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