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    A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours

    RUSSIA

    * Russian President Dmitry Medvedev congratulated Sebastian Pinera, who took office as Chile's president on Thursday, and assured him that Russia is ready to continue assisting the quake-hit country, the Kremlin said

    * Police investigating Tuesday's deadly fire in a downtown Moscow nightclub are looking into the possibility that the blaze was started deliberately, investigators said

    * Russia has voiced concerns about Israeli plans to build 1,600 homes for Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem, fearing they may damage peace efforts ahead of the Mideast Quartet's meeting in Moscow, the Foreign Ministry said

    * Russian investigators have brought embezzlement charges against a former Moscow Region deputy finance minister in a high-profile investigation involving several regional officials and a U.S. businesswoman, Russia's Investigative Committee said

    * Russia has completed formalities in purchasing a plot of land in downtown Paris, a spokesman for the presidential property department said

    * Russia's NATO envoy has expressed cautious optimism about the new U.S. approach to a European missile shield, which could use a Russian radar as part of an integrated system

    * Iran has not officially notified Russian airlines that their pilots working in the Islamic Republic should leave the country, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said

    * Russian Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov said that plans to put up images of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin around Moscow to mark the 65th anniversary of victory in World War Two were unlikely to be realised

    * Guus Hiddink, who Dutch media reports say will coach the Ivory Coast at this year's World Cup, has yet to request that the Russian football authorities invalidate his contract

    * Moscow's most expensive apartment for rent hit $47,000 in February, Penny Lane Realty said

    WORLD

    * The Ukrainian parliament formed a majority parliamentary coalition loyal to new President Viktor Yanukovych and appointed a new prime minister, ending a political stand-off between the legislature and the head of state

    * Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Sweden for consultations after the Swedish parliament approved a resolution recognizing the Armenian genocide by the Ottoman Empire, local media reported

    * Ukraine's former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said she would not quit politics and would lead the opposition to the government

    * A new earthquake measuring 7.2 on the Richter scale hit Chile on Thursday, the same day Sebastian Pinera took office as president, the U.S. Geological Survey said, adding that there was a threat of a tsunami

    * NATO has extended the mandate of its anti-piracy mission off the coast of Somalia until the end of 2012, the alliance's spokesman James Appathurai has said

    * The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has released British journalist Paul Martin, accused of espionage and held behind bars for three weeks, a Palestinian police spokesman said

    * India and Russia have agreed in general on shared responsibility for the joint development of the fifth-generation fighter, the chairman of the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) said

    * The Arab League has threatened to review its support for Israeli-Palestinian indirect peace talks over Israel's recently announced plans for new settlement construction in the Palestinian territories

    * There are no technical constraints to extending the operation of the International Space Station (ISS) until at least 2020, top international space officials said

    * A court in east Ukraine has created a legal precedent, ruling that a local journalist has the right to doubt that the 1932-1933 Holodomor famine was an act of genocide of the Ukrainian nation, the Party of Regions reported

    * Russia has the largest number of billionaires among the European countries, Forbes magazine has said

    * The Indian government's security committee has approved the allocation of $2.3 billion to retrofit the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier (INS Vikramaditya), the IANS news agency reported

    * A Georgian woman is set to become the first ever female ambassador to Saudi Arabia, a Kuwaiti daily said

    * The U.S. government has lifted sanctions against the Russian space organization Glavkosmos, the U.S. Federal Register said

    BUSINESS

    * Italy's Eni SpA, which is Gazprom's partner in the Kremlin-backed South Stream gas pipeline project, proposed uniting it with its Nabucco rival to boost overall revenues, a Russian business paper reported

    * Russia's largest diamond miner Alrosa said it planned to sign three-year contracts with three Indian companies on the delivery of uncut diamonds worth $490 million

    SPORTS

    * Rubin Kazan held on to a 1-1 home draw on Thursday against a Wolfsburg side that gave fair warning the Russian champions face a challenge in Germany next week to get to the Europa League quarterfinals

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