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    Main News of February 8

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    * The worldwide audience of the bombastic opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Olympics stood at 3 billion, organizers said in a statement

    * Leading US media expressed awe at the lavish opening ceremony of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, but also portrayed it as a spectacle glossing over controversies surrounding Russia's human rights record and its Stalinist past

    * Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday hailed the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics

    WORLD

    * Ukraine will receive the second tranche of Russia’s $15 billion in financial aid only after it pays its gas arrears, the Russian finance minister said

    * International ratings agency Fitch downgraded Ukraine’s long-term foreign currency issuer default rating (IDR) by two notches, to CCC from B-, citing political instability

    * Belarus will seek compensation from Uralkali's former CEO Vladislav Baumgertner for financial damages, Prosecutor General Alexander Konyuk told journalists

    RUSSIA

    * Russian President Vladimir Putin brought along his pet dog Yume for a reunion meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

    * One of three co-leaders of Russia’s most prominent liberal opposition party resigned, ending a long-running ideological split

    * A French reporter was injured and about 40 people were detained in Moscow for an attempt to hold an “unauthorized rally” in support of Russia’s independent Dozhd TV, the channel said

    * A Russian ministerial aide who kick-started a scandal over a leaked conversation about Ukraine between US diplomats has denied he was responsible for the leak

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