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The authorized presidential envoy to the North Caucasian FederalDistrict (NCFD), Alexander Khloponin, hopes for a reduction in crimein Kabardino-Balkaria in the near future, where illegal armedformations became active in 2010.The police of the NCFD registered 117 crimes related to terrorism inKabardino-Balkaria in January-November 2010, compared with 21 suchcrimes in 2009. Additional forces were sent to the republic.

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The Catholicos-Patriarch of All-Georgia, Ilia II, will hold a serviceat the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Tbilisi today. Over 500children are set to be baptized. The patriarch has baptized some 7,000people, Trend reports.The patriarch announced his initiative on January 19, 2007. He willbaptize the third and all the subsequent children in the family. IliaII announced all the children he baptizes are keepers of thepatriarch’s throne.

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37 major projects to be realized in NCFD

Investors will be realizing 37 major projects worth 400 billion rubles in the North Caucasian Federal District in 2011, Russian authorized presidential envoy to the district Alexander Khloponin said.

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Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov insists on punishing the head of the ‘Memorial’ human right center Oleg Orlov for aspersions, Kadyrov’s lawyer Andrey Krasnenkov told the Russian Agency for Legal and Judicial Protection. Orlov was accused of casting aspersions on Kadyrov in July, blaming the Chechen leader for having links with the murder of human rights activist Natalya Estemirova. Estemirova, laureate of many human rights awards, was kidnapped in Grozny on 15 July 2009. She was found dead the same day in Ingushetia.

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Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan is on a visit to Greece, where hemet his Greek counterpart Karolos Papoulias.The sides discussed Armenian-Greek ties, improvement oftrade-economic, military and cultural cooperation and work on theEastern Partnership program. They also discussed international andregional issues, including Nagorno-Karabakh.

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Senator Suleyman Kerimov has purchased the Dagestani football clubAnzhi, the press-service of the head of Dagestan said, RIA Novostireports.The Dagestani leader, Magomedsalam Magomedov, met with the member ofthe Russian Federal Council Suleyman Kerimov in Moscow. Magomed-SultanMagomedov, Speaker of the republic’s parliament and president of Anzhiclub, was at the meeting.

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Russia will launch its first Islamic channel in late February or earlyMarch, the head of the Russian Mufti Council said, RIA Novostireports.Russian President Dmitry Medvedev proposed organizing such a channelat a meeting in support of Muslim religious organization in the NorthCaucasus in August 2009. The channel was planned in order to teach thebasics of Islamic religion.

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Yerevan will develop a passport for improving management efficiency,the Mayor of Yerevan, Karen Karapetyan, told the German ambassador toArmenia, Hans-Johann Smidt .According to News.am, citing the press-service of the mayor’s officein Yerevan, the sides met to discuss bilateral ties.The German ambassador expressed readiness to continue developingbusiness ties between Yerevan and German cities.

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The Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliyev, has met the Georgian Ministerof Foreign Affairs, Grigol Vashadze, AzerTAG reports.Vashadze extended greetings to Aliyev from the Georgian PresidentMikheil Saakashvili. The sides noted that the two countries arecooperating well in the political, economic and energy spheres. Theyexchanged views on bilateral ties and regional and internationalissues.Aliyev thanked Vashadze for the greetings and asked that his greetingsbe to extended to Saakashvili.

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The Georgian state commission for coordination of integration intoNATO has approved the Annual National Program (ANP) for 2011.The program includes many aspects of the current and planned reformsin Georgia, starting from strengthening of positions, management ofthe state border, defense, security, energy and ending with approvalof democratic institutions, foreign policy and work on legislature,Georgy Baramidze, Vice-Premier and State Minister for Integration intoEuropean and Euro-Atlantic Structures, said.

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The nuclear power plant in Bushehr will be launched at full capacityin the near future, Iranian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs onpolitical affairs Mohammad Mehdi Akhunzade said, ITAR-TASS reports.The deputy minister said that this demonstrates that cooperationbetween Russia and Iran can be carried out in various spheres. Russiaplayed an important role in launching the power plant, he noted.

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A special commission has started an operation to confiscate 2,500 pigsfrom private farms at the Krasnogvardeyskoye village in StavropolTerritory, where a quarantine was introduced due to an outbreak of theAfrican swine flu, RIA Novosti cites the chief state veterinaryinspector of the region, Vyacheslav Marchanko.

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Azerbaijan will have a new radio station called "Radio Azad xəbər",broadcasting at a frequency of 103.3 FM, Trend reports.The decision was made by the National Council for TV and Radio (NCTR)of Azerbaijan.There were three radio stations competing for the radio channel:"Radio Azad xəbər", "Radio Obyektiv" and "Alternativ radio".The first two are legal bodies, the third is an individual. Thedocuments for choosing the radio channel were received from November25 to December 25.

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Greek and Armenian Presidents Karolos Papoulias and Serzh Sargsyanhave discussed bilateral cooperation and international problems inAthens, including relations with Turkey, RIA Novosti reports.Sargsyan arrived in Athens on Tuesday.The Greek president said that both the Armenian and Greek peoples havea common history and were persecuted by the Ottoman Empire.

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The Chechen Cossack village of Naurskaya will finish construction ofthe Church of the Nativity of Christ in late 2011, Ramzan Kadyrovsaid, Interfax reports.Construction began this week. The church will be a gift for the 75thanniversary of the district, Kadyrov said.

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The European Union has signed deals with Georgia, simplifying the visaregime and readmission. Both documents will come into force on March1, Trend cites an EU communique.Talks between the EU and Georgia on the issue started in 2008. Theywere concluded in the first half of 2010. An agreement was signed inJune. The European Parliament approved the deal in December 2010.

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An earthquake occured in the city of Fargan in Iran’s HormozganProvince at 10.27 (local time). The earthquake was equivalent to 3.8points on the Richter scale, MEHR cites the Seismology Center of theGeophysics Institute of Tehran University.No one was reported injured.Earthquakes are common in Iran. An earthquake equivalent to 5.3 pointson the Richter scale occurred in Ardakan (Sepidan) in the Fars Regionon January 5. The earthquake damaged houses in 17 villages and killed18 people.

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