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Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh and Minister for Natural ResourcesYuri Trutnev discussed today in the city of Sukhumi work in the sphereof environmental protection, Apsnypress reports.As noted by Bagapsh at the meeting, 26% of the Abkhaz territory isoccupied by natural reserves and to preserve them is one of the maintasks of the Abkhaz government. .Trutnev noted that some work in the field of environmental protectionbetween Abkhazia and Russia is already underway and the prospects forcooperation are very good.

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An explosion took place at the Kulevi oil terminal, located on theBlack Sea coast of Georgia. Two Turkish divers died as a result of theaccident, 1news.az reports, citing the TRT.Ercan Kars and Marat Karaoglu were engaged in raising the ship under aUkrainian flag, which sank in 2008.It is assumed that the explosion was caused by hydrogen or bypetroleum products.

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Fire at Central Market in Sukhumi being extinguishedFiremen are fighting a blaze in the central market in the capital ofAbkhazia, Apsnypress reports.The source of fire is deep in the market storage room.According to the head of the fire unit of Sukhumi, Colonel TigranDelibaltyana, it took two hours for the fire-fighters to get close tothe blaze. Difficulties have arisen because of the strong fumes.There are no reports of casualties.

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The press-chancellery of the Echmiadzin has denied reports in Armenianpress that the Catholicos of All-Armenians, Karekin II, has undergonesurgery in the USA. The Armenian catholicos went on a visit to the USA in early Januarywhere he met philanthropists of the Armenian Church. He discussed theprograms realized by the philanthropists of Echmiadzin. The press-chancellery said that Karekin II is expected to return next week.

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The former deputy head of ArmRosgazprom, Vaagn Arakelyan, has becomethe new vice-mayor of Yerevan, News Armenia reports.The appointment was made by the Council of Elders of Yerevan onFriday, introduced by Mayor Karen Karapetyan.The new vice-mayor told journalists that he has already looked at somelegal actions concerning the financial situation in the city, butcannot comment on the issue yet.

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A special commission has killed over one third of pigs from privatefarms in the village of Krasnogvardeysk in Stavropol Territory, wherean outbreak of African swine flu was registered, RIA Novosti cites thehead of the village administration Tamara Makarenko.Information on pig death appeared at the Nadezhda animal-breedingcomplex in the Krasnogvardeysk District on January 6. A state ofemergency was introduced on January 8.

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An earthquake occured in Azerbaijan’s Bilyasuvar District at 01.58today, Trend cites the seismology service of the National Academy ofSciences of Azerbaijan. The earthquake center had a magnitude of 3.1 points and was 40 km deep.

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Vahe Stepanyan has been appointed secretary of the municipal government, news.am reports. At the same time, Michael Hasratyan became chief architect of the Armenian capital. These posts have been vacant since the 11th of January after the secretary of the government of the Yerevan Municipality, Grigor Melkumyan, and the chief architect, Samvel Danielian resigned.

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Russian president calls for halt to spread of ethnic extremism

The support of civil society and national consent are compulsory conditions for Russian statehood in its current form. In order to achieve this, measures need to be taken against the spread of ethnic extremism, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said at a meeting with members of the Public Chamber.

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40 xenophobic murders were registered in 2010 in Russia and three inJanuary 2011, head of the Moscow Bureau for Human Rights AlexanderBrod said.303 people were injured last year.An Armenian was killed in Samara on January 15, an Uzbek in Moscow onJanuary 16 and a native from Central Asia was attacked in the Moscowsubway yesterday, Brod said.

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Approximately six earthquakes have been registered in Georgia after amajor earthquake 17 km away from the north-east of the center of theVani District (West Georgia), which started on Wednesday at 13.17, anofficial of the Earth Studies Institute of the Tbilisi StateUniversity of Ilia told News Georgia.

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In every hospital of Karachaevo-Cherkessia medical screening of pregnant women is implemented. The republic fulfils the project of a unified system of distant monitoring of mothers-to-be and babies of risk groups, Yuga.ru reports. A hospital gathers a lot of information about a pregnant woman and downloads it in the data base. Then this information is sent to the joint Karachai-Cherkess perinatal center and is accumulated.

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The Mkhitar Geratsi Yerevan Medical University is to be sold, staff reports, NEWS.am reports. The head of the university, Goar Kyalyan, took out a huge loan at a bank for repair works and buying new equipment. However, she was unable to pay the loan back Thus, and has to sail the university's buildings, situated in the centre of Yerevan.

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A third earthquake has been registered in the village of Kakaskhidi inthe Van District of Georgia. The last earthquake was equivalent to 4.1points.Medium-magnitude earthquakes equivalent to 5.8 points occurred in Georgia at 09.47 and 13.18, .The Georgian emergency department of the Interior Ministry said thatthere were no reports on damage or victims.The earthquakes lasted for several seconds and were also registered in Tbilisi.

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Offices of higher education centers in the North Caucasian FederalDistrict (NCFD) will be inspected in 2011, the authorized presidentialenvoy to the district, Alexander Khloponin, said in an interview withIzvestia.Khloponin noted the importance of checking the offices of educationalcenters of Moscow, St. Petersburg and Ural cities in the district.

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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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