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Nuclear Leak Forces Russian Icebreaker Back to Port

Russia launched an urgent rescue mission Thursday after one of its atom-powered icebreakers developed a nuclear leak in the frozen seas of the Arctic and was forced to abandon its mission, Agence France Presse reported.

The Rosatomflot nuclear fleet said in a statement that "insignificant increase in activity" had been reported on board its Taimyr icebreaker.

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Russia Kills Top al-Qaida Militant

Russian security forces have killed a top al-Qaida militant in Chechnya who coordinated foreign rebels in the North Caucasus, the national anti-terror committee said on Wednesday.

The militant, named as Doger Sevdet, was a Turkish national who had taken on the nom-de-guerre of Abdullah Kurd and "was an envoy of al-Qaida in the Northern Caucasus," it said in a statement published on Russian news agencies.

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Russian Agent 'Betrayed Spy Ring for Money'

A top Russian secret service agent suspected of blowing the cover of a sleeper spy ring in the United States was a heavy drinker who betrayed Moscow purely to make money, sources said on Wednesday.

Alexander Poteyev, who will go on trial in absentia for treason in Moscow on May 16, is charged with having tipped off Washington about a ring of 10 Russian spies who were later deported in the biggest post-Cold War spy scandal.

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Russia Has 'Serious Doubts' West Not Targeting Gadhafi

Russia called for an immediate ceasefire in Libya Sunday and said it had "serious doubts" the West was not targeting Moammar Gadhafi and his family after Tripoli said the leader's son was killed.

"The claims of the coalition members that strikes over Libya do not have the physical destruction of Moammar Gadhafi and members of his family as their goal cause serious doubts," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

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Policeman Killed, Church Torched in Caucasus

Several gunmen killed a policeman early Saturday in the largely Muslim region of Karachayevo-Cherkessia where an ancient church was also set on fire, officials said.

During a nighttime attack several assailants approached an off-duty policeman and shot at him in front of a bar in the Caucasus city of Cherkessk.

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Russia to Ban Gasoline Exports Amid Shortages

Russia decided to halt exports of gasoline and switch the flow to the home market to fight shortages and a price rise, in a statement on Thursday taking effect in a few days' time in May.

The sudden announcement from the world's biggest oil producer came after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ordered his government to tackle an issue that has been gaining increasing attention ahead of upcoming elections.

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Condemnation Mounts of Syria Crackdown

International condemnation of Syria mounted Saturday after its security forces reportedly killed more than 80 people in one of the bloodiest days of a month-long uprising.

Russia, Italy and Greece joined the chorus of criticism which includes U.S. President Barack Obama and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, as well as France and the European parliament.

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Russia's Medvedev Lets Loose in Youtube Dance Video

Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev was shown dancing awkwardly to a pop song in a video spreading across Russian Internet on Wednesday that he said showed a reunion of his university class.

The brief clip uploaded on YouTube by an unidentified person showed the Russian leader in a suit jacket and jeans stepping and waving his hips alongside several other people to a perestroika-era hit song "American Boy" with a concentrated expression on his face.

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Russia Kills 'Top al-Qaida Envoy' in Chechnya

Russian security forces killed in Chechnya a Saudi militant who was the top envoy of al-Qaida in the Northern Caucasus and responsible for deadly attacks, the national anti-terror committee said Friday.

The militant -- known by the nom-de-guerre of Moganned -- was one of three rebels killed in a clash with Russian security forces around the village of Serzhen-Yurt in Chechnya on Thursday afternoon, it said.

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Medvedev Calls For Drug Testing in Schools

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday called for drug testing in schools, warning that narcotics abuse was now such a major problem that it was weighing down the economy.

Speaking at a government meeting in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, identified by officials as a particular trouble spot for abuse, Medvedev said that no fewer than 2.5 million Russians were drug addicts.

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