Russian Orthodox believers kiss relics despite virus warnings | AFP

Russian Orthodox believers shrug off coronavirus health warnings, to kiss relics of John the Baptist in Saint Petersburg’s Kazan cathedral. Moscow has counted dozens of cases in the country, but no deaths so far, according to the latest official figures.

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Today in History for March 14th

Highlights of Today in History: Albert Einstein born; Eli Whitney receives patent for cotton gin; First US Astronaut in space on Russian rocket; Michael Caine and Quincy Jones born. (March 14)

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Russian activists protest against ‘repressions’ outside FSB HQ | AFP

Supporters of a group of Russian anarchists convicted on terrorism charges and sentenced to lengthy prison terms protest against political repressions and attempt to form a ‘human chain’ around the headquarters of the Federal Security Services building in Moscow, drawing a response from police. IMAGES

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AP Top Stories March 12 P

Here’s the latest for Thursday, March 12: Sweeping travel bans and suspended sports seasons because of coronavirus outbreak; Pentagon threatens retaliatory strike against Shia militia; European and Russian space agencies postpone Mars mission. (March 12)

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World Athletics fines Russia $10m, caps neutral Russian athletes at 10 | AFP

World Athletics fines Russia’s track and field federation $10 million for breaching anti-doping rules and caps at 10 the number of Russians allowed to compete as neutrals at the Tokyo Olympics. SOUNDBITE

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Russians ponder having Putin remain in power | AFP

Russians react as the prospect sunk in of Russian President Vladimir Putin staying in power until 2036. Lawmakers in the lower house State Duma voted Wednesday to give final approval to a package of constitutional amendments introduced by Putin — including a last-minute addition to “reset” his presidential terms. from MoscovitesN°1PS4HN

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Russian MPs back constitutional amendments in key reading | AFP

Images show Russian lawmakers voting in the Lower House of the Russian Parliament before the approval of Vladimir Putin’s package of constitutional amendments during a key second reading. The amendments include the possibility that Vladimir Putin could run again for Russian president. A total of 382 MPs voted for the package of changes to the constitution, with 44 abstaining. IMAGES

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Russia deputies to vote on Putin’s constitutional reform | AFP

Russian lawmakers vote on a package of constitutional reforms as President Vladimir Putin looks to put his stamp on the country for decades to come. The reforms — expected to sail through the lower house State Duma in the key second reading — will overhaul Russia’s political system and enshrine conservative values in the country’s basic law. IMAGES

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Today in History for March 8th

Highlights of this day in history: The first American combat troops arrive in South Vietnam; The Russian Revolution begins; U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry makes his second landing in Japan; Baseball hall-of-famer Joe DiMaggio dies. (March 8)

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Syrians in Idlib province react to Turkey-Russia truce deal | AFP

Syrians living in Idlib province react as a Russia-Turkey ceasefire deal comes into effect a day after it was reached during hours of talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow.

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Syria rescue workers sift through rubble after deadly air strikes in Idlib | AFP

Syrian Civil Defence rescue workers, also known as White Helmets, dig through the rubble in search of missing victims after deadly air strikes hit an area where displaced Syrians were staying on the outskirts of the town of Maaret Misrin in Idlib province. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said 15 civilians including a child were killed in the strikes, which it attributed the Syrian government’s Russian ally. CONTENT WARNING: IMAGES OF DEAD, WOUNDED AND BLOOD // NO SOUND AT SOURCE ON AERIAL SHOTS

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Thousands march in Moscow for ‘Russia without Putin’ | AFP

Thousands rally in central Moscow to call on President Vladimir Putin not to stay in power indefinitely, in the first major protest by the Russian opposition since the Kremlin chief announced controversial plans to change the constitution. The rally marks five years since the assassination of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov but its organisers also want the event to send a message to Putin after he proposed major constitutional changes. Organisers, including the country’s most prominent opposition leader Alexei Navalny, called for a mass turnout to show Putin that he must not consider staying in power by any means when his current mandate ends in 2024.

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Opposition urges ‘Russia without Putin’ in rally for slain liberal | AFP

Thousands rally in central Moscow to call on President Vladimir Putin not to stay in power indefinitely, in the first major protest by the Russian opposition since the Kremlin chief announced controversial plans to change the constitution. IMAGES

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Melting ice caps | AFP Animé

Videographic illustrating melting ice caps. Cases of polar bears killing and eating each other are on the rise in the Arctic as melting ice and human activity erode their habitat, a Russian scientist said Wednesday.VIDEOGRAPHIC

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