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Main news of April 18



* Russia is preparing to celebrate Orthodox Easter, with churchgoers and even some nonbelievers going to churches on Holy Saturday to have paschal cakes and eggs blessed by priests

* Election authorities in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi confirmed on Saturday that six candidates had been approved to run for mayor in the host city of the 2014 Winter Olympics

* Police in southern Russia have detained two men on suspicion of involvement in a series of blasts in Sochi that killed three people, a law enforcement source told RIA Novosti


* Russia's envoy to NATO has dubbed the alliance's exercises due in Georgia in early May "insanity"

* The U.S. and Venezuelan leaders traded pleasantries before the Summit of the Americas in an unexpected and unscripted exchange

* The leader of Ukraine's pro-Russian opposition Party of Regions is the most popular potential presidential candidate, according to a poll conducted by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology whose results are published in the Zerkalo Nedeli weekly

* The Regional Response 2009 military exercises got underway in Azerbaijan on Saturday, the country's Defense Ministry said

* The secretary of the Council of Defense Ministers of the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States said on Saturday he saw no reason for uneasiness over NATO's upcoming exercises in Georgia

* Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan will visit Russia next Thursday, the Kremlin press service announced

* Agriculture ministers from the Group of Eight leading industrial nations meet in Italy on Saturday for their first summit to address issues in the global food supply

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