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Main News of March 22

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Main news - Sputnik International
A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours


* The suspected Toulouse gunman, Mohammed Merah, who claimed responsibility for killing seven people in a wave of shootings, was killed on Thursday when police stormed the apartment where he was holed up, French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said

* A Russian freelance photojournalist accused by Indian authorities of espionage departed the country after charges against her were dropped, the Russian Embassy in New Delhi said

* European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has welcomed the UN Security Council’s statement on the Syria peace plan by its special envoy Kofi Annan

* Madonna will "speak up" at her upcoming St. Petersburg show in support of Russia’s gay community, following a ban on gay propaganda imposed by the city authorities


* Russian prime minister and president-elect Vladimir Putin ordered his government to work out a road map and ensure necessary funding to fulfill his electoral promises

* President Medvedev admitted to a crisis of confidence in government among the Russian people and called for dialogue at all levels to restore trust between society and officials

* Proposals for the development of weaponry based on futuristic concepts will be ready by December this year to be included in the next state arms procurement program, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev asked the government to work out a road map for privatization and less state interference in country's economy

* The Russian Foreign Ministry has summoned the Danish ambassador in regard to Chechen separatist leader Akhmed Zakayev’s participation in an international conference in Copenhagen

* Police in Russia’s Vologda Region have recaptured a convicted murderer who escaped prison on board a helicopter earlier in the day, Interior Ministry spokesman Valery Gribakin said

* Russia’s Central Electoral Commission on Thursday dismissed the OSCE criticism of the March 4 presidential election won by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as unfair

* A Bell 407 helicopter crashed on Thursday in the Volga river in the central Russian Nizhny Novgorod region, killing the pilot, regional emergency services said

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