News in Brief

Citi Selling Rosneft Shares



PARIS -- Citigroup is selling about $1 billion of shares in Rosneft, Russia's largest oil company.

The New York-based bank is offering 110 million Rosneft shares for $9.10 each, according to an e-mail sent to Citigroup clients.

Ian Villiers, a London-based spokesman for Citigroup, declined to comment.

Shares of Rosneft rose by 0.7 percent, to $9.47 on the news. (Bloomberg)




Putin to Visit Bulgaria



President Vladimir Putin will visit Sofia on Jan. 17 and 18 at the invitation of Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov, the Kremlin said on Thursday.

"The official opening ceremony for the Year of Russia in Bulgaria will take place during the visit," the Kremlin said in a statement that was carried by Interfax.

The Kremlin has said the visit will be Putin's last foreign trip before the presidential election in March. (MT)




North Pole Awards



President Vladimir Putin on Thursday granted Hero of Russia awards to scientists backing Russia's claim to a mountain range under the Arctic Ocean that is believed to contain huge oil and gas reserves.

The scientists planted a Russian flag on the seabed under the North Pole ice in August as part of an Arctic expedition that heated up the controversy over the area which a U.S. study suggests may contain as much as 25 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas.

Putin signed a decree awarding three members of the expedition with the title of Hero of the Russian Federation.

They are State Duma Deputy Artur Chilingarov, Anatoly Salagevich and Yevgeny Chernyayev. A fourth expedition member, Deputy Vladimir Gruzdev, was granted the Order for Service to the Fatherland, the Kremlin said. (AP)