Armenia will ban bird hunting as of next week in an effort to prevent the spread of bird flu in the country, according to the Environment Ministry.
Hunting is usually prohibited from Dec. 31, but the government moved the date forward to Tuesday to coincide with the winter migration of wild birds southward.
There have been no known cases of bird flu in Armenia, though the government is working on preventative measures, Agriculture Minister David Lokian told parliament.
In the meantime Armenia has suspended poultry imports from Russia, Romania, Turkey, Iran and Southeast Asia - where bird flu has either been found or suspected.
"The measures taken to prevent the appearance and spread of this disease in Armenia are very effective, and the population can calmly consume poultry and eggs," the AP quoted ministry adviser Anushavan Agadzhanian as saying.
An explosion of household gas occurred in a nine-storeyed apartment building in the city of Shakhty, the Rostov region of Russia. The blast destroyed two storeys of the building