Xinhua world news summary at 1530 GMT, Jan. 16

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MOSCOW -- The Russian State Duma, or the lower house of parliament, approved Mikhail Mishustin for the post of prime minister at a plenary meeting on Thursday.

A total of 383 lawmakers voted in favor of Mishustin's candidacy for the post while 41 abstained. (Russia-Prime Minister-Mishustin)

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TIRANA -- Albania is ready to open accession negotiations with the European Union (EU), European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi said here on Thursday at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Edi Rama.

Varhelyi, who is on his first official visit to Tirana, said that Albania aims to open accession negotiations before the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb scheduled for May this year. (Albania-EU-Accession)

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COLOMBO -- Sri Lanka on Thursday banned loud music and videos from being played on buses and warned of strict legal action against drivers who ignored the regulation, local media reported.

Sri Lanka's National Transport Commission, quoted by media reports as saying that CDs containing traditional, soft music had been distributed to all bus drivers and bus depots across the country, and only this music would be allowed to be played when carrying passengers. (Sri Lanka-Bus-Music)

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DAMASCUS -- The Syrian army said on Thursday that rebel groups have intensified their shelling on the residential areas in Aleppo city.

Scores of civilians have been killed and wounded by the repeated shelling, the army said in a statement quoted by the state news agency SANA. (Syria-Rebel-Shelling) Enditem

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