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Sobyanin 'on track' to win a Moscow mayoral election

Two exit polls have indicated Kremlin favourite Sergei Sobyanin was on track to win the Moscow mayoral election with about 53 per cent of the vote, according to state-run RIA and Itar-Tass news agencies.

But opposition candidate Alexei Navalny has disputed the results.

Exit polls showed Sergei Sobyanin was on track to win a Moscow mayoral election. Credit: Reuters/Maxim Shemetov

Sobyanin, the Kremlin-appointed acting mayor, needed at least 50 per cent to win the election outright and avoid a runoff. Navalny's campaign said its own exit polls showed Sobyanin received 46 per cent and Navalny 29 per cent.

Mo Farah first up for British hopefuls in Moscow

Mo Farah is expecting to get Great Britain's World Championships off to a golden start in Russia today.

A year on from taking the 5,000 and 10,000 metres titles at London 2012, he is hoping to repeat the feat in Moscow.

First up is the 10,000m final at the Luzhniki this evening - his first race on the track at this distance since last year's Olympic final.

Great Britain's Mo Farah celebrates winning the men's 3000 metres event at the London Anniversary Games. Credit: Adam Davy/PA Wire/Press Association Image

Farah took silver over that distance at the World Championships in Daegu two years ago, but UK Athletics performance director Neil Black is confident he can go one better today.

"His expectation is higher than anyone else's," he told Press Association Sport.

"He will, without doubt, expect to win. It will take an amazing performance for that not to happen so we will find out tomorrow what happens."

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China's 'Carla Bruni' is media hit on Russia trip

Peng Liyuan is famous in her own right in China as a folk singer and television star. Credit: Reuters

Chinese President Xi Jinping's first state visit to Russia has been given a boost by his wife Peng Liyuan, who featured extensively in Sunday's state media reports on the trip.

China's first ladies are usually kept out of the public eye and not given notable media coverage, but Liyuan is famous in her own right in the country as a folk singer and television star.

Her glamorous image and confident media presence has invited comparisons to French former first lady Carla Bruni.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan wave as they disembark from a plane upon their arrival at Moscow's Vnukovo airport. Credit: Reuters

The 50-year-old is the first high-profile leader's wife in more than half a century, since the late actress Jiang Qing, who was married to Chairman Mao Zedong.

Given China's famously secretive Communist leadership, Liyuan's presence is widely seen as a positive addition to the party.

Russian Orthodox Christians plunge into freezing river

Russian Orthodox Christians have been plunging into the river in Moscow through a hole in the ice as part of an annual ritual.

The age-old ritual commemorates the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Jordan River, or the Epiphany, which the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates today.

Many of those who braved the minus 13°C temperatures also believe that taking a dip in freezing cold water has health benefits.

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Kofi Annan visits Moscow for Syria talks

U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan is in Moscow for talks with President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia, which has crucial influence over diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed in Syria.

Peace envoy Kofi Annan is seeking to shore up support for his efforts to end a year of fighting in Syria where 8,000 people have been killed in an anti-government uprising.

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