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Main news of August 9

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RUSSIA

* The commander of joint peacekeeping forces in the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict zone said peacekeepers could not identify a missile allegedly dropped by a Russian plane because Georgia had hurried to destroy it

* South Ossetia will formally request that Russia deploy air defense systems in the zone of conflict with Georgia in the wake of an airspace violation dispute this week, the breakaway region's leader said

* The United States condemned an alleged rocket attack on Georgia and urged Moscow and Tbilisi to ensure a peaceful resolution in the Georgian breakaway region of South Ossetia

* A senior defense official said Russia would fulfill its obligations under an international agreement to destroy all its chemical weapon stockpiles by 2012

* The Russian industrial safety watchdog said the country planned to set up trilateral ministerial commissions in various fields of cooperation with North and South Korea

WORLD

* Russian gas supplies to Greece, halted following a Monday accident at a pipeline in Bulgaria, were resumed, a top executive of the Bulgargas company said

* Alexander Simic, an adviser to the Serbian prime minister, warned that Kosovo could become "a unique NATO state" if its status is decided on the basis of the Ahtisaari plan

* The Israeli based Ynet online portal said Hamas, which seized power in Gaza in a June coup, established a naval defense force to guard the coast

* The last group of about 400 Palestinians stranded in northern Egypt since the Rafah border crossing was closed returned to Gaza via Israel, Egypt's Middle East News Agency said

* The government of Sudan is ready for dialogue with all groups involved in a four-year ethnic conflict in Darfur, Shol Deng Alak, the African state's ambassador to Russia said

* An Austrian court turned down a Kazakh request to extradite President Nursultan Nazarbayev's former son-in-law accused in the Central Asian state of kidnapping and illegal business operations, a spokesman for the Austrian Prosecutor General's Office said

* Famous Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti, 71, has been hospitalized in his hometown of Modena, northern Italy, the Italian media said

* Poland's president and the opposition leader agreed during a four-hour meeting that early parliamentary elections would be held this October to end the political crisis in the country 

BUSINESS

* Oleg Gordeyev, acting president of private Russian oil company RussNeft, was nominated for the post of company president, and will face a shareholders' vote at an emergency meeting August 30

* Iraqi Oil Minister Hossain al-Shahristani told a RIA Novosti news conference in Moscow:

- licenses to the country's operating and idle oil fields, including the giant West Qurna-2, will be given to the Iraq National Oil Company, which will then select foreign companies as contractors

- LUKoil's contract for West Qurna-2 was suspended but not canceled

- LUKoil would have competitive advantages at tenders for Iraqi oil fields due to the Russian company's vast experience

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