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Main news of August 16



* Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Kyrgyzstan:

- SCO countries should hold regular counterterrorism exercises, similar to the drills now underway in Russia

- A financial security belt should be created around Afghanistan to counter money laundering, and a special security conference on the country should be held

* Russia will display its new S-400 air defense missile system for the first time at a major air show outside Moscow August 21-26, a spokesman for the event said

* Russia's industrial output expanded 7.8%, year-on-year, in July and 7.7% in January-July, the Federal Statistics Service said

* Passengers injured when a Moscow-St.Petersburg train derailed Monday following an explosion will receive compensation from a travel insurer totaling up to $10,000, a spokeswoman for Russian Railways said

* Russian Transportation Minister Igor Levitin proposed raising the average amount of compensation to relatives of passengers who die in air accidents to $75,000

* Russia's chief health official, Gennary Onishchenko, ordered an inspection of all retailers selling toys, including the famous Barbie dolls, produced by China under the authority of the Mattel company, citing health concerns

* A Moscow court has rejected an appeal by a senior environmental official against a court ruling ordering him to pay the Moscow Region governor $400 in moral damages, a spokesman said

* Two vast oil slicks were discovered in the Moskva River in western Moscow near the construction site of the city's future business center, the environment ministry said


 * Leaders of Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states met for an annual summit in Kyrgyzstan's capital, Bishkek

* Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed his condolences to Peruvian leader Alan Garcia over the deaths of at least 300 people in an earthquake Wednesday night, the Kremlin press service said

* Kazakhstan's president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, proposed creating an oil and gas regulating body and exchange to service Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states

* Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit that the deployment of a U.S. missile shield in Europe threatens not only Iran but the whole Eurasia

* Tbilisi said that the air incident, in which an unidentified aircraft violated its airspace allegedly from the Russian side August 6, could have been linked to Russian military exercises in the North Caucasus

* Spain is extraditing to Russia one of four suspects in the murder of a Far Eastern region governor in October 2002, a Russian police spokesman said

* The United States has signed an agreement with Israel under which it will provide its Mideast ally with $30 billion in military aid over the next 10 years, a 25% rise on the current level

* Egypt's foreign minister called on Palestinians and Israelis to continue moving toward a peaceful settlement of the Middle East conflict, despite the current split between rival Palestinian factions

* Prince of Monaco Albert II will hunt Siberian stag and fish in Russia's East Siberian region of Irkutsk, a spokesman for the regional governor said

* A museum devoted to the "victims" of the 2004 "orange revolution" will open in the east Ukrainian city of Lugansk August 20, a local newspaper said

* Indian opposition and left-wing deputies disrupted a parliamentary session Thursday in protest against a nuclear cooperation deal with the United States, approved by the Indian government in July

* The Georgian military has removed two capsules containing radioactive cesium-137 from a former military base in the south of the country, the Defense Ministry said

* Georgia will transfer the management of its railway network to U.K.-based Parkfield Investment Funds for 89 years, the country's Economic Development Minister Giorgi Arveladze said

* The United States and Azerbaijan signed an agreement on a $1.7 million grant for a feasibility study of Trans-Caspian oil and gas pipelines

* Russia and Australia intend to sign a bilateral agreement on civilian use of nuclear energy during the Russian president's upcoming visit to the continent, the Australian ambassador said


* OGK-6, a Russian wholesale power generating company, said it will float newly-issued shares worth 5.7 billion rubles (about $223 million) via open subscription, but did not specify a timeframe

 * Russia's Central Bank said it has revoked the licenses of two Moscow banks over banking legislation breaches, including the money-laundering law, and annulled the license of a Volga area bank

* Fitch Ratings affirmed Russia's issuer default rating at BBB+ in foreign and national currencies, with a stable outlook, the agency said

* Russia's state-controlled nuclear equipment exporter Techsnabexport (Tenex) was incorporated into the civilian nuclear power vertically integrated holding Atomenergoprom established on the president's order, Atomenergoprom said

* Russia's largest carmaker, AvtoVAZ, said its production had fallen 4.1% in the first half of 2007, year-on-year, to 412,041 cars

* AvtoVAZ is considering the possibility of setting up assembly plants in Chile and Egypt, Russia's largest carmaker said

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