Main news of November 19

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RUSSIA

* The head of Russia's Audit Chamber said two billionaires had agreed to help repossess Orthodox church buildings in Jerusalem that Israel bought from Soviet authorities 40 years ago

* The Russian deputy finance minister, suspected of embezzling $43 million, was arrested as prosecutors feared he could destroy evidence and intimidate witnesses, investigators said

* The Moscow City Court remanded in custody three suspects in the 2006 murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya

* A senior Russian prosecutor said unknown financial backers had given North Caucasus terrorist organizations over $1.5 million in the run-up to national parliamentary elections

* Fishing and hunting losses from a fuel oil spill in a strait between the Black and Azov seas are estimated at over $160 million, the Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor said

* A senior Russian lawmaker said an additional 75 international monitors had been invited to the December 2 parliamentary elections

* Thirty five crew members on a Russian freighter that sank in the Sea of Japan on Sunday have been rescued and one person is still missing, emergency services said

WORLD

* Local prosecutors opened a criminal investigation into a mine blast in east Ukraine's Donetsk Region, as the death toll rose to 80, with 30 people still missing

* Super cyclone Sidr could have claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in Bangladesh, or several times more than official statistics, the country's Red Crescent Society said

* The Israeli government adopted a decision to release up to 450 Palestinian prisoners ahead of the upcoming U.S.-sponsored Annapolis peace summit, the prime minister's office said

* Georgia's opposition will hold a rally in the capital on Sunday to demand that the government allow independent Imedi TV company to resume broadcasts, the leader of the People's Party said

* Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, arrived on an official visit to Tehran where he will meet with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

* Britain's Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip marked their diamond 60th wedding anniversary with a service in London's Westminster Abbey

* The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) renounced all previous agreements with Israel on drafting a joint statement to be adopted at the upcoming Annapolis peace summit, the Haaretz newspaper said

* Konstantin Kosachyov, who heads the International Affairs Committee of the lower house of Russia's parliament, said he doubts the legitimacy of Saturday's elections in Kosovo and believes their outcome will only prod the West into recognizing the independence of Serbia's breakaway province

* The delayed launch of a Zenit-3SL rocket with a Thuraya-3 communications satellite will go ahead on November 20, a Sea Launch consortium spokesperson said

* A 30-year-old Russian woman injured in a knife attack in the Spanish resort city of Alicante late on Sunday has died in intensive care, a hospital official said

BUSINESS

* Armenia and the U.S. will sign November 21 an energy cooperation agreement, which includes joint development of environmental safeguards for the country's nuclear industry, the U.S. Embassy said

* Inflation in Russia, which grew at a record rate in September and October, could reach 11% by the end of the year, the World Bank said in a report

* Oil output in Russia increased 2.5% year-on-year in January-September 2007 to 367 million metric tons (9.85 mln barrels per day), the country's top statistics body said

* Russia's Ilyushin Finance said it had started negotiations with Iran Airtour Airline on the supply of additional Tu-204 passenger jets to the Islamic Republic

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