Main news of November 29

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RUSSIA

* President Vladimir Putin called on the country's electorate to vote for the United Russia party at the December 2 parliamentary elections

* Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said he supported the incumbent Russian president but disliked the ruling party whose ballot Vladimir Putin is leading in parliamentary elections

* Russia's state-controlled arms exporter Rosoboronexport will be transformed into an open joint stock company, following a decree signed by the Russian president, the Kremlin press office said

* Russian opposition leader Garry Kasparov has been released after five days in custody, a member of his United Civil Front party said

* The ruling United Russia party will nominate its candidate for next year's presidential elections at its convention in the middle of December, a party functionary said

* Russia will invite the OSCE's main election monitoring arm, which refused to attend December's parliamentary polls, to observe next year's presidential elections, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said

* The Moscow Savyolovsky Court has found tycoon Boris Berezovsky guilty of embezzling over 214 million rubles from flagship air carrier Aeroflot and sentenced him to six years' imprisonment in absentia

* Russian scientists have completed the first stage of preparations for an experimental Mars mission simulation, Mars-500, a medical research institute said

* Russia plans to increase its contribution to the UN peacekeeping program from the current $80 million to $120 million in 2008, a deputy foreign minister said

* Russia could join the World Trade Organization even without Georgia's consent, Moscow's top negotiator Maxim Medvedkov said

* Russia is not deploying weaponry in the disputed Nagorny Karabakh territory, scene of a 1988-1994 conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia that left 30,000 people dead, a Russian diplomat said

* Workers at Ford Russia have stopped picketing the plant but will continue their strike following a management proposal to start talks on December 5, Alexei Etmanov, the trade union chief said

* The European Court of Human Rights ordered on Thursday that Russia pay 60,000 euros ($88,000) as moral compensation to a Chechen woman who lost her parents in a counter-terrorist operation in Grozny


WORLD

* Pervez Musharraf was sworn in for a second presidential term in Pakistan as a civilian leader, a day after he stepped down as military commander

* U.K. Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he hopes "common sense" will prevail in the case of a British teacher on trial in Sudan after naming a teddy bear Muhammad

* Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf pledged to end emergency rule in the country on December 16

* If negotiations on an independent Palestinian state fail it will threaten Israel's very existence, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said

* China is pleased with the ongoing progress made in decommissioning North Korea's nuclear installations, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said

* Ukraine's two Western-leaning parties have formed a majority coalition in parliament, paving the way for the formation of a government, a member of pro-presidential bloc said

* At least five soldiers were killed and four others wounded in a roadside bomb explosion in northwest Pakistan on Thursday morning, national television reported citing military officials

* A cannon salute in honor of an Indian state minister has killed two people and injured six more, the Times of India newspaper said

* Latvia's Constitutional Court has ruled that the recent Latvian-Russian border treaty is in line with the country's constitution, the court said

* Armenia's government has approved a plan to join an international uranium enrichment center in Russia, the government's press service said

* Russia will continue to support the Palestinian National Administration (PNA) in its quest for statehood and the resolution of its social and economic problems, Russia's president said

* The Spanish prime minister called for dialogue to resolve outstanding disagreements between Russia and the OSCE

BUSINESS

* Russia's largest independent crude producer LUKoil has started producing gas from the Khauzak field in southwest Uzbekistan, CEO Vagit Alekperov said

* Uzbekistan plans to hold talks with Russia in December on raising the price of Uzbek natural gas deliveries for 2008, a spokesperson for state oil and gas company Uzbekneftegaz said

* Russia's aluminum giant United Company RusAl said it had agreed with Kazakhstan's state holding company Samruk on the establishment of a joint venture for coal production in the Central Asian state

* The Fiat-affiliated company Iveco and Russian industrial group Samotlor-NN started building a plant in the Volga region to roll out light commercial vehicles

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