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Main news of February 20

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RUSSIA

* Russian President Vladimir Putin demanded that the state program for arms procurement be adjusted to increase the number of modern combat aircraft for the Air Force

* The new Su-35 Flanker-E multi-role fighter will be put into service with the Russian Air Force in two-three years, the head of the Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer said

* A court in Moscow sentenced Russia's former nuclear energy minister, Yevgeny Adamov, to five and a half years in prison for fraud and abuse of authority

* Russian proposals on Kosovo's status, earlier submitted to the UN Security Council, remain in force, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said

* Russia will back reunification talks on Cyprus, one of the few countries that opposes unilateral independence for Kosovo, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said

* The ex-Soviet leader, Vladimir Lenin, could be buried at a new cemetery under construction in the Moscow Region, the Russian tabloid Zhizn reported

WORLD

* North Korea has reassured the U.S. that it will not develop its uranium enrichment program or cooperate with other countries in the nuclear sector, a high-ranking U.S. official said

* A strong earthquake that hit Indonesia's western island of Sumatra has killed at least three and injured 25, the Xinhua news agency reported, citing the country's health ministry

* The U.K. has appointed David Blunt as its first ambassador to Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia on Sunday, the Foreign Office said

* Serbia will utilize all possible political and diplomatic means to maintain the country's territorial integrity in the wake of Kosovo's declaration of independence, its foreign minister said

* The Atlantis space shuttle has landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, U.S., a NASA spokeswoman said

* The amount of people killed by freak freezing weather in Afghanistan since December last year has risen to over 1,100, the country's Ministry for Emergency Situations said

* Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisyan has won the country's presidential elections, the country's central election commission announced

* Kenneth Roth, the executive director of the international rights organization Human Rights Watch, said Russia's Foreign Ministry had denied him an entry visa

* Kyrgyzstan is to eventually demand that the United States close down its airbase in the country, President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said, without giving a firm date

* Eduard Kokoity, the leader of the de facto independent breakaway Georgian republic of South Ossetia, said some countries may recognize the republic's sovereignty later this year

BUSINESS

* Russia has proposed to Ukraine the joint development of hydrocarbon fields in both countries on the basis of equitable asset swaps, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said after bilateral talks with Yulia Tymoshenko

* Russia will have priority in future tenders for the construction of new nuclear power plants in the Islamic Republic, an Iranian official said

* Turkey is all for attracting Russian companies to take part in the construction of nuclear power plants on its territory, the country's foreign minister said

* Russian energy giant Gazprom has been licensed to prospect two gas fields in southern Kyrgyzstan, the republic's prime minister said

* Russia's Norilsk Nickel, embroiled in a shareholder row, is mulling an option to consolidate with a top Russian metals firm instead of merging with aluminum giant RusAl, business papers said

* Moldova invited Russian energy giant Gazprom to take part in its oil and gas survey, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said after talks in Moscow with his Moldovan counterpart

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