Main news of May 19

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RUSSIA

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree on measures to counter corruption, the Kremlin said on Monday

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has appointed Arkady Dvorkovich sherpa in the Group of Eight industrialized nations, and also reappointed four officials as heads of presidential administration departments, the Kremlin said on Monday

* Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin issued instructions on Monday to assess and check foreign trade contracts in the agricultural sphere for their compliance with the country's interests

* Russia's new Voronezh-type radar site in the southern town of Armavir will be put on combat duty in February 2009, the commander of the Russian Space Forces said

* Russia's Maria Sharapova once again heads the rating list of the Women Tennis Association after the former World No. 1, Justine Henin of Belgium, announced she was quitting tennis last week

* Dmitry Medvedev has appointed Sergei Ushakov as a presidential adviser, the Kremlin press service said on Monday

* Irina Khakamada, a well-known Russian opposition figure, told RIA Novosti on Monday that she had quit politics

* The first charter planes carrying Manchester United and Chelsea supporters have arrived in Moscow as the Russian capital gears up to host the first all- English final in the history of Europe's most prestigious club competition

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will head an anti-corruption council to be set up in Russia in the near future, Kremlin chief of staff Sergei Naryshkin said after a presidential conference

* Agricultural experts have detected bird flu antibodies in migratory birds in southern Siberia, Russia's agricultural watchdog said in a statement Monday

* A Tajik national in possession of over 5 kg (11 lbs) of heroin has been detained near Moscow's Kazansky railway station, a police source said

* Russia's new Superjet 100 medium-haul passenger airliner made its first test flight on Monday, a spokesman for manufacturer Sukhoi Civil Aircraft said

* A new round of bilateral and multilateral talks on Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) will begin in Geneva on Monday, Russia's chief delegate to the talks said

* Eighteen people including 15 Russians were injured when a tourist bus crashed in Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, a spokesman for the local emergencies service said on Monday

WORLD

* During a meeting with the UN envoy to Afghanistan on Monday Iran's president said that foreign intervention in Afghanistan would not solve the problems in the country

* The government of Kosovo has adopted a law on public holidays in the "world's newest state", Serbia's Tanyug news agency reported

* An Estonian court said the trial of a 88-year-old WWII veteran and Hero of the Soviet Union on charges of genocide is due to start on May 20 in the town of Kardla in the country's western island of Hiiumaa

* The cost of damage from Myanmar's Cyclone Nargis, which hit the Southeast Asian country over two weeks ago, has been assessed at over $10 billion, national media said on Monday, citing Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win

* Kazakhstan has banned the export of petroleum products in a bid to stem price growth on the domestic market, Prime Minister Karim Masimov said on Monday

* The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will donate 135 million euros to support international efforts to clean up the territory of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the bank said on Monday

* Russia's national ice hockey team beat Canada 5-4 in overtime in the final of the 2008 IIHF World Championship in Canada to become world champions for the first time in 15 years

* The Ukrainian government plans to involve the international community in an investigation into a mineral license scandal concerning a U.S. oil company, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said

* Another two Russian aircraft will deliver humanitarian aid to southwest China, which was devastated by an earthquake May 12, the Russian Emergencies Ministry said

* Georgia and its breakaway republic of Abkhazia have drawn up a plan to resolve their long-running conflict, a Russian business daily reported

* Eight people have been killed and nine injured in two terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, the country's interior and defense ministries announced on Monday

* Some 200 relief workers have been buried in landslides over the past three days in China's quake-hit province of Sichuan, the Xinhua news agency reported on Monday

* A group of Syrian military officials arrived in Moscow on Monday to discuss prospects for bilateral military and technical cooperation, a Russian Air Force spokesman said

BUSINESS

* Novatek said on Monday its net profit calculated to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) grew 80%, year on year, in January-March 2008 to 7.5 billion rubles ($315 million)

* Severstal, Russia's top steelmaker, said on Monday it had signed an agreement to buy 100% of U.S.-based WCI Steel's shares for $140 million

* Russia's crude exports declined 3.3% year-on-year in the first quarter to 61.1 million metric tons (448 million barrels), the country's top statistics body said on Monday

* Russia's largest steel producer Severstal is set to issue $1.5 billion in Eurobonds and could invest the funds in buying U.S. steelmaker Esmark, business daily Vedomosti reported

* The European Union said it had cleared the joint venture between SolVin, owned by the Solvay Group, BASF, and the Russian energy giant Gazprom's Sibur

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