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Main news of May 23



The presidents of Russia and China, Dmitry Medvedev and Hu Jintao, issued a joint statement in which they: 

* denounced U.S. moves to establish a global missile defense system, saying the plans threaten the global strategic balance;

* spoke out in favor of finding a peaceful solution to the North Korean nuclear problem;

* proposed drafting an international agreement banning the deployment of weapons in space.

* Ukraine must repay its debt from previous years for direct Russian natural gas supplies to be launched without intermediaries, Russian PM Vladimir Putin said

* The State Duma adopted an address to members of the European parliament demanding a halt to the 'shameful trial' of an 88-year-old Soviet war hero accused of genocide in Estonia

* A rotation of Russian peacekeepers in the conflict zone of Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia will be conducted between May 25 and June 2, the Defense Ministry said

* A Russian Rokot carrier rocket with three military satellites and one civilian satellite has been successfully launched from the Plesetsk space center in northwest Russia, the Russian Space Forces said

* Around seven metric tons of diesel fuel spilled into a river in northern Russia when a dry cargo ship and a tanker collided in the Vologda region, an emergencies ministry spokesman said

* A fire that broke out at a weapons depot near St. Petersburg has been put out, and no casualties have been reported, the Russian Air Force spokesman, Colonel Alexander Drobyshevsky, said


* The United Nations said it would grant $8 million for the relief operation following last week's earthquake in China that claimed over 55,000 lives and has left 25,000 people missing

* Poland will only allow the United States to deploy a missile defense base in Poland if it can be shown that this will improve national security, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said

* The U.S. House of Representatives approved a defense spending bill of $602 billion for 2009, despite a warning by the White House that the bill could be vetoed by the president if it contained any amendments

* The EU could issue a mandate for negotiations with Russia on a new partnership deal at a meeting of foreign ministers on May 26, Russia's envoy to the 27-nation bloc, Vladimir Chizhov, said

* Iran's Security Council said it has received China's general approval for a set of proposals on nuclear non-proliferation and other international security issues put forward by Tehran

* Georgia's ruling party looks set to win the May 21 parliamentary elections with 90% of ballots counted, a Central Election Commission spokesman said

* Georgia's opposition contested the results of the May 21 parliamentary polls in the country and threatened to boycott the future parliament

* Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said that the future development of the CIS group of ex-Soviet states depends primarily on its dominant member, Russia

* At least five Palestinians were killed and an Israeli soldier and Palestinian militant wounded in raids on the Gaza Strip

* According to latest reports, four miners have been killed and at least seven are missing after a methane gas blast at a coal mine in eastern Ukraine, a spokesperson for the industrial safety watchdog said


* The liabilities of Russian banks to non-residents grew by around $12.8 billion in January-April 2008, the Russian Central Bank said

* Russia's Sukhoi aircraft manufacturer is ready to cooperate with China in civilian aircraft development projects, the company's CEO Mikhail Pogosyan said

* Russian state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom reached an agreement with Vietnam's state oil and gas company Petrovietnam to develop four new deposits on the Vietnamese shelf

* Russia's largest beer producer Baltika Breweries granted a license to Uzbekistan's Sarbast Plus for the right to produce and sell its beer in the Central Asian country, the company's president, Anton Artemyev, said

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