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Main news of June 20



* A Russian frigate being built at a shipyard in St. Petersburg may be equipped with sea-based Russian-Indian BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, a Russian defense industry official said

* Russia and the European Union are working on an agreement on the civilian use of atomic energy, a deputy head of Russia's state nuclear corporation Rosatom said

* Four Russian strategic bombers are carrying out a routine patrol over remote areas of the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, a Russian Air Force spokesman said

* Workers at a metal plant in Russia's Far East have ended their hunger strike after receiving partial back pay, a regional trade union official said

* A drunk driver hit a traffic policeman and carried him about a kilometer (0.62 miles) on the roof of his car in Russia's Far Eastern Khabarovsk Territory, a police source said

* Georgian Vice-Premier Georgy Baramidze said in an interview with RIA Novosti that Russia's "bare-faced aggression" in Abkhazia was no reason for Tbilisi to start a war

* Russian prosecutors said they had uncovered a number of minor labor code violations committed by the Russian-British oil company TNK-BP, which is also embroiled in a bitter shareholder dispute

* Russia's foreign minister said that talks with the United States over its missile shield plans for Central Europe have stalled

* An Uzbek national has been found dead near a forest in northeast Moscow, a police source said

* A police officer and a civilian were killed in an attack on a police checkpoint in southern Daghestan, in Russia's restive North Caucasus region, a police source said

* A $16-million collection of Russian theater art from the late 19th - early 20th century will go on display at the St. Petersburg State Museum of Theater and Music, Vladimir Kozhin, head of a private foundation, said


* Iran's senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said that Tehran would respond to any attack by Israel or the U.S. with a "powerful blow" after a paper claimed that Israel was preparing to attack Iran

* Ukraine's emergency situations minister announced plans to introduce bison to Chernobyl to try and establish a nature reserve in the area affected by the world's worst civilian nuclear power disaster

* A new coalition has been formed in the Ukrainian parliament, a leader of the oppositional Party of Regions said after a parliamentary session failed to take place

* A unified customs union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, will be established in the first half of 2010, a secretary general of the Eurasian Economic Community (Eurasec) said

* The Russian-Indian BrahMos Aerospace joint venture has finished the development of the airborne version of an advanced supersonic missile, the company's managing director has said

* British supermodel Naomi Campbell has admitted attacking two police officers as she was removed from a plane at London's Heathrow airport earlier this year

* Norway has allocated 4 million euros ($6.2 million) to dismantle Russia's decommissioned nuclear submarines in the northern Murmansk Region, Russia's Rosatom state nuclear corporation said

* The Czech Republic is to extradite to Russia an Israeli national tried and sentenced in absentia on fraud and money-laundering charges, a spokesman for Interpol said

* The presidents of Serbia and Kosovo will attend a UN Security Council meeting, Alejandro Wolff, the deputy permanent U.S. representative to the UN, has said

* Serbian President Boris Tadic rejected the UN Secretary General's proposal to 'reconfigure' the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) as Serbia will never recognize Kosovo's independence

* Traffic police on skateboards will began patrolling the Indonesian capital from July 1, the Koran Tempo newspaper reported

* Chinese authorities have reopened Tibet for foreign reporters for the first time since violent anti-government rallies in March as the restless region prepares to greet the Olympic flame on Saturday

* The Iraqi government is to sign over 30 contracts for lucrative oil deals with major Western oil companies before the end of June, leaving Russian companies out in the cold, a U.S. daily has cited a spokesman for the Iraqi Oil Ministry as saying

* NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer will arrive in Kosovo on June 21, a North Atlantic alliance spokesman said


* Fitch Ratings upgraded Russian steel producer Severstal's long-term issuer default (IDR) and senior unsecured ratings to 'BB' from 'BB-,' with stable outlook, the international rating agency said

* Russian crude oil exports fell by 4.2% in the first four months of 2008, year-on-year, to 81.4 million metric tons, the Federal Statistics Agency said

* Sberbank has issued five-year Eurobonds worth $500 million, a source close to Russia's largest state-owned bank said

* The Russian web search engine Yandex is to open a subsidiary -Yandex Laboratories - in the U.S.'s Silicon Valley, the company said in a press release

* Gazprom Neft, the oil arm of Russian energy giant Gazprom, is negotiating a second joint venture with Chevron to develop an additional oil field in West Siberia, its president said

* The Russian wholesale power generating company OGK-6 posted net profits calculated to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) of 1.5 billion rubles ($63.6 million) in 2007

* Russia's largest independent oil producer LUKoil said it had borrowed $1 billion to refinance its remaining debt to a consortium of international banks for the acquisition of a Canadian oil company

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