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Main news of September 16



* The Russian economy is strong enough to see out the current global financial crisis, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and his Azerbaijani counterpart, Ilkham Aliyev, met in Moscow to discuss economic cooperation and the situation in the Caucasus

* The United Nations Security Council has expressed an interest in meeting with representatives of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but says the visa issue must be decided first, Russia's envoy to the UN

* Almost all the refugees who fled South Ossetia during Georgia's attack on the republic have returned, and the situation in the province is stabilizing, the Russian prime minister said  

* Russia is to speed up the construction of a new gas pipeline to the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali, Russia's deputy energy minister said

* The Russian Prosecutor General's Office will on Wednesday start checking the compliance of Russian flagship air carrier Aeroflot with flight safety regulations, the airline said

* A group of U.S. experts have arrived in the Urals city of Perm to investigate Sunday's Boeing 737 crash, which left 88 people dead, a spokeswoman for the local governor said

* There is one Russian among 22 crewmembers of a Hong Kong tanker seized Monday off the coast of Somalia, an Internet publication said

* Russia's 2004 and 2008 Olympic pole vault champion Yelena Isinbayeva has been nominated for the 2008 Waterford Crystal European Athlete of the Year Trophy

* Close to 700 children have been killed in car accidents in Russia for the first eight months of this year, the Russian interior minister said


* France has urged new UN sanctions against Iran following the latest IAEA report saying Tehran had not halted its uranium enrichment program, but the proposal ran into immediate opposition from China

* Israel and the United States lack the ability to commit an act of aggression against Iran in an effort to destroy its nuclear installations, the Iranian president's senior military advisor said

* Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that the Caucasus does not need NATO interference in the region in the wake of the recent conflict in Georgia

* The deployment of an international monitoring mission in Georgia will cost the European Union 31 million euros ($44 mln) a year, a European diplomatic source said

* Ukraine's parliamentary speaker announced the collapse of the country's ruling pro-Western coalition, paving the way for possible early parliamentary elections 

* Washington regrets Cuba's refusal to accept $5 million in aid to deal with the aftermath of two recent hurricanes, a State Department official has said

* Azerbaijan's parliament is to adopt a law that would double its peacekeeping contingent in Afghanistan, a senior parliamentarian said  

* A team of Egyptian archeologists have unearthed the remains of a 3,000-year-old temple belonging to Pharaoh Ramses II, the MENA agency said 

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