Main news of September 22



* The Russian government approved cutting its crude oil export duty from $485.8 to $372.2 per metric ton from October 1, the Cabinet said

* Russia's president appointed Anatoly Chubais, former head of the now nonexistent electricity monopoly, as head of the State Nanotechnology Corporation, the Kremlin said

* Moscow police dispersed a public rally in support of the TV channel that airs the U.S. South Park cartoons in Russia, and detained its organizer, a police source said


* North Korea removed seals from its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon, closed down last year under denuclearization agreements, South Korean media reported

* Moscow hopes that the United States and Canada will take part in the preparation of a new European security treaty, the Russian foreign minister said

* Russia's envoy to NATO dismissed the military alliance's plans to create a rapid-response force to be deployed in member states that feel threatened by Moscow

* Afghanistan protested to Pakistan over the lack of safety for its diplomats after the abduction of the Afghan consul general in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar earlier in the day

* Abductors of 11 foreigners in the southern Egyptian desert, near the border with Sudan, are demanding a ransom for the tourists' release, the Egyptian tourism minister said

* The UN nuclear watchdog said it had not been able to make much progress on the issue of a possible military aspect to Iran's nuclear program

* India and Pakistan agreed to start trading in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir, the IBN news channel reported


* Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov's investment vehicle Onexim Group paid $500 million for a 50% stake in leading Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital, Onexim said

* Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut's investment company ANN bought 100% of Russia's largest mobile handset retailer Euroset, a leading business daily reported

* Kazakhstan will increase oil production by 12 million metric tons in 2009 and is interested in pumping it via Russia, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said

* The Russian mining and metals giant Mechel plans to build a $500-800 million ferroalloys plant in Kazakhstan within the next four years, the company's chief operating officer said

* Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the French producer of luxury goods, plans to buy some 50% in Edinaya Evropa, a major Russian cosmetics distributor, a daily said citing sources close to the talks

* RusAl, the world's largest aluminum producer, will team up with Libya's Economic and Social Development Fund to build an energy and metals complex in Libya, the sides said

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