Main news of September 23

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RUSSIA

* Russia's president could submit a package of anti-corruption laws to parliament's lower house on September 30, the Kremlin administration head said

* Russia's Foreign Ministry said that new steps to define the country's southern Arctic boundary have nothing to do with territorial claims, and dismissed concerns voiced by foreign states

* Russia will soon join international efforts to fight piracy off the Somalia coast, but will conduct its operations independently, the Navy commander said

* Russia is negotiating with Cuba and Venezuela on the joint use of Russia's Glonass navigation satellites, the head of the federal space agency said

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will promote the idea of a new European security treaty this week when he attends the UN General Assembly

* More than 70 people have been killed and some 300 injured in ethnically motivated violence in Russia so far this year, the deputy head of a think-tank dealing with the problem said

* The Russian military rejected reports that one of its pilotless planes had been shot down by Georgia

* Russia and Kazakhstan will conduct joint naval exercises in the Caspian Sea in 2009, the commander of the Caspian flotilla said

* GML, formerly the majority shareholder of Yukos, intends to sue the Russian government for $33.8 billion over the seizure of assets belonging to the now defunct oil company, an Internet publication said

* Russia's Space Agency confirmed Tuesday the composition of the main crew for the 18th International Space Station expedition

* Rusalka, a movie by Anna Melikyan, has been chosen as Russia's entry for next year's Oscars, Russia's national cinema academy said

* An intestinal infection has hospitalized a total of 29 cadets from a military school in the city of Minusinsk in East Siberia's Krasnoyarsk Territory, a source in the regional consumers rights watchdog said

WORLD

* U.S. President George W. Bush accused Russia of violating the UN Charter in its recent conflict with Georgia, and said the U.S. would continue to support Georgia

* Ten people were killed and two injured when a gunman opened fire on students at a vocational college in western Finland, national media quoted police as saying

* Egypt has sent a group of military experts to Sudan to coordinate the search for 19 people, including 11 foreigners, abducted in southwest Egypt last week, local television said

* Serbia has submitted a draft resolution to the United Nations asking the UN International Court of Justice to assess the legality of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence in February

* A Palestinian driver rammed into a group of Israeli soldiers in downtown Jerusalem overnight, injuring 20 people, police and ambulance service sources said

* Iran's president said that the current U.S. administration was to blame for the main problems facing the world today

* Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh confirmed that two Russian military bases are to be stationed in the republic, recognized as an independent state by Moscow on August 26

* China's launch later this week of a manned spacecraft will be geared toward economic and scientific goals with no military implications, the Xinhua news agency quoted the launch center's director as saying

* The Palestinian National Authority is prepared for negotiations with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni if she becomes prime minister, the Palestinian ambassador to Russia said

* North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, whose reported illness has sparked fears of instability in the communist state, has made a partial recovery, South Korea's intelligence chief said

* Chinese authorities have decided to tighten quality control over food products, medicine, toys, and furniture intended for export, the Xinhua news agency said

* Ukraine has started electricity imports from Russia as domestic thermal power plants experience problems with coal supplies, the Ukrainian news agency UNIAN said, citing the country's fuel and energy ministry

* Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrived in China for a three-day state visit, part of his week-long world tour which includes Russia, Portugal and France

* A Belarusian opposition leader is among three candidates shortlisted for the European Union's top human rights award this year, the European Parliament said in a news release

* Several hundred people have rallied outside the UN headquarters in New York to protest the arrival of Iran's president for the General Assembly session

* France will assist Brazil in the construction of a nuclear-powered submarine to protect vast oil reserves off its coast, the Brazilian defense minister said

* Russian trucks carrying humanitarian aid have arrived in the Gaza Strip, Russia's envoy to the Palestinian National Authority, Sergei Kozlov, said

BUSINESS

* The Irkutsk department of Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service has fined state oil company Rosneft 229 million rubles ($9.1 million) for abusing its dominant position on the wholesale gasoline market

* Rambler Media, a leading Russian Internet media and services group, announced a $500,000 net loss calculated to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in January-June 2008

* Eurocement Holding said it had bought 6.52% of voting shares of Switzerland's Holcim - the world's second largest cement producer - on the open market

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