Main news of December 16

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RUSSIA

* Russian arms exports in 2008 have been worth over $8 billion, a deputy prime minister said

* Despite the recent positive tendency in Russian-U.K. relations, bilateral ties remain far too fragile, the Russian ambassador to London said

* Russia will supply Lebanon with 10 MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters, Lebanese Defense Minister Elias Murr said after a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Anatoly Serdyukov

* A senior Russian military official expressed concern about what he said were U.S. plans to set up military bases in the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

* Russia will hold several more test launches of the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile next year before a final decision to adopt it for service is made, a senior Navy official said

* A Russian naval group led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, en route to the Mediterranean, conducted a series of training flights over the Celtic Sea, a Navy spokesman said

* A Cambodian trawler with 14 Russian crew members onboard has been escorted to the Russian port of Nakhodka, in the Primorye Territory, after being detained for poaching crab, a regional coast guard chief said

* A villager in southwest Siberia is to take legal action against Russia's space agency, Roscosmos, after a rocket fragment fell on his land, a local administration official said

WORLD

* The death toll in a bus crash in southern Israel has risen to 30, a spokeswoman for the Russian Embassy in Israel said

* The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on the Middle East peace process for the first time in five years

* India froze talks with Pakistan on the normalization of relations following bloody terrorist attack in Mumbai last month, the Indian foreign minister said

* Three Ukrainian political groups signed a formal deal reestablishing their pro-Western "orange" coalition, but failed to secure a majority in parliament after a split in the pro-presidential bloc

* Hamas leaders in Gaza have said they will not renew a ceasefire agreement with Israel, but do not plan any offensive attacks on the country, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz said

* A court in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki has jailed a group of police officers for beating a Cypriot student, Greek media reported

* The Russian ambassadors to South Ossetia and Abkhazia presented their credentials to the presidents of the two breakaway republics

* Pope Benedict XVI may visit Jordan on May 8 and Israel on May 11-15 next year, Italy's Il Foglio newspaper said

* About 380,000 chickens and ducks have been culled in eastern China's Jiangsu Province following an outbreak of bird flu, the Xinhua news agency reported

* A Saudi businessman has offered $10 million for one of the shoes thrown by an Iraqi journalist at U.S. President George Bush in Baghdad, Saudi television reported

* Cuban President Raul Castro announced that his administration is ready for dialogue with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, according to Mexican news sources

BUSINESS

* Russia's industrial output declined 8.7%, year-on-year, in November, but grew 3.7% over the first 11 months of the year, the country's top statistics body said

SPORTS

* Zenit St. Petersburg have granted their unsettled star Andrei Arshavin permission to speak to other clubs, Russia's Sport Express daily said

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