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Main news of April 30

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RUSSIA

* The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it was surprised by NATO's reaction to new border security agreements concluded between Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia

* NATO's plans to hold military exercises in Georgia on May 6-June 1 are an "open provocation," Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday, warning of negative consequences

* An An-2 aircraft crashed in northeastern Siberia's Yakutia on Thursday, killing all three crew members, a local emergencies spokesman said

WORLD

* The World Health Organization confirmed 257 cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection, the technical name for the virus commonly called swine flu, in 11 countries as of 17:00 GMT on Thursday

* Russia views an attempt to expel two Russian diplomats from NATO's headquarters in Brussels as "a vulgar provocation," the Foreign Ministry said

* Four people were killed in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn on Thursday when a car careened through a crowd watching a royal parade for Queen's Day, national media reported

* Serbia will not take part in the Cooperative Longbow /Cooperative Lancer 2009 military exercises in Georgia in May, the government said in an statement

* Thirteen people were killed and 11 wounded when at least one gunman opened fire at the State Oil Academy in Azerbaijan's capital on Thursday, the country's health ministry said

* Russia signed on Thursday joint border protection agreements with the former Georgian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia

* Tear gas was again used against Serb protesters in Kosovo on Thursday as NATO forces and EU police tried to control around 50 people demonstrating in the divided city of Kosovska-Mitrovica

* British Defense Secretary John Hutton announced on a visit to Iraq on Thursday that British troops would leave the country one month earlier than initially planned, U.K. media reported

* The governor of the northern Brazilian state of Maranhao has declared the area a natural disaster zone as flash floods have affected 83,000 people in the region

* The World Health Organization has raised its level of swine flu pandemic alert from phase 4 to 5, one step short of a full-scale pandemic, the WHO said on its website

* U.S. President Barack Obama said his administration had "responded to an extraordinary set of economic challenges" in a press conference marking his first 100 days in office

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