Main news of June 18

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* The leaders of the 27-member states of the EU gathered on Thursday to open the two-day summer summit in Brussels with housekeeping issues high on the agenda

* The European Union on Thursday called on Russian energy giant Gazprom and Ukraine's Naftogaz to reach a long-term agreement on secure natural gas supplies

* Two co-pilots on board an international flight from Brussels to New York safely landed a commercial airliner with 247 people on board after the pilot died during the flight

* Injuries found during autopsies performed on passengers killed in an Air France A330 crash suggest the plane could have broken up in midair

* A tanker carrying about 1,800 tons of crude oil and 100 tons of diesel fuel has exploded near the Vietnamese coast and sunk, the Sovfracht Maritime Bulletin reported

* A Georgian military officer who crossed into Abkhazia in May has asked Russia for political asylum, the Federal Migration Service said

* A cruise ship that was quarantined off Venezuela's coast following an outbreak of the A/H1N1 infection on board left Venezuela on Thursday, the country's Nacional newspaper said, citing the vessel's owner

* Tens of thousands of supporters of Iranian presidential challenger Mir Hossein Mousavi gathered in central Tehran on Thursday to mourn those dead in post-election protests

* Four Russian students were deported from Egypt on Thursday, but two others had some extra time in the country after missing the flight, a Russian Embassy official said

* Ukrainian state-controlled arms export-import company Ukrspetsexport said on Thursday it had nothing to do with an arms shipment seized in Nigeria

* Belarus has been paying for Russian natural gas supplies in full, the country's deputy energy minister said on Thursday, dismissing reports of Gazprom's demand for payment of $231 million in overdue debt

* The mayor of the Turkish resort city Antalya has launched an investigation into the construction of a luxury hotel owned by Russian billionaire Telman Ismailov, national media said

* Belarus resumed supplies of its dairy products to Russia on Thursday after Moscow agreed to lift its embargo, the Belarusian agriculture ministry said

RUSSIA

* Russia proposes hosting a series of security meetings of international alliances during 2010, to discuss forming new strategies for global security, the Foreign Ministry said

* Russia believes North Korea's recent warnings of military strikes and all-out war should not be taken literally, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said

* The son of the vice president of Russian oil giant Rosneft was freed in the early hours of Thursday, some three months after being kidnapped in Moscow, a senior investigator said

BUSINESS

* Uzbekistan and Japan have signed an agreement on the joint exploration of uranium deposits, a source in the Central Asian republic said

SPORT

* North Korea have made world headlines for sporting rather than political or military reasons by becoming the sixth side to book their place at next year's World Cup finals in South Africa

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