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Main news of July 2

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WORLD

* A Palestinian girl died and several other people were wounded after an Israeli tank shell hit a residential building in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, local medics said

* A deputy Russian foreign minister said Russia is continuing to maintain contacts with North Korea in an effort to try to bring Pyongyang to six-nation nuclear talks

* Prominent U.S. economist Joseph Stiglitz on Thursday called the terms demanded of Russia to join the World Trade Organization "outrageous" and praised Russia for standing up to the global trade body

* North Korea conducted four test launches of short-range missiles on Thursday, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported

* The European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia on Thursday pay 39,757 euros in compensation to a Chechen woman whose husband went missing in 2001

* An EU expert group on gas advised EU members on Thursday to fill gas storage facilities to mitigate any potential gas cuts amid uncertainties in Ukraine, the European Commission said in a statement

* The sole survivor of Tuesday's Yemenia Air crash off the Comoros in which 152 people are believed to have died returned home to France on Thursday, Al Jazeera reported

* A Yemeni court has begun the trial of 22 suspected Somali pirates, a local newspaper said on Thursday

* Washington wants to build stronger ties with Russia, but is not seeking trade-offs on key disputes, a U.S. presidential adviser said ahead of a Russian-U.S. summit

* The launch of space shuttle Endeavour is planned to go ahead on July 11 after tests on the craft's external fuel tanks confirmed no gas leaks, NASA has said

* An arm injury has forced U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to cancel her visit to Moscow, where she was due to accompany President Barack Obama next week, a Russian Foreign Ministry source said

RUSSIA

* Vladimir Putin will meet with President Barack Obama, who arrives in Moscow on his first visit next week, for talks set to focus on persisting trade hurdles, the Russian premier's spokesman said

* Police and security forces have prevented assassination of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, the North Caucasus republic's interior minister told RIA Novosti on Thursday

* Russia is opposed to sanctions against Iran over the recent crackdown on protest rallies following the disputed presidential election, the Foreign Ministry said

* Russia's Defense Ministry said on Thursday they were holding talks with Georgia on the return of a soldier who requested political asylum in Georgia after leaving his post at a Russian base in South Ossetia

* A second Russian soldier has requested asylum in Georgia, the Georgian ministry of refugees said

BUSINESS

* Well-known U.S. economist Joseph Stiglitz on Thursday said he the worst phase of the global crisis was over but noted that the recession would continue to be felt for a while

* The Russian Anti-Monopoly Service said on Thursday it would apply to the Higher Arbitration Tribunal to recover several hundred million U.S. dollars from major Russian oil companies due to price-fixing policies

SPORT

* The Williams sisters will meet in the final of Wimbledon for the second consecutive year after they came through very different semifinals against Russians Elena Dementieva and Dinara Safina

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