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Main news of August 19



* The Russian crew of the Arctic Sea cargo ship were transferred from a Russian Navy frigate to a Cape Verde island from where they will fly on to Russia, local media reported

* Russia's Defense Ministry confirmed that the hijackers of the Arctic Sea did demand a ransom to release the cargo ship, which was found and freed by a Russian warship on Monday

* Russia will allocate 4 billion rubles ($125 million) in 2009-2010 to develop a vaccine for swine flu, First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said

* The Siberian regional emergencies ministry's head of operations suffered a heart attack and has been flown to Moscow, while the death toll in the accident at a hydroelectric power plant in southern Siberia has risen to 14

* A Russian-U.S. agreement on military transit to Afghanistan will go into effect on September 6, although the United States has not made any requests yet, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said

* Several thousand people gathered in a garrison town west of Moscow to pay their last respects to the commander of a famed Russian aerobatic group who died in a midair collision on Sunday

* The Russian Defense Ministry and the Tupolev aircraft maker have signed a contract on the development of a new-generation strategic bomber, the company's general director said

* Russia has completed deliveries of 18 Su-30MKM fighters to Malaysia as part of an agreement signed in 2003, the head of the Irkut aircraft maker said

* Russia will fulfill a contract on the delivery of eight Su-30MK2 fighters to Vietnam in 2010, state arms exporter Rosoboronexport said

* Russia's flagship air carrier Aeroflot is to become the official airline for the 2014 Winter Olympics in the resort city of Sochi


* The Iraqi Interior Ministry reported at least 95 killed and 563 injured after a truck bombing and mortar attacks in the country's capital of Baghdad

* Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko urged Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to work for better bilateral relations, which have worsened over the last few years, UNIAN news agency reported

* The Belarusian Health Ministry has registered the first case of swine flu in the country, BELTA news agency reported

* Lithuania may close down from three to 12 of its embassies next year as it considers more spending cuts amid a sharp economic slump, a website cited the foreign minister as saying


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