Main news of November 20

A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours


* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressed hope on Friday that the appointment of Herman Van Rompuy as European Council President could boost Russia-EU ties

* Russia's Space Forces on Friday launched a Soyuz-U carrier rocket with a Cosmos-series military satellite, a SF spokesman said

* Two Russian Tu-95 MS Bear strategic bombers have accomplished a routine patrol mission over neutral waters of the Arctic and Pacific oceans and the Aleutian Islands, an Air Force spokesman said

* Russia expects a continuation of its strategic partnership with the European Union following yesterday's election of the bloc's first president, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said

* An unidentified gunman killed a well-known Russian Orthodox priest and wounded another clergyman in a church in southern Moscow

* Russia's metals giant Norilsk Nickel acknowledged Norway's accusations over pollution caused by the company, but said it has been tackling the problem

* A Russian icebreaker that had become stuck in the Antarctic ice has finally managed to leave the heavy ice zone, a spokesman for Russia's Far Eastern shipping company said


* The first circulating beam of protons successfully made it through the entirety of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) on Friday, a source at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) told RIA Novosti by telephone

* The total number of officially confirmed swine flu cases has exceeded 525,000 worldwide, with about 6,750 fatalities, the World Health Organization reported

A suicide bomber on a motorbike killed 13 people and injured 36 in a crowded square in southwest Afghanistan's Farah


* Turkey on Friday canceled a tender for the construction of its first nuclear power plant, Turkey's Electricity Trade Corp (TETAS) said

* Japan's central bank has upgraded its assessment of the national economy and opted to keep its interest rate at 0.1%, amid government pressure to prevent deflation

* Shareholders of AvtoVAZ, Russia's largest auto manufacturer, met to elect a new board of directors, as the company struggles amid mounting debt and low sales

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