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Main news of April 7

A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours



*Former head of Yukos oil giant Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who is being tried for grand theft, told the court that charges against him were absurd because he could not steal both oil and its profits

*Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov said he still intends to decorate the capital with Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's portraits during the celebrations of victory over Nazi Germany in World War Two despite a clear signal from the Kremlin, the Russian Izvestia daily reported

*Russia and South Ossetia signed an agreement on establishing a permanent Russian military base in the former Georgian republic

*President Dmitry Medvedev signed into law amendments to legislation on economic crimes that should increase the use of bail for suspects awaiting trial and cut abuse of the system, the Kremlin said

*Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the creation of a special anti-terrorism task force in the North Caucasus Federal District in response to attacks in Moscow and Dagestan last week that killed more than 50 people

*Russian energy giant Gazprom started the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline designed to pump Russian natural gas to Europe under the Baltic Sea


* A government formed by opposition in Kyrgyzstan said it has taken full power in the country after two days of unrest that left at least 47 people killed, the opposition-nominated premier said

*The Thai prime minister has declared a state of emergency in Bangkok and nearby provinces over the continuing opposition protests, a national TV channel reported

*Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the Russian people could not be blamed for the events in Katyn where thousands of Polish POWs were massacred by Soviet forces in WWII

*Russia signed a long-term deal worth around 300 million euros ($399 million) for the delivery of nuclear fuel for the third and fourth reactors of the Slovakian nuclear power plant at Mochovce

*Russian physicists at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna have with U.S. colleagues successfully synthesized a new element

*The U.S. Discovery space shuttle successfully docked with the International Space Station (ISS) manually after a malfunction on board the shuttle, Russian Mission Control's NASA representative Sergei Puzanov said

*Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met with his Slovak counterpart, Ivan Gasparovic, to discuss bilateral cooperation in the military-technical, energy, transport and trade spheres

*The death toll in the Rio de Janeiro flood caused by heavy rains has reached 95

* U.S.'s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos signed a $335-million modification to the current International Space Station contract for crew transportation in 2013 and 2014

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