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Main news of May 19

A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours


* Russia's foreign minister said he had noticed a less confrontational approach to Euro-Atlantic relations, with Moscow's policies gaining popularity

* A Moscow district court hearing a new case against former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky refused to summon Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as a witness

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called on non-governmental organizations to join efforts to halt the exodus of ethnic Russians from the turbulent North Caucasus region

* Corruption in Russia's North Caucasus republics threatens national security and directly aids militants, President Dmitry Medvedev said

* Talks on Iran's nuclear program will continue even if new UN sanctions are imposed against the Islamic Republic, a top Russian senator said

* Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned the European Union and NATO against interfering in the internal affairs of post-Soviet states

* A mass brawl involving approximately a hundred people, half of them students from African countries, broke out in the Russian Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod


* Russia's ambassador to NATO called Wednesday on the alliance's leadership to support Russia's initiative to develop an international legal framework to deal with pirates on the high seas

* Iran will proceed with its nuclear program regardless of the threat of a new set of UN sanctions against the country, the Iranian foreign minister said

* Leader of the provisional Kyrgyz government Roza Otunbayeva was given presidential power on Wednesday until elections are held in the country

* The pilot of an Afghan plane that crashed killing 44 people had dual Russian-Tajik citizenship, the Russian embassy in Kabul said

* Non-crew members were in the cockpit of the Polish presidential plane that crashed in April near the western Russian city of Smolensk, killing everyone on board, the head of the Interstate Aviation Committee said

* Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva signed a decree imposing a curfew in Bangkok following anti-government protests in the capital

* At least one person was killed and another 16 injured in new clashes in the ex-Soviet Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, spokeswoman for the Kyrgyz interim Health Ministry Svetlana Baytikova said

* Thai opposition leaders broke up a rally and surrendered to police to avoid further bloodshed

* Israeli President Shimon Peres denied reports that he conveyed new peace proposals to Syria via his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev


* The new owner of New Jersey Nets, Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, vowed that his compatriots would get no special treatment as he tries to build a team that can become NBA champions in five years

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