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Main news of May 24

A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours


* UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed hope that the Security Council would take prompt actions against Pyongyang in the wake of a probe that found North Korea had sunk a South Korean warship.

* Canada has imposed sanctions on North Korea following the sinking of a South Korean warship, the CBC said on its website

* North Korea threatened in a statement to deliver surgical strikes on the South Korean loudspeakers in the demilitarized zone between the two countries, saying they create "psychological pressure."

* According to preliminary results in Nagorny Karabakh's parliamentary polls, the Free Homeland party is leading in the ballot count

* Moscow reiterated its support for Azerbaijan's territorial integrity in the wake of parliamentary elections in Nagorny Karabakh, a breakaway Azerbaijani region with a predominantly ethnic Armenian population.

* Recent parliamentary polls in Nagorny Karabakh were an unsuccessful attempt by Armenia to conceal its occupation of the breakaway Azerbaijani region, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said

* The international community should cooperate with the newly elected authorities of the breakaway Azerbaijani region of Nagorny Karabakh, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said

* A new Iranian uranium swap deal should raise confidence levels and could lead to a diplomatic solution to the controversial Iranian nuclear problem, the UN secretary general said

* The president of the former Georgian republic of Abkhazia said the number of crossing points on the border with Russia should be increased

* Georgia's rapprochement with Iran is not directed against other countries and will not affect relations with its strategic partners, specifically the United States, a Georgian deputy foreign minister said

* Deposed Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev said he had no plans to return from exile and denied any links to riots which continue to break out sporadically in the southern regions of the Central Asian country.

* Talks on the release of two Russian crewmembers of the North Spirit vessel who were abducted at a Cameroon port are underway, the Russian Sailors Trade Union said


* Russian former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov said new charges against former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky were ludicrous and politically motivated.

* President Dmitry Medvedev instructed Russia's emergencies minister on Monday to send humanitarian aid to help Poland deal with heavy flooding

* Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has urged the question of providing state financial aid for the restoration of the Raspadskaya coalmine in west Siberia to be considered within the next month, a first deputy prime minister said

* The Dowager Grand Duchess of Russia died at the age of 95, the Ekho Moskvy radio station reported citing a spokesman for the Romanov house.



* Russian Energy Minister Sergei Shmatko said rules regulating the development of Russia's offshore deposits may be toughened following a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

* Russia's gross domestic product is expected to grow 3-6% annually from 2011, President Dmitry Medvedev said, citing a government forecast

* Russian mobile operator MTS opened the order book for a $1 billion Eurobond issue offered at 8.5-9% per annum, a source in banking circles said

* The Customs Union between Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, planned to come into full effect this summer, may begin operations without Belarus, Vedomosti business daily reported


* The Russian Baltic Fleet's amphibious assault landing ship RFS Kaliningrad set out on Monday for the Baltic and North seas, where it will hold military training, a spokesman for the Baltic Fleet said.

* Russian shipyards are ready to build Mistral class helicopter carriers whenever they receive orders from the military, industry officials said

* The share of modern weaponry in the Russian Armed Forces must be brought up to at least 30% by 2015, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said

* Russia has reached the final stage of talks on the purchase of four French Mistral class helicopter carriers, the Russian defense minister said

* The Russian Defense Ministry has proposed creating a new state lottery to finance the development of its armed forces, a Russian daily reported

* Russia may purchase domestic drones after training operators for drones produced by Israel, Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said


* The head coach of Russia's national hockey team said he had no plans to resign despite major defeats the team suffered this year

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