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Main news of August 21

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A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours

WORLD

* Middle East gas oil and gas company Crescent Petroleum discussed in Moscow on Saturday two major projects with state-owned Russian oil company Rosneft and Russian state cooperation Rostekhnologii, the deputy prime minister said

* The Thai government will take the final decision on the extradition to the United States of suspected Russian arms trader Viktor Bout, Thai state news agency THA said

* Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has discussed energy cooperation in the Middle East with Chairman of the Board of Directors at oil company Crescent Petroleum Hamid Jafar, the Russian government's press service said

* Russia signed on Saturday an agreement with Iran to set up a joint venture to operate the Bushehr nuclear power plant

* The Bushehr nuclear power plant in Iran was loaded with the first fuel but the reactor will be started up later this year, the head of the Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency (Rosatom) said

More than 50,000 people have been evacuated after a swollen river flooded a city in northeastern China, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported

* Israel and Palestinians agreed to start direct peace talks in Washington in early September

RUSSIA

*The Russian team ended the eighth day of the first ever Youth Olympic games with three gold, one silver and three bronze medals

One police officer was killed and five were wounded in the special operation to eliminate militant leader Khamzat Shamilev in Russia's volatile north Caucasus republic of Chechnya, a Chechen police representative said

The Russian national Anti-Terror Committee (NAK) confirmed that a militant leader killed in a police operation in the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan was behind the March bombings on the Moscow metro

* The number of wildfire hotspots in Russia registered by two NASA satellites, almost halved on Friday - from 95 to 66, a spokeswoman of the ScanEx website that receives information from the satellites said

*The jury of the Moscow Region Court found Col. Vladimir Kvachkov not guilty in the 2005 assassination attempt of Anatoly Chubais, former head of the UES electricity giant and architect of radical post-Soviet reforms

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