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Main news of April 19

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Main news - Sputnik International
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A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours

WORLD

* The Syrian government lifted the almost five-decade long state of emergency in the country

* Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko hit out at Western powers for "not sending condolences" to the people of Belarus following a deadly bomb attack in Minsk

* Britain will send a group of military advisers to the town of Benghazi in eastern Libya to coordinate the actions of scattered rebel forces

* The backing of Libyan rebels by Western powers could lead to further conflict in the region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said

* Ukraine has raised some $782 million for the completion of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant shelter project during an international conference dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the disaster

* At least 30 people were killed and wounded as security forces opened fire on anti-government protest in Syria's third largest city of Homs overnight

* TEPCO, the operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant has started pumping radioactive water into storage tanks

* Lawyers for alleged Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout lodged an appeal on the illegality of their client's prosecution in the United States

RUSSIA

* Stress tests have proven that Russian nuclear power plants are able to withstand natural disasters of the type recently seen in Japan

* Youth activists will patrol Moscow on Wednesday in a bid to prevent attacks by neo-Nazi groups celebrating the 122nd anniversary of Adolf Hitler's birth

* Police arrested 26 people at a rally in protest at the planned construction of a highway through woodland near Moscow

* Russia's NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin played down rumors by Russian media that he plans to lead the Just Russia party and become a possible presidential candidate

* The lower house of the Russian parliament approved a bill increasing fines for bribes by up to 100 times the amount of the bribe given or accepted

BUSINESS

* Tycoon Alexander Mamut has acquired a 3.5% stake in Russia's largest fertilizer producer Uralkali for an undisclosed sum

DEFENSE

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has sacked the senior Navy official who was in charge of talks with France over the purchase of Mistral-class warships

* Gazprom will produce 200 billion cubic meters of gas and 10 million metric tons of oil in a new hydrocarbon development program for the Russian continental shelf to 2030

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