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Main News of August 20

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


* The European Union said it will work with the new Belarusian foreign minister despite the fact that he is subject to EU sanctions.

* The Israel Defense Force has deployed its Iron Dome anti-rocket defense system to the area of the port city of Eilat, which has come under rocket fire in recent days from inside Egypt, army officials said.

* The Information Ministry of Myanmar cancelled censorship for media publishing political and religious information, Thailand's Kom Chad Luek newspaper said in its online edition.

* Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu urged the UN to create a buffer zone for refugees in northern Syria.


* Moscow warned that the implementation of the European missile defense project could become a throwback to the Cold War era.

* Moscow issued a stern warning against any interference in its judicial affairs, especially in the case of the anti-Putin punk group Pussy Riot, who were jailed last Friday in a case that attracted worldwide interest and widespread criticism.

* Russia’s economy grew by 4.4 percent year-on-year in the first six months of 2012, the Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) reported.

* Russia’s population rose by 85,600 since the beginning of the current year, reaching 143.1 million as of July 1, the Federal Statistics Service said.

* Russia’s first public Muslim TV channel, Al-RTV, has hit the airwaves, the Bashinform news portal reported.


* Russia and Ukraine signed a protocol on amendments to an agreement on the rent of facilities on Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula for training of Russian carrier pilots.


* Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Yury Malenchenko went on a six-hour spacewalk to carry out a number of maintenance tasks on the International Space Station (ISS), the Mission Control said.

* Russia's Progress M-15M cargo spacecraft was sunk in a remote area in southern Pacific after a three-week scientific experiment in space, the Mission Control said.

* Mars rover Curiosity fired its laser for the first time on the Red Planet to probe a chemical composition of a fist-size rock, NASA said.

* Russia's Energia space corporation will take part in a tender for development of a new heavy-class carrier rocket, the company said.


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