Main News of June 17

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Main News of June 17 - Sputnik International
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A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours

WORLD

* United States intelligence officers based in Britain allegedly spied on then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during his participation in the 2009 G20 summit in London when he met with US President Barack Obama for the first time, according to documents leaked by whistle-blower Edward Snowden

* A huge explosion hit a suburb of the Syrian capital Damascus that is home to a strategic military airport on Sunday evening, Syrian state TV reported

* The prime minister of the Czech Republic, Petr Necas, has announced that he would resign Monday over a scandal involving his aide, media reported

* South Korean and US military and government officials will conduct a joint tabletop exercise this week to enhance their ability to address bioterrorism activities, South Korean media quoted the country’s Defense Ministry

* Russia and the United States have signed a contract for the delivery of Russian Mi-17 helicopters for the Afghan army, a Russian government agency said

* Syrian President Bashar Assad has warned EU nations against supplying arms to rebel groups in Syria and denied the use of chemical weapons against the armed opposition

* An outspoken US senator on energy issues on Monday urged the United States to speed up natural gas exports to counter what he called Russia’s dominance on European energy markets

* Iran's newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, has said Tehran could open talks with the United States but only if Washington recognized Iran’s right to a nuclear program

* A New York-based Orthodox Jewish group has said it is not satisfied with Russia’s recent decision to transfer a disputed collection of Jewish religious texts to the newly built Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, a move proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin to resolve the row

* Warner Music Group, one of the world’s largest recording companies, has acquired Russia’s oldest independent label, Gala Records, the companies said in a joint statement

RUSSIA

*The Russian and US presidents started their discussion on Monday on the sidelines of the G8 summit in Northern Ireland set to focus on the Syrian crisis

* Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to discuss the Syrian civil war with his US counterpart, Barack Obama, at the G8 summit in Northern Ireland, days after Washington said it would provide military support to Syria’s armed opposition

* A Russian state high-tech corporation will roll out more than 100 new military and civilian developments at the Paris Air Show, a Russian Technologies (Rostec) top executive said

* Muslim soldiers make up a fifth of the Russian Army, according to a recent state poll. An Islamic rights group wants to make sure those servicemen are able to perform their religious duties and receive halal meals

* About 64 percent of Russians identify themselves as belonging to the Russian Orthodox Church, but many of them have never read the Bible and rarely go to church or pray, a recent poll showed

* Russian aircraft maker Sukhoi on Monday signed a deal to provide 20 Superjet airliners to leasing company Ilyushin Finance. At least 15 of the planes are to be leased to firms in Southeast Asia and the Middle East

* Russia has asked for clarification from Egypt over its decision to sever relations with Syria, which came as a complete surprise to Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said

* There would have been few technical difficulties for US spies wanting to listen to the secret communications of then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during the 2009 G20 summit in London, a former head of Russia's security services said

* A new attack missile craft will start sea trials with Russia’s Caspian Flotilla in early July, the Southern Military District said

* The annual Miss Universe competition will be held in Moscow on November 9 the organizers announced this week, the first time the pageant has been held in Russia

* Russia will display its Yakovlev Yak-130 Mitten combat trainer, Sukhoi Su-35 Flanker-E multirole fighter and Kamov Ka-52 Hokum B attack helicopter at the Paris Air Show, the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation reported

* While admitting that Russia and Europe have cultural differences, Russians are divided whether Europeans have a friendly attitude towards them, a recent opinion poll said 

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