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Main News of December 12

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A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours

WORLD

* The European Parliament said Thursday that Ukraine was able to hold early elections to find a way out of the country’s current political crisis

* Russian billionaire-turned-politician Mikhail Prokhorov’s mining company has agreed to snap up a Canadian copper producer in a $100 million deal requiring the listing of the new firm’s shares in Toronto, the companies announced

* The United States hinted that it may consider imposing sanctions on Ukraine as part of a raft of measures to lead the country out of its deepening political crisis and promote reforms

RUSSIA

* Two lawmakers from Russia's nationalist LDPR party proposed a bill to ban communication in a language other than Russian at work

President Vladimir Putin warned Thursday against foreign powers seeking to secure a military advantage over Russia and said any attempts to destroy the existing global strategic balance would be futile

* If Ukraine wants to take part in projects that Russia is carrying out with Belarus and Kazakhstan as part of the Customs Union, it is welcome to send expert-level delegations, the Russian president said

* Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that plans by foreign powers to develop high-precision weapons for use with missile defense systems will threaten agreements that have ensured the global strategic balance

* A regional Russian court on Wednesday halved a jail term for a former painter whose quest to bridge the class divide between the metropolitan intelligentsia and provincial dwellers resulted in bribery charges

* Most Russians think that Ukraine would be better off if the two countries formed closer ties, according to a new poll published Tuesday

POLITICS

* Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that civil society should be more actively engaged in decision-making by government and parliament, but that NGOs should not be motivated by politically biased positions

DEFENSE

* Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that although the country’s defense sector was undergoing “unprecedented” expansion, such manufacturers risk becoming “oversized and unneeded” if state funding dries up

* Russia could quadruple its annual arms sales to $50 billion by 2020 in a race for the top spot on the global arms exporters list, a senior government official said

* A top Russian official overseeing the nation’s defense sector said Wednesday that launches of the Proton rocket from Moscow-leased Baikonur cosmodrome are set to continue

CRIME

* Two Russians have been accused of leaking documents containing information about secret “dual use” technology from a Siberian plant to a foreigner, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) said

BUSINESS

* President Vladimir Putin called Thursday for a renewed crackdown on Russian companies that dodge taxes by registering in offshore jurisdictions

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