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    Main News of December 18

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    A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours


    * Iran will not cave in to external pressure and halt 20-percent uranium enrichment, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization said on Tuesday

    * The Russian presidential human rights council on Tuesday demanded that Syrian militants immediately release Ukrainian journalist Ankhar Kochneva



    * Russia and Indonesia agree that pilot error was to blame for the Sukhoi Superjet 100 (SSJ100) crash that killed all 45 people on board when the plane slammed into the face of a West Java volcano in May, a senior Russian government official said on Tuesday

    * The EU is not planning any sanctions against Russian officials in connection with a new US law that targets Russian officials implicated in the death of whistleblowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009, the Russian envoy to the EU said on Tuesday

    * Several highly placed Russian officials spoke out this week against lawmakers’ plans to ban US citizens from adopting Russian children, as the measure’s supporters defended it and liberal-minded public figures inveighed against it



    * Belarus and Russia have signed a contract for the delivery of four Yak-130 Mitten jet trainers/light attack aircraft to Belarus in 2015, the Russian aircraft maker said on Tuesday

    * Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev has signed off on a law ratifying an agreement with Russia on the presence of a joint military base in the Central Asian republic, the presidential press service said on Tuesday



    * London-listed TransContainer, Russia’s leading rail cargo firm, saw its IFRS nine-month 2012 net profit grow 42.8 percent year-on-year to 4.273 billion rubles ($140 million), the company said on Tuesday



    * Russian boxer Denis Lebedev defended his WBA cruiserweight title by defeating Santander Silgado with a fourth-round knockout

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