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    Main news of November 16

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    * The upper house of Russia's parliament unanimously approved a unilateral moratorium on the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty to force the West to change its attitude toward European security

    * Russia expects that its moratorium on the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty will help streamline the arms control regime in the region, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said

    * The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said it would not be monitoring parliamentary polls in Russia on December 2 due to "delays and restrictions" imposed by Moscow

    * The chairman-in-office of the OSCE said an agreement must be reached between Russian authorities and the election watchdog over the monitoring of Russia's December 2 parliamentary elections

    * Birds are continuing to die in southern Russia following an oil spill in the strait that links the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov, a bird protection organization said

    * The first launch of a Soyuz carrier rocket from a space center near Kourou in French Guiana will be conducted in 2009, Russia's space chief Anatoly Perminov said

    * A peacekeeping contingent deployed by members of a regional security bloc in Central Asia will total 5,000 men, the bloc's senior official said

    * Cult members waiting for the end of the world in an underground tunnel in central Russia are still refusing to come out amid fears that the situation could turn violent


    * A caretaker government was sworn in in Pakistan, shortly after opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was released from house arrest

    * Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad demanded that Western nations apologize to Iran for suspecting it was conducting a covert nuclear weapons program put in doubt by a recent UN watchdog report

    * Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Vonda said Europe needs more missile shield sites than the two currently proposed by the United States

    * Poland's new center-right pro-European government led by Donald Tusk was sworn in by President Lech Kaczynski

    * Iran is satisfied with the UN nuclear watchdog's report on its controversial nuclear program and is in favor of further cooperation with the organization, Iran's ambassador to Moscow said

    * Russia and the UN nuclear agency will start work on November 26 to prepare for nuclear fuel deliveries to Iran's Bushehr NPP, the Islamic Republic's vice president and nuclear chief said

    * North and South Korea agreed to launch a cross-border freight train service on December 11, part of a range of joint projects aimed at boosting economic ties

    * The nationwide state of emergency imposed last week following mass anti-government rallies was lifted in Georgia 

    * The death toll in central Vietnam following six days of flooding has risen to 48, and rains are expected to continue, the national flood and storm control department said

    * A mouse spread panic among passengers on a Saudi Airlines flight from Cairo to Jeddah, costing the company some $500,000, the Egyptian MENA news agency reported

    * Georgia's opposition will launch new protest rallies if the authorities fail to allow the independent Imedi TV company to resume broadcasts, the leader of the People's Party said

    * The U.S. Senate refused to back a U.S. House of Representatives bill linking $50 billion in war funds to the withdrawal of the country's troops from Iraq by December 2008

    * Georgia's president accepted Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli's resignation, and proposed a new candidate for the post


    * Russia's lower house of parliament ratified an intergovernmental agreement on restructuring Cuba's $166 million post-Soviet debt to Russia

    * Alrosa, Russia's largest diamond producer, suspended talks on the acquisition of gold producer Polyus Gold, Russia's Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said

    * Russia's Ilyushin Finance plans to sign a preliminary contract with Iran Airtour at the Dubai Air Show on Monday to supply Iran with 30 Tu-204-100 aircraft, a source close to negotiations said

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