02:51 GMT +323 March 2018
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    Main news of June 27

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    * The Russian national soccer team returned to Moscow from Austria after finishing third at Euro 2008

    * Moscow denied discussing with Tbilisi the division of Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia into Russian and Georgian spheres of influence, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said

    * A Proton-K/DM-2 heavy carrier rocket with a Cosmos-series military satellite has been successfully launched from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan, a Defense Ministry spokesman said

    * Russia's parliament voted down a widely criticized bill that would have allowed authorities to close media outlets for libel

    * Russia's lower house of parliament on Friday adopted in its first reading a bill on the creation of a national DNA database

    * Russian forensic experts confirmed that remains believed to belong to the children of Russia's last tsar were burnt and then soaked in sulfuric acid

    * The Russian Orthodox Church defrocked Bishop Diomid of Anadyr and Chukotka for criticizing the hierarchy and provoking a schism

    * A light cargo plane, making an aerial photography flight, crashed in the Moscow Region shortly after a take-off, killing all five people onboard, the emergencies ministry said


    * Japan's Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura cautioned that it could be problematic verifying that North Korea has declared all its nuclear programs and is in fact ready to comply with the six-nation denuclearization demands

    * Abkhazia's leadership considers Tbilisi's proposed plan to divide the unrecognized republic into zones of Russian and Georgian influence to be "insane," the republic's Foreign Minister Sergei Shamba said

    * Russia and the European Union announced in a joint statement the start of talks on a new cooperation agreement as an EU-Russia summit ended in Western Siberia

    * Bill Gates, the world's third richest man, officially stepped down as head of the $40-billion Microsoft empire to concentrate on his charitable foundation

    * Fears of major flooding have prompted the evacuation of some 20,000 people from southwest China's Sichuan province, which was hit by a powerful earthquake in May, the Xinhua news agency reported

    * At least four people died after unknown assailants opened fire on a public bus in Turkey's eastern Van province, the Turkish NTV channel reported

    * Six people were executed in China for drug dealing in three separate cases, the China Daily reported


    * Russian energy giant Gazprom elected First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov chairman of the board at its annual meeting, a Gazprom spokesman said

    * Russia's Finance Ministry warned it would be difficult to keep to the government's 10.5% inflation target in 2008, with spending of extra non-oil and gas revenues causing inflation to spiral out of control

    * The Voronezh-based aircraft manufacturer VASO has launched production of an An-148 regional medium-haul plane, the United Aircraft Corporation chief executive said

    * Somalia hopes Russian companies will take part in the development of uranium deposits, and oil and natural gas production, the Somali ambassador to Russia, Mohamed Handule, said

    * Gazprom is proposing opening a chain of filling stations using natural gas as an alternative car fuel across Europe, the chief of the Russian energy giant said

    * Russia's largest car producer AvtoVAZ said it will begin assembling new Lada models with the French car manufacturing giant Renault in 2010

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