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Main news of September 20



* Preliminary research results released by Russian scientists are allowing the country to claim 1.2 million sq km of potentially energy-rich Arctic territory, the Natural Resources Ministry said

* The Russian News and Information Agency RIA Novosti has become an associate member of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN), which represents over 18,000 publications on five continents

* Two Russian strategic Tu-95MS Bear-H bombers carried out a flight along the coasts of Alaska and Canada during recent command and post exercises, the Russian Air Force said

* A Russian space flight commission has approved the members of the main and reserve crews for the 16th expedition to the International Space Station (ISS)

* Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to do everything to ensure that his successor is independent and efficient, the Kremlin administration said on its Web site

* A Niva off road vehicle carrying military personnel came under fire in the largest city in Russia's southern republic of Ingushetia, two servicemen were killed and two wounded, a police source said

* Viktor Shershunov, governor of the Kostroma Region in the center of European Russia, died in a car accident near Moscow early Thursday, local police reported

* Moscow agrees with the UN secretary general that Israel should reconsider its position on the Gaza Strip, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said


* Iran has successfully tested two domestically built new-generation fighters, official media said

* Pakistan's election commission said a presidential election will be held October 6 despite threats by opposition parties to boycott the vote if the current president runs for re-election

* At least nine people have been killed in China as a result of Typhoon Wipha, Xinhua news agency reported

* An Iranian-American who was detained in Tehran in May and charged with espionage and subversive activities has been released from custody on bail, the judiciary official news agency reported

* The next round of six-party talks on North Korea's denuclearization could be held in the middle of next week in Beijing, Japan's Kyodo news agency said

* Russia abstained from a UN Security Council vote to extend the authorization of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan for another 12 months

* The European Court of Human Rights has started hearing an appeal lodged by Russian World War II veteran Vasily Kononov against Latvia, court's spokesman said

* Russia has lifted temporary restrictions on the imports of poultry products from Italy, imposed in August following an outbreak of bird flu, Russia's agricultural watchdog said

* The U.S. administration will work hard to make a November international conference on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and future peace settlement a success, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said

* The Russian-Iraqi intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, scientific, and technological cooperation will convene in December, a spokesman for the Industry and Energy Ministry said

* Two men were killed and six arrested following a shootout in the Kodori Gorge, the de facto border between Georgia and its self-proclaimed republic of Abkhazia, in the south Caucasus region, early Thursday, an Abkhazian presidential spokesman said


* Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said:

- At least $1 trillion will be invested in Russia's infrastructure before 2020

- Deals worth $10 billion are expected to be signed during an international investment forum

- Russia will impose a 10% export duty on grain in the event of grain intervention

* Estonia has denied a request to inspect the country's seabed by Nord Stream, the project operator to build a trans-Baltic natural gas pipeline, the government's press service said

* Nord Stream AG, the operator of a natural gas pipeline being built under the Baltic, said it believes Estonia's restrictions on seabed research will not hold back the project

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