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Main news of December 11



* A presidential candidate and a Russian first deputy prime minister, Dmitry Medvedev, proposed that President Vladimir Putin be appointed prime minister after the March 2008 presidential election

* Russian planes on board the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier have conducted 11 practice flights in the North Sea, a Navy spokesman said

* Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country's state corporations will receive only limited support from the government, and will not be allowed to become monopolies

* Special forces in Russia's Penza Region have worked out a plan to forcibly remove a group of doomsday cult members from a cave where they have been holed up for over a month, the Tvoi Den newspaper said

* More than 70 planned terrorist attacks, some of which would have involved suicide bombers, were prevented in the North Caucasus this year, Russia's security chief Nikolai Patrushev said

* Russia's Reshetnev Applied Mechanics Production Association (NPO-PM) and France's Thales Alenia Space are developing a new multifunctional satellite platform, Express-4000, the Russian company said

* A Russian nuclear expert said Russia and the United States have a good chance of signing a new strategic arms reduction treaty to replace START-I, which expires in December 2009

* Maria Solovyenko, a Russian journalist who once 'confused' President Vladimir Putin at a Kremlin news conference, said she intended to stand for the presidency

* Some 35,000 birds have died from bird flu since late November at a poultry farm in southern Russia's Rostov Region, a spokeswoman for the local emergencies ministry said

* The pulp mill, accused by Russia's environmental watchdog of polluting Lake Baikal, is using blackmail in saying its closure will leave 16,000 without heating, the regulator's deputy head said

* A group of North Korean workers were attacked by local residents in Volokolamsk, in the Moscow Region, a police spokesman said


* Pakistan has successfully conducted a test launch of a cruise missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads, national television said

* One of the two bombs which went off in the capital of Algeria, Algiers, killing between 30 and 60 people, targeted the office of a UN refugee agency, the country's interior minister said

* A regular train service between North and South Korea was launched after a hiatus of more than half a century, in a step hailed by Seoul as a major breakthrough in rebuilding economic ties

* Israeli troops have killed at least eight Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip as Israeli ground forces crossed into the Palestinian enclave, local radio reported

* The South Korean government is to allocate around $7.5 million to the disaster-hit zone following the country's worst-ever oil spill, the Yonhap news agency said

* Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated his offer to hold a live television debate with his U.S. counterpart to discuss their contrasting approaches to world issues

* With arms sales of over $4 billion in 2007, Israel has moved up to fourth place on the list of the world's largest weapons exporters, overtaking the U.K., the Israeli defense ministry said

* An agreement replacing the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 will probably be signed in late 2009 in Copenhagen, a participant at a UN conference on climate change in Indonesia said

* Turkey's military command has accused certain EU countries, in particular France and the U.K., of acting in a way that supports Kurdish militants, NTV reported

* The Middle East quartet of mediators could hold its next foreign ministers' meeting in Paris on December 18, a Russian deputy foreign minister said

* A woman died of bird flu in Jakarta, Indonesia, bringing the death toll in the Southeast Asian country to almost 100, the Xinhua news agency said

* Ukraine's parliament failed by one vote to approve the appointment of pro-Western 'orange' coalition leader Yulia Tymoshenko as prime minister

* The penguin population in Antarctica has sharply decreased due to global warming, a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report said

* Moscow is concerned over Israeli plans to continue building new settlements on occupied Palestinian territories, the Foreign Ministry said

* Venezuela's president threatened to sever trade relations with Colombia over disagreements with the country's president, Venezuelan daily Nacional said

* Riot police in Sao Paolo used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse residents of shantytowns, known as favelas, who were protesting against the demolition of their homes

* Russia is insisting that dialogue continue between Belgrade and Pristina on the status of the Kosovo province, a Russian deputy foreign minister said

* Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he did not rule out the possibility of trilateral negotiations between Russia, Germany and Poland on the construction of the Nord Stream gas pipeline


* The Nord Stream pipeline being built under the Baltic Sea to pump Russian natural gas to Germany will not be a rival to existing gas pipelines, former German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said

* Russia hopes its companies will be able to make a major contribution to efforts to rebuild infrastructure in war-torn Iraq, a deputy foreign minister said

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