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Main news of December 28

A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours


* The United States opposes Israel's plans to build new homes in East Jerusalem, a spokesman for the White House said

* Ukraine's dispute with Russia on oil transit fees will not affect supplies to Eastern Europe, national oil and gas company Naftogaz said

* Georgian Airways said that the dates for the first flights between Moscow and Tbilisi since air travel between the countries was frozen three years ago have been put back from December 29-30 by at least a week

* At least 20 people were killed and dozens injured in Karachi on Monday when a suicide bomber attacked a Shiite Muslim procession, Pakistan's Aaj TV reported

* The death toll in last weekend's anti-government protests in Tehran has risen to at least eight on Monday, Iran's state-run Press TV reported

* U.S. special forces have been put on alert as a result of the suspicious conduct of a 30-year-old Nigerian passenger onboard a Delta Airlines plane, the Fox News channel has reported


* Gazprom signed a contract on Monday to increase natural gas purchases from Uzbekistan by 4.25 billion to 15.5 billion cubic meters in 2010, the Russian state-controlled energy giant said

* Russia is concerned by the recent clashes between demonstrators and police in Tehran, and calls for restraint and conciliation, the Russian Foreign Ministry said

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday the latest parliamentary election showed that the country needs tighter supervision to ensure fair voting

* Round-the-clock TV news network Russia Today (RT) launched its Spanish channel on Monday, to add to its English and Arabic channels

* Police have released 15 Kyrgyz minors who had been used as slave laborers at a factory in Noginsk near Moscow, the Interior Ministry said

* Russian prosecutors issued an arrest warrant on charges of office abuse for a police officer, who was fired after posting a video on the web asking Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to launch a nationwide corruption probe

* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday though the global economic crisis still persists, his country had successfully passed the worst stage of it

* Germany issued permission on Monday for the construction of Russia's Nord Stream gas pipeline in its exclusive economic zone

* Russia's Nerpa nuclear attack submarine, damaged in a fatal accident during tests in November last year, has entered service with the Russian Navy after successfully passing final trials, a Pacific Fleet spokesman said

* Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin officially launched on Monday the East-Siberia - Pacific Ocean oil pipeline during his visit to the region


* Gazprom Export, the export arm of energy giant Gazprom, and PetroChina, a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), have agreed the basic terms of Russian natural gas supplies to China, Gazprom said

* Serbia's state-run gas company Srbijagas and Russian energy giant Gazprom have signed a contract on the supply of up to 2 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Serbia in 2010, Srbijagas said

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