Main News of December 19


* Uzbekistan has officially suspended its membership in a Russian-led collective security organization, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said

* International Space Station Expedition 34 blasted off from the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan

* A prominent leader of the Syrian opposition abroad has called Russian and Iranian citizens “a legitimate target for opposition militants in Syria.”


* Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed an action program be worked out to minimize possible risks involved in the upcoming reduction of the international military presence in Afghanistan

* A controversial amendment that would ban US citizens from adopting Russian children passed in a second reading in the State Duma

* A naval task force from Russia’s Northern Fleet left the Severomorsk base on Wednesday and set course for the Horn of Africa on a new anti-piracy mission, the Defense Ministry said


* Russia’s unfavorable investment climate is a major factor behind huge capital flight from the country in recent years, Central Bank Chairman Sergei Ignatyev said

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