Main news of May 12


*Ukraine’s parliament approved a special presidential decree permitting foreign troops to participate in joint military drills in the former Soviet republic

*Ukraine-born Ivan (John) Demjanjuk, who was found guilty of helping to kill at least 27,900 Jews at a Nazi extermination camp and convicted to five years in prison, will be released from custody because of his declining years, the German N-24 TV channel reported

*The Schengen area, which guarantees free movement across and between 22 European Union members and 3 non-EU countries, has encountered unexpected difficulties in the wake of the protests that have swept the Middle East and North Africa, and gained the moniker Arab Spring

*CIS government heads will try to agree exemptions for a free trade zone treaty on May 19 in Minsk, Belarusian Foreign Ministry’s official representative Andrei Savinykh said

*NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen stressed the importance of cooperation with Russia on a European missile defense shield, but failed to offer a solution to a critical rift between the two sides on the issue

*A U.S. official has provided new details on Osama bin Laden’s personal journal seized during the operation to kill the al Qaeda leader

*The Al Jazeera satellite television network has reported that its journalist Dorothy Parvaz, previously held by Syria, has been deported to Iran


*The agency for strategic initiatives proposed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin last week and seen as a potential blow to President Dmitry Medvedev, will help modernize Russia, the economic development minister said

*The Kremlin started reaching out directly to people in Russia’s regions as a senior administration official traveled to Ryazan to hear citizens’ complaints about burning social problems

*Competition is vital for the country’s political stability and no one party can claim a dominant role, President Dmitry Medvedev said

*Russian convicted fraudster Sergei Mavrodi offered to save Belarus’s ailing economy by launching a new pyramid scheme in the ex-Soviet state

*Russian President Dmitry Medvedev backs the idea of a people’s front, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said

*Russia is likely to extend to June the raised gasoline export duty, which went up 44 percent to $408.30 per ton in May to fight local shortages, Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina said

*The Russian Investigative Committee has failed to file formal tax evasion charges against Hermitage Capital head William Browder because he did not show up for questioning, a spokeswoman said

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