Topic: Top stories of the day
* Moscow expects Tehran to cooperate with the “Group of Six” global negotiators on the Iranian nuclear program and urges the U.S. White House against supporting new sanctions against the Islamic Republic, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said
* More than 40 U.S. Catholic groups have filed lawsuits against the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama over its mandate that requires religious organizations to include the cost of birth control to their employees’ health insurance, The Chicago Tribune reported
* Russia will become a full-fledged member of the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), a specialized agency within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), on January 1, 2013 following its formal accession to the agency
* The Kremlin human rights council plans to ask President Vladimir Putin to veto a controversial new law that could see fines for unsanctioned protests rise by as much as two hundred times, the advisory council said
* Russia's Strategic Missile Forces test-fired a new prototype ballistic missile from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Arkhangelsk Region, Defense Ministry spokesman Vadim Koval said, but did not name the new weapon
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).