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Main news of October 26

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A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours

WORLD

* Latvian mobile operator Tele2 was involved in staging a hoax on a meteorite allegedly falling in the country on Sunday as reported by local media, the operator's marketing and sales director said

* French and Spanish troops have left a Kyrgyz airbase formerly used by the U.S. military and now functioning as a center for Pentagon transits to Afghanistan, the center's spokesman said

* Tehran may consider buying uranium for its nuclear research reactor from China, the Iranian foreign minister said

* Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic failed to appear for the start of his trial on war crimes and genocide charges at The Hague's International Criminal Tribune

* Ukraine's state-controlled energy company Naftogaz rejected on Monday reports of gas payment problems, saying it would pay for Russia natural gas supplied in October on time and in full

* A Russian Pacific Fleet task force that has been on anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden has completed an official three-day visit to the port of Klang in Malaysia, a spokesman for the fleet said

* No one was injured after a meteorite fell near a small town in northern Latvia on Sunday, local Latvian media reported

* The United States and Georgia begin on Monday two-week joint military drills in preparation for sending troops to Afghanistan

RUSSIA

* The Russian president said on Monday that the country's defense industry must ensure the effective modernization of the military and provide it with state-of-the-art weapons

* The latest failure of the Bulava submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) was caused by a defective steering system in its first stage, a defense industry source said

BUSINESS

* The Russian automaker Avtotor Holding announced on Monday it had launched the assembly of Opel cars in the country's exclave of Kaliningrad, which borders Poland and Lithuania

* Belarus has received a $699.5 million tranche of a $3.63 billion standby loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the press office of the Belarusian National Bank said

SCIENCE

* Reports that a meteorite fell to Earth on Sunday leaving a 20-meter crater near a town in Latvia are false, a scientist said Monday after studying the site where the body was said to have hit the ground

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