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Main News of October 11

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A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours

WORLD

* The UN Security Council has formally approved a first-ever joint mission of the United Nations and the global chemical weapons watchdog to oversee the elimination of Syria’s production facilities and stockpiles, the UN said

* Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, who has molded a strongman image for himself during his nearly two decades as autocratic ruler, told Russian reporters on Friday that the only way to fight crime in the 1990s was a “punch in the face.”

* A Russian tourist was killed and at least 35 others injured after their tour bus with 42 on board overturned in northwest Thailand, the Russian Federal Tourism Agency reported

* A group of Orthodox Christians blocked the entrance to parliament in Moldova on Friday in protest at proposed amendments that would soften the country’s anti-gay laws

* An international watchdog overseeing the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons in line with a Russian proposal was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize

* Tajikistan has blamed neighboring Uzbekistan for the derailing of its train, which was carrying military conscripts to the north of the impoverished Central Asian nation, Tajik media reported

* Members of the UN Security Council on Thursday backed the UN chief’s initiative to establish a joint mission tasked with eliminating chemical weapons in Syria

* A court in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek ordered a two-month arrest for protesters, whose rally over a Canadian-ran gold mine turned violent earlier this week, prosecutors said

RUSSIA

* The top US spy agency raised red flags about the behavior of Edward Snowden in 2009, but the fugitive intelligence leaker was nonetheless given access to details of secret government surveillance programs that he disclosed to the media this year, The New York Times has reported

* A human rights adviser to the Kremlin has called for prosecutors to drop piracy charges against a group of Greenpeace activists, saying the case is tantamount to accusing them of gang-raping an oil platform

* Russians’ attitudes to the United States and European Union have dramatically worsened since 1997, according to a new survey

* A senior European Union official sought to allay fears Friday that Ukraine’s signing of free trade agreements with the EU will lead to a loss of economic independence

* A Russian court in the northern city of Murmansk on Friday rejected bail appeals by UK nationals Philip Ball and Kieron Bryan, who were among 30 people arrested and charged with piracy over a Greenpeace protest in the Arctic in September

* The European Union has expressed doubts about whether it can comply with Russian demands to provide the personal data of all European passengers flying to or over Russia

* Russia and Lebanon announced closer ties Thursday as four of Russia’s biggest energy companies jostle for deals to develop Lebanese gas fields in the Eastern Mediterranean which could draw them into a long-running territorial dispute with Israel

* A Russian lawmaker caught up in an in-flight scandal involving his aide said Friday that he had stepped down from key posts in the ruling United Russia party, but stressed that he would continue to play an active role in it

BUSINESS

* Belarus has changed the charges faced by the detained CEO of Russian fertilizer maker Uralkali, upping the maximum possible punishment by two years, according to the Belarusian president

* Russia has hit back at Ukraine after the Ukrainian prime minister threatened to stop all natural gas imports from Russia within the next few years unless the current gas contract is reviewed

SPORTS

* Four-belt world heavyweight boxing champion Wladimir Klitschko replied to Russia’s Alexander Povetkin rematch proposal on Thursday, saying that it was possible, but only in Ukraine

DEFENSE

* The US Air Force on Friday fired the general in charge of its entire arsenal of nuclear missiles, citing “a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership and judgment.”

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