Main News of October 17

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Main News of October 17 - Sputnik International
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A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours

WORLD

* The political battle that brought the United States to the brink of an historic debt default was profoundly counterproductive and took a high toll on US standing in the world, President Barack Obama said

* Russian airline Transaero and US carrier JetBlue Airlines have signed a deal that should help travelers more easily access out-of-the-way destinations in both countries by the end of the month, USA Today reported

* Emails and other communications secretly monitored by the US National Security Agency (NSA) play a crucial role in American overseas drone strikes against accused terrorists, The Washington Post has reported, citing documents disclosed by fugitive intelligence leaker Edward Snowden

* Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said Thursday he was ready to sign a law allowing jailed ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko to undergo medical treatment in a foreign hospital

* Azerbaijan has urged Russia to respect the legal and human rights of an Azerbaijani suspected of a fatal stabbing that triggered violent anti-migrant protests in a Moscow neighborhood over the weekend

* The number of people detained in Russia last month onboard a Greenpeace ship that has been denied bail rose Thursday to 16 after a court ordered Australian radio operator Colin Russell to remain in custody until November 24

* Eleven laureates of the Nobel Peace Prize have petitioned the Russian president, asking him Thursday to aid the release of the 30 Greenpeace activists charged with piracy in Russia

* A senior Syrian governmental official named the date for an international peace conference on Syria backed by Russia and the United States 

RUSSIA

* Russia says it is dissatisfied with the apology it received from the Netherlands for the arrest of one of its diplomats in The Hague, but insists that the incident will not tarnish relations between the two countries

* Russians rate Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu as the country’s most efficient minister, according to a survey

* The Russian government has submitted amendments to state lawmakers that would give the country’s Federal Security Service (FSB) the authority to investigate and fight hacker attacks

* A consortium of Russian tycoons has bought a 50 percent stake in Russia’s fourth largest mobile operator, Tele2 Russia, seller VTB Bank said

* Russia is among the world’s top 10 countries by absolute number of people held in slavery, according to a new report released Thursday

* Russia wants to begin drafting a deal on visa-free travel with the EU early next year, a senior Russian diplomat said in an interview

* A Proton-M carrier rocket with a US telecoms satellite will be transported early Thursday to a launch pad at the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan in preparation for launch on October 20, Russia’s space agency Roscosmos said

* Igor Komarov, head of Russia’s largest car maker Avtovaz, has submitted his resignation ahead of a likely appointment as chief of a new state-run space corporation currently being formed by the Russian government

* Drinking of alcohol by Russians has dropped by one-quarter over the past three years, according to a leading health official

SPORTS

* Twelve football matches in Russia are among several hundred worldwide that have been identified by the sport's world governing body FIFA as possibly having been fixed, the country's sports minister said

BUSINESS

* Kazakhstan’s president has ratified an agreement with China on the development and operation of an oil pipeline linking it to China, the presidential press service said

* US President Barack Obama signed early Thursday last-ditch legislation to fund the government and avert a debt default, easing an acute political crisis and narrowly avoiding an unprecedented fiscal clash that might seriously have damaged the world economy

DEFENSE

* Russia has started implementation of a multibillion dollar arms deal with Iraq, an official with the Middle Eastern nation’s government said

SCIENCE

* US biotech firm Cleveland BioLabs has won an approximately $4.6 million dollar contract from the Russian Ministry of Trade and Industry to fund research into a potential new cancer treatment

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