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    Main news of October 7

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    A roundup of what has happened in the past 24 hours.

    WORLD

    *The United States in now 'closer than ever' to defeating the Al Qaeda terrorist network, U.S. President Barack Obama said

    *Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday he believed it was unseemly for a president to use trendy devices like the iPad

    *Serbia and Kosovo should resume their dialog as soon as possible, the Belgrade-based Tanjug news agency reported, citing a Serbian government official

    *Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko apologized on Friday for criticizing openly homosexual German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle for his sexual orientation

    RUSSIA

    *Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who marks his 59th birthday on Friday, has caused a Twitter flash mob with a hashtag devoted to his birthday topping the world’s trends

    *Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is confident that Russia's economy will continue growing despite the global economic crisis. Experts share Putin's optimism about Russia's future, given the country's low budget deficit and significant reserve funds as well as high oil prices

    *A convicted criminal faces indictment for the murder of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, as relatives and campaigners marked the fifth anniversary of her killing and criticized the investigation into it

    The Russian space agency has dropped plans to construct a new Rus-M carrier rocket by 2015, Roscosmos head Vladimir Popovkin said

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