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Main news of September 17



* Poland expects closer ties with the U.S. despite the fact that Washington's plans to deploy elements of a missile shield in his country will no longer go ahead, the Polish premier said

* U.S. President Barack Obama confirmed on Thursday that Washington was scrapping the Bush administration’s plans for a missile shield in Central Europe

* More than 40 Palestinians from the Jabaliyah refugee camp in northern Gaza were injured on Thursday in a gas explosion, a Palestinian health ministry spokesman said

* Russia hopes the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will not remove Russia's voting rights over its recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said

* The death toll from Thursday's suicide bomb attack in the Afghan capital of Kabul has risen to 16, with over 50 people injured, the Afghan Foreign Ministry said

* The seventh round of Geneva talks on the situation in the Caucasus saw a frank exchange of views, the head of the Russian delegation said

* Acting Moldovan President Mihai Ghimpu on Thursday nominated the leader of the country's Liberal Democratic Party for the post of prime minister

* President Hamid Karzai on Thursday played down claims that the recent election in Afghanistan was flawed, but said he supported a probe into possible violations

* The U.S. president has told the Czech premier that Washington is abandoning the Bush administration's plans for an anti-missile radar in the country, Russia's Vesti TV channel reported on Thursday, citing Czech media


* Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Thursday that Russia valued U.S. President Barack Obama's decision to scrap plans for a missile shield in Central Europe

* Russia has launched a new meteorological satellite on board a Soyuz 2.1b carrier rocket, a spokesman for the Federal Space Agency Roscosmos said

* The European Court of Human Rights has ordered Russia to pay 210,000 euros ($309,540) in compensation to the relatives of people who disappeared or died in Russia's North Caucasus in 2003 and 2004

* Russia's Foreign Ministry called media reports that the United States could have changed its anti-missile plans for Central Europe in exchange for a certain deal with Russia "guesswork"

* A Kremlin economic adviser warned on Thursday that the financial crisis in Russia and abroad may deteriorate further, despite recent signs of a recovery

* The Arctic Sea is unable to call at the Spanish port of Las Palmas after Malta refused to take part in the handover of the ship, Russian investigators said

* Russia has reestablished commercial maritime passenger routes with the former Georgian republic of Abkhazia, which were frozen after last year's war between Russia and Georgia

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