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On October 30, Russian president D. Medvedev attended the second Russia-ASEAN summit in Hanoi (the first Russia-ASEAN summit convened in Kuala Lumpur in 2005). The forum was meant to give a boost to the cooperation between Russia and East Asian countries which, as a Kremlin official related to the media on the eve of the event, hope that Russia can balance the permanently growing US influence over the region.

Paraguay's current president Fernando Lugo used to be known as "the bishop of the poor". He made a fairly quick career in the Roman Catholic church's hierarchy, became a bishop, and later was overwhelmingly voted in as the country's president. Inaugurated on August 15, 2008, he planned to bring profound changes to Paraguay including a departure from his predecessor's markedly ruinous neoliberal course and an alliance with the populist leaders seeking to build the XXI century socialism.

The UN celebrated its 64th anniversary on October 24, 2010. Over the epoch of its existence, the UN established itself as the modern world's main international organization guaranteeing key international agreements and serving as a framework for a number of highly efficient international forums such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the World Health Organization, the Universal Postal Union, the International Maritime Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization, etc.

In early November interior ministers of the EU`s 27 member states are going to discuss visa-free regime with the Balkan states. These are expected to be really hot debates with the EU chiefs probably revising the earlier approved principles and schedules. Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as Serbia and Macedonia that have been enjoying visa-free regime with the EU since 19 December 2009, are running the risk of being excluded from the list.

US Secretary of State H. Clinton said in a comment on the Strategic Defense and Security Review submitted to Great Britain's House of Commons that the country will remain the most capable US partner in the military sphere. In the past, the ties between the US and Great Britain used to be described as a special relationship since the term was floated by W. Churchill in his famous 1946 Fulton speech which marked the start of the Cold War.

President D. Medvedev's recent talks with his Turkmen colleague Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow in Ashgabat produced significant results. Importantly, the leaders of the two major gas-exporting countries brought to the negotiating table consonant assessments of the current state of the European gas market. As Russian deputy prime minister I. Sechin explained the situation, Europe's gas demand will be growing minimally in the coming 3-4 years and prospects for increasing gas supply to Europe in the nearest future are dire. 

Georgian deputy foreign minister N. Kalandadze announced on October 11 that Georgia planned to unilaterally lift the visa requirements for Russia's Caucasian republics and to allow Russian citizens residing in Dagestan, Chechnya, North Ossetia, the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, the Karachay-Cherkess Republic, and the Republic of Adygea to visit Georgia for up to 90 days without visas.

The US Congress finally ran out of patience after years of coercing China into the yuan appreciation and passed a bill authorizing the US Chamber of Commerce to slap punitive duties on Chinese imports. The very next day Beijing responded by propelling the yuan to the dollar exchange rate to the unprecedented 6.6732:1 mark and thus demonstrated its receptiveness to US criticisms.

These days, Mexico is increasingly often added to the list of failed states. The country started to spiral downwards following the signing of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which exposed its economy, finances, and trade to the devastating pressure from the US. Mexico's industry and agricultural sector are overwhelmed by the flow of imports supplied by the country's northern partner, the result being a tide of bankruptcies after which masses of people are forced to turn to the criminal underworld for survival.

The call for Russia's joining NATO, which was recently voiced by Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs Executive Secretary Igor Yurgens, could be regarded as just one in a series of outbursts of reset-style optimism and simply ignored, considering that Russia's proponents of total change have floated countless ideas of the kind over the past two decades. Nevertheless, there are serious reasons to focus on this particular issue.