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Five stories you might have missed as the debt ceiling loomed

By CNN.com staff
October 17, 2013 -- Updated 1530 GMT (2330 HKT)
Typhoon Wipha lashed Japan's Pacific Coast, killing at least 18 people and leaving more than 40 missing.
Typhoon Wipha lashed Japan's Pacific Coast, killing at least 18 people and leaving more than 40 missing.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • In Washington Wednesday, the U.S. lifted its debt ceiling and reopened government
  • In Asia, the death toll from a quake rose, a typhoon struck and a passenger plane crashed
  • In Syria, the fighting and deaths continued on the second day of the Eid al-Adha holiday
  • In Europe, representatives from Iran and the P5+1 met to discuss its nuclear program

(CNN) -- On Wednesday, the United States government looked perilously close to hitting its debt ceiling -- the limit on the amount Washington can borrow to pay its bills.

While Americans watched as the specter of a potential debt default and continuation of the government shutdown approached, life went on as usual in the rest of the world.

Here are five stories you may have missed.

Death toll from Philippines quake rises

Philippine authorities raised the death toll from Tuesday's 7.1 magnitude earthquake to 144.

The quake was centered near a town in Bohol province, in the central Philippines, where the bulk of casualties were recorded.

Almost 300 people were injured and local media said authorities were checking reports that people were trapped in collapsed buildings.

Iran holds nuclear talks with the P5+1

A glimmer of hope for new nuclear talks
Syrians struggle to celebrate Eid
Earthquake kills dozens in Philippines

Representatives from Iran and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- plus Germany -- concluded a meeting in Geneva on Iran's nuclear program by releasing a joint statement.

Many in the West fear Iran is pursuing the development of a nuclear bomb, but Iran has always maintained that it is developing nuclear energy capabilities for peaceful purposes only.

The joint statement described the talks as "substantive and forward-looking," but details were scarce.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the Iranians had put forward a new proposal "with a level of seriousness and substance that we had not seen before."

Discussions are scheduled to resume on November 7 and 8.

Passenger plane crashes in Laos

A Lao Airlines passenger plane flying from Laos' capital, Vientiane, crashed as it prepared to land at Pakse Airport, near the border with Thailand.

Forty-nine people -- 44 passengers and 5 crew -- were killed in the crash. They included 16 Laotian passengers and five crew, seven French, six Australians, five Thais, three Koreans, two Vietnamese, an American, a Canadian, a Chinese, a Malaysian and one Taiwanese, an airline spokesman said.

It was raining at the time of the crash and the spokesman said later that gusts from the remnant of a typhoon appeared to have caused the pilots to lose control of the aircraft.

At least 18 die in Tokyo typhoon

Typhoon Wipha pummeled the Tokyo region, killing at least 18 people and leaving more than 40 missing.

The majority of deaths occurred after heavy rain triggered flooding and landslides that blocked roads and crushed houses in Oshima, a small island 120km (75 miles) south of the Japanese capital, a local official said.

The typhoon cut power to more than 56,000 households and led to the cancellation of more than 500 flights, as well as the suspension of bullet train services in central and northern Japan.

Fatwa allows Syrians to eat cats and dogs during Eid

Fighting continued in Syria on the second day of Islam's Eid al-Adha -- or Feast of Sacrifice -- holiday.

At least 53 people -- including 13 children and four women -- were killed, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria reported.

Meanwhile, Arabic media reported that an imam in the capital Damascus had issued a religious ruling allowing the desperately hungry to eat dogs and cats, where stores of food were inadequate.

Eating dog, cat or donkey is forbidden under Islamic dietary laws.

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