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10 things you need to know today: October 18, 2013
The debt deal sends the S&P 500 to a record close, transit workers strike in San Francisco, and more
Investors around the world breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday. 
Investors around the world breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday.  (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

1. The debt deal sends big stocks to record heights
The Standard and Poor's 500 stock index closed at a record high Thursday as investors expressed their collective relief following the last-minute deal to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a potentially catastrophic default on some of the nation's debts. Anticipation that the political jousting could force the Federal Reserve to extend its fiscal stimulus by several months pushed global stock gains even higher Friday morning. [Reuters]
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2. Congressional negotiators get back to work to prevent the next fiscal crisis
With a default averted and furloughed federal employees returning to work, congressional negotiators met Thursday to start talks on preventing a repeat of the budget crisis when the government nears its borrowing limit again early next year. President Obama said he hoped the 11th-hour deal signaled a new spirit of cooperation, but slammed Republicans for an unnecessary crisis that severely damaged the economy. "There are no winners here," he said. [Associated Press, The New York Times]
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3. BART workers walk off the job as contract talks stall
San Francisco area transit workers went on strike early Friday, forcing hundreds of thousands of commuters to find alternate ways to get to work. It was the second time this year that unions representing employees at Bay Area Rapid Transit, or BART, have told them to walk off the job. Union leaders had said a deal was near on salaries and benefits, but the talks broke down over BART officials' call for changes to work rules. [San Francisco Chronicle]
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4. Saudis reject a spot on the Security Council
Saudi Arabia turned down a seat on the United Nations Security Council on Friday, hours after being elected to serve as one of 10 nonpermanent members. Saudi leaders said that they appreciated the confidence of the nations that voted for them, but that the Security Council had proved itself to be ineffective by failing to prevent the Syrian government from killing its people, or resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [USA Today]
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5. Snowden says he didn't bring NSA documents to Russia
Edward Snowden told The New York Times in an exclusive interview that he didn't take any National Security Agency documents with him to Russia when he left Hong Kong for Moscow in June. Snowden said that way he was sure Russian intelligence agents wouldn't gain access to any U.S. secrets. He also said he used his knowledge of China's spying capabilities to make sure there was "zero chance" Beijing got hold of any classified information, either. [The New York Times]
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6. Former Pentagon lawyer could become head of Homeland Security
President Obama is expected to nominate former Pentagon general counsel Jeh C. Johnson as the next Homeland Security secretary on Friday. Johnson, if confirmed, would replace Janet Napolitano, who resigned in July. Johnson lacks Napolitano's experience on homeland security and immigration, but shares Obama's views on counterterrorism. In Obama's first term, Johnson helped the president review George W. Bush's anti-terror policies. [Time, The New York Times]
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7. Hijacker takes over bus with schoolchildren on board
A knife-wielding man hijacked an Arkansas school bus with 11 elementary-school students aboard on Thursday. Police said the suspect — identified as Nicholas John Miller, 22 — got on the bus after first attempting to carjack someone else. A line of police cars followed the bus, and part of the chase was captured on video. After police put a spiked strip in front of the bus, the bus hijacker gave up without a fight. The kids were all safe. [Los Angeles Times]
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8. Google's stock soars on strong quarterly earnings
Google shares jumped by 8 percent in after-hours trading, thanks to a better-than-expected quarterly earnings report released after the market closed on Thursday. Google's profits reached $10.74 per share; analysts expected just $10.34. The news increased investor optimism that the Internet search giant can adapt its lucrative online ad business to a world where people use multiple devices rather than a single desktop. [USA Today]
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9. The Chinese economy bounces back
China's economy rebounded in the third quarter, growing by 7.8 percent over a year earlier, according to data released Friday. That's up from a two-decade low of 7.5 percent in the previous three months. The improvement, which stems largely from Beijing's stimulus efforts, is expected to allow Beijing to focus on reforms to promote slower but sustainable growth from domestic consumption, rather than the exports that have fueled China's boom. [Associated Press]
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10. Nolan Ryan steps down as CEO of the Texas Rangers
Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan announced Thursday that he was retiring as CEO of the Texas Rangers at the end of the month. He also sold his ownership stake in the baseball team. Ryan's son, Reid, is president of the Houston Astros, and the team's owner, Jim Crane, said the door is open for Ryan to come to Houston. Ryan, 66, said he was not sure what his next move would be. "This might be the final chapter of my baseball career," he said. [ESPN, Houston Chronicle]

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Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami HeraldFox News, and ABC News.

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