Topic: Top stories of the day
* The United States Senate Finance Committee approved a bill combining a repeal of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment and a measure aiming to punish Russian officials involved in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky
* The adoption of a tough, new Western-backed UN resolution on Syria would amount to "direct support" for opponents of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia's foreign minister said ahead of a Security Council vote
* Russian President Vladimir Putin held talks on the escalating violence in Syria with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, just hours before a vital UN vote on the Kremlin's sole remaining ally in the Arab world
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.