Smiling Iranian President Makes Direct Offer Of ‘peace And Friendship’ To The United States In His First English Message Since Election

United States, Russia agree on United Nations-Syria chemical arms measure

After a tight opening set, the FIVB No. 5 ranked U.S. seized momentum early in the second set and never let go. Canada, which is ranked No 11, played the better part of the match without captain Fred Winters, who suffered an ankle injury early in the second set. Matthew Anderson had 14 kills and three aces for the U.S Dallas Soonias and Gord Perrin each had seven kills for Canada. “We got outplayed completely by the USA,” said Canadian coach Glen Hoag. “We couldn’t receive so we couldn’t establish any offence and they played great block defence. We had a chance in the first set but we made too many unforced errors.” Canada led for much of the opening set, before the U.S. went on a 5-0 run to go in front 23-21. Canada rallied to tie it 23-23, but the Americans took the set with two straight points. In the second set, Winters suffered an injury early on and his absence was instantly apparent. With Winters out, the Americans earned eight of the next 11 points to open a 12-6 lead. After that, Canada never got closer than three points.

After Rouhani’s speech, the Israeli leader described the address as a ‘cynical’ attempt to buy time to develop a nuclear- weapons capability. Obama stressed that ‘conciliatory words’ from Iran ‘will have to be matched by actions that are transparent and verifiable. Speech: U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the 68th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2013 No Handshake: Members of international advocacy group Avaaz take part in a protest wearing masks of Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani (R) and U.S. president Barack Obama, outside the U.N. headquarters in New York on Tuesday Skepticism about Rouhani’s intentions have cast doubt on the prospect for any immediate breakthrough between Washington and Tehran. The Jewish state, believed to be the Middle East’s only nuclear-armed power, has long threatened military strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites if diplomacy fails. Seeking to keep expectations under control, Obama said suspicions between Iran and the United States were too great to believe their troubled history can be overcome overnight. ‘The roadblocks may prove to be too great but I firmly believe the diplomatic path must be tested,’ Obama said. Obama suggested though that Rouhani’s overtures could ‘offer the basis for a meaningful agreement’ to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and said he had instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to press a diplomatic effort along with other world powers. He cited resolving the Iranian nuclear standoff and reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal as the key U.S.

Somalia President: Al-Shabab Could Attack the United States

Kenya Mall Attack

Al-Shabab is more of an international problem than a Somali problem. It can happen here in the United States as it is now happening in Nairobi. U.S. intelligence officials disputed this assessment in interviews with The Daily Beast. On Monday, Rep. Ed Royce, the Republican chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee said, I think at this point we do not have any evidence that al-Shabab has a capability of carrying out attacks on the United States. This points to the importance of our surveillance and intelligence capabilities on the ground in east Africa because there are a number of Americans who have joined the group. Mohamuds government, which was ++recognized by the Obama administration in January after a two-decade break in formal U.S.-Somali diplomatic relations, is widely regarded to be Somalias best hope for continuing a transition to a functional democracy and reestablishing government control of the few parts of Somalia now under al-Shabab control. He says that while its true the terrorist group still calls Somalia home, its not true that the group is Somali in origin or makeup. In Shabab there are Kenyans, there are Ugandans, there are Ethiopians, there are Arabs. It is only true that they are headquartered in Somalia, but Shabab is not Somali, the president said. He said he did not know if any Americans were involved in the Nairobi attack, as the group has claimed. Al-Shabab is on the defensive inside Somalia due to the combined efforts of Somali, Ethiopian, and international forces, and the group is losing the ability to fight militarily or hold large amounts of territory, Mohamud said, but they are still very capable of attacking soft targets and using terror tactics to kill innocents.

First Address: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013

Diplomats from the permanent Security Council members – China, Russia, the United States, France and Britain – had been haggling over the details of a resolution to back the American-Russian accord announced on September 14 in Geneva to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad agreed to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons amid an international outcry over a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascus last month – the world’s deadliest chemical attack in 25 years. Washington has blamed Assad’s forces for the attack, which it said killed more than 1400 people, and President Barack Obama threatened a US military strike in response. Russia and Assad have blamed the attack on rebels battling to overthrow him in a civil war that, according to the United Nations, has left more than 100,000 people dead. TOUGH NEGOTIATIONS In a speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, Obama sought to persuade world leaders to apply pressure on Damascus with a resolution that included tough consequences should Assad not surrender his chemical weapons stockpiles in a verifiable way. But by putting the Syria crisis back in the hands of the UN Security Council where Russia has the ability to block punitive action, the chances of US military action appeared to recede even further. Obama faces tough opposition from a sceptical Congress and a war-wary public on the wisdom of intervening military in Syria. With rebel forces plagued by divisions, the Friends of Syria – a bloc of mainly Western and Gulf Arab countries plus Turkey -followed up Thursday’s announcement of the draft resolution with a pledge to boost aid to the opposition. Weapons shipments to the rebels have been inadequate to shift the military balance in their favour. US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that Syria “will implode before any side would claim a military victory” and that all sides needed to move rapidly to put a political solution in place to end the conflict. A senior US official said earlier that the United States and China – another permanent Security Council member – strongly agreed on the need to quickly adopt a binding resolution on eradicating Syria’s chemical arsenal, a remark that appeared aimed at putting pressure on Russia to accept the measure. Russia at first appeared unswayed. Kerry met Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi for about an hour on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations. After the draft resolution was announced, the Chinese foreign minister said, “The major concerns of all the parties, including China’s concerns, have basically been resolved.” China has backed Russia to veto three council resolutions since October 2011 that would have condemned Assad’s government and threatened it with sanctions. Western diplomats say Beijing has little reason to support Assad but is eager to ensure Russia will continue to back it in the Security Council on issues like North Korea.