View gallery By Elvina Nawaguna and Roberta Rampton WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama made an impassioned plea on Sunday for Americans to overcome their „creeping resignation” about gun violence and demand tougher gun laws following the country’s latest mass shooting.”I’m here today to say there’s nothing routine about this tragedy. There’s nothing routine about your loss,” Obama told families at a memorial service for 12 people killed by a gunman last week at the Washington Navy Yard.”Sometimes I fear there is a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just somehow the way it is,” he said at the outdoor service at Marine Barracks Washington, less than three blocks from the base where three women and nine men died in the attack.”We must insist here today there is nothing normal about innocent men and women being gunned down where they work,” Obama said. Authorities have identified the shooter as Aaron Alexis, 34, a former U.S. Navy reservist working as an information technology contractor. He was killed in a gun battle with police.View gallery.”U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks during a memorial service for victims of the Washington …There were signs that Alexis had untreated mental health issues. Rhode Island police had warned the Navy in August that Alexis had reported „hearing voices” and said he believed people were following him and „sending vibrations into his body.”Obama said the U.S. military needs to do more to secure its facilities, and he said the country must also make mental health treatment more available.But he also railed against lax gun laws that he blamed for murder rates in the United States that are three times higher than in other developed nations.”No other advanced nation endures this kind of violence. None,” he said.”What’s different in America is it’s easy to get your hands on a gun,” he said.‘OUGHT TO OBSESS US’ – View gallery.”U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a memorial service after visiting families of victims of the W …Before the service, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama met privately with families of the victims, all civilians who worked at the complex not far from Capitol Hill.”These are not statistics,” Obama said, after he spoke about the lives and loves of each of the victims.But to honor the lives of the victims, Obama said Americans must do more than extend thoughts and prayers to their families.”It ought to obsess us. It ought to lead us to some sort of transformation,” he said, noting this was the fifth time in his presidency he had spoken at a memorial service after a mass shooting.Obama proposed new gun laws early this year after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.But Congress rejected his proposals to restrict sales of certain types of guns and require background checks for more types of gun sales.View gallery.”U.S. President Barack Obama hugs family members of those slain in the Washington Navy Yard shooting …The measures were fought by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups, which said the proposals would infringe on Americans’ constitutional rights.An NRA leader criticized the Washington Navy Yard on Sunday for not having more personnel carrying guns, saying it left the base „unprotected.””This is a tragedy that should not have happened, a memorial service that should not be taking place, and victims that should not be victims,” Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, said on NBC’s „Meet the Press” program.Obama on Saturday told supporters that the fight for tougher gun laws is not over and „we’ve got to get back up and go back at it.But that fight, like Obama’s other policy priorities, is likely to be sidelined by a battle with Congress over the budget that threatens to shut down the government.Obama told the memorial service that he „cannot accept” that politics are too „frozen” to change gun laws, and urged Americans to demand change.”By now, though, it should be clear that the change we need will not come from Washington, even when tragedy strikes Washington,” he said.(Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna and Roberta Rampton; Writing by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Eric Beech)
More Merkel: The upshot of the German election Marc Young 44 minutes ago
View gallery German Chancellor and leader of the Christian Democratic Union ( CDU) Angela Merkel, smiles during a …BERLIN — People across crisis-weary Europe looked toward Germany on Sunday, as Chancellor Angela Merkel won re-election in a landslide. The victory cements her position as the most important leader in the European Union and the most powerful woman in the world.Merkel’s popularity secured her conservative Christian Democrats their best result in 23 years (41.5 percent), as voters gave her credit for steering Germany away from the economic troubles affecting much of the rest of the continent.“It was a strong vote to take responsibility in Germany, but also in Europe and the world,” the 59-year-old Merkel said at a press conference in Berlin on Monday.Though she easily romped to a third term, Merkel will not be able to continue her center-right coalition of the past four years after her junior partners, the Free Democrats (FDP), failed to win seats in parliament for the first time ever. Once the kingmakers of post-war German politics, the FDP imploded as voters rejected the party’s unabashed free-market and pro-business ideology in the wake of the global financial crisis. That means Merkel’s conservatives will have to tack leftward to attract either the center-left Social Democrats or environmentalist Greens into government.Those developments, along with the rise of an upstart party skeptical toward Europe (more about that in a moment) were among the biggest surprises in an election campaign Merkel dominated from the start.Her strong electoral mandate makes Germany’s chancellor central to resolving Europe’s economic crisis and a crucial partner for achieving President Barack Obama’s foreign policy aims.Yahoo News takes a look at the most important ramifications of the German vote:1. Angela Merkel is now Europe’s de facto boss. From alleviating the eurozone’s woes to hammering out a transatlantic free-trade deal, nothing important will get done without her. Obama is sure to have her number on the White House speed dial this morning.2. Keenly aware of its troubled history, Germany has only reluctantly become the dominant political power in Europe. Merkel’s increased profile means Berlin is sure to have more global responsibility thrust upon it ― regardless of whether the German government wants it or not. After leaving close allies Britain and France in the lurch during their military intervention in Libya and recently rejecting a U.S. call for a strike in Syria, Germany will have a harder time trying to pretend it’s an oversized Switzerland.3. Europe just became a little more German. The chancellor’s commanding re-election has also given her the political capital to take a more flexible approach toward solving Europe’s debt crisis. But in line with Merkel’s cautious nature, she probably won’t change course much. Assuming her conservatives form a grand coalition with the Social Democrats, Germany might put a bit more emphasis on stimulating growth in Europe. Another Greek bailout may be in the offing, but don’t expect debt mutualization through Eurobonds. And her austerity drive ― so hated in countries from Greece to Spain ― is here to stay.4. The election also raised the specter of growing anti-European sentiment in Germany. A populist upstart party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), only narrowly missed the five percent hurdle to win seats in parliament. The surprising result showed, however, that calls to ditch the euro, Europe’s single currency, can win German votes. Merkel now has four years to get the eurozone’s economic house in order. Otherwise, mainstream German politics could become decidedly more antagonistic toward the euro specifically and Europe in general. The euro-skeptical AfD will almost certainly do well in next year’s European Parliament election, ensuring its role as Germany’s political gadfly.5. Finally, flipping the bird will not help get you elected in Germany. Peer Steinbrück’s ill-fated bid to oust Merkel will ultimately be remembered for its countless gaffes, including the Social Democrat sarcastically posing for a national magazine while making a vulgar gesture with his middle finger.
Kenya mall hostage drama: Live updates by Yahoo News 9 minutes ago Smoke could be seen billowing from the upscale Westgate mall in Kenya’s capital on Monday, as a tense standoff between authorities and an al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab group entered its third straight day. As many as 69 people were feared dead in the assault.Kenya mall attack Powerful explosions sent thick smoke billowing from the Nairobi mall where militants from Somalia’s al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group thre… Yahoo Update, 10:35 a.m. ET: A report from the Nairobi City Mortuary, where family members are identifying victims of the mall attack. „There were 38 bodies, now only 16 are left,” mortuary superintendant Sammy Nyongesa Jacob said.Nairobi morgue: last stop in search for loved ones NAIROBI (AFP) – The bodies are laid out on metal blocks, victims from all walks of life lying side by side amid a stench of death in Nair…Helen Vesperini Update, 10:15 a.m. ET: Ugandan officials say they have stepped up security in the wake of the attack on the Kenya mall. As Reuters notes, the last major attack by Somalia’s al Shabaab, which has claimed responsibility for the Nairobi attack, was a 2010 double bombing in Kampala that killed 77 people, many of whom were watching the soccer World Cup final on television.Uganda steps up security after Kenya mall attack: armyKAMPALA (Reuters) Uganda, which like Kenya has sent troops to fight Islamist militants in Somalia, said on Monday it had stepped up sec…YahooUpdate, 10:00 a.m. ET: The latest dispatch from Agence France-Press: NAIROBI (AFP) – Kenyan security forces were locked in a fierce, final battle with Somali Islamist gunmen inside an upmarket Nairobi shopping mall on Monday as huge explosions and a barrage of heavy gunfire echoed out of the complex. A thick cloud of black smoke billowed out from the Westgate mall as Kenyan officials said the 50-hour-long siege — which has seen the gunmen massacre at least 69 people and take dozens more hostage — was close to being resolved.Update 9:40 ET: From Yahoo News U.K., a brief primer on the al-Shabbab group:Al-Shabaab: Who are they?Somali militant group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack on a Nairobi shopping centre that left scores dead and …Yahoo Update 9:35 ET: On CNN, Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, said the assault on the mall was “the most sophisticated attack of this type since Mumbai.”Update, 9:28 a.m. ET: Officials tell the Associated Press that the hostage takers are part of „a multinational collection from all over the world.” According to CNN, the FBI is investigating reports that several from the al-Shabaab group were recruited from the United States.Kenyan official: 2 mall terrorists killedNAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Four thunderous explosions rattled Nairobi’s upscale mall Monday, part of a battle between Kenyan troops and al-Qai…JASON STRAZIUSO and TOM ODULAUpdate, 7:50 a.m. ET: During a press conference Monday, Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said two terrorists have been killed, 10 security personnel were injured and that some of the estimated 10 to 15 gunmen from the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab group were dressed as women.It’s unclear how many hostages, if any, remain inside the building, officials said while declaring they had seized control of the complex.„We are in charge of the situation,” Lenku said. „Our people are safe.”
EPA to ‘effectively shut down’ without budget deal WASHINGTON (AP) — The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says the agency will „effectively shut down” unless Congress approves stopgap funding by Oct. 1.EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the agency won’t be able to pay employees. She says only a core group of people will remain on duty in case the EPA has to respond to a „significant emergency.” The vast majority of employees will stay home.That means that most of EPA’s functions, like drafting regulations and enforcing laws to protect the environment, will likely remain stalled until government operations fully resume.Congress has a week left to reach a deal to avoid the first shutdown since 1996. Lawmakers are at odds over a Republican plan to defund President Barack Obama’s health care law as part of the stopgap measure.
Egypt court bans all Muslim Brotherhood activitiesView gallerySamer al-Atrush 20 minutes ago CAIRO (AFP) – An Egyptian court on Monday banned the Muslim Brotherhood from operating and ordered its assets seized, in the latest blow to the Islamist movement of deposed president Mohamed MorsiThe court also banned „any institution branching out from or belonging to the Brotherhood,” the official MENA news agency reported, possibly restricting the movement’s political arm the Freedom and Justice Party.The ruling ratchets up an intensifying crackdown on the Brotherhood since the army’s July 3 overthrow of Morsi.Last month, security forces stormed two Cairo protest camps, sparking clashes in which hundreds of Islamist demonstrators were killed.The operation drew criticism of the military-installed interim authorities from foreign governments and human rights groups.A judicial source told AFP the court ruled that a government committee should be created to manage the Brotherhood’s seized assets.The Cairo court „ruled to ban all activities by the Muslim Brotherhood organisation, the group emanating from it and its non-governmental organisation,” MENA reported.The ruling may be appealed and overturned by a higher court.Formed in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood was banned for decades before a popular uprising overthrew its arch foe president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.It swept subsequent parliamentary elections and successfully fielded Morsi in last year’s presidential election.The new military-installed government now accuses the Brotherhood of „terrorism”, and police have arrested at least 2,000 of its members, including nearly all of its top leaders.In the past three years, the movement set up headquarters in a multi-storey building in Cairo and opened offices across the country for its Freedom and Justice Party.All these buildings are likely to be seized under the court order. If upheld, the ruling would also criminalise Brotherhood membership.View gallery.”Egyptian security forces arrest a protester during a demonstration in support of ousted Islamist pre …A government committee is to manage the confiscated assets until criminal courts deliver their verdicts in cases brought against jailed Brotherhood leaders.The Muslim Brotherhood „used the pure religion of Islam as a cover for activities that contradict true Islam and violate the law,” the court ruled.The decision further reduces the already remote chances of reconciliation between the interim authorities and the influential movement, which still has a loyal grass-roots base.”A ban represents a blunt approach in which there is no space for the Brotherhood in political and social life,” said Michael Hanna, an Egypt specialist with the New Yorkbased New Century think tank.Senior Brotherhood members had told AFP the movement was willing to concede its core demand for Morsi’s reinstatement, but wanted guarantees its imprisoned members would be released and its leaders would be allowed to operate freely.But the interim government feels little incentive to make a deal with the Brotherhood that would alter its roadmap for a new constitution and then elections by mid-2014, analysts say.The government says it is for the courts to decide whether to release the Brotherhood members currently in custody, who face charges including incitement to murder.More than 100 policemen have been killed in clashes with Morsi’s supporters since his overthrow.Dozens of churches and Christian-owned properties have also been torched by Islamists angry at the support given to the coup by the leadership of the Coptic Church.Under Morsi, the Brotherhood had tried to legalise its status by registering an NGO in its name.”There were issues of transparency that needed to be addressed in a legal fashion. It should have been allowed to re-register to clarify it’s funding stream,” Hanna said.The Brotherhood registered the NGO amid a court case examining the movement’s legality.But the registration, under a government minister belonging to the movement, was opaque and rushed, Hanna said.
Braves grab NL East title, beat Cubs 5-2View gallery JAY COHEN 6 hours ago CHICAGO (AP) — Freddie Freeman stood at the front of the cramped visiting clubhouse at Wrigley Field. Wearing a champagne-soaked gray T-shirt celebrating Atlanta’s NL East title, the big first baseman dreamed of more parties next month.”This is only one celebration of four, hopefully,” he said with a grin.Atlanta wrapped up the division crown, and then rode two homers by Andrelton Simmons to a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs that touched off a wild party for the victorious Braves.Sunday’s game was in the sixth inning when Washington lost 4-2 to Miami, giving the Braves their first NL East championship in eight years. There were a few high-fives in Atlanta’s dugout when the Marlins won, and a couple of Braves fans did the tomahawk chop in the stands.Manager Fredi Gonzalez high-fived a fan as he made his way to the dugout after a lineup change, and the celebration really picked up when Craig Kimbrel finished for his major league-best 49th save. The Braves poured out of the dugout and bullpen and jumped in a circle near the mound at the 99-year-old ballpark.View gallery.”Atlanta Braves’ Craig Kimbrel celebrates with teammates as he takes a drink after the Braves clinche …”What a great feeling,” Gonzalez said. „It really is a great feeling to realize we’ve played 150-some games to get to this point. We knew early on that the Nationals had lost but we still wanted to be able to celebrate and come out with a win. And we did.”The Braves sprayed bubbly and doused each other with beer during the clubhouse portion of the party. Cigars were passed around, and the smoke quickly filled the small room. A couple of players took a quick break to check on their fantasy football teams, and then rejoined the celebration.”We’re a young team and we’re still learning and we’re doing our jobs still,” Simmons said. „We’re only going to get better. So we’ve got to keep everybody healthy and we’ll be fine.”Simmons hit a solo drive in the fourth and a two-run shot in the eighth, giving him 17 homers on the year. It was more than enough run support for Julio Teheran (13-8), who struck out seven over six innings of one-run ball.The Cubs had a chance to tie it when they put runners on second and third with two outs in the fifth, but Teheran managed to escape the jam despite a solid at-bat by Starlin Castro. Teheran needed 11 pitches to get Castro for a swinging strikeout, preserving Atlanta’s 3-1 lead.View gallery.”Atlanta Braves players and coaches celebrate after the Braves defeated the Chicago Cubs 5-2 in a bas …”We have a lot of close games and we just haven’t been able to come back or rally at home,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said.Freeman also hit a two-run homer for the Braves, who have won three of four. Freeman went got three hits and is batting .356 (26 for 73) with six homers and 17 RBIs in his last 20 games.Freeman went deep in the first against Edwin Jackson (8-17), who allowed three runs and eight hits in six-plus innings. The right-hander leads the majors with 17 losses in his first season with the Cubs.”I kind of feel like I got beat with two pitches,” Jackson said, „moreso the slider 1-2 (to Simmons) than the fastball by Freeman.”Atlanta is headed to the playoffs for the second straight year and third time in four seasons. But it’s the first division title for the Braves since 2005, when they won 90 games and then lost to Houston in the division series.View gallery.”Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel, left, celebrates with pitcher David Hale after the Braves defea …The Braves were the NL’s top wild card a year ago, trying to make one more playoff run for Chipper Jones in the third baseman’s final season. Those hopes were quickly dashed when they committed three errors in a 6-3 home loss to St. Louis in their only game of the 2012 postseason.”We know last year what happened,” Simmons said. „We played pretty good but not good enough and we had to deal with a one-game playoff thing. It’s definitely a different feeling.”Now we know we’ve got some time, we’ve got some games to work with. We’ve got a little bit of time to rest our players.”The only question now is home-field advantage throughout the NL playoffs, with Atlanta, Los Angeles and St. Louis in the mix for the league’s best record.It’s quite the accomplishment for Gonzalez and the Braves, who were beset by injuries for much of the year. Veteran catcher Brian McCann missed the first month following offseason shoulder surgery. The outfield of Jason Heyward and brothers Justin and B.J. Upton all missed time. Second baseman Dan Uggla had eye surgery and pitcher Tim Hudson broke his right ankle in July, shelving the right-hander for the rest of the season.View gallery.”Atlanta Braves fan Terri Elias, from Atlanta, holds a sign after the Braves defeated the Chicago Cub …Atlanta kept going the way it often does — with outstanding pitching. Teheran, Mike Minor and Kris Medlen helped anchor the rotation, while Kimbrel led the Braves’ shutdown bullpen, which overcame injuries to left-handers Jonny Venters and Eric O’Flaherty to once again be among the majors’ best relief corps.Of course, the lineup had its share of key performances. Freeman blossomed into a feared slugger, unheralded rookie Evan Gattis stepped up and Chris Johnson proved to be a more than adequate replacement for Jones at third.”We had the injury bug with a lot of our starters,” Freeman said. „For us to overcome this and get everybody back and healthy going into the playoffs is pretty cool.”NOTES: The Braves went 5-1 against the Cubs this season … Minor (13-7, 3.19 ERA) is slated to face Milwaukee RHP Marco Estrada (6-4, 4.26 ERA) when the Braves return home to open a three-game series against the Brewers on Monday. … Cubs RHP Jeff Samardzija (8-12, 4.42 ERA) faces Pirates RHP Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.35 ERA) on Monday in the opener of a three-game series at Wrigley.___View gallery.”Atlanta Braves starter Julio Teheran throws against the Chicago Cubs during the first inning of a ba …Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
Abbas to honor promise to US to put UN bid on holdView galleryMOHAMMED DARAGHMEH 19 minutes ago RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — At this week’s annual top-level U.N. General Assembly meetings, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is honoring a promise to the U.S. to suspend a Palestinian quest for further U.N. recognition.But Palestinians have made clear that the strategy is not off the table, particularly if negotiations with Israel on Palestinian statehood don’t produce an agreement by April, the target proposed by Washington.A poll published Monday indicates overwhelming support among Palestinians for the most dramatic element of the „international strategy” — bringing up Israel on war crimes charges at the International Criminal Court in connection with Israel’s continued settlement-building on war-won lands that the Palestinians want for their state.For now, Abbas will stick to his promise to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who prodded Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiations in late July, after a five-year break. „We will not apply for any agency of the United Nations this time,” Riad Mansour, the head of the Palestinian mission at the U.N., said of the General Assembly meetings that began Monday.This year’s U.N. diplomacy is likely dominated by Syria’s civil war and Iran’s suspected nuclear ambitions. Abbas is addressing the plenum Thursday and is to meet a series of leaders, including President Barack Obama, on Tuesday. He is also set to talk with Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.View gallery.”Palestinians throw stones toward Israeli soldiers, not pictured, in the West Bank city of Hebron, Mo …A year ago, Abbas used the General Assembly gathering to lobby for recognition of Palestine as a nonmember observer state at the U.N. Two months later, the General Assembly overwhelmingly approved the request, recognizing a state of Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem — lands Israel occupied in 1967 — by a vote of 138-9, with 41 abstentions.Israel and the U.S. objected, arguing that such recognition harms attempts to negotiate the terms of Palestinian statehood in Israeli-Palestinian talks, with U.S. mediation. Talks between Abbas and then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had broken down in 2008, and Abbas and Olmert’s successor, Benjamin Netanyahu, failed to find sufficient common ground.Abbas has said U.N. recognition is not a bypass to negotiations, but meant to improve Palestinian leverage in the lopsided relationship between occupier and occupied. Palestinians say that in affirming the 1967 frontier, the U.N. helped counter Israeli attempts to blur that line through massive settlement building. More than a half-million Israelis now live on war-won lands, complicating any effort to partition the territory under a future peace deal.Palestinians resumed talks with Israel in July despite low expectations, and without getting Israel to freeze settlement-building first. Yet Abbas could not afford to rebuff Obama at the time by saying no. Israel’s promise to release 104 long-held Palestinian prisoners over the course of the talks also helped bring Abbas back to the table.Abbas, in turn, promised to suspend his U.N. strategy, which Israel fears will heighten its diplomatic isolation. As part of that strategy, the Palestinians would seek membership in a number of U.N. agencies. The most dramatic step would be to seek action by the International Criminal Court, though Abbas hasn’t yet given the green light.View gallery.”
View gallery U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is seen ahead of the United Nations (U.N.) General Assembly in New …NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will attend a meeting of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany this week, a U.S. official said on Monday.”Yes, he will,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, when asked if Kerry would take part in the meeting.The meeting was announced on Monday by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.The talks, aimed at addressing Western suspicions that Iran may be seeking to develop nuclear weapons, are to include Britain, China, France, Russia, the United States and Germany.(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Bill Trott)
Russia’s Putin says Syria violence could hit ex-Soviet blocAlexei Anishchuk 10 minutes ago PoliticsSyriaRussiaView gallery Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a meeting of leaders of the Collective Security Treaty …By Alexei Anishchuk SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin warned ex-Soviet allies on Monday that Islamist militancy fuelling the war in Syria could reach their countries, some of which have Muslim majorities.He said Russia would provide „additional collective assistance” to Tajikistan to guard its border with Afghanistan after the pullout of most foreign combat troops in 2014.Russia, which has a large Muslim minority of its own and is fighting an Islamist insurgency, has accused the West of helping militants by seeking Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s removal without paying enough attention to the potential consequences.Putin told leaders of the six-nation Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) that militants fighting Assad could eventually expand attacks beyond Syria and the Middle East.”The militant groups (in Syria) did not come out of nowhere, and they will not vanish into thin air,” Putin said.”The problem of terrorism spilling from one country to another is absolutely real and could directly affect the interests of any one of our countries,” he said, citing the deadly attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi as an example.”We are now witnessing a terrible tragedy unfold in Kenya. The militants came from another country, as far as we can judge, and are committing horrendous, bloody crimes,” Putin said at a CSTO summit in the Russian Black Sea resort city of Sochi.His words appeared to be a warning about violence spreading from both Syria and Afghanistan, which shares a long border with CSTO member Tajikistan in Central Asia.BORDER ASSISTANCE-Reiterating concerns violence could spread to former Soviet Central Asia and Russia after the pullout of most foreign combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014, he said CSTO nations agreed to draft a plan to protect the border.”We will provide additional collective assistance to Tajikistan to strengthen the Tajik-Afghan state border,” Putin said. He gave no details.Russian border guards used to patrol the Tajik frontier with Afghanistan but left in 2005.The CSTO security alliance also includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Armenia and Belarus. Tajikistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan all have mostly Muslim populations. Central Asian states Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, neither members of CSTO, also have frontiers with Afghanistan.Russian officials have expressed concern that Russian-born militants fighting in Syria could return to Russia’s North Caucasus and join an insurgency that claims lives almost daily.Russia has been one of Syria’s strongest backers in a conflict that has killed more than 100,000 people since it began in March 2011, delivering arms to Assad’s forces and joining China in blocking Western-backed initiatives in the U.N. Security Council.Russia, which has echoed Assad’s contention that he is fighting al Qaeda-inspired Islamists rather than a popular revolt, has warned the West that military intervention in Syria would play into the hands of the militants.Backing Moscow, the CSTO nations issued a joint statement after the summit saying that military action or other foreign intervention in Syria was „unacceptable” and would be illegal if carried out without the approval of the U.N. Security Council.(Editing by Alistair Lyon)
Rouhani says will present ‘true face of Iran’ at U.N.Marcus George 2 hours ago PoliticsForeign PolicyIranView galleryIranian President-elect Hassan Rohani gestures to the media during a news conference in Tehran June 17, By Marcus George DUBAI (Reuters) – President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday he would use his visit to the United Nations this week to present the „true face of Iran” and to pursue talks and cooperation with the West to end Iran’s nuclear dispute.A moderate conservative elected in June, Rouhani was speaking shortly before a five-day trip Western powers hope will shed light on a nuclear program they fear could yield nuclear arms. Iran has said it is pursuing peaceful ends, but recent, sometimes rancorous talks have served only to deepen suspicion.”Unfortunately in recent years the face of Iran, a great and civilized nation, has been presented in another way,” Rouhani said, according to comments published on his official website. „I and my colleagues will take the opportunity to present the true face of Iran as a cultured and peace-loving country,”Rouhani did not make clear who he blames for any distortion of Iran’s image. But the comments suggest he is intent on distancing himself from the controversial, outspoken approach to the West adopted by predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.The United States and its allies have imposed increasing economic sanctions on Iran in recent years, partly a response to what the West regards as Tehran’s failure to open its nuclear program to international inspection. Ahmadinejad had also raised concern with comments on the Holocaust and homosexuality.But Rouhani, a former nuclear negotiator under reformist president Mohammad Khatami, also targeted the West over sanctions he said had resulted in suffering.”On this trip, I will try to deliver the voice of the oppressed people of Iran to the world and we should say that sanctions are an illegal and unacceptable path,” he told journalists before leaving, his official website reported.”The West should opt for the path of talks and cooperation and consider mutual interests,” he said.SANCTIONS BITING–Rouhani has vowed to improve Iran’s ailing economy, which has suffered deeply as a result of the embargoes.Last week Rouhani’s tone was endorsed by Iran’s most powerful figure, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who spoke of „heroic flexibility”, suggesting a new willingness to engage in diplomacy with Iran’s adversaries.U.S. officials have left open the possibility that U.S. President Barack Obama and Rouhani could meet on the sidelines of the U.N. meeting, and a U.S. official has privately acknowledged the administration’s desire to engineer a handshake between the two leaders.Later on Monday, Iran’s foreign minister and lead nuclear negotiator, Mohammad Javad Zarif, is set to meet the European Union foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, formally starting the new era of negotiations between the two sides.An unnamed source close to Iran’s negotiators was quoting by the state news agency, IRNA, as saying that the talks between the two parties have been „completely transformed” by the election of Rouhani.”This is a new game and it will have new rules and the aim is to reach common points of agreement between both sides,” the source was quoted as saying.On Sunday, former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who is close to Rouhani, appeared to back Iran’s attempts to improve relations with the United States.Referring to a letter he had written to the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, years ago, Rafsanjani said that the meaning of negotiating was not submission. „We can negotiate if they accept our positions and we accept theirs. That is all,” read comments on his official website.(Reporting by Marcus George, Editing by William Maclean and Ralph Boulton)
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- Support a normal prostate size
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Update: Sampling Opportunity Available –Peak Life Prostate will be available at the retailers you trust in the coming months, but the maker of the supplement is currently offering 14-day samples to the public. If you are a man who is experiencing signs of an aging prostate, you can secure a sample of Peak Life Prostate by clicking here.The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. The FDA only evaluates foods and drugs, not supplements like these products. These products are not intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease.Results may vary. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking other medications, or have a serious medical condition, we suggest consulting with a physician before using a prostate health supplement. The information contained on this website is provided for general informational purposes only. It is not intended as, and should not be relied upon as, medical advice. The information may not apply to you, and before you use any of the information provided on the site, you should contact a qualified medical, dietary, fitness, or other appropriate professional. If you utilize any information provided on this site, you do so at your own risk and you specifically waive any right to make any claim against the author and publisher of this website and these materials as the result of the use of such information.The name has been changed to protect the privacy of the writer. Peak Life Prostate is a product of www.PeakLife.com and is responsible for all page content. All rights reserved. Terms of free trial: Try our 14-day free sample of Peak Life Prostate to discover how it can improve your prostate health. You pay only $4.99 for shipping and handling and have no obligation to buy anything in the future, as long as you call to cancel within 18 days of placing your order. Even if you cancel during the free-trial period, the product(s) are yours to keep and you won’t be charged anything other than what you pay today. No commitments, no hassles. If you don’t call us at 1-877-869-3304 to cancel within 18 days of ordering your free trial (we allow 4 days to process and ship your 14-day sample), you will be enrolled in our Peak Life Prostate home delivery program. As a member, you will be sent a one-month supply of Peak Life Prostate 18 days from now, and every 30 days thereafter, for just $69.99 plus $4.99 shipping and handling and applicable sales tax. Call to change the shipping frequency or cancel at any time with no penalty. I understand that this consumer transaction involves a negative option and that I may be liable for payment of future goods and services under the terms of the agreement if I fail to notify the supplier not to supply the goods or services described.