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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Obama Warns Iran that “Time Is Not Unlimited” to Avert Conflict

U.S. President Barack Obama told the United Nations General Assembly that time was running out for a diplomatic solution to the Iranian nuclear crisis. He told the assembled world leaders that there was “still time and space” for talks, but that “time was not unlimited”. “Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained. It would threaten the elimination of Israel, the security of Gulf nations, and the stability of the global economy. And that is why the United States will do what we must to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon”. Obama also spoke about the recent attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions and interests over an U.S.-produced, anti-Islam film, saying that “there is no video that justified the attack on an embassy” and that “there are no words that excuse the killing of innocents”.

U.N. Secretary General Issues Stark Warnings to General Assembly

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon opened the U.N. General Assembly with stark warnings on the possibility of peace between Israel and Palestine, the continuing conflict in Syria and the current state of Iranian-Israeli tensions. Ban said a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine would be “the only sustainable option”, but that the “door may be closing, for good”. He added that the “continued growth of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory seriously undermines efforts towards peace”. On Syria, described as a “calamity”, the Secretary General said that the “international community should not look the other way as violence spirals out of control” and that a Syrian-led transition should begin as soon as possible. Finally, on the recent tensions between Iran and Israel, Ban stated that he rejected “both the language of delegitimisation and threats of potential military action by one state against another. Any such attacks would be devastating”.

Queen Complained About U.K. Government’s Inability to Arrest Radical Islamic Cleric

The Queen expressed her concerns to the United Kingdom’s previous government over its inability to arrest radical Islamist cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri, according to a BBC security correspondent speaking on Radio 4′s Today show on Tuesday morning. Frank Gardner said the Queen told him she had spoken to a home secretary and lobbied the government official over the issue, saying that she had been “aghast” that there was no way to arrest the radical cleric. Any such comments by the British monarch could be construed as royal political interference, challenging the notion that the monarchy should remain politically neutral. The BBC apologised to Buckingham Palace later in the day, saying that it understood the conversation should have remained private and that the BBC and Gardner deeply regretted the breach of confidence.

Greek Need For More Time and Money Puts Rescue Package in Danger

German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung reported on Tuesday that Greece will need at least two more years and another €30 billion in order to meet the targets set by the troika, made up of the representatives of European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund. European sources told the newspaper that they now had a “fundamental problem”, given that Greece would enter its second aid package with a €10 billion deficit and a failure to implement the numerous measures that were planned, particularly the reforms to its arcane tax system and the sale of state properties. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras wanted another two years to fulfill the measures because of the dire state of the local economy, insisting that he could not cut government spending any quicker. Another source heard by the German daily said that the extra funding would be crucial to Greece’s permanence in the Eurozone, saying that it would be impossible if the money was not made available.

Humanitarian NGO Says Syrian Children Submitted to “Appalling” Trauma

Save the Children, an humanitarian NGO, has appealed to the United Nations to ask for a more thorough effort in documenting children’s’ rights violations during the civil war in Syria. The appeal was part of a report containing testimonies given by Syrian children describing a variety of atrocities and violations, as well as reports of torture committed against adults. Almost every child heard by the organisation had seen a family member being killed. Among them was the story of a 15-year-old boy that was tortured and burned with cigarettes. Another child said he was submitted to electric shocks and forced to share a cell with decomposing corpses. Cat Carter, a spokeswoman for the organisation, said that “the stuff I’ve heard from children is absolutely appalling. I’ve heard of children, as young as eight, helping to remove dead bodies from rubble, with their own hands”.
Syria

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