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Friday, September 20, 2013

US Says Meeting with Iran at the UN is a Possibility

The White House hinted late on Thursday that a meeting between US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was indeed possible at the upcoming US General Assembly in New York, with White House spokesman Jay Carney saying that the US government had welcomed the recent rhetoric from Iran. “It’s possible, but it has always been possible. The extended hand has been there from the moment the president was sworn in”, said Carney. Meanwhile, Rouhani published an op-ed in the Washington Post calling for the West to “seize the opportunity presented by Iran’s recent election”. “I urge them to make the most of the mandate for prudent engagement that my people have given me and to respond genuinely to my government’s efforts to engage in constructive dialogue. Most of all, I urge them to look beyond the pines and be brave enough to tell me what they see — if not for their national interests, then for the sake of their legacies, and our children and future generations”, wrote Rouhani.

Syria Submits Information to Chemical Weapons Watchdog

The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has begun sending details of its chemical weapons programme to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Hague, the watchdog responsible for policing the Chemical Weapons Convention. The OPCW also said it expects more details from Syria, including a full list of its chemical weapons, by Saturday. Michael Luhan, a spokesman for the organisation, said that Syria’s current submission was an “initial declaration” and that it was being examined by the OPCW’s technical secretariat. Meanwhile, two rebel groups, the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the western-backed Free Syrian Army announced a truce in Aziz, near the Turkish border, in which the two groups agreed to exchange prisoners and property.

UKIP Leader To Oppose Immigration from Eastern Europe

Right-wing UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage opened his party’s conference in London on Friday by saying that he would oppose the “open-door” immigration from Eastern Europe by placing it as the main issue of its election campaign next year and that the party would “cause an earthquake” by coming first. He also claimed that Romanian immigrants were responsible for a crime wave in London. “There have been an astounding 27,500 arrests in the Metropolitan Police area in the last five years. 92 per cent of ATM crime is committed by Romanians. This gets to the heart of the immigration policy that UKIP wants, we should not welcome foreign criminal gangs and we must deport those who have committed offences”, he said. He also urged voters to make the next European elections in 2014 the real referendum on EU membership. “Let us stand up and say: Give us our country back”, he concluded.

Russia Seizes Greenpeace Ship in the Arctic Sea

Environmental NGO Greenpeace said that armed Russian officials had boarded one of its ships protesting oil drilling in the Arctic Sea and had detained 25 activists at gunpoint after they had scaled the country’s first offshore oil platform, the Prirazlomnaya, owned by state-controlled oil company Gazprom. Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) denied that the ship had been in international waters when it was seized, as claimed by Greenpeace. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that the ship was seized because the protest was “aggressive and provocative and bore outward signs of extremist activity that could lead to people’s deaths and other grave consequences”. Greenpeace Arctic oil campaign head Ben Ayliffe said that the activists had “done nothing to warrant this level of aggression and have been entirely peaceful throughout”.

Weekend Read: Inside the Apple Store

An Apple Store employee writes about life inside the glass, steel and wood monoliths and the company’s customers. “Every day, in every Apple Store, people flood to customer service, when what many truly need is therapy”. In McSweeney’s.

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