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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Rouhani Tells UN Iran Poses ‘Absolutely No Threat’

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told the UN General Assembly on Tuesday that “Iran poses absolutely no threat to the world“, saying that “peace is within reach” and that his government was ready to negotiate with the international community over its nuclear programme and remove any “reasonable concerns over it”. He said he had “listened carefully to the statement made by President Obama”, adding that he hoped the two countries could “arrive at a framework to manage our differences and that “equal footing, mutual respect, and the recognised principles of international law should govern the interactions”. In an earlier speech, the US president said that he was “directing John Kerry to pursue this effort with the Iranian government, in close coordination with the European Union, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia and China”. His much anticipated meeting with the Iranian leader at the sidelines of the UN meeting did not happen, with American officials saying that Iranian counterparts had deemed arrangements “too complicated”.

Foreign Experts Join Kenyan Investigation

Forensic experts from the UK, the US and Israel joined Kenyan investigators combing the Westgate shopping centre for clues on the identities and motivations of the Islamist militants that laid siege to the complex for four days and killed over 60 people. Kenyan Secretary to the Cabinet Francis Kimenia tweeted the experts were “allowed to join the search”, with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta instructing the teams to keep the population “informed of the progress of the forensic investigations”. Several bodies are thought to be still trapped after three floors of the building collapsed, with Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku saying that he expected bodies of terrorists to be found. He did not confirm if there were any US or UK citizens among the attackers, but said that 10 people had been arrested in connection with the siege.

Miliband Hits Back at ‘Scare Stories’ Over Energy Price Freeze

Labour leader Ed Miliband dismissed claims from UK energy firms that his proposed price freeze would spark nationwide blackouts. “There are bound to be people coming up with scare stories … California was a totally different approach”, said Miliband, referring to Tory Energy Secretary Ed Davey’s claim that fixed prices in the US state resulted in a widespread electricity crisis and occasional blackouts. In a letter to the country’s six biggest energy companies, the Labour leader wrote that “you and I know that the public have lost faith in this market. There is a crisis of confidence. We face a stark choice. We can work together on the basis of this price freeze to make the market work in the future. Or you can reinforce in the public mind that you are part of the problem not the solution”.

More Than 300 Killed in Pakistani Earthquake

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake that hit Pakistan’s remote Balochistan province is believed to have killed more than 300 people, with relief efforts hampered by the distances involved in the rescue effort. “This is a huge, sparsely populated province so it’s clear that there are distant villages that no one has yet reached”, said Ateed Siddiqui, head of operations of the Pakistani Red Crescent. Another obstacle to the relief efforts were attacks from separatist Baloch rebels who, according to an army spokesman, were uninjured in a “minor incident” with the group in an area called Mashkel. A spokesman for the provincial government said that more than 300,000 people had been affected in the country’s worst earthquake since 2005. The force of the tremor also created a new island in the port town of Gwadar, pushing up mud, sand and rock from the seabed, though experts said erosion would wipe away the formation over time.

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