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Older News Archivescom0116
NEWS     MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 22, 2014     NEWS

General Motors Recalls Over 220,000 Sedans Over Fire Risk
General Motors is recalling 221,558 Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala sedans because the brake pads can stay partially engaged even when they're not needed, increasing the risk of a fire. The recall involves Cadillacs from the 2013-2015 model years and Impalas from the 2014 and 2015 model years. There are 205,309 vehicles affected in the U.S.; the rest of the vehicles are in Canada and elsewhere. GM says the electronic parking brake arm that applies pressure to the back of the brake pads may not fully retract after use. If the brake pads stay partially engaged with the rotor, excessive brake heat may result in a fire. GM says it knows of no accidents or injuries related to the defect. Fox News

Pope Francis Rebukes Religious Militants During Visit To Albania
During a trip to the mostly Muslim nation of Albania, Pope Francis rebuked militants who act in the name of religion, saying no one can act as the "armor of God."
The Pope lauded Albanians during a visit to the capital of Tirana, calling the Balkan nation one that proves "a peaceful and fruitful coexistence between persons and communities of believers of different religions is not only desirable, but possible and realistic." The pontiff didn't refer to any militant group by name. He denounced those who have perverted religious spirit and who are engaged in violence that prevents harmony between people of different faiths. CNN

Thousands March For Climate Change
Demonstrators are making their way through the streets of cities around the world in a series of global marches over climate change. People in over 160 countries are participating in the events, which organizers with PeoplesClimate.org were calling “the largest climate march in history.” Thousands filled the streets of New York City Sunday near Columbus Circle and Broadway, including actors Mark Ruffalo and Evangeline Lilly. In London, organizers said 40,000 took part including actress Emma Thompson and musician Peter Gabriel. A march in Melbourne, Australia drew 10,000 people. MSNBC

Gates Warns President’s Goal Of Destroying Islamic State Is ‘Very Ambitious’
Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned Sunday that President Obama’s vow to destroy the Islamic State is “very ambitious,” but that even degrading the terrorist group will require some American combat troops. “We’ve been at war with al Qaeda for 13 years. We haven’t destroyed it yet,” Mr. Gates said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We’ve changed it. We’ve certainly degraded in the Afghan-Pakistani area, but all you have to do is look around the world, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, to see that it’s still around,” Mr. Gates said. “So I think destroying probably is ambitious, at least in the foreseeable future.” Washington Times

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U.S. 'Gravely Concerned' About Syria Chemical Attacks
The U.S. is "gravely concerned" about the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons's findings last week of systematic and repeated chlorine attacks in northern Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry said in a written statement Sunday. "The Assad regime must know that it will be held to account for such use in the international community," Kerry said, noting that the report raises "especially troubling concerns that continued chemical attacks on the Syrian people by the regime could occur." ABC

G-20 Warns Of Potential Market Risks Amid Uneven Growth
Group of 20 finance chiefs and central bankers said low interest rates could lead to a potential increase in financial-market risk, as major economies rely on monetary stimulus to bolster uneven growth. “We are mindful of the potential for a build-up of excessive risk in financial markets, particularly in an environment of low interest rates and low asset price volatility,” the G-20 officials said yesterday in a communique released in Cairns, Australia. “We welcome the stronger economic conditions in some key economies, although growth in the global economy is uneven.” Bloomberg

Backers Seek Expansion Of Civil Rights Death Law
There has only been one prosecution under the Emmett Till Act, even though the law was passed with the promise of $135 million for police work and an army of federal agents to investigate unsolved killings from the civil rights era. Some deaths aren't even under review because of a quirk in the law. Still, proponents are laying the groundwork to extend and expand the act in hopes it's not too late for some families to get justice. In nearly six years since the signing of the law, named for a black Chicago teenager killed after flirting with a white woman in Mississippi in 1955, only one person has been prosecuted: A former Alabama trooper who pleaded guilty in 2010 to killing a black protester in 1965. Las Vegas Sun

US Secretary Of State Kerry Meets Iran’s Zarif
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif for talks expected to focus on the prospects of reaching an agreement on reducing Tehran's atomic activities in exchange for an end to nuclear-related sanctions on the Tehran. Their meeting Sunday comes on the third day of the latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and six world powers — the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany. The talks have been stalled for months over Iran's opposition to sharply reducing the size and output of centrifuges that can enrich uranium both to levels needed for reactor fuel or the core of nuclear warheads. UPI

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UN General Assembly To Focus On War On Extremists
A brutal terrorist organization that calls itself a state but lacks recognition from any government will take center stage when more than 140 heads of state and government convene for the annual ministerial meeting of the U.N. General Assembly this week. The head of the so-called Islamic State, a man called Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has not been invited. But the danger posed by his jihadi army will be the overriding theme for an international community horrified by its atrocities in Iraq and Syria, along with a growing concern about random beheadings or larger terror attacks at home inspired by militants abroad. Las Vegas Sun

White House Intruder Had A Knife
A man who scaled the fence surrounding the White House and made it just inside the North Portico of the building was carrying a knife, court records indicate.
Secret Service officers arrested Omar Gonzalez, 42, of Copperas Cove, Texas, Friday night after he allegedly attempted the breach. He was charged with unlawful entry while in possession of a deadly or dangerous weapon while appearing Saturday at the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. A police affidavit said a three-and-a-half-inch Spyderco VG-10 black, serrated folding knife was found in Gonzalez's pants pocket when he was arrested. UPI

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'A Peaceful, Selfless Man': Wife Of Captive Alan Henning Begs ISIS To Let Him Go
The wife of British hostage Alan Henning pleaded Saturday with ISIS to release him, describing her husband as a "peaceful, selfless man" who was only in Syria to help people in need. "I cannot see how it could assist any state's cause to allow the world to see a man like Alan dying," Barbara Henning said, according to a message released by the UK Foreign Office. Alan Henning, a taxi driver from near Manchester, England, was part of a team of volunteers that traveled to Syria in December to deliver food and water to people affected by the Middle Eastern country's devastating civil war. CNN

U.S. Senator Says No Place For Violence In NFL
Women of the U.S. Senate have taken notice and will speak up about how the National Football League has handled domestic abuse cases involving its players, a leading lawmaker said on Sunday. Several recent cases involving NFL players harming their partners or children have embarrassed the league, prompting NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to apologize on Friday and promise reforms. That has not silenced the criticism. "I think I can speak for all the women in the Senate by saying we're surprised, amazed, and very resolute to do something about it," California Senator Dianne Feinstein said on CBS' "Face the Nation." Reuters

Selling Mitch McConnell: What's Love Got To Do With It?
Mitch McConnell is hardly a lovable guy. The Republican leader in the U.S. Senate has a dour public persona and many of his constituents don't view him as a "real Kentuckian," according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll that underscores what his election campaign already knows - McConnell has an image problem. While other politicians might be deterred by polls showing how unpopular they are in their home state, McConnell has risen to the challenge as he seeks a sixth term in what is perhaps his toughest re-election battle in a 30-year Senate career. Reuters

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Will Tea Party, GOP Establishment Be 'Mending Fences' To Win Senate In November?
After a long, unapologetic effort to defeat Tea Party and other so-called “unelectable” candidates in GOP primaries, the Washington establishment will likely need Tea Party voters in November to help swing several tight Senate races and win control of the upper chamber. Republicans appear poised to win three of the net total six seats required to take the Senate. But they are locked in six other, too-close-to call contests in their effort to win the remaining three seats. The National Republican Senatorial Committee on Friday dismissed the notion that party voters are not united behind their candidates. Fox News

GOP Winning Midterm Intensity War
Even the most casual sports watcher knows that winning sometimes comes down to which team wants it more. And by that measure, six weeks away from the elections in November, Republicans are dominating the midterm game. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Annenberg poll shows that 54 percent of Republicans say they’re highly interested in the upcoming elections, compared to 44 percent of Democrats who say the same. Another way to look at the GOP intensity advantage: Democrats hold a four-point lead on the generic ballot, 46 percent to 42 percent. But among high-interest voters, Republicans have the edge, 51 percent to 43 percent. MSNBC

Iran’s Quds Force Aiding Iraqi Shiites With Obama Administration’s Blessing
Iran’s secretive Quds Force is becoming more active in Iraq alongside Iraqi soldiers and militias battling the Islamic State terrorist group, as the Obama administration sends signals welcoming Tehran to the fight. A source close to the U.S. special operations community said some elite Quds forces were on the ground last month when Iraqis recaptured the strategic Mosul Dam from Islamic State invaders. The Iraqis were aided overhead U.S. strike aircraft providing close-air support. Washington Times

Rand Paul Not Waiting For 2016 To Take On Hillary Clinton
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, isn't waiting until the 2016 election to formally kick off to start tearing into Hillary Clinton, the most prominent face among Democrats who might seek the nomination. Referencing a 2008 primary ad in which Clinton suggested then-candidate Barack Obama will not prepared to handle a major overnight crisis as president, Paul suggested the former secretary of state had proven herself incapable of doing so either. "I think she had a 3 a.m. moment. She didn't answer the phone, and I think it absolutely should preclude her from being [president]," he said at the California Republican convention, where he was speaking Saturday, according to the L.A. Times. Paul had just described Clinton's actions in the lead up to the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, which Paul offered as proof of her failure. CBS

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The Debate Over Common Core
It's that familiar time again: Back to school. But something unfamiliar is happening in this fifth grade Florida classroom. It's a whole new approach to education. "Who is ready to stand up as a team and be a lawyer, and be a group of lawyers, and defend their case with this?" asked the teacher. "Very often, the strategy is to have students talk about things with other students in the classroom; that's what happens in real life," said MaryEllen Elia, the superintendent of the Hillsborough County School District in Tampa, where K-12 learning is being transformed by a new set of high academic standards called the Common Core. CBS

Feds Censure Local Police, Yet Give Lethal Weapons
A Pentagon program that distributes military surplus gear to local law enforcement allows even departments that the Justice Department has censured for civil rights violations to apply for and get lethal weaponry. That lack of communication between two Cabinet agencies adds to questions about a program under review in the aftermath of the militarized police response to protesters in Ferguson, Missouri. The Pentagon, which provides the free surplus military equipment, says its consultation with the Justice Department will be looked at as the government reviews how to prevent high-powered weaponry from flowing to the untrustworthy. ABC

Bill Clinton Connects The Dots Of Ebola, Alibaba And Scotland
The Ebola crisis, the Alibaba IPO and the failed Scottish independence vote all fit in to what former President Bill Clinton said he sees as the defining trend of our time -- the need for effective, organic collaboration among nations, businesses and civil society to tackle challenges too complicated for anyone to deal with in isolation.
Clinton said the Scottish vote results should be "extremely reassuring all over Europe," where people have struggled to reconcile national identity and regional governance. The lesson to Clinton, if not to the 45 percent of Scots who voted for independence, is clear: "You can have your identity and be part of a larger whole." Bloomberg

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Israel Preparing Itself For When Things Change In Syria
The Syrian war raging since 2011 is "not ours, but we are preparing ourselves for the day when the situation will change," a senior IDF officer from the 210th territorial Habashan Division, based on the Golan Heights, said Sunday. Israel can deploy major firepower to the area if needed "within minutes," the source said, adding that "we don't need more forces here." The IDF will attack a Syrian army position in response to cross-border fire "only if it believes the position is tied to to the fire. We would never attack a position for no reason," said the officer. Jerusalem Post

More Countries To Launch Air Strikes In Syria
The United States has indications other countries are willing to launch air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria, its UN ambassador said on Sunday, predicting "we will not do the air strikes alone." US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power was asked on CBS' "Face the Nation" if Washington had any indication other countries were willing to launch air strikes in Syria. "We do," Power said. "But we're going to leave it to other nations to announce for themselves what their specific commitments to the coalition are going to be." Jerusalem Post

Yemen: Deal To End Political Crisis Signed
Under the deal, a new government will be formed and the Houthis and southern separatists will nominate a new prime minister within three days. It comes hours after the prime minister quit amid clashes between rebels and pro-government forces in the capital. Scores of people have died and hundreds fled as clashes escalated in Sanaa. On Sunday, the rebels said they had taken over government headquarters, key ministries and state broadcasters. As the fighting intensified, Mohammed Basindwa said he would resign in order to clear the way for the agreement between the rebels and President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi. BBC

Rick Perry Suggests Joan Rivers Might Not Have Died Under Texas Abortion Laws
Texas governor Rick Perry has suggested that the comedian Joan Rivers might not have died during a routine medical procedure had the New York outpatient clinic treating her been subject to the same kind of stringent standards required by Texas’s controversial new abortion laws. Rivers died, at the age of 81, in hospital earlier this month, a week after suffering a cardiac arrest during what was expected to be a minor throat procedure. Last year, amid intense protests, Perry signed into a law a bill containing some of the nation’s most stringent abortion restrictions. The bill includes the requirement that abortions be performed in ambulatory surgical centres and has led to the closure of about half of Texas’s clinics, many of which were unable to upgrade their facilities. Guardian

Barack Obama Urges United Nations To Set Up Global Ban On Fighters
Barack Obama is to press the UN security council to pass a sweeping new resolution that would impose global travel bans on fighters intent on enlisting in overseas wars, and could lead to sanctions on countries that fail or refuse to implement the new regime. US officials say the UN resolution, which will be personally pushed by Obama when he chairs a meeting of the security council on Wednesday, is supported by sufficient countries to pass a vote this week. But the diplomatic move will raise questions about UN intervention in the democratic processes of its member states. If passed, the resolution would require UN member states to implement and update their own national laws to tackle the flow of foreign fighters, including withholding travel documents and sharing airline information. Guardian

Pope Francis Asks Aides To Make Catholic Divorce Easier
Pope Francis has ordered a group of theologians and lawyers to come up with ways to help Catholics divorce more easily – a move which may help diffuse a bruising battle between liberals and conservatives at the Vatican. The 11-member commission, announced on Saturday, will seek to "simplify the (annulment) procedure, making it more streamlined, while safeguarding the principle of the indissolubility of marriage," the Vatican said. By undergoing a complex and often costly church procedure, Catholics can obtain annulments if they can show their marriage was not valid in the first place, perhaps because a partner declined to have children. Telegraph

Bone Paste Could Provide Treatment For Ostoeporosis
A liquid bone tissue is being developed by scientists that could help regenerate weak and fragile bones in patients suffering from osteoporosis. The paste is made up of porous calcium phosphate microspheres which contain stem cells to trigger new bone growth. This would be injected into specific areas of concern, providing a minimally invasive treatment for thinning bones. Calcium phosphate, which is the principle mineral in bones, provides a protective casing for the stem cells, which are very delicate and often die after being transplanted. Telegraph

Afghanistan: UN Welcomes Signing Of Agreement On Unity Government
After months of uncertainty, the United Nations has welcomed the agreement signed today by Afghanistan's two presidential candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, to establish a government of national unity as an important step to move the country towards a period of stability. “The uncertainty of the past months has taken a heavy toll on Afghanistan's security, economy and governance, said Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ján Kubiš, who formally witnessed the signing. UN News

Ban Welcomes Leonardo DiCaprio As New UN Messenger Of Peace Ahead Of Climate March
As the eyes of the world turn to New York City, where thousands of people are expected to gather tomorrow for a massive march in advance of a United Nations climate summit, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed UN Messenger of Peace, Leonardo DiCaprio, who he has hailed as the world body's “new voice for climate advocacy.” Mr. Ban announced the appointment of the renowned actor and dedicated environmentalist last week, telling reporters that Mr. DiCaprio's main focus as the Organization's newest Messenger of Peace would be climate change issues.  UN News

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