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Saudis See Oldest Ally on Wrong Track as U.S. Delays Syria Raids

By Glen Carey - Oct 2, 2013

Saudi Arabia, one of the oldest U.S. allies in the Middle East, is increasingly uncomfortable with the policies President Barack Obama is pursuing there.

At functions in Riyadh and on the local editorial pages, it’s becoming common to hear criticism of the U.S. The decision to back away from strikes against Syria was widely condemned by Saudis, who have backed the rebels fighting to oust Bashar al-Assad’s government and pushed for military action in their support.

Signs of a U.S. thaw with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival, have heightened the concern in the world’s biggest oil exporter. One result may be that the Saudis, who have worked with the U.S. to build up the Syrian political opposition, may start acting independently of their ally, said Mustafa Alani, an analyst at the Gulf Research Center in Geneva.

Saudi leaders from now on will “look at their own interests and act accordingly, whether the U.S. likes it or not,” Alani said. “The Saudis have more or less respected the U.S. veto for the past two years for supplying arms to the Syrian rebels. I don’t think this will happen any more.”



Kerry Says Spurning Iran Would Be Diplomatic Malpractice

Failing to test Iran’s sincerity in offering to negotiate a deal on its nuclear program would be “diplomatic malpractice,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, speaking at a joint news conference with Kerry in Tokyo today, also defended the U.S. willingness to talk to the new Iranian government, saying that “engagement is not appeasement, it is not surrender.”

The comments from the top U.S. diplomat and Pentagon chief were the first by senior Obama administration officials since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the world not to trust Iran in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly this week.

Western diplomats expressed optimism last week at the UN after agreeing to resume stalled international nuclear talks with Iran on Oct. 15-16 in Geneva. Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani and President Barack Obama had a 15-minute telephone conversation at the Iranian’s behest -- the highest-level encounter between the two governments since Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution.

Rouhani disavowed any interest in nuclear weapons at the UN and said Iran wants to swiftly calm international concerns over its nuclear program, while retaining the right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.



Deadly Dog Virus Strikes In Michigan, Quickly Kills Six; Mystery Illness Blamed For Ohio Dog Deaths

By: Julie Banovic, WXYZ
ANN ARBOR, Mich - A deadly dog virus has struck Ann Arbor, Michigan already quickly killing six. Veterinarians say it may spread from owners to their pets.

Veterinarians don't know exactly what kind of virus Brutus has, because there is no name for it yet. This is the first time the virus has been seen in metro Detroit and it's quickly killing dogs.

“Usually within about 12 to 24 hours of it starting,” said Dr. Lindsay Ruland of the Emergency Veterinary Hospital in Ann Arbor.

Dr. Ruland said Brutus and other dogs with the unknown virus are showing flu like symptoms. “Severe abdominal pain, often times bloody diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy,” she continued.

The virus is similar Circovirus that started getting dogs sick last year in San Diego. Cases of the illness have been reported all across Ohio, killing several dogs and causing the Ohio Department of Agriculture to investigate.

How the disease is transmitted is unknown. But canines with the virus appear to also have owners who are sick.

Read more: http://www.newsnet5.com/dpp/news/national/deadly-virus-getting-dogs-sick-in-metro-detroit-is-being-seen-in-michigan-for-the-first-time-wews1380818752477#ixzz2ggF5Ox8U

Troops Forage for Food While Golfers Play On in Shutdown

By Jeff Plungis, Mark Drajem and David Lerman - Oct 3, 2013

Grocery stores on Army bases in the U.S. are closed. The golf course at Andrews Air Force base is open.

All 128 employees of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. are working, while 3,000 safety inspectors employed by the Federal Aviation Administration are off the job.

The Food and Drug Administration is reviewing new pharmaceuticals. The National Institutes of Health is turning away new patients for clinical trials.

The seeming randomness of the U.S. government’s first shutdown in 17 years can be explained in part by anomalies in the spending Congress does and doesn’t control. Activities funded by fees from drug, financial-services and other companies are insulated from year-to-year budget dysfunction. The ones that get a budget from Congress get hit.

“What’s really happening in America is that the appropriations process has completely failed,” said Elaine Kamarck, a senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution in Washington who worked in the White House during the last shutdown in 1995-96.



Republican Governors Clash With Washington Over Shutdown

By William Selway - Oct 3, 2013

U.S. Republican governors faulted politicians in Washington for the budget standoff that shuttered the federal government for the first time in 17 years, saying it threatens to tarnish the party’s image.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said “dysfunction” in the nation’s capital is casting doubt over the party’s philosophy and clashes with how it has been implemented in the states.

“We are no longer going to outsource the Republican brand to the folks in Washington,” he said in statement. “Conservative principles, when turned into actual policies, are working out in the real world. But the dysfunction in Washington casts doubt on conservative ideas and whether they work or not.”

The comments highlight a divide among Republicans as the partial government shutdown entered its third day. House Republicans are seeking to use the budget negotiations to force changes to President Barack Obama’s health-care law. Obama and the Democrat-controlled Senate have refused.



Businesses Often Opposed to Government Beg for Its Return

By Jim Snyder, Brian Wingfield and Jonathan D. Salant - Oct 3, 2013

It seems for U.S. businesses, the only thing worse than too much government is no government at all.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce deployed its army of lobbyists to stress the importance to Capitol Hill lawmakers of ending the first partial government shutdown in 17 years. Across town, top Wall Street executives gathered at the White House and warned of the consequences if no resolution was found to the next crisis, a potential default on federal debt.

“This requires compromise by both sides,” Blair Latoff Holmes, a spokeswoman for the Washington-based Chamber of Commerce, which represents companies including Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Ford Motor Co. (F), said in an e-mail. “We will continue to hold discussions with lawmakers urging them to address this and stop kicking the can down the road.”

Pressure from the business community has worked in the past to forge compromise. In 2012, the Chamber of Commerce fought to secure the reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which helps foreign buyers purchase American exports, after Tea Party Republicans favoring limited government threatened to block an extension of the bank’s charter.

The Chamber also lobbied to end the 1996 government shutdown, which lasted a total of 21 days.



Shutdown Stalemate Continues; White House Meeting Unproductive

Source: CBS NEWS

President Obama's 70-minute White House meeting late Wednesday afternoon with congressional leaders, an effort to break the stalemate over the partial government shutdown, did nothing to help end the impasse.

"We had a nice conversation, light conversation," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said following the meeting, but noted the president repeated that he will not negotiate on dialing back Obamacare.

He added that he hopes that Mr. Obama and Democrats will have a serious discussion about resolving their differences with House Republicans.

"All we're asking for is a discussion and fairness for the American people under Obamacare," he said.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57605766/shutdown-stalemate-continues-white-house-meeting-unproductive/

Russia Expects India, Pakistan to Soon Be Full Members of SCO

MOSCOW, October 2 (RIA Novosti) – Russia expects that India and Pakistan will soon become full-fledged members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a post-Soviet Eurasian security bloc, Russia’s top diplomat said Wednesday.

India and Pakistan already have observer status in the SCO. But those states have applied to become full-fledged members, and final decisions on their accession should be made “in the foreseeable future,” Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a meeting with his Indian counterpart.

The bloc, founded in Shanghai in 2001, aims to consolidate efforts to counter terrorism and radicalization among member countries, and to coordinate work in other areas such as politics and trade.

Currently, the organization’s full-fledged members are Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Iran, Afghanistan and Mongolia also have observer status.


Chemical Arms Inspectors Open Base in Damascus

NEW YORK, October 1 (RIA Novosti) – An international team of experts on a mission to eliminate Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons opened a logistics base in the capital Damascus on Tuesday, the world’s chemical weapons watchdog said.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which has 189 member states, said in a statement that the Syria team comprised 19 chemical weapons experts and 14 UN officials. They arrived safely in Syria from Beirut, accompanied by Syrian government forces.

Earlier reports said the multinational group included representatives of Russia, the United States, the United Kingdom, the Czech Republic, Uzbekistan, China, Canada, the Netherlands and Tunisia.



Does the 'NY Times' think Netanyahu is American?

Tuesday’s New York Times editorial about Netanyahu’s “pushback” on Iran at the United Nations General Assembly doesn’t say much, except for implying that diplomacy is preferable to military force when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program. But what is noteworthy (and irksome) is the way in which the editorial board of the paper refers to the Israeli prime minister:

Mr. Netanyahu has legitimate reasons to be wary of any Iranian overtures, as do the United States and the four other major powers involved in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. But it could be disastrous if Mr. Netanyahu and his supporters in Congress were so blinded by distrust of Iran that they exaggerate the threat, block President Obama from taking advantage of new diplomatic openings and sabotage the best chance to establish a new relationship since the 1979 Iranian revolution sent American-Iranian relations into the deep freeze. (Emphasis mine)

“Mr. Netanyahu and his supporters in Congress?” Could you imagine any other world leader being written about in such a way? The wording makes it sound like Netanyahu is an American citizen and a member of the government – perhaps the senator of the 51st state? His name could very well be substituted in the sentence by any American politician, for example: “John McCain and his supporters,” “Eric Holder and his supporters,” or “Lindsey Graham and his supporters.” They all could have made just as much sense.

And why is it that the New York Times simply accepts that Netanyahu and his friends in Congress have the power to “block President Obama from taking advantage of new diplomatic openings?” Why not make the editorial about how ridiculous it is that Netanyahu could have such sway over American foreign policy?


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