Top news: In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dramatically illustrated his commitment to keeping Iran from building a nuclear weapon by drawing a literal red line through a cartoon bomb. But in practice, Netanyahu may actually have softened his position by indicating that Iran would have enough enriched uranium to build a nuclear bomb "by next spring, at most by next summer at current enrichment rates." This seemed to indicate that Israel is not planning a military strike on Iran this year, and not before the U.S. presidential election in November.
While Netanyahu has openly clashed with the Obama administration over Iran in recent days, he praised the president's warning to Iran in his own UNGA speech, saying “I very much appreciate the president’s position, as does everyone in my country.”
Iran dismissed the allegations that it is seeking a nuclear weapon as “baseless and absurd”. Thursday also brought a report from the Israeli Foreign Ministry that international sanctions are having a much more damaging effect on Iran's economy than previously thought.
Netanyahu barely mentioned the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his speech, but Thursday also saw Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas launch a renewed bid for U.N. recognition. This time, Abbas is seeking for Palestine to be accorded the status of "non-member state," like the Vatican, after a big for full membership failed last year. Abbas also warned that the expansion of Israeli settlements on the West Bank is threatening the last chance for a two-state solution.
- Chinese and Japanese officials traded barbs over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands at the U.N.
- Myanmar President Thein Sein touted his country's recent reforms in his speech to the General Assembly.
- Most NATO troops have resumed joint operations with Afghan forces.
- Kenya claims to have captured the last Al Shabaab stronghold in Somalia.
- Sudan and South Sudan signed a long-awaited accord, by key issues including the disputed Abyei region are still unresolved.
- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tied the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya to the establishment of an al Qaeda safe haven in Northern Mali.
- Brutal fighting has been reported in Aleppo.
- Iraqi militants attacked a prison near Tikrit, killing 15 and freeing 80 prisoners.
- The U.S. is reducing staff at its embassy in Tripoli.
- Spain unveiled a package of sweeping spending cuts.
- Despite street protests, Greece's government agreed to a new round of budget cuts and tax increases.
- France unveiled a budget featuring aggressive tax increases.
- Mexican police arrested another top Zetas cartel leader.
- The president of Google Brazil agreed to take down a controversial video after losing a legal appeal and being briefly arrested.
- Uruguayan legislators voted to legalize abortion.