Top News: The permanent members of the U.N. Security Council have agreed to the draft of a resolution that will force the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to give up its chemical weapons. The deal is the result of a month of harried negotiations following a chemical weapons attack in the Ghouta neighborhood of Damascus on Aug. 21 which prompted President Obama to threaten punitive airstrikes, breaking the U.S.-Russian diplomatic impasse. The resolution could be approved as early as today, and weapons inspections could begin as early as next Tuesday.
Whether or not the resolution will enforce penalties on the Assad regime for noncompliance remains a point of contention. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power told reporters that "This resolution makes clear there will be consequences for noncompliance," but some remain skeptical that the consequences will be put in force. As Colum Lynch points out in FP, Russia has insisted that "a violation be ‘indisputable and proved' and that it must be of a particular ‘gravity' to merit the adoption of a new resolution," which could tie the hands of the United States and other nations looking to punish Syrian abuses. Langauge from previous drafts that would have referred Assad to the International Criminal Court in the event the agreement is violated was also withdrawn before the final draft.
Climate Change: The U.N. International Panel on Climate Change presented the findings of a six-year study, resulting from the input of 800 scientists and 50 editors. The report states with extreme confidence that humans have contributed to rising temperatures that are causing more frequent and severe storms. The report proposes setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions to slow rising temperatures.
- The United States signed the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty, despite longstanding pressure from the U.S. gun lobby. The law closely resembles regulations already in place in the United States
- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that he had canceled plans to attend the opening session of the U.N. General Assembly because of a plot "that could threaten his life."
- U.S. officials in Texas moved to seize $2.8 million believed to belong to the former governor of Coahuila, Mexico, who is accused of laundering graft money.
- Armed Pakistani militants stormed an Indian police station, killing 12 people, in advance of diplomatic talks next week.
- A new Asia-based cybercrime ring is breaking into the computers systems of U.S. defense contractors, according to Kaspersky Lab.
- The 17-year-old son of a famous Chinese singer was sentenced to 10 years for participating in a gangrape, sparking outcry online for the lenient sentence.
- Claims made last week by Tunisia's interior minister that Arab women are waging a "sex jihad" in Syria have been roundly debunked.
- Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif met with Secretary of State John Kerry and diplomats from the P5+1 to explore in what is widely perceived as a move to test the waters for nuclear negotiations.
- Two bombings in Baghdad, one targeting a market in a Shia neighborhood and another in a Sunni neighborhood, killed 23 people.
- Interpol issued an arrest warrant for Samantha Lewthwaite, the "white widow," who may have been involved in the al-Shabab attack at a mall in Nairobi, Kenya.
- Charles Taylor, the former president of Liberia, was sentenced to 50 years in prison for war crimes during Sierra Leone's civil war in the 1990s.
- At least 30 people are believed dead in riots over cuts to fuel subsidies in Sudan; the Sudanese government has severed the country's Internet access in an apparent effort to stifle reports of the unrest.
- A Russian court has ordered 17 Greenpeace activists arrested while trying to board an arctic oil platform to be held for two months.
- Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta left the opening of the new session of the United Nations to return to Rome to work on the country's political crisis, as Silvio Berlusconi and his People of Freedom Party threatens to withdraw from the governing coalition.
- Conservationists reported that efforts to protect European animal populations are succeeding.
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