UN votes to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. Security Council has voted unanimously in favor of a resolution that calls for securing and destroying Syria's chemical weapons stockpile.
The agreement comes following weeks of tense negotiations. The talks were preceded by a U.S. call for a military strike against Syrian targets following the deaths of more than 1,000 people from chemical weapons.
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon called the resolution historic. But he warned it is not a license to kill with conventional weapons. Secretary of State John Kerry says the resolution will be strong, enforceable and precedent-setting.
The vote came just hours after the world's chemical weapons watchdog adopted a U.S.-Russian plan that lays out benchmarks and timelines for cataloguing, quarantining and ultimately destroying Syria's chemical weapons and delivery systems.
The Security Council resolution enshrines the plan approved by Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, making it legally binding.
Obama speaks to Rouhani, says Iran deal possible
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says he's spoken by phone with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
It's the first conversation between American and Iranian presidents in more than 30 years.
Obama says after speaking with Rouhani, he believes the U.S. and Iran can reach a comprehensive solution over Iran's nuclear program.
Obama says he and Rouhani have both directed their teams to work quickly to pursue an agreement. He says the U.S. will coordinate closely with its allies, including Israel, which considers an Iranian nuclear weapon capability to be an existential threat.
Obama says the conversation shows the possibility of moving forward.
Iranian and U.N. officials have been meeting to continue talks on how to investigate suspicions that Iran has worked secretly on trying to develop nuclear weapons. Tehran denies that claim.
Obama: GOP 'grandstanding' in budget battle
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says a failure to increase the government's borrowing authority would effectively shutter the economy.
Obama told reporters at the White House Friday that would have a 'profound destabilizing effect' on the U.S. and global economies.
He accused Republicans of "political grandstanding" and said what they really care about is "appeasing the tea party."
The government faces two looming deadlines. One is a potential government shutdown Oct. 1 if Congress doesn't approve a short-term spending bill. The other is a debt limit around Oct. 17 if Congress doesn't increase the government's borrowing authority.
Obama says failure to raise the debt ceiling would be far more dangerous than a government shutdown.
Obama has vowed not to negotiate on the debt ceiling.
Senate approves bill that would avert government shutdown
WASHINGTON (AP) — The battle continues between House Republicans and Senate Democrats -- and even among Republicans themselves -- over legislation that would prevent government agencies from closing next week.
The Senate approved that legislation, after stripping out a provision blocking money for President Barack Obama's health care law.
Some Senate conservatives tried to block final passage -- a move opposed by many Republican lawmakers who were worried that the tactic would only enhance the chances of a government shutdown for which Republicans would get the blame.
It remains unclear whether the Senate and the Republican-run House will be able to complete a compromise bill in time to get it to President Barack Obama for his signature before the government has to close.
BUDGET BATTLE-SHUTDOWN IMPACT
Shutdown impact: Tourists, homebuyers hit quickly
WASHINGTON (AP) — If the government "shuts down" next Tuesday, your mail will still come. Doctors will see Medicare patients. NASA will keep talking to the astronauts circling Earth on the Space Station. In fact, the majority of government will remain on the job.
The bad news would hit random Americans first: vacationers hoping to take in Mount Rushmore or a Smithsonian museum. Homebuyers seeking government-backed mortgages. Travelers who want new passports, quickly. Perhaps on the bright side — for some — tax audits would probably be suspended.
Troubles would spread the longer a shutdown lasted.
There could be delays in processing applications for new Social Security and Medicare benefits. And lost profits for businesses that sell to the government. Delayed or even lost pay for all those government workers.
UPDATE: Death toll climbs to 25 in India building collapse
MUMBAI, India (AP) — Authorities say 25 people are now confirmed dead in a collapsed apartment building in India's financial capital of Mumbai.
Rescuers working overnight pulled more bodies from the rubble. National Disaster Response Force commander Alok Awasthi said that 25 bodies were found by Saturday morning.
The five-story building caved in early Friday morning, trapping dozens and launching an intense rescue mission. At least 32 trapped residents, including a small girl found nearly 12 hours into the search, have been rescued.
The disaster was the third deadly building collapse in six months in Mumbai. India's high demand for housing, shoddy construction and lax inspections make such disasters relatively common.
UPDATE: NJ legal battle over gay marriage will continue
UNDTAED (AP) — The legal fight over gay marriage will continue in New Jersey despite a judge's ruling that same-sex couples can wed starting Oct. 21.
Within hours after Friday's ruling by a state trial judge, Gov. Chris Christie's administration announced plans to appeal to a higher state court. The Republican governor's decision was expected, but it casts some doubt on what will happen next.
Judge Mary Jacobson sided with a group of same-sex couples and a gay rights group that sued the state in July. They argued that the state is unconstitutionally blocking rights for its gay couples after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that allows the federal government to grant marriage benefits to same-sex couples.
New Jersey currently allows civil unions for same-gender couples.
NEW: Judge lifts order to keep NYC Sandy hotel program
NEW YORK (AP) — A judge has lifted an injunction that preserved a program providing New York City hotel rooms to 350 people made homeless by Superstorm Sandy.
State Supreme Court Judge Margaret Chan issued her decision Friday. The program could end Monday when the Federal Emergency Management Agency has said it will stop reimbursing the city for the program.
The city has spent $70 million housing the evacuees. More than 3,000 people have been sheltered by the program but 350 remain.
Housing advocates have said some evacuees will have nowhere else to go.
A spokeswoman for the Legal Aid Society didn't immediately return a request for comment. It was not clear if there would be an appeal.
The city says those without other housing arrangements can apply to stay in shelters.
UPDATE: SF DA: No charges yet in postgame fan stabbing
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — San Francisco's district attorney says he's not yet ready to file charges against a man arrested on suspicion of stabbing a Los Angeles Dodgers fan after a Giants-Dodgers game.
District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement late Friday that not all witnesses have been questioned, and no independent witnesses have been interviewed in the stabbing death of 24-year-old Jonathan Denver a few blocks from AT&T Park on Wednesday night.
Gascon said he has asked police to gather more evidence before his office decides whether to file charges against 21-year-old Michael Montgomery, who police said made "incriminating statements" after his arrest.
The district attorney did not say whether, or when, Montgomery would be released from custody. Police and prosecutors did not immediately reply to messages left late Friday.
NEW: Cholera kills 1, sickens 9 in Mexico
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's health authorities say cholera has killed one person and sickened at least another nine in central Mexico.
Mexico's Health Department says two cases were detected in Mexico City and the rest in the nearby state of Hidalgo, where one person died.
The department on Friday declared a health emergency for Hidalgo. Authorities said it's the same cholera strain that is sickening hundreds of people in Caribbean countries, including Cuba and the Dominican Republic.
Mexico City health authorities say they have intensified their surveillance of water treatment plants and water tanks and have launched a campaign to educate people about preventing getting infected.
Cholera is a waterborne disease can kill its victims quickly through severe dehydration, but it is treatable if detected in time.
Chinese police rescue 92 abducted children
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities say 92 abducted children have been rescued in a police operation that netted 301 suspects in a massive child trafficking scheme.
The Ministry of Public Security said late Friday that police forces from 11 provinces were involved in the operation to break up a network that stole, bought and sold children in Henan province in central China and other provinces, including Yunnan, Sichuan and Guangxi in the southwest.
Child abduction is a major problem in China where such police operations have become regular occurrences as authorities crack down on child trafficking. Strict family planning laws, a traditional preference for boys, ignorance of the law, poverty and illicit profits drive a thriving market in babies and children. China also plans to introduce laws to punish buyers of children.
Created: Sat, 28 Sep 2013 01:15:59 EST
Updated: Sat, 28 Sep 2013 01:15:59 EST