International authorities may fall short of their aim to destroy Syria’s most hazardous warfare chemicals before April, Reuters reports.
Transporting the top-priority substances to the Syrian coast from locations across the war-divided country has proven “quite challenging,” said Ahmet Üzümcü, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
His agency wants Syrian President Bashar Assad’s full chemical arsenal destroyed by the middle of this year. Disarmament personnel have focused first on removing Assad’s mustard blister agent and ingredients for sarin and VX nerve agents. These are to be destroyed on a specially equipped U.S. ship.
When questioned directly on whether the agency would meet the goal of eliminating the “priority” substances by March 31, Üzümcü noted that crews were unable to remove the materials by the end of December, as initially planned.
“From my point of view what is important is really the end [deadline] of June 2014, so we will do our best to meet it,” he said.
In comments issued afterward, the chemical-disarmament watchdog agency said Üzümcü “remains confident the deadline of 30 June 2014 for destroying Syria’s entire arsenal of chemical weapons can be met.”
Elaborating on the operation’s difficulty, Üzümcü said “the biggest area of concern is clearly the safe transportation of those weapons, chemical substances, from the sites in Syria to the port of Latakia.”
One Western envoy said a Danish transport vessel has so far taken custody of just one-twentieth of the sensitive materials. The priority chemicals eventually are slated to transfer onto a U.S. chemical-destruction vessel at Gioia Tauro, Italy.
Üzümcü said “some additional measures are being taken right now to reduce risks,” and noted he had met with Syrian officials on Wednesday to discuss protection of the warfare chemicals.
“We hope that we can move relatively quickly in the coming weeks,” he said.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom on Thursday announced it would hire a French firm to burn a separate cache of less dangerous Syrian chemical-arms ingredients at a facility near Liverpool, Reuters reported.
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Before we get to the specifics of this exposé about escorts working the Iowa and New Hampshire primary crowds, let’s get three things out of the way: 1.) It’s from Cosmopolitan; 2.) most of the women quoted use fake (if colorful) names; and 3.) again, it’s from Cosmopolitan. That said, here’s what we learned:
- Business was booming: one escort who says she typically gets two inquiries a weekend got 15 requests in the pre-primary weekend.
- Their primary season clientele is a bit older than normal—”40s through mid-60s, compared with mostly twentysomething regulars” and “they’ve clearly done this before.”
- They seemed more nervous than other clients, because “the stakes are higher when you’re working for a possible future president” but “all practiced impeccable manners.”
- One escort “typically enjoy[s] the company of Democrats more, just because I feel like our views line up a lot more.”
No matter where you stand on mandating companies to include a backdoor in encryption technologies, it doesn’t make sense to allow that decision to be made on a state level. “The problem with state-level legislation of this nature is that it manages to be both wildly impractical and entirely unenforceable,” writes Brian Barrett at Wired. There is a solution to this problem. “California Congressman Ted Lieu has introduced the ‘Ensuring National Constitutional Rights for Your Private Telecommunications Act of 2016,’ which we’ll call ENCRYPT. It’s a short, straightforward bill with a simple aim: to preempt states from attempting to implement their own anti-encryption policies at a state level.”
Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
The New Covenant. The Third Way. The Democratic Leadership Council style. Call it what you will, but whatever centrist triangulation Bill Clinton embraced in 1992, Hillary Clinton wants no part of it in 2016. Writing for Bloomberg, Sasha Issenberg and Margaret Talev explore how Hillary’s campaign has “diverged pointedly” from what made Bill so successful: “For Hillary to survive, Clintonism had to die.” Bill’s positions in 1992—from capital punishment to free trade—“represented a carefully calibrated diversion from the liberal orthodoxy of the previous decade.” But in New Hampshire, Hillary “worked to juggle nostalgia for past Clinton primary campaigns in the state with the fact that the Bill of 1992 or the Hillary of 2008 would likely be a marginal figure within today’s Democratic politics.”
At first, “it was pleasant” to see Trevor Noah “smiling away and deeply dimpling in the Stewart seat, the seat that had lately grown gray hairs,” writes The Atlantic‘s James Parker in assessing the new host of the once-indispensable Daily Show. But where Jon Stewart was a heavyweight, Noah is “a very able lightweight, [who] needs time too. But he won’t get any. As a culture, we’re not about to nurture this talent, to give it room to grow. Our patience was exhausted long ago, by some other guy. We’re going to pass judgment and move on. There’s a reason Simon Cowell is so rich. Impress us today or get thee hence. So it comes to this: It’s now or never, Trevor.”