It is unclear if international authorities will have to abandon a June goal for destroying the Syrian regime’s chemical arsenal, the New York Times reports.
A new extended timeline reportedly gives Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime until April 27 to finish moving its chemical-warfare stocks to a coastal port for elimination outside the violence-plagued country. The new schedule would represent a delay of nearly three months from a Feb. 6 cutoff date, established last year, for the government in Damascus to finish placing materials on Danish and Norwegian transport ships docked at Latakia.
Officials still have not indicated whether the new schedule would require the U.N. Security Council to rethink its mandate for the chemical stockpile’s full elimination by the middle of this year, the Times reported on Wednesday.
Assad’s government agreed to relinquish the arsenal weeks after an August nerve-gas attack for which it never accepted blame. Syrian officials have cited security problems to explain delays in getting the materials to Latakia from points across the divided country.
Michael Luhan, a spokesman for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, said “it looks like things are being sorted out and that we are being given grounds for believing there will be regular movement now” of the Syrian stocks. The international watchdog agency said Assad’s government had handed over an initial cache of mustard blister agent at Latakia on Wednesday.
Still, envoys at the United Nations said the disarmament project’s pace may continue to produce concerns on the Security Council, despite Wednesday’s development.
“We are not in the realm of noncompliance yet, but we are getting increasingly restless,” said one envoy tied to the 15-nation body.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."