International authorities authenticated sarin nerve agent inside two containers that Syria’s regime said it found in rebel-held territory, Reuters reports.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said President Bashar Assad’s forces allegedly recovered the substance last August, the month of a sarin-gas strike that killed hundreds of people in a Damascus suburb, the news agency said in a Monday article. Assad’s government recently finished handing over 1,300 metric tons of warfare substances under an agreement forged after the Aug. 21 incident, but the regime has continued to blame opponents for every chemical strike in Syria’s 3-year-old civil war.
A June 14 analysis by the United Nations and the world’s chemical-weapons watchdog “confirmed that these [cylinders] contained sarin,” Ban told the U.N. Security Council in a letter later that month.
Assad’s government said the containers had been “abandoned” and “did not belong to it,” according to a separate statement by Ahmet Üzümcü, director general of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. His agency last October said the regime had reported finding the cylinders, but it is unclear how long they have been in international custody.
The U.N. chief pressed for the elimination of the Syrian government’s remaining chemical-warfare assets “at the very earliest opportunity, including the destruction of remaining production facilities and the resolution of any possible remaining technical discrepancies in the original [stockpile] declaration.”
“When neutralization is complete, Cape Ray will deliver the result effluent by-products to Finland and Germany for destruction ashore,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said.
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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.”