New chemical-disarmament steps by the Syrian government prompted praise from Washington’s top diplomat on Monday, hours after Damascus destroyed the first of its warfare materials under international supervision.
“I’m not going to vouch today for what happens months down the road, but it’s a good beginning, and we should welcome a good beginning,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said in a morning press conference in Bali, Indonesia.
On Sunday, Syrian-government workers started using power tools to cut apart gear such as “missile warheads, aerial bombs and mixing-and-filling equipment,” the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said in a statement. “The process will continue in the coming days.”
Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime faces a Nov. 1 deadline to fully dismantle its capability to produce chemical weapons. Destroying the government’s chemical-warfare substances is slated to take longer, and the process could involve mass shipment of the materials out of Syrian territory, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
Chemical weapons analyst Jean Pascal Zanders, though, said “there is no way they can get around” a ban on transferring such agents between states parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Christian Science Monitor reported on Sunday.
Obama administration insiders said Damascus apparently was transferring chemical arms to several gathering points, a possible signal of its intention to support international plans to eliminate the weapons, the Washington Post reported on Saturday.
One issue expert, though, referenced actions by Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to argue that Assad “could use the rights afforded to him under the Chemical Weapons Convention … to thwart the work” of international disarmament crews.
As in prewar Iraq, Assad “rolled out the welcome mat for inspectors, then stalled them while trying to destroy incriminating evidence,” said Amy Smithson, a senior fellow at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies.
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Thirty-five years after he tried to kill President Reagan, John Hinckley Jr. has been freed. "A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has granted a request for Hinckley to leave the mental hospital where he's lived for decades, to go live full-time with his elderly mother in Williamsburg, VA. The release could happen as early as next week, the judge ruled. Under the terms of his order, Hinckley is not allowed to contact his victims, their relatives or actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was obsessed. Hinckley also will not be permitted to 'knowingly travel' to areas where the current president or members or Congress are present. The judge said Hinckley could be allowed to live on his own or in a group home after one year.
“In the spring of 1971, I met a girl,” started Bill Clinton. In his speech Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention, Clinton brought a personal touch, telling parallel stories of his relationship with Hillary Clinton and the work she has done throughout her career. He lauded the Democratic nominee for her career of work, touching on her earliest days of advocacy for children and those with disabilities while in law school, her role as Secretary of State, and her work in raising their daughter, Chelsea. Providing a number of anecdotes throughout the speech, Clinton built to a crescendo, imploring the audience to support his wife for president. "You should elect her, she'll never quit when the going gets tough," he said. "Your children and grandchildren will be grateful."
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With the South Dakota delegation announcing its delegate count, Hillary Rodham Clinton is officially the Democratic nominee for president, surpassing the 2383 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. Clinton is expected to speak at the convention on Thursday night and officially accept the nomination.
About 5,500, according to official estimates. "The Monday figures marked a large increase from the protests at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, where even the largest protests only drew a couple of hundred demonstrators. But it’s a far cry from the 35,000 to 50,000 that Philadelphia city officials initially expected."