Syrian President Bashar Assad’s top envoy on Tuesday said Damascus has agreed to give up its chemical arsenal in a bid to avert a possible U.S. strike, USA Today reported.
The government in Damascus on Monday “held a round of very fruitful negotiations with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and he put forward an initiative regarding chemical weapons. Already in the evening we accepted Russia’s initiative,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said.
Assad’s government acceded to the request in order to “derail the U.S. aggression,” al-Moualem said.
France is developing a U.N. Security Council proposal aimed at implementing the Russian initiative, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius suggested the measure would serve to clarify the positions of Moscow and Beijing. The two governments so far have prevented the 15-nation body from approving punitive measures against Damascus for its tactics in the Syrian civil war, now in its third year.
It still was uncertain if Russia would agree to the French text, according to the Post. Moscow has questioned Western assertions that Assad’s regime employed nerve gas last month in an attack that U.S. officials contend was responsible for more than 1,400 deaths.
President Obama, who is set to give a televised speech on Syria on Tuesday evening, on Monday said his administration “will pursue this diplomatic track.”
“I fervently hope that this can be resolved in a nonmilitary way,” he told Fox News in an interview — one among a half-dozen television appearances the president made on Monday aimed at generating public and congressional support for his Syria approach.
“I have instructed John Kerry to talk directly to the Russians and run this to ground,” Obama told the “PBS NewsHour.” “And if we can exhaust these diplomatic efforts and come up with a formula that gives the international community a verifiable, enforceable mechanism to deal with these chemical weapons in Syria, then I’m all for it.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Monday delayed a vote previously planned for Wednesday on authorizing the use of military force against Assad’s regime.
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The New Yorker has endorsed Hillary Clinton, saying that "barring some astonishment," she will become the next president. Calling Clinton "distinctly capable," the magazine excoriates Donald Trump as a candidate who "favors conspiracy theory and fantasy, deriving his knowledge from the darker recesses of the Internet and 'the shows.'" Additionally, the historical nature of the possibility of "send[ing] a woman to the White House" is not lost on the editors, who note the possibility more than once in the endorsement.
AT&T agreed to a deal on Saturday to buy Time Warner Inc. for a reported $85.4 billion, a merger that would turn AT&T into a media giant. The two companies announced that they hope to have the deal closed by the end of 2017. However, the completion of the deal will likely not be smooth sailing, as the deal faces potential backlash from antitrust workers, as well as lawmakers. Following the merger's announcement, multiple lawmakers raised skepticism and said they plan to scrutinize the deal further, with Minn. Sen. Amy Klobuchar calling for a hearing.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal, owned by casino magnate and GOP donor Sheldon Adelson, became the first major city newspaper to endorse Donald Trump over the weekend.“Mr. Trump represents neither the danger his critics claim nor the magic elixir many of his supporters crave,” the editorial read, acknowledging concerns about Trump’s temperament. “But neither candidate will ever be called to the dais to accept an award for moral probity and character,” the paper said. “And we are already distressingly familiar with the Clinton way, which involves turning public service into an orgy of influence peddling and entitlement designed to line their own pockets — precisely what a disgruntled electorate now rises up to protest.”
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President Obama "will make a late splash into races for state senate and assembly over the next week, endorsing roughly 150 candidates across 20 states. He’ll also back a candidate for the North Carolina Supreme Court. The endorsements — which will come along with a variety of robocalls, social media posts, mailers, photos of Obama with the candidates taken as he’s been traveling to campaign in recent weeks, and even a few radio ads — are Obama’s biggest investment in state races ever by far."