Aifter marathon talks that finally ended early Sunday morning, the United States and five other world powers reached an agreement with Iran to halt much of Iran’s nuclear program, and some elements would even be rolled back. It was the first time in nearly a decade, American officials said, that steps were taken to halt much of Iran’s nuclear program and roll some elements of it back.
The freeze would last six months, with the aim of giving international negotiators time to pursue the far more challenging task of drafting a comprehensive accord that would ratchet back much of Iran’s nuclear program and ensure that it could be used only for peaceful purposes.
“We have reached agreement,” Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s chief foreign policy official, posted on Twitter on Sunday morning.
According to the accord, Iran would agree to stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent. To make good on that pledge, Iran would dismantle the links between networks of centrifuges.
All of Iran’s stockpile of uranium that has been enriched to 20 percent, a short hop to weapons-grade fuel, would be diluted or converted into oxide so that it could not be readily used for military purposes.
No new centrifuges, neither old models nor newer more efficient ones, could be installed. Centrifuges that have been installed but which are not currently operating — Iran has more than 8,000 such centrifuges — could not be started up. No new enrichment facilities could be established.
The agreement, however, would not require Iran to stop enriching uranium to a level of 3.5 percent or dismantle any of its existing centrifuges.
Iran’s stockpile of such low-enriched uranium would be allowed to temporarily increase to about eight tons from seven tons currently. But Tehran would be required to shrink this stockpile by the end of the six-month agreement back to seven tons. This would be done by installing equipment to covert some of that stockpile to oxide.
To guard against cheating, international monitors would be allowed to visit the Natanz enrichment facility and the underground nuclear enrichment plant at Fordo on a daily basis to check the film from cameras installed there.
In return for the initial agreement, the United States has agreed to provide $6 billion to $7 billion in sanctions relief, American officials said. This limited sanctions relief can be accomplished by executive order, allowing the Obama administration to make the deal without having to appeal to Congress, where there is strong criticism of any agreement that does not fully dismantle Iran’s nuclear program.
A historic deal was struck early Sunday between Iran and six world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program, a first step in ending a decades-long standoff over the country’s nuclear intentions.
The agreement was expected to be signed within hours, capping days of marathon talks where diplomats worked to overcome issues surrounding the wording of an initial agreement that reportedly would temporarily freeze Iran’s Iran’s nuclear development program and lift some sanctions while a more formal deal is worked out.
“At three o’clock in the morning on the fifth day, white smoke in the negotiations!” Iran Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araghchi said in a post on Twitter.
The spokesman for the European Union, Michael Mann, also took to Twitter to tout the success: “We have reached agreement.”
Details of agreement were expected to be released shortly by Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy chief, in Geneva where the foreign ministers representing Iran, the United States, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany were meeting.
President Obama said Saturday that an interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program is “an important first step,” and again vowed to prevent Tehran from obtaining the means to make nuclear weapons.
The agreement opens “a new path to a world that is more secure,” Obama said in a brief remarks at the White House.
He spoke just after U.S. and international partners negotiated a six-month interim deal with Iran, which agreed to limit nuclear activities in return for relief from some $6.1 billion in sanctions that have hurt its economy.
Obama pledged to work with Congress moving forward, but indicated he would oppose proposals for new sanctions because they would “derail this promising first step” and risk a possible military confrontation. Obama stressed that sanctions can be re-applied and strengthened if Iran violates the agreement over the next six months.
“Iran cannot use negotiations as cover to advance its (nuclear) program,” Obama said.
The president again pledged to block Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and “only diplomacy can bring about a durable solution.
The interim deal is put in place while the parties negotiate a broader agreement, one in which Iran forgoes the ability to make nuclear weapons
Israel is likely to oppose the agreement. Officials there have said that Iran cannot be trusted and is determined to make nuclear weapons.
Dave Solimini, a spokesman for Democratic-leaning Truman Project, a Washington-based national security group, said the interim agreement proves that years of sanctions against Iran have worked.
This is breaking news so this is about all there is so far.
BREAKING: Boehner surrenders: “Blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us.”
A vote on the bill to avert a default and reopen the government is expected as early as this evening.
Update 3: House Speaker John Boehner hasreleased a statement about the agreement, promising to support the Senate’s bill: “Blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us. In addition to the risk of default, doing so would open the door for the Democratic majority in Washington to raise taxes again…our drive to stop the train wreck that is the president’s health care law will continue. We will rely on aggressive oversight that highlights the law’s massive flaws and smart, targeted strikes that split the legislative coalition the president has relied upon to force his health care law on the American people.”
Senate leaders have forged an 11th-hour deal to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, and House Speaker John Boehner is expected to bring the bill up for a vote,Politico and other media outlets reported Wednesday morning. If the bill passes and arrives on President Obama’s desk by the October 17 deadline, the US government will reopen until January 15, and the debt ceiling will be raised until February 7, delaying the budgetary and debt ceiling crises and leaving President Obama’s signature health care bill largely intact.
In an interview on a local radio station, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) conceded that Republicans “didn’t win” the current budget debate.
“We’ve been locked into a fight over here, trying to bring government down to size, trying to do our best to stop Obamacare,” Boehner said. “We fought the good fight; we just didn’t win.”
Boehner also said he would “absolutely” allow a vote on the Senate plan even if a majority of House Republicans don’t support the bill.
“There’s no reason for our members to vote ‘no’ today,” Boehner said, adding that he expected the vote to happen Thursday.
Representative Paul Ryan wanted big policy changes to lift the U.S. debt ceiling: a revamp of Social Security and Medicare, a framework for tax-code changes and approval of the $5.3 billion Keystone XL pipeline.
That’s all on hold now. Lawmakers are moving to adopt legislation to end the 16-day partial government shutdown and continue paying the nation’s bills. Ryan’s ideas for fixing the crisis weren’t included in a Senate compromise that may come up for votes today.
Instead, the Republican Party’s fiscal-policy leader and its 2012 vice presidential nominee will have to wait for budget negotiations in the coming weeks that are envisioned in an emerging Senate agreement to end the current impasse.
Ryan’s limited role in the immediate talks risks diminishing his credentials before 2016, when the Budget Committee chairman could be a White House contender, said Julian Zelizer, a professor of public affairs and history at Princeton University in New Jersey.
“There was a moment in recent days where it seemed like he would try to emerge in the spotlight, to help be the driver. But it didn’t happen,” Zelizer said. “He’s not a key figure.”
Tweets of Note:
Boehner expects the government to reopen tomorrow http://huff.to/19QLdgo
Freedomworks CEO: House GOP ‘yes’ votes on Senate deal should be ready for primary challengers http://bit.ly/19SrU8k
Michele Bachmann has announced her retirement. She announced that this term–her fourth one–would be her last. Who else but James Carville could put it like this?
Veteran Democratic strategist James Carville predicted on Wednesday that Republicans throughout the country would be “relieved” Rep. Michele Bachmann has decided to retire.
“Sad day,” Carville quipped on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when host Joe Scarborough mentioned Bachmann’s retirement.
“It makes me so sad and you so happy, Joe,” Carville said later. “God closes one door for Michelle Bachmann and opens three to Louie Gohmert. Everybody in a political party feels some sense of: ‘God, why can’t these people just shut up?’ We have many of them in the Democratic party that I’m not going to name right now, but I do think there are a lot of Republicans that are going to be relieved that some of these fringe people decide to pursue a speaking career.”
There are several thoughts going through my mind. First, maybe she wants to try to go the Palin route and make some money. She may be a religious nutter, but she did say fewer stupid things in her presidential debates. She at least his some facts at hand and could make a go of it at Fox. Second, she is under investigation for irregularities in her campaign finances and aids have said she had a weird relationship with one of her advisers. Given she is married to an obviously gay man, she may have been ripe for all kinds of things we don’t know about yet that could come out. The FBI is investigating her.
A recent study by PolitiFact found that she was one of the most dishonest politicians inside the Beltway. That’ s even though she stopped at nothing to call President Obama all manner of names. Of course, Republicans have so much nerve that a dishonest GOP pol would never admit he or she is dishonest. That reminds me of her intro to “Lying Ass B*tch” on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.” I think Quest Love was on to something then…..
Representative Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota Republican who made an ill-fated run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, announced Wednesday that she would not seek a fifth term in Congress next year.
She made the announcement just six months after being re-elected in what was her most challenging campaign since she was first elected to Congress nine years ago. Her announcement also comes as her former presidential campaign faces inquiries into its fund-raising activities.
“I have decided next year I will not seek a fifth congressional term,” she said in a video on her campaign Web site. “This decision was not impacted in any way by the recent inquiries into the activities of my former presidential campaign or my former presidential staff,” she added. … In her congressional race last year, Mrs. Bachmann won re-election by just 4,200 votes, beating the hotelier Jim Graves, who was greatly outspent. Mr. Graves recently announced that he would seek the seat again.
Michele Bachmann also added: “[T]he law limits anyone from serving as president of the United States for more than eight years. And in my opinion, well, eight years is also long enough for any individual to serve as a representative for a specific congressional district.” Sorry, but she’s not just stepping aside because she believes she should only serve eight years in Congress. She may have decided to cut and run a week after reports that thw FBI is probing her campaign finances.
The FBI probe would undoubtedly play out in an election. Minnesota is an unbelievably squeaky clean state and really hates any kind of improprieties.
The FBI is scheduling interviews related to allegations of financial impropriety in Rep. Michele Bachmann’s 2012 campaign.
An attorney for Andy Parrish, the Minnesota Republican’s former chief of staff, confirmed that he will be interviewed by the FBI next week. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that two other former Bachmann staffers have also been contacted.
Peter Waldron, who served as Bachmann’s national field coordinator in Iowa, has filed a Federal Elections Commission complaint alleging that the lawmaker’s campaign improperly used leadership PAC funds to pay presidential campaign staff — including national political director Guy Short — and concealed payments to state Sen. Kent Sorenson. Waldron would not confirm or deny that he had been contacted by the FBI.
We haven’t been exactly kind to Bachmann here even though she is a woman in politics. But, any one with her agenda is a friend to no woman. Her outspoken hatred of gays, her race-baiting, and just general creepiness when it comes to crack pot religious beliefs puts her in the “not to be taken seriously” category. I am personally glad that both Palin and Bachmann will fade into no where. You hate to have bad role models for girls being given face time on national air waves. Plus, when they fight for policies that so obviously hurt women, they become the most effective tools of injustice. I really hate that too. Anyway, it’s garbage day tomorrow. Nice to see that some of the trash has been taken out early.
Well, today is Mother’s Day and before I get to the fun stuff we have some big things going on. In fact, in this first post I will focus on some major breaking news and other updates that happened overnight.
There is quite a turn of events out in California…Brother arrested in fatal stabbing of Valley Springs girl
Leila Fowler found stabbed to death April 27
The 12-year-old brother of a Valley Springs girl found stabbed to death in her home last month was arrested Saturday.
Several classmates of the 12-year-old boy, and parents of those classmates, told KCRA 3 that the boy’s name is Isaiah Fowler. The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department would not confirm the boy’s identity.
The classmates said Isaiah Fowler was at his sister’s vigil that took place just days after the girl’s death.
Valley Springs residents who knew the family said Saturday after the arrest was announced that they are shocked by the news and that Leila Fowler and her brother were close.
This was a horrifying crime, with a very intense search for the murderer.
Investigators did a door-to-door sweep of homes, storage sheds and horse stables scattered across the oak-studded hills foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Divers also searched two nearby reservoirs in search of clues.
As part of the investigation, authorities seized several knives from the home Leila shared with her father, stepmother and siblings to determine if one could have inflicted the fatal wounds. A neighbor who told detectives she saw a man flee the Fowler home later recanted the story and was discredited by police.
Leila’s brother was taken into custody at 5:10 p.m. Saturday and police hastily called a news conference to announce the arrest.
“Citizens of Calaveras County, you can sleep a little better tonight,” Kuntz said.
Authorities spent over 2,000 hours on the investigation “to provide Leila Fowler’s family answers to her death,” the sheriff said.
The brother said he found his sister dead and reported it to the police saying he saw a tall man with long gray hair leaving his house.
This is one story I am sure we will learn more of as the day progresses. Can you imagine, what a hellish Mother’s day for this woman. One daughter murdered at the hands of her son.
Well we had another one, this time in Texas 5-Year-Old Shot In Head By Another Child
A five-year-old boy in Denton, Texas was left in critical condition after he was shot in the head by his eight-year-old friend Saturday morning. According to the Denton Record-Chronicle, the police said the two boys were alone in the bedroom when the older child found a .22 caliber rifle, pointed it at the other boy, and shot him.
Police said they are investigating the incident as an accident. The family of the victim said two adults, one teenager, and two other children were in the home with the two boys when the incident occurred at about 11:30 AM.
Fortunately, this time the little boy is in critical condition…hopefully he will pull through.
Updated: Sunday, May 12, 6:49 AM
A standoff with an armed man who took multiple hostages inside a Trenton home has ended, and three children are safe, police said early Sunday.
Word of the confrontation’s conclusion came a short while after the standoff, which had had prompted the evacuation of nearby homes, entered its third day.
“The Trenton hostage situation is resolved, the three children are safe, and the area is secure,” state police Sgt. Adam Grossman told The Associated Press, delivering a joint statement also from Trenton police and county prosecutors.
Grossman said the standoff ended at 3:45 a.m. Sunday but refused to reveal any more details, including how it ended, what became of the gunman, any information about the children, and if there were any other hostages.
Grossman said more details will be released at a news conference later Sunday morning.
As of the writing of this post, 1am EST, Standoff with armed gunman holding hostages enters 3rd day; authorities seeking ‘peaceful end’
Updated: Sunday, May 12, 12:30 AM
TRENTON, N.J. — A standoff with an armed man who police said took multiple hostages extended to a third day early Sunday as authorities worked to negotiate his surrender and his captives’ release.The man, whose identity has not been released, remained holed-up in a two-story red brick house in South Trenton, authorities said. The standoff began Friday afternoon.
But family members of a woman they said was among the hostages grew angry as the standoff continued. Late Saturday afternoon, some of them went under police tape and briefly confronted officers about the situation.“Do something! Do something!” screamed a man who said he was the woman’s nephew. “Make something happen!”
The gunman has already killed a woman and one child. Some news reports say it is his girlfriend, some say it is his wife, and then…some reports say the woman is still alive.
In world news, Sharif stages comeback in landmark Pakistan election:
Toppled in a 1999 coup, jailed and exiled, Nawaz Sharif has made a triumphant election comeback and on Sunday was heading for a third term as Pakistan’s prime minister.The polls were a landmark, marking the first time one elected government was to replace another in a country vulnerable to military takeovers.But Saturday’s vote failed to realize the hopes of many that dynastic politics would end after years of misrule and corruption in the strategic U.S. ally.Sharif, 63, a wealthy steel magnate from the pivotal Punjab province, held off a challenge from former cricket star Imran Khan who had hoped to break decades of dominance by Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), led by the Bhutto family.
Khan’s Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) put up a strong fight and he is likely to remain a force in politics.
“Nawaz’s victory says two things about Pakistan: one, the people of Pakistan prefer the comfort of status quo over the uncertainty of revolutions; and two, all roads to the center go through Punjab, and in Punjab, people are right-leaning and conservative,” said senior journalist Nusrat Javeed.
“Still, for a party that only really arrived on the political scene in a serious way two years ago, PTI’s performance was remarkable, to say the least.”
And in Egypt, according to Reuters: Egypt says thwarts suicide attack on foreign embassy
Egyptian security forces have thwarted a plan by an al Qaeda-linked cell to carry out a suicide attack on a foreign embassy, capturing three militants, the interior minister said on Saturday.
Mohamed Ibrahim said the men, who he accused of having links to militants in the Middle East and Pakistan, were found in possession of 10 kg (22 lb) of aluminum nitrate, which is used to make bombs.
He declined to say which embassy had been targeted.
“The Interior Ministry was able to direct a qualitative blow to a terrorist cell that was planning suicide operations against vital, important and foreign facilities in the country,” he said in a televised news conference.
That will take care of the first part of today’s reads, the second part…the fun part will come up in a few hours. See y’all soon.
Ariel Castro, former bus driver who held Cleveland women captive, may have written 2004 news story about themPosted: May 6, 2013
UPDATE: Correction–The article mentioned in title was written by the son of suspect Ariel Castro. The son wrote it for a journalism course he was taking at Bowling Green University in 2004. Until tonight, he had no idea his father was the one who had abducted and imprisoned three young women.
What an unbelievable story. As I posted on the previous thread, three women who were abducted 9, 10, and 11 years ago have been found today in a house not very far from where they disappeared.
Gina DeJesus, Amanda Berry and Michelle Knight were found alive, the Cleveland Division of Police said Monday. All three of the women are talking and “appear to be OK,” according to a statement from Cleveland police on Twitter.
Police said that a 52-year-old Hispanic male has been placed under arrest regarding this incident.
The man’s name has now been revealed to be Ariel Castro. And in a bizarre twist, someone by that name wrote a news story about the disappearances in 2004. The article was discovered by AOL senior news editor Jon Passantino and posted on his Twitter feed.
“I’m here. I’m free now,” a frantic Amanda Berry told a 9-1-1 telephone operator moments after she escaped 10 years of captivity on Cleveland’s West Side.
The Cleveland law Department released recordings this evening of calls to 9-1-1 about the discovery of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight, all of whom disappeared a decade or more ago.
Hundreds of people gathered in the streets near 2207 Seymour Avenue in Cleveland, where the women were discovered. Cleveland police said Berry, DeJesus and Michelle Knight are alive, talking and appear to be OK.
“I heard screaming… And I see this girl going nuts trying to get outside,” said Charles, a neighbor who found the women. “I go on the porch and she said ‘Help me get out. I’ve been here a long time.’ I figure it was domestic violence dispute.”
“She comes out with a little girl and says ‘Call 911, my name is Amanda Berry’… When she told me, it didn’t register.” He said he made the call and gave Berry the phone. When police arrived, officers asked him if he knew who he rescued.
A witness who spoke Spanish told NewsChannel5′s Stephanie Ramirez that he helped break down the door. He said there was a child who was about 4 or 5 years old with Berry, as well as other children inside the house. He said he recognized Berry from posters.
Angie Garcia, whose aunt lives across the street from where the women were found, said Berry ran over to the house Monday and begged to use the phone. Berry, who was wearing a wig, told the aunt who she was and then asked to use the phone to call 911.
The women and two young children came out of the house across the street, Garcia said.
“We never saw the girls there and we were always outside,” she said. “We only saw the guy.”
Longer story from Cleveland Plain Dealer with photo gallery
Berry, now 27, DeJesus, 23, and Knight, 32, were taken to MetroHealth Medical Center. The FBI and police will interview the women when they are discharged….
Police arrested the owner of the house, Ariel Castro, 52, who had lived in the house since 1992. Records show he was arrested for domestic violence in 1993, but a grand jury declined to indict him….
Berry disappeared at about 7:40 p.m. April 21, 2003, a day before her 17th birthday. She was last seen leaving her job at a Burger King at West 110th Street and Lorain Avenue.
DeJesus, then 14, vanished April 2, 2004, while walking home from school in the same area. Since then, the two have been the subject of numerous vigils.
Knight, who was 21 at the time of her disappearance, was last seen at a cousin’s house near W. 106 Street and Lorain Avenue on Aug. 23, 2002.
I’ll add further updates in the comment thread.