Globe Trot
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Associated Press/Photo by Vahid Salemi
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Globe Trot 09.24


Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—in a weekend interview with The Washington Post’s David Ignatius, ahead of this week’s start of the UN General Assembly—waved away concern about a possible military confrontation between Iran and Israel: “We generally speaking do not take very seriously the issue of the Zionists and the possible dangers emanating from them.” Ahmadinejad also said he believes that Americans are war weary.

President Barack Obama, in one of the shortest presidential visits to the New York opening of the UN session, will address the assembly on Tuesday and depart—avoiding “five political potholes” in the global arena outlined by Time ahead of U.S. elections. In his address, President Obama is expected to denounce the anti-Muhammad video that is blamed for violence across the Muslim world—which plays nicely into the hands of Islamic leaders calling for the UN to establish anti-blasphemy laws that would outlaw Innocence of Muslims-type videos, as well as other free speech.

The wall of silence concerning what happened to U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens continues. Agence-France Press denies it was the source of reports in Arab media that Stevens was raped and sodomized before he died. Those reports also appear in Libyan Free Press, and a U.S. State Department spokesman responded to questions about them, saying, “You can imagine that we will not be able to say anything about the cause of death until we’ve had a chance to perform an autopsy.” But there’s been no word of an autopsy or autopsy report since Sept. 12.

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Other questions: How did security personnel at the U.S Consulate in Benghazi lose track of Stevens for perhaps six hours during the attack? According to the State Department’s own timeline, the attack began at about 10 p.m. local time, and soon after that the security team attached to Stevens was unable to locate him—“for many, many hours,” according to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. NO AMERICANS apparently saw or knew what happened to Stevens until sometime before dawn, when his body was turned over by Libyans to the U.S. military contingent overseeing the evacuation of remaining Americans at the Benghazi airport. Does anyone else in the United States find this strange?

Also strange: The FBI team sent to carry out an investigation of the attack on the Benghazi consulate did not arrive in Libya until Sept. 18, fully a week after the attack took place, due to security concerns. Not surprising, we learn today, "They have been hampered by the city’s tenuous security environment and the fact that they arrived more than a day after the attack occurred, according to senior American officials."

President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney gave dueling interviews to 60 Minutes, broadcast last night. Romney said he would make foreign aid to Egypt contingent on following the rules: “… they must honor their peace agreement with Israel. That they must also show respect and provide civil rights for minorities in their country. And they also have to protect our embassies.”

In Nigeria, four Catholic worshippers were killed and about 50 wounded when a suicide bomber exploded himself outside St. John’s Catholic Cathedral Church in Bauchi just as a church service was ending at 9 a.m. Sunday. The city is the capital of Bauchi state, one of 12 northern states that since 2000 have adopted Islamic Sharia law.

Not surprising, election observers have declared polling in Belarus undemocratic, as opposition parties failed to win a single seat. Only deputies supporting the policies of communist holdover President Alexander Lukashenko, now in power since 1994, won seats in the 110-seat legislature.

Almost 60 years after the discovery of DNA, and 32 years after much of its structure was dismissed as “junk,” the byproduct of evolution, researchers from the United States, United Kingdom, Japan, Spain, and elsewhere have discovered that supposedly inactive regions of DNA actually contain some 4 million “switches” that turn genes on or off and control how cells behave. Read about the implications of their discovery in the latest issue of WORLD. (And if you aren’t a subscriber, you should be.)


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