America

Obama Talks Mideast Peace; China And Japan; The French Go On Strike, Again

President Obama Addresses UN General Assembly.

The President is scheduled to speak in New York this morning to the world body. The White House released some excerpts from his planned remarks which focus on reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace.

One excerpt from his planned remakrs:

“Peace must be made by Israelis and Palestinians, but each of us has a responsibility to do our part as well. Those of us who are friends of Israel must understand that true security for the Jewish state requires an independent Palestine – one that allows the Palestinian people to live with dignity and opportunity. And those of us who are friends of the Palestinians must understand that the rights of the Palestinian people will be won only through peaceful means – including genuine reconciliation with a secure Israel.”

Mark has more below.

China Bans Exports of Rare Earths to Japan, or Did They?

Some conflicting reports on a brewing conflict between Japan and China. The New York Times reports that China has stopped all shipments of so-called rare earths to Japan, while the Washington Post quotes a Chinese official as saying they don't have an embargo, and then throws in this note to confuse us all.

"The Chinese government has requested exporters to demonstrate support for the Chinese situation and suspend exports of rare earths to Japan until the end of the month when the situation will be reviewed," said Industrial Minerals owner and former mining executive Dudley Kingsnorth. "It's very regrettable if we have the effective suspension of commercial contracts for political reasons."

China is demanding Japan release the captain of a fishing ship who Japanese officials say was fishing in Japanese waters. The Chinese have long disputed Japan's claim to that area.

The rare earth imbroglio could have pretty quick repercussions in this country. The minerals (not actually all that rare) are crucial in all sorts of high tech gadgets, from hybrid cars to cell phones to smart bombs. And China mines 93 percent of the world's rare earths. There's a hearing in congress this morning on whether to re-start American rare earth mining.

The New York Times' Ed Wong has a fascinating piece on how the US is inserting itself into various territorial disputes in Asia as a means of checking China. Definitely worth a read.

commuters wait for trains in paris

Passengers crowd a subway train Thursday, Sept. 23 2010, in Paris.(AP Photo/Jacques Brinon) Jacques Brinon/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Jacques Brinon/AP

French Strikes

Who can't get enough of this story, well, French commuters I suppose. Anyway France is being hit for a second time by strikes across the country. Eleanor Beardsley reports for NPR from Paris and says that demonstrators are out in force in downtown Paris and 200 other cities. Rail, air and urban transport are disrupted and schools and post offices are closed. They're protesting raising the retirement age from 60 to 62.

Afghanistan Deaths

The US has identified the nine troops who died in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan this week. All are American, four were Navy special forces, the other five soldiers with the 101st Combat Aviation Brigade. Still no word on the cause of the crash.

Campaign 2010

Republicans are rolling out their "Pledge to America" today. Modeled somewhat on the 1994 "Contract with America" that led to their takeover of the House then, the pledge contains cuts to taxes and spending, cutting regulation, repealing the Health Care bill, and stopping the President's stimulus program. Here's a link to the whole thing.

Don Gonyea and Jeff Brady have a couple pieces on Morning Edition today on races in Colorado, a state that Obama won in 2008 but has traditionally been a red state. Good stuff. Take a listen if you missed 'em.


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