Syria weapons deal averts U.S. military move for now
GENEVA | A diplomatic breakthrough Saturday on securing and destroying Syria's chemical weapons stockpile averted the threat of U.S. military action for the moment and could swing momentum toward ending a horrific civil war.
Marathon negotiations between U.S. and Russian diplomats at a Geneva hotel produced a sweeping agreement that will require one of the most ambitious arms-control efforts in history.
The deal involves making an inventory and seizing all components of Syria's chemical weapons program and imposing penalties if President Bashar Assad's government fails to comply will the terms.
After days of intense day-and-night negotiations between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and their teams, the two powers announced they had a framework for ridding the world of Syria's chemicals weapons.
100,000 Poles threaten to strike in anti-government labor march
WARSAW, Poland | Threatening a general strike, throwing smoke grenades and blowing whistles, around 100,000 Polish union members marched through Warsaw on Saturday to vent their anger against the government's labor and wage policies.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk's government is rapidly losing support after recently raising the retirement age, announcing a reform of the pension system and relaxing some labor code provisions that allow for longer daily and weekly working hours.
City authorities have blocked traffic in central Warsaw to allow the demonstrators to march to the historic Castle Square with flags and balloons in national white-and-red colors, and banners saying "We are Coming to Get You", "Tusk's government Must Go," and individual plaques reading: "I am Tusk's Slave."
Havana sees new life for seedy, long-neglected industrial port
HAVANA | Havana's harbor has long been an unsightly jumble of piers left to crumble into piles of rusty, twisted rebar. Its dominant feature is a refinery smokestack across the bay that belches smoke and flame 24 hours a day.
But lately demolition crews and towering cranes have been working double-time to finally tear down the ruined docks. Gentrification is already evident in the lovingly restored bayside plazas of Old Havana, and now comes an ambitious plan to turn the polluted waterfront into a gleaming promenade with restaurants, cafes and public parks.
It has all been made possible because of a new port under construction west of the Cuban capital that promises to knock Havana from its perch as Cuba's No. 1 shipping hub. Where some might bemoan the economic loss, city authorities instead see an opportunity to transform this seedy industrial zone and revitalize the depressed, densely packed Spanish colonial core.
Suicide funeral bombing, other attacks kill 25 throughout Iraq
BAGHDAD | A suicide bomber attacked a funeral Saturday in northern Iraq attended by members of an ethnic minority, part of a series of attacks that killed at least 25 across the country, officials said.
Iraq is weathering its deadliest bout of violence in half a decade, raising fears the country is returning to a period of widespread killing such as that which pushed it to the brink of civil war following the 2003 U.S.-led invasion. More than 4,000 people have been killed in violent attacks since the start of April, including 804 just in August, according to United Nations figures.
In the suicide attack, the bomber detonated his explosive belt inside a tent during the afternoon ceremony held by members of the Shabak minority near the city of Mosul, 225 miles northwest of Baghdad.
Authorities said the blast in the village of Arto Kharab killed at least 20 people and wounded 35. The funeral was for a member of the Shabak minority who had died of natural causes, officials said.