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U.S.-led airstrikes are continuing in Syria for a third day. The latest bombings reportedly hit oil refineries controlled by the Islamic State in Syria’s east, with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates taking part. In striking the refineries, the United States says it is going after one of the Islamic State’s main sources of funding. Airstrikes also hit the Syrian town of Kobani, where tens of thousands have fled an ISIS assault over the past week. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an earlier strike in Aleppo killed 70 fighters and eight civilians. The Assad regime appears to have endorsed the U.S.-led bombings, with one minister telling Reuters they are going in the “right direction.”
Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama urged support the U.S.-led bombing campaign against what he called “a network of death.”
President Obama: “No god condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning, no negotiation, with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death. In this effort, we do not act alone. Nor do we intend to send U.S. troops to occupy foreign lands. Instead, we will support Iraqis and Syrians fighting to reclaim their communities.”
Addressing the United Nations General Assembly, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced the British Parliament will meet Friday to vote on joining the U.S.-led military strikes in Syria and Iraq. Cameron also called on Iran to play a role in confronting the Islamic State.
British Prime Minister David Cameron: “Iran’s leaders could help in defeating the threat from ISIL. They could help secure a more stable, inclusive Iraq and a more stable and inclusive Syria. And if they are prepared to do this, then we should welcome their engagement. … It is right that Britain should now move to a new phase of action. I am therefore recalling the British Parliament on Friday to secure approval for the United Kingdom to take part in international airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq.”
Friday’s parliamentary vote comes one year after British lawmakers rejected Cameron’s bid for a different bombing campaign in Syria — the failed U.S. effort to attack the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Cameron was speaking after meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the first such meeting between Iran and Britain since the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
The U.N. Security Council has approved a resolution mandating countries to contain militant groups like the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. The measure calls for the tracking of potential terrorists within borders and the sharing of data with other countries. After introducing the measure in a rare session, President Obama called its adoption “historic.”
President Obama: “Preventing these individuals from reaching Syria and then slipping back across our borders is a critical element of our strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL. The historic resolution that we just adopted enshrines our commitment to meet this challenge. It is legally binding. It establishes new obligations that nations must meet.”
Sierra Leone has imposed the quarantine of more than a third of its population in an effort to contain the outbreak of Ebola. A new order cuts off around 1.2 million people on top of the nearly one million others previously sealed off. The move comes after house-to-house searches reportedly found hundreds of new cases and more than 260 dead bodies. Official figures show the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has infected more than 6,000 people and killed around half that number, though the actual toll could be higher.
An Ohio grand jury has declined to indict the white police officer who fatally shot John Crawford. A 22-year-old African American, Crawford was killed inside a Wal-Mart store last month after a caller phoned police to accuse him of brandishing a gun and pointing it at other customers. In fact, Crawford had picked up an unloaded BB air rifle from a shelf. Newly released surveillance footage contradicts the caller’s claim Crawford was pointing the BB gun at other customers. But on Wednesday, a special grand jury decided the shooting was justified. The Justice Department now says it will launch a federal review to determine if Crawford’s civil rights were violated.
New figures show mass shootings in the United States have more than doubled in the past 14 years. According to the FBI, 486 people have been killed in 160 separate incidents. Twenty-four percent of active shooting incidents occurred in schools.
In Sweden, the Right Livelihood Awards have been announced for five recipients, including National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. The head of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation, Ole von Uexküll, said Snowden was honored for exposing illegality by his own government.
Ole von Uexküll: “We decided on five laureates this year, and they all live up to the idea behind the award to offer real, courageous, practical solutions to global challenges. And Snowden is living up to this ideal in the same way that earlier laureates have when it comes to criticizing his own government as this government is breaking the law.”
Snowden’s prize will go to toward his legal fund. The other recipients are Alan Rusbridger, editor of The Guardian newspaper; Pakistani human rights activist Asma Jahangir; Basil Fernando of the Asian Human Rights Commission in Hong Kong; and the American environmentalist Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and a lead organizer behind this week’s People’s Climate March in New York City. Handed out annually, the Right Livelihood Awards are widely known as the “alternative Nobel Prize.” The award ceremony will be held in early December.
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