The Envoy
  • Pres. Obama speaks at the UN General Assembly on Sept. 23, 2010. (Henny Ray Abrams/AP)President Barack Obama arrived in New York on Monday to join world leaders at the biggest annual diplomatic cocktail party of the year. That is, the flurry of events that surround the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly.

    Here are four things to watch for this week.

    1. Who gets a meeting with Obama--and who does not.

    Obama's approval ratings may have slumped in the United States, but he remains the star attraction at the United Nations. Face time with the president is a potent reward for world leaders; denying it can send an equally powerful signal.

    Among those on the list who will meet with Obama in New York this week: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyuahu, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Libyan transition leader Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, new Japanese Prime Minister Noda, European allies including British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, and new South Sudanese leader Salva Kiir.

    Who is missing? Notably, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Washington is pointedly signaling its displeasure at Abbas for his refusal so far to heed Washington's demands to abandon plans to seek an upgrade of Palestine's official status at the UN, in the absence of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

    Read More »from Four things to watch as Obama heads to the United Nations
  • Violent unrest erupts in Yemen

    After months of political stalemate, Yemen has been convulsed by two days of violence after regime forces abruptly renewed a brutal crackdown against anti-government unrest. At least 24 people were killed on Sunday, with early reports of at least another twenty people killed Monday.

    "Sunday's violence left at least 24 demonstrators dead and more than 200 wounded in the Yemeni capital and threatened to scuttle any hopes for an accord between President [Ali Abdullah] Saleh and his opponents, who have been locked in a standoff for months over demands that he step down and transfer power," the New York Times' Laura Kasinof reported.

    "The fighting also raised the prospect of open and more intense sparring among factions of Yemen's divided military, which many here fear could lead to civil war," Kasinof wrote. You can watch a YouTube video report on the Yemen unrest from Al Jazeera below.

    Read More »from Violent unrest erupts in Yemen
  • Danny Ayalon, Salam Fayyad and Tony Blair attend Palestinian donors' conference in NY Sunday. (Norwegian Foreign Ministry)• Top U.S. military officer Mike Mullen, U.S. ambassador Cameron Munter accuse Pakistan of having ties to the Haqqani network which carried out attack on the American embassy in Kabul last week. (ABC News)

    • Iran's release of American hikers delayed again; lawyer says the signature of judge currently on vacation is needed. (CNN)

    • U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu, at a UN atomic energy watchdog meeting, blasts Iran's nuclear "deceit." (AP)

    • The U.S. and allies can keep a lid on Iran's nuclear ambitions through a mix of policies. (Barbara Slavin)

    • Tom Friedman blasts Israel's leaders for failing to develop a strategy for dealing with Israel's changing circumstances. (New York Times)

    Read More »from Daily planet: All eyes on Palestinian statehood plans at UN

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  • Balotelli given one-match ban over racist post
    Balotelli given one-match ban over racist post

    London (AFP) - Liverpool striker Mario Balotelli has been suspended for one match, fined £25,000 ($39,176) and ordered to attend to an education course after making racist and anti-semitic comments.

  • Highlights of Thursday's NBA games

    (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Thursday's National Basketball Association games: Bulls 103, Knicks 97 Jimmy Butler scored a career-high 35 points and added seven assists to lead the Chicago Bulls to a win against the New York Knicks. Chicago (16-9) played without guard Derrick Rose, who was sick, while the Knicks (5-23) were without forward Carmelo Anthony because of a sore left knee. Pau Gasol added 20 points for the Bulls while Tim Hardaway Jr. led the Knicks with 23 points. ...

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