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Beyond the World news headlines

Tardy Obama plays second fiddle to Swiss at UN

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It happens every year. When the U.S. president arrives at the United Nations for the General Assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders, the east side of midtown Manhattan goes into lockdown mode. You can’t cross the streets before he arrives and until well after the most powerful man in the world has safely arrived inside the headquarters of world diplomacy.

President Barack Obama was a little late this year and unable to keep his prestigious spot as the second speaker in the annual marathon of speeches. When Obama failed to show, the Swiss president of the General Assembly Joseph Deiss announced that the president of his homeland, Doris Leuthard, would take Obama’s place and give Switzerland’s address.

Deiss assured the delegations from the United Nations’ 192 members that this was not because the Swiss had ambitions of becoming a world power, but in order to keep things moving. Of course, Leuthard enjoyed a standing-room only audience at the assembly hall, a rare opportunity for the small but wealthy Alpine nation.

After Leuthard finished, Obama stepped up to the iconic dark green podium. Wearing a dark suit and a U.N.-blue tie, he paid homage to the 65-year world organization.

from Reuters Investigates:

In case you missed them

Just because it was summer, doesn't mean we weren't busy here at Reuters. Here are a few of our recent special reports that you might have missed.

IRAN-OBAMA/ECOMOMYTracking Iran's nuclear money trail to Turkey. U.N. correspondent Lou Charbonneau -- who used to cover the IAEA for Reuters --  followed the money to Turkey where an Iranian bank under U.S. and EU sanctions is operating freely. Nice to see the New York Times follow up on this today, and the Washington Post also quizzed Turkey's president about it.

from Reuters Investigates:

Enter stage left — Brazil’s next president?

BRAZIL-ELECTION/ROUSSEFFNot every president has a police mugshot, but it's not so surprising in Latin America.

A special report out of Brazil today sheds new light on Dilma Rousseff, a former guerrilla leader who is likely to be elected the booming country's next president. She spent nearly three years in jail in the early 1970s and was tortured by her military captors. She's come a long way since then.

from Afghan Journal:

‘Obama’s Wars’ and clandestine operations

AFGHANISTAN

Bob Woodward's new book "Obama's Wars" is making waves for laying bare the policy divisions and the personality clashes within the administration over the U.S. President's Afghan policy. The author, according to the excerpts published by the New York Times and the Washington Post ahead of the book's release next week, exposes the colliding egos of senior political and military figures in even more stark detail than Rolling Stone's profile of General Stanley McChrystal that cost the U.S. commander his job.

But what may turn out to be even more explosive in the theatre where America's longest war is being waged is the revelation that the CIA is running a 3,000-strong Afghan army to carry out clandestine operations in not just Afghanistan, but more importantly over the border in Pakistan. The idea that an Afghan army is fighting al Qaeda and Taliban militants inside Pakistan is not something that Islamabad can tolerate easily. Or at least the public disclosure of it.

from Reuters Investigates:

Dive in, the water’s fine

Special reports are the best of the best from Reuters, and this is the place to find them. We'll be featuring investigative stories, in-depth profiles and long-form narrative stories here.

Reuters has a global Enteprise Reporting team with editors in New York, London and Singapore, drawing on the work of some 2,900 journalists in 200 bureaus around the world.

Iran’s Ahmadinejad tells UN capitalism’s dying

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a U.N. General Assembly session on poverty this week that capitalism is on the verge of death and that it’s time for a new economic system.

“The discriminatory order of capitalism and the hegemonic approaches are facing defeat and are getting close to their end,” Ahmadinejad said at a summit meeting assessing progress on achieving U.N. goals to drastically reduce poverty by 2015.

UN General Assembly: NYC’s annual headache

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UN-ASSEMBLY/For world leaders, foreign ministers and diplomats from the 192 members of the United Nations, the annual gathering of the U.N. General Assembly is a chance to stand at the iconic dark green marble podium and trumpet their countries’ successes, voice their concerns — or occasionally to attack their enemies. (Such as when Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called former U.S. President George W. Bush “the devil” during his address to the assembly.)

But for people who live or work in, or travel through, the east side of midtown Manhattan, the General Assembly is a headache that runs for three or four days every September. It causes regular traffic jams as official motorcades speed through the city. It’s difficult to book a hotel as prices soar and availability plummets. Scores of heavily armed NYPD officers line the streets. The city’s trademark incessant honking of car horns is punctuated with the roar of helicopters overhead scanning for suspicious activity on the streets below. NYPD checkpoints are set up to screen everyone trying to get within a few hundred yards of U.N. headquarters and those without proof that they live or work in the area are told to get lost.

Live Event: Tracking the Millennium Development Goals

Reuters AlertNet reports live from the U.N. Millenium Development Goals Summit where world leaders are meeting to take stock of the goals agreed on a decade ago to tackle global poverty.

from Environment Forum:

10,000 walruses, ready for their close-up

BELARUS/Zoom! Pan! Swish!  Take a look at a new movie of walruses crowding an Alaska beach -- as you've never seen them before! Shot from 4,000 feet up in the air, the vast herd of walruses looks like a pile of brown gravel from a distance. (A far different view than the extreme close-up in the still photo at left, which was taken at a zoo in Belarus.)

As the camera in Alaska zooms in, you can see there are thousands of walruses scrambling ashore as the ice floes they normally use as hunting platforms melt away. The video was shot this month at Point Lay, Alaska, and distributed this week by the U.S. Geological Survey. It's impossible to say how many are on this beach in this movie, but an Arctic scientist at World Wildlife Fund estimates between 10,000 and 20,000 of the tusked marine mammals have hauled themselves onto land in Alaska this year as summer Arctic sea ice shrank to its third-smallest recorded size.

from Tales from the Trail:

Geithner tells Congress: calling China names doesn’t get you anywhere

U.S. lawmakers are mad and want Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to step in and call China a name -- "currency manipulator" -- which may not sound like much on city streets but can be quite an insult in world financial circles.

"At a time when the U.S. economy is trying to pick itself up off the ground, China's currency manipulation is like a boot to the throat of our recovery. This administration refuses to try and take that boot off our neck." That's not a Republican raging against President Barack Obama's Treasury Secretary, it's Senator Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York (where Wall Street happens to be located). USA/

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