First Address: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani addresses the 68th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York, September 24, 2013

Obama suggested though that Rouhani’s overtures could ‘offer the basis for a meaningful agreement’ to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and said he had instructed Secretary of State John Kerry to press a diplomatic effort along with other world powers. He cited resolving the Iranian nuclear standoff and reaching an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal as the key U.S. objectives in the Middle East. Kerry and his counterparts from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany are due to meet Iran’s foreign minister on Thursday to discuss the nuclear issue. It will be the most high-level diplomatic meeting between the countries since Obama took office in 2008. In his speech, Obama stopped short of offering concessions such as a softening of sanctions crippling Iran’s economy. United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, left, Secretary of State John Kerry, second from right, and National Advisor Susan Rice, right, listen while U.S. President Barack Obama speaks during the 68th session of the General Assembly For his part, Rouhani said in his speech that Iran was prepared to work on a framework for managing differences with the United States and that he hoped Obama would show the political will to resist ‘warmongering pressure groups’ on the nuclear issue. At the same time, he denounced sanctions imposed by the United Nations and the West as a violation of human rights. ‘These sanctions are violent, pure and simple,’ he said. ‘Sanctions beyond any and all rhetoric, cause belligerence, warmongering and human suffering.’ In spite of his Holocaust comments, Rouhani leveled a barrage of criticism clearly directed against Israel – without mentioning it by name – denouncing the ‘brutal repression of the Palestinian people.’ A senior Obama administration official said in reaction to Rouhani’s speech that he had not been as strident as Ahmadinejad but the message was not a surprise.

United States and Japan today sign organic equivalence arrangement

will be under review on Oct. 18. as one of the signatories of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights treaty. The U.S. signed the treaty in 1976 along with 73 other countries to ensure individual freedoms and citizen equality. The countries are subjected to periodic review by the U.N. Human Rights Committee to assure compliance with the treaty. snip “Shamile Louis, an executive board member of the University of Florida Dream Defenders, said at the local level, the report demonstrates the work being done by motivated young adults is meaningful work, bringing attention to their cause in Gainesville and across the state.” …Continue reading Dream Defenders Stand Their Ground At United Nations Shamile Louis, Executive Board member of the University of Florida Dream Defenders Kossack Nancy Jones notes that “Shamile [Louis] is incredibly good at hearing what seems like disagreement and finding where the common ground is.” ~~~~~~~ Ahmad Abuznaid, 28-yr-old, Legal and Policy Director, The Dream Defenders Ahmad Abuznaid, Legal Policy Director, after learning he won a scholarship to present the Dream Defenders Report on Stand your Ground Laws at the 109thSession of the United Nations Human Rights Committee, 13-31 October 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland. Dream Defenders Stand Their Ground At United Nations By Chabeli Herrera for WUFT NEWS on September 25th, 2013 People may have the image of the United States of being completely just and equal, said Ahmad Abuznaid, Legal Policy Director for the Dream Defenders who participated in writing the report. We are telling a different story. We are telling the story of the work that still needs to be done in the United States of America, the story of the disproportionate effects on minority communities and stand your ground is one of those issues. Abuznaid said he hopes the statistics in the report will bring attention to the situation of discrimination in America. Wed like to see the international community, the United Nations, recognize this and do some outreach to our government and let them know that the world is watching and everything isnt peachy and fuzzy in the U.S., he said. …Continue reading Dream Defenders Stand Their Ground At United Nations ~~~~~~~ The Dream Defenders, the group of young people who protested and held the longest occupation of the Florida Capitol in recent history , have joined forces with the NAACP and Florida Legal Services to take their grievances with the state’s “Stand Your Ground” laws to the United Nations. …Continue reading below the fold Dream Defenders Team Up With NAACP To Fight ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws for The Huffington Post 09/24/2013. ~~~~~~~ Submitted by Dream Defenders, Community Justice Project of Florida Legal Services, Inc.

United States, Russia agree on United Nations-Syria chemical arms measure

Satoshi Kunii, Director, Labeling Standards Division, and Mr. Takuro Mukae, Associate Director, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Affairs, of Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries (MAFF) for Japan, and Administrator Anne Alonzo of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service and Ambassador Isi Siddiqui of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for the United States. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130926/DC87347 ) U.S. officials noted the organic equivalence arrangement will reopen the important Japanese consumer market for U.S. organic producers of all sizes, and will create jobs and opportunity for the U.S. organic food and farming sector. “This monumental agreement will further create jobs in the already growing U.S. organic sector, spark additional market growth, and be mutually beneficial to producers both in the United States and Japan and to consumers who choose organic products,” said Laura Batcha, Executive Vice President of the U.S.-based Organic Trade Association (OTA). Assessments conducted in Japan and the United States leading up to the signing found organic management, accreditation, certification and enforcement programs are in place in both countries, and conform to each other’s respective programs.

Dream Defender, Ahmad Abuznaid, Will Deliver Document to United Nations in Geneva

The aim was to craft a measure to require destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal in line with a US-Russian deal reached earlier this month that averted American strikes on Assad’s forces in the midst of a bloody civil war. Western powers on the Security Council backed away from many of their initial demands, diplomats say, in order to secure Russia’s approval. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said an “understanding” had been hammered out, but gave no details. A major sticking point had been Russia’s opposition to writing the resolution under Chapter 7 of the UN charter, which covers the council’s authority to enforce its decisions with measures such as sanctions or military force. The compromise draft resolution, obtained by Reuters, makes the measure legally binding, but provides for no means of automatic enforcement as the United States, Britain and France originally wanted. ‘BREAKTHROUGH’ The only reference to enforcement in the draft is a threat that if Syria fails to comply with the resolution, the council would impose unspecified punitive measures under Chapter 7, which would require a second resolution that Russia could veto. A US State Department official hailed the deal as a “breakthrough”. “The Russians have agreed to support a strong, binding and enforceable resolution that unites the pressure and focus of the international community on the Syrian regime to ensure the elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons,” the official said. Diplomats from the permanent Security Council members – China, Russia, the United States, France and Britain – had been haggling over the details of a resolution to back the American-Russian accord announced on September 14 in Geneva to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons. Assad agreed to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons amid an international outcry over a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascus last month – the world’s deadliest chemical attack in 25 years. Washington has blamed Assad’s forces for the attack, which it said killed more than 1400 people, and President Barack Obama threatened a US military strike in response.