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Syrian government blames ‘western-backed terrorist groups’ for sarin attack

The Syrian government has accused the Obama administration and other unspecified western countries of supporting terrorist groups inside Syria and of supplying chemical agents for use in poison gas attacks launched by al-Qaida and its affiliates. In a defiant speech to the general assembly of the United Nations, Syria’s deputy…

Pope Francis to meet cardinals for historic talks on church reforms

The eight cardinals picked by Pope Francis to advise him on reform of the Roman curia and the governance of the Catholic church are preparing to meet the pontiff for the first time on Tuesday, in an unprecedented three-day meeting likened to a “papal G8″. In a move already billed…

Government shutdown: Fast-food chain to offer free burgers to furloughed federal workers

A fast-food chain in Washington is promising free hamburgers to federal workers who find themselves furloughed if the US government shuts down Tuesday, its founder and proprietor said Monday. “If people don’t go to work, they can come and get a burger” at four Z-Burger locations in the national capital…

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard not happy about historic Rouhani-Obama phone call

The commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said Monday that President Hasan Rouhani should have refused to take last week’s historic telephone call from US counterpart Barack Obama. It was the first public criticism by a senior Iranian official of Friday’s landmark first contact between leaders of the two countries…

A big step or a big stumble? Obamacare becomes a reality on Tuesday

Millions of uninsured and low-income Americans will sign on to subsidized health coverage beginning Tuesday in a revolutionary system that is still working out technical kinks — and confronting heaps of political pushback. The administration has promised that the Affordable Care Act will be a transformative program ensuring access to…

Stock market tumbles as government shutdown looms

US stocks tumbled in early trade Monday as a shutdown of the government loomed after Washington lawmakers failed to bridge their differences over the federal budget. About 40 minutes into trade, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 125.75 (0.82 percent) to 15,132.49. The broad-based S&P 500 retreated 12.12 (0.72 percent)…

Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel seeks deal to keep 10,000 troops in Afghanistan

US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Monday he hoped an accord on the future US military presence in Afghanistan would be in place by November, despite President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to be rushed. “I hope we’ll have that agreement by the end of October, because we just can’t move without…

CNN Film’s Hillary Clinton documentary cancelled due to pressure from both sides of aisle

Documentarian Charles Ferguson wrote today that he would be “cancelling [his] documentary on Hillary Clinton” because of his inability to obtain access to anyone with personal knowledge of the probable 2016 presidential candidate. “When I approached people for interviews,” he wrote, “I discovered that nobody, and I mean nobody, was…

Progressive Caucus slams GOP over potential government shutdown

The Congressional Progressive Caucus on Sunday blasted House Republicans for attaching anti-Obamacare measures to an emergency spending bill, a move that could lead to a government shutdown. “We are extremely disappointed that the Republican Party put the ideological demands of a few ahead of the needs of millions of working…

WATCH: Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus cargo ship docks with Space Station

An unmanned cargo ship successfully berthed with the orbiting International Space Station on Sunday following a one-week delay due to a technical glitch, NASA said. ISS astronauts “successfully captured the Orbital Sciences Cygnus cargo spacecraft with the station’s robotic arm” at 1100 GMT, NASA said. “Following its capture, the spacecraft…

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