My Anthem

Sunday, September 29, 2013

HOME ~ Blake Shelton and USHER of Voice fame duet

via Youtube link:


(originally by Michael Buble)

Another summer day has come and gone away
In Paris and Rome
But I want to go home
May be surrounded by a million people I,
Still feel all alone
I want to go home
Oh, I miss you, you know
And I've been keeping all the letters that I 
wrote to you
Each one a line or two
I'm fine baby, how are you
I would send 'em but I know that it's just not enough
My words were cold and flat and you deserve more than that
Another airplane, another sunny place
I'm lucky I know, but I wanna go home
I've got to home
Let me go home
I'm just to far from where you are, I want to come home
And I feel just like I'm living someone else's life
It's like I just stepped outside when everything was going right
And I know just why you could not come along with me
This was not your dream
But you always believed in me
Another winter day has come and gone away
In even Paris and Rome
And I wanna go home,
Let me go home
And I'm surrounded by a million people I,
Still feel alone and I want to go home
Oh, I miss you, you know
Let me go home
I've had my run,
Baby I'm done
I'm coming back home
Let me go home
It'll all be alright,
I'll be home tonight
I'm coming back home

OR if touh prefereth hubby-wife rendition, hear's the link: I envy the bloke for beaut spouse who sings like real koboigal -- GO, go Miranda Lambert!:)~~~

WORLD NEWS MONITOR:US to begin air strike on Syria soon? II

Dear ER, "minta maaf" for my "long" leave of absence, much has flowed under the world political bridge. SO following up on my earlier post, it looks like the feared strike on SYRIA is not "imminent" after all as prefaced by my first take on the subject!


Before Syria vote at U.N., tense talks for Kerry and Russian counterpart

PETER FOLEY/EPA - Secretary of State John F. Kerry.

UNITED NATIONS — Despite a week of daily negotiations between the United States and Russia over the planned destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, the two sides were still deeply split on a fundamental point when Secretary of State John F. Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met last Tuesday.
The scheduled 45-minute session Tuesday on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly took place in a tiny Russian meeting room at the United Nations, with an enormous portrait of President Vladimir Putin on the wall. It ran for about 90 minutes, with Kerry and Lavrov, flanked by their U.N. ambassadors and other aides, making pencil edits to a four-page draft that represents a major departure in each country’s approach to the Syrian civil war.

Russia wanted more lax ways to make sure that ally and arms client Syria complied with the agreement to give up its toxic stores; the United States wanted a toughly-worded U.N. Security Council resolution that spelled out what Syria had to do and the consequences Damascus would face for reneging.
The resolution approved unanimously by the 15-member Security Council three days later split the difference, but not before some drama that included a tense, 11 p.m. telephone call between Kerry and Lavrov.
“That was a tough conversation,” a senior State Department official said Saturday, with Kerry suggesting that their mutual goal of getting the agreement completed during the General Assembly was in peril. Several U.S. officials and other diplomats spoke on the condition of anonymity provided a look at the makings of the deal, because much of the discussion with Russian officials was confidential.
The Russian position leading up to the General Assembly meeting had stressed a lesser role for the Security Council, which the U.S. side saw as a way to water down a historic agreement to rid Syria of toxic weapons. Russia preferred to leave most responsibility for reporting on Syrian progress or the lack of it to the U.N.-affiliated Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which has no real enforcement power.
“Their approach initially was, ‘Syria voluntarily does this,’ and our whole frame was, ‘Are you kidding? This regime just gassed more than 400 children,’ ” Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said Saturday.
The United States and Russia, which back opposing sides in the conflict, had reached an agreement in principle earlier this month in Geneva to put Syria’s chemical weapons stores under international control. That agreement averted imminent U.S. cruise missile strikes on Syria in protest over the poison gas massacre of more than 1,000 people on Aug. 21. Syria agreed to give up its weapons under heavy pressure from Russia.
A Security Council vote endorsing the program would be the first firm action at the world body since the Syrian war began. All previous attempts to punish or condemn Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were blocked by Russia, which, like the United States, holds a veto.

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Before Syria vote at U.N., tense talks for Kerry and Russian counterpart

“We really did believe there was no viable path forward at the Security Council, and it was not for lack of probing,” Power said Saturday. “We couldn’t even get a press statement out of the Security Council the day of the attack condemning the use of chemical weapons. It was that blocked.”
Despite the basic agreement to act at the Security Council, negotiations were difficult, several officials close to the talks said. The framework agreed to by Kerry and Lavrov in Geneva left many things vague — chief among them the ways Syria would be held to account.
The session at the United Nations on Tuesday was a breakthrough, officials said, but did not resolve the last sticking points over language. “Things like we want a ‘shall’ and they want a ‘should,’ ” one official said.
It is such details that can make the difference between a powerful resolution and a weak one.
Translating the framework worked out by the two top diplomats on Sept. 14 into binding requirements for Syria “was not easy given the frictions we have had with the Russians on Syria,” and the challenge of the task itself, a senior Obama administration official said.
The resulting deal sets an ambitious schedule for the seizure and destruction of one of the world’s largest remaining stores of the widely banned weapons, and does so while fighting continues.
After that session Tuesday, Power met again with Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the U.N., and a small team of negotiators. They had made some headway by Wednesday, but Kerry was concerned that the week was slipping by, the State Department official said.
Following a late dinner, Kerry called Lavrov on Wednesday night. Lavrov did not want to have a detailed discussion, officials said, but negotiators stayed up most of the night. By the next day, Power and Churkin had a draft text, and Kerry and Lavrov agreed to meet again.
They sat together with their aides for about 45 minutes and approved the final version, then met briefly alone, one official said. The meeting ended with a warm handshake. The U.S. and Russia then finalized a critical technical agreement on arrangements and timetables for inspections and presented it to the OPCW, which had to allow a 24-hour consideration before its vote.
The OPCW, meanwhile, scheduled a vote on the technical plan at 4 p.m. Friday, providing just enough time for the Security Council to vote on its landmark resolution at 8. But Iran raised late concerns about the OPCW text, forcing a delay in the vote .
Lavrov had extended his stay to vote on the measure personally, as had British Foreign Secretary William Hague and others. Hague’s U.N. envoy, Mark Lyall Grant, posted an anxious tweet, warning that the U.N. vote might be scuttled.
The OPCW, headquartered in The Hague, voted about 6:30, and Lyall Grant tweeted, “White smoke in the Hague.”
The Security Council vote just after 8 p.m. was unanimous.

Monday, September 09, 2013

WORLD NEWS MONITOR: US to begin air strike on Syria soon?

Occasionally Desi will come out of hiberNATION -- following i dot minSTER Zahid Hamidi's advice that you don't like it here, MIGRATE! -- when significant events that will impact the whole world must be monitored. The air-strike agaist SYRIA that US Prez Barack Obama more or less had prepared its allies to prepare for is about totake place, SOONER than LATER. Well, when the sole sup[erpower strikes, the rest of the world will sit up -- with a sense of rage, resignation, or hand-clapping. As a journalist-blogger my interest is to mainly draw attention to fellow Malaysians to keep abreast of what's happening beyond our shores. We don't want to be caught half-asleep by a tsunami of any kind, do v v v v?


US Warships in place and armed, Damascus residents stockpile food

US President Barack Obama meets with his National Security Council on Syria. Picture: @WhiteHouse/Twitter
US President Barack Obama meets with his National Security Council on Syria. Picture: @WhiteHouse/Twitter
EDGING toward a punitive strike against Syria, President Barack Obama said Friday he is weighing "limited and narrow" action as the administration bluntly accused Bashar Assad's government of launching a chemical weapons attack that killed at least 1,429 people - far more than previous estimates - including more than 400 children.
No "boots on the ground," Obama said, seeking to reassure Americans weary after a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
With France as his only major public ally, Obama told reporters he has a strong preference for multilateral action. He added, "frankly part of the challenge we end up with here is a lot of people think something should be done but nobody wants to do it."
Russia and China have said they would block any UN resolution that would authorise the use of force against Syria's government.
Russian presidential foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov expressed puzzlement over why the UN team had finished its work "when there are many questions about a possible use of chemical weapons in other areas in Syria.'' Russia has insisted there is no evidence the government is behind the attack.
Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans against the U.S. during a demonstration in Basra, 340 miles (550 kilometres) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held rallies in Baghdad and the southern Iraqi city of Basra to denounce any Western strikes against Syria. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)
Meanwhile the U.N. experts investigating last week's alleged chemical weapons strike outside Damascus left Syria early Saturday and crossed into neighboring Lebanon, departing hours after President Barack Obama said he is weighing "limited and narrow" action against a Syrian regime that the administration has bluntly accused of launching the deadly attack.
An Associated Press crew saw the U.N. personnel enter Lebanon from Syria through the Masnaa border crossing and then drive in a 13-car convoy to the Beirut airport. After four days of on-site inspections, the team wrapped up its investigation Friday into the suspected chemical weapons attack on rebel-held suburbs of Damascus on Aug. 21. The experts take with them blood and urine samples from victims as well as soil samples from the affected areas for examination in laboratories in Europe.
The inspectors' departure brings the looming confrontation between the U.S. and President Bashar Assad's regime one step closer to coming to a head.
Halfway around the world, US warships were in place in the Mediterranean Sea armed. They carried cruise missiles, long a first-line weapon of choice for presidents because they can find a target hundreds of miles distant without need of air cover or troops on the ground.
In what appeared increasingly like the pre-attack endgame, UN personnel dispatched to Syria carried out a fourth and final day of inspection as they sought to determine precisely what happened in last week's attack. The international contingent arranged to depart on Saturday and head to laboratories in Europe with the samples they have collected.
Video said to be taken at the scene shows victims writhing in pain, twitching and exhibiting other symptoms associated with exposure to nerve agents. The videos distributed by activists to support their claims of a chemical attack were consistent with AP reporting of shelling in the suburbs of Damascus at the time, though it was not known if the victims had died from a poisonous gas attack.
Syrians await US strike
Syrians search under rubble to rescue people from houses that were destroyed by a Syrian government warplane, in Idlib province, northern Syria, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. The international aid group Médecins Sans Frontières says at least 355 people were killed in the Aug. 21 attack in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian capital. Picture: AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN
The Syrian government said administration claims were "flagrant lies" akin to faulty Bush administration assertions before the Iraq invasion that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. A Foreign Ministry statement read on state TV said that "under the pretext of protecting the Syrian people, they are making a case for an aggression that will kill hundreds of innocent Syrian civilians."
Residents of Damascus stocked up on food and other necessities in anticipation of strikes, with no evident sign of panic. One man, 42-year-old Talal Dowayih, said: "I am not afraid from the Western threats to Syria; they created the chemical issue as a pretext for intervention, and they are trying to hit Syria for the sake of Israel."
recyclable items
A woman looks for recyclable items in a waste dump outside Incirlik Air Base, Turkey, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the Inspection team in Syria is expected to complete its work Friday and report to him Saturday. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Obama met with his national security aides at the White House and then with diplomats from Baltic countries, saying he has not yet made a final decision on a response to the attack.
But the administration did nothing to discourage the predictions that he would act - and soon. It was an impression heightened both by strongly worded remarks from Secretary of State John Kerry and the release of an unclassified intelligence assessment that cited "high confidence" that the Syrian government carried out the attack.
In addition to the dead, the assessment reported that about 3,600 patients "displaying symptoms consistent with nerve agent exposure" were seen at Damascus-area hospitals after the attack. To that, Kerry added that "a senior regime official who knew about the attack confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime, reviewed the impact and actually was afraid they would be discovered." He added for emphasis: "We know this."
The assessment did not explain its unexpectedly large casualty count, far in excess of an estimate from Médecins Sans Frontières. Not surprisingly - given the nature of the disclosure - it also did not say expressly how the United States knew what one Syrian official had allegedly said to another.
chemical weapons attack
Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement about Syria at the State Department in Washington, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Kerry said the U.S. knows, based on intelligence, that the Syrian regime carefully prepared for days to launch a chemical weapons attack. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Mindful of public opinion, Kerry urged Americans to read the four-page assessment for themselves. He referred to Iraq - when Bush administration assurances that weapons of mass destruction were present proved false, and a U.S. invasion led to a long, deadly war. Kerry said this time it will be different.
"We will not repeat that moment," he said.
Citing an imperative to act, the nation's top diplomat said "it is directly related to our credibility and whether countries still believe the United States when it says something. They are watching to see if Syria can get away with it because then maybe they, too, can put the world at greater risk."
While Obama was having trouble enlisting foreign support, French President Francois Hollande was an exception. The two men spoke by phone, then Hollande issued a statement saying they had "agreed that the international community cannot tolerate the use of chemical weapons, that it must hold the Syrian regime responsible and send a strong message to denounce the use of (such) arms."
The day's events produced sharply differing responses from members of Congress - and that was just the Republicans.
Jordanian anti-riot forces
Jordanian anti-riot forces form a chain around a protest by the Jordanian Communist Party and other leftist groups against any American military strike on Syria, in Amman, Jordan, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. President Barack Obama prepared for the possibility of launching unilateral American military action against Syria within days as Britain opted out. Top U.S. officials spoke with certain lawmakers for more than 90 minutes in a teleconference Thursday evening to explain why they believe Syrian President Bashar Assad's government was the culprit in the suspected chemical attack last week. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)
Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said Obama needed to go further than he seems planning. "The goal of military action should be to shift the balance of power on the battlefield against Assad and his forces," they said in a statement.
But a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, Brendan Buck, said if the president believes in a military response to Syria, "it is his responsibility to explain to Congress and the American people the objectives, strategy, and legal basis for any potential action."
The looming confrontation is the latest outgrowth of a civil war in which Assad has tenaciously - and brutally - clung to power. An estimated 100,000 civilians have been killed in more than two years, many of them from attacks by the Syrian government on its own citizens.
Obama has long been wary of U.S. military involvement in the struggle, as he has been with turbulent events elsewhere during the so-called Arab Spring. In this case, reluctance stems in part from recognition that while Assad has ties to Iran and the terrorist group Hezbollah, the rebels seeking to topple him have connections with al-Qaeda terrorist groups.
Still, Obama declared more than a year ago that the use of chemical weapons would amount to a "red line" that Assad should not cross. And Obama approved the shipment of small weapons and ammunition to the Syrian rebels after an earlier reported chemical weapons attack, although there is little sign that the equipment has arrived.
With memories of the long Iraq war still fresh, the political cross-currents have been intense both domestically and overseas.
Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr chant slogans against the U.S. during a demonstration in Basra, 340 miles (550 kilometres) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Followers of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr held rallies in Baghdad and the southern Iraqi city of Basra to denounce any Western strikes against Syria. (AP Photo/Nabil al-Jurani)
Dozens of lawmakers, most of them Republican, have signed a letter saying Obama should not take military action without congressional approval, and top leaders of both political parties are urging the president to consult more closely with Congress before giving an order to launch hostilities.
Despite the urgings, there has been little or no discussion about calling Congress back into session to debate the issue. Lawmakers have been on a summer break for nearly a month, and are not due to return to the Capitol until Sept. 9.
Obama's efforts to put together an international coalition to support military action have been more down than up.
Hollande has endorsed punitive strikes, and told the newspaper Le Monde that the "chemical massacre of Damascus cannot and must not remain unpunished."
But British Prime Minister David Cameron's attempt to win a vote of approval in Parliament for military action ended in ignominious defeat on Thursday. American attempts to secure backing at the United Nations have been blocked by Russia, long an ally of Syria.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged a delay in any military action until the inspectors can present their findings to U.N. member states and the Security Council.

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