Policy

Obama back in DC amid crises; as if he never left

WASHINGTON (AP) — While in office, former President George H. W. Bush once plaintively asked, "What is it about August?"

Indeed, this sultry month usually associated with the doldrums of summer has burdened modern presidents with personal, domestic or international crises. And for President Barack Obama, who returned to Washington Sunday from a two-week Martha's Vineyard vacation, what remains of the August calendar looks perhaps more daunting than when he left.

Islamic militants personalized their fight in Iraq and Syria by executing American journalist James Foley. Russia escalated tensions in Europe by moving artillery and troops on the Ukrainian border and pushing a convoy into the former Soviet republic without Kiev's approval. And a Chinese fighter jet provocatively buzzed a Navy plane in international air space.

Iran: Downed Israeli drone near nuclear site

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said Sunday its forces shot down an Israeli drone as it approached an Iranian nuclear site, recovering major parts of what it described as an advanced aircraft. Israeli officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

The incident comes as Iran negotiates with world powers over its nuclear program and hard-liners press moderate President Hassan Rouhani to demand more concessions before limiting its atomic capabilities. Israel has not ruled out taking military action against Iran's nuclear facilities if its capability to build an atomic weapon progresses.

Protesters against brown coal form human chain in Europe

BERLIN (AP) — Several thousand people formed a human chain across the German-Polish border Saturday to protest the expansion of open-cast mining for brown coal in the region.

Organizers said more than 7,500 people linked up in a 5-mile chain between Kerkwitz, Germany, and Grabice, Poland — two villages that activists fear will be evacuated to make way for further brown coal mines, also known as lignite.

Report: Iran opens uranium-conversion plant

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran inaugurated a new plant Saturday to convert a type of uranium into a material that cannot be used to make nuclear weapons as part of its interim atomic deal with world powers, its official news agency reported.

The report by IRNA quoted Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's nuclear agency, saying that the plant will convert uranium hexafluoride, which can be used to make nuclear weapons and fuel. It will become uranium dioxide, which can only be used in nuclear reactors, he said.

Oil

Whisky's worries mirror economic fears in Scotland

ISLAY, Scotland (AP) — Carl Reavey plunged his nose into the glass, inhaled the amber liquid's scent, then sipped. Slowly.

It's said that Scotch tastes of the place where it is made, so Reavey's Bruichladdich Black Art single malt would offer a touch of barley, a splash of the sea, and a whiff of salt from the island of Islay, 140 miles (225 kilometers) west of Glasgow.

That taste takes time — a long time — to produce, with top-rated Scotch aged for decades. And it means distilleries need to have long-term plans for investments and financing — all of which could be thrown into turmoil in a single day, Sept. 18, when Scotland votes on whether to leave Britain.

Public Domain Photos

Texas No. 1 in energy carbon emissions, recent declines

Texas led the nation in energy-related carbon emissions in 2011, according to new data from the Energy Department, but was also the leader among dozens of states where emissions fell since 2000.

In an annual Energy Information Administration report on state emissions from all sources of energy used, released last week, Texas in 2011 accounted for 655.5 million metric tons of carbon. It easily outpaced second-ranking California, at 345.8 million metric tons.

Sunnis pull out of Iraq talks after mosque attack

BAGHDAD (AP) — Two Sunni parliamentary blocs have suspended talks on forming a new Iraqi government to protest an attack on a Sunni mosque that killed at least 64 worshippers during Friday prayers.

The blocs affiliated with Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabouri and Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Al-Mutlak are demanding that outgoing Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and the main Shiite parliamentary bloc hand over the perpetrators within 48 hours and compensate the families of victims.

Administration condemns Russian move into Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Friday condemned the movement of a Russian convoy into eastern Ukraine, calling it a violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and demanding that it be withdrawn.

"We are deeply concerned about this," said Ben Rhodes, deputy national security adviser to President Barack Obama.

Rhodes said Russia would face additional costs if the convoy is not removed. He said the U.S. would discuss the matter Friday with its partners on the U.N. Security Council.

Lawsuits challenge FAA drone, model aircraft rules

WASHINGTON (AP) — Model aircraft hobbyists, research universities and commercial drone interests filed lawsuits Friday challenging a government directive that they say imposes tough new limits on the use of model aircraft and broadens the agency's ban on commercial drone flights.

The three lawsuits asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to review the validity of the directive, which the Federal Aviation Administration issued in June. The agency said the directive is an attempt to clarify what is a model aircraft and the limitations on their operation.

The FAA has been working on regulations that would permit commercial drone flights in U.S. skies for more than 10 years, but the agency is still at least months and possibly years away from issuing final rules to permit flights by small drones. Regulations for flights by larger drones are even farther away.

At Jackson Hole, central bankers eye varying goals

WASHINGTON (AP) — The central bankers meeting this week at their annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, aren't exactly in sync. Many are taking steps that clash with the policies of others.

The Federal Reserve is preparing to reduce its economic support. By contrast, the European Central Bank is considering more stimulus. So is the Bank of Japan. The Bank of England seems to be moving toward raising interest rates.

It isn't just the biggest economies whose central banks are pulling in different directions.

Pages

Subscribe to Policy