New York is again testing the limits of its status as "the city that never sleeps." A week after marking the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks at Ground Zero, an explosion a bit farther uptown Saturday injured 29 people. And now, even as the investigation continues into that attack in the Chelsea neighborhood, New Yorkers must brace for the arrival of world leaders for the United Nations General Assembly. It is an enormous municipal security challenge even in the best of times.
The main focus this year at the UN gathering will be the causes and effects of the ongoing crisis of refugees and migrants. Leaders from Europe have been faced with these issues ever more clearly in recent months, and the connections — real and perceived — to the ongoing wave of terror attacks cannot be ignored.
But after a wave of attacks in France, Belgium and Germany over the past year, the past two days have reminded us that the U.S. is also a potential target. Early on Monday, officials named a suspect for the Saturday night attack in New York as 28-year-old Ahmad Khan Rahami. Meanwhile, the Islamic terror group ISIS claimed responsibility for a stabbing attack in Minnesota that left eight injured at a mall on Saturday night as well. Police meanwhile found and disabled several explosive devices in a backpack at a train station in Elizabeth, New Jersey, early Monday morning.
Were these attacks coordinated like that deadly night of Nov. 13 in Paris or the morning of March 22 in Brussels? Or are they disconnected like a spree of violence this summer in Germany? Last Sunday, during the 9/11 commemoration, President Obama explained what connects that singular day in September to the array of threats today: "Terrorists often attempt attacks on a smaller, but still deadly, scale." One week later, the only good news about the President's prescience is that this latest rash of terrorism on U.S. soil hasn't yet killed anyone.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
FARC CONFERENCE AHEAD OF PEACE DEAL VOTE
Colombia's FARC rebels gathered on Saturday for a week-long conference, where activists are largely expected to express support for a peace agreement reached last month with the government. Iván Márquez, the group's chief negotiator, told El Espectador that there was a "strong support for all the work we've done in Havana." The final agreement is expected to be signed by both parties on Sept. 26 and it will be put to a referendum on Oct. 2.
SYRIAN TRUCE IN DOUBT
Rebel-held parts of Aleppo were hit by four air strikes, a first in the city since a fragile nationwide ceasefire started a week ago. The origin of the air strikes, reported by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, is unknown. But the temporary truce is in doubt, especially after warplanes from the U.S.-led coalition hit Syrian forces, killing 62 soldiers, apparently unintentionally. Read more from the BBC.
— ON THIS DAY
From Ötzi the Iceman to Jimmy Fallon, here's your 57-second shot of history.
More than one out of four Muslims in France consider sharia as more important than French secular law and, as a result, support the full veil and polygamy, a study published yesterday by the think-tank Institut Montaigne reveals. It also shows that a "silent majority" (46%) are either fully secularised or on the path to full integration.
PUTIN-BACKED PARTY WINS RUSSIA ELECTIONS
United Russia, the country's ruling party, won an outright majority in yesterday's parliamentary elections with more than 54% of ballots and 90% of the votes counted. The turnout was low, however, with just 47%.
For many Germans, Murat Kurnaz is just a bearded Guantanamo inmate they may have seen on television. But for the country's refugees, as Oliver Das Gupta writes for German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung, he is an important part of Germany — now serving as an official cultural and linguistic mediator: "The students learn of his story: how he went to Pakistan after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in order to attend a madrasa for Islamic religious studies, but was sold to the U.S. for a bounty. The Americans held him captive, first in Afghanistan, then for five years in Guantanamo. Kurnaz was tortured. ... Due to his imprisonment, he feels particularly well-equipped to help refugees with their integration. Although he has no expert knowledge, his story lends him credibility."
Read the full article, A Former Guantanamo Prisoner Helps Refugees In Germany.
BERLIN VOTE BRINGS MORE BAD NEWS FOR MERKEL
Another election, another humbling defeat for Angela Merkel. In Berlin, the German Chancellor's CDU party registered its lowest score ever with 17.6% as the newcomers from the anti-immigration party Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) garnered 14.2%. But for Berlin's newspaper Die Tageszeitung, the far-right's rise could, ironically and indirectly, lead to "a real alternative for Germany" by making a grand coalition of the left possible. Read more from our Extra feature here.
— MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
Fountain Of Youth — L'Aquila, 1978
"The Brazil we love so much has shown the world what it can do," Carlos Nuzman, the president of Rio's organizing committee, said as the Rio Paralympic Games concluded at the Maracana stadium yesterday evening. Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, also paid tribute to Bahman Golbarnezhad, an Iranian cyclist, who died on Saturday after a road race crash. His passing, he said "has affected us all and left the whole Paralympic movement united in grief."
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GOT ON TOP AT EMMY AWARDS
It was a big night for Game of Thrones — which became the most decorated show ever — Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and O. J. Simpson.
— Crunched by Margot Nicodème & Marc Alves