ISIS-CONTROLLED OIL REFINERIES TARGETED
The U.S. Air Force and those of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have continued to hit ISIS targets in northern Syria, including 12 oil refineries captured by the jihadist group believed to generate up to $2 million per day in revenues, the BBC reports. Fourteen terrorist fighters and five civilians are reported dead in the attacks, which came after a French hostage captured by an-ISIS-linked group in Algeria was executed.
According to The Washington Post, the Syria strikes also targeted the obscure al-Qaeda-linked Khorasan organization and killed its leader. Writing about the group, Al Jazeera correspondent Imran Khan explains that it’s “a name worthy of a James Bond villain and more than likely equally fictional,” and that Khorasan is a “suitably exotic” term “almost certainly” coined by the U.S. government but not used by the group.
Two days after ordering airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria, President Barack Obama addressed the UN General Assembly, calling for world leaders to join the U.S. in confronting the various crises that have created a "pervasive sense of unease" around the globe. “No God condones this terror,” he said.
Britain could be about to join the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition as Prime Minister David Cameron returned early from the UN General Assembly in New York to hold an urgent Cabinet meeting, The Guardian reports. He recalled the House of Common for a debate and a possible vote tomorrow.
The Indian Space Research Organization has released its very first photo of Mars via Twitter, taken by its satellite Mangalyaan, which sent back a handful of pictures of the red planet's terrain an hour after it reached orbit on Thursday morning. It is the first time a maiden voyage to Mars has entered orbit successfully, and it is also the cheapest at $74 million, which is about three-quarters what it cost to make the Oscar-winning movie Gravity about astronauts stranded in space.
UKRAINE EYES 2020 EU MEMBERSHIP
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is expected today to present a broad plan of social and economic reforms that would allow the country to apply for European Union membership in six years. Poroshenko also noted with pride that, for the first time in months, no deaths or injuries had been reported in the past 24 hours, saying that the shaky ceasefire with pro-Russian rebels “has finally begun working.” The New York Times reports, however, that Kiev appears to be exchanging prisoners held by the rebels for civilians who haven’t been involved in fighting. “They arrested me, beat me for two days and then kept me for trading,” a 17-year-old boy told the newspaper.
NIGERIA WORKS TO FREE ABDUCTED GIRLS
Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan explained that the army was still working to free the hundreds of schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram in April. “We have never relented in our efforts to set them safely free,” Reuters quotes him as saying. Meanwhile, the Nigerian military announced that 135 Islamist militants had surrendered and that the man posing as the group’s leader in videos has been killed.
Eyes will be on North Korea's parliamentary session today after a noticeable three-week public absence of supreme leader Kim Jong-un. The last time Kim was seen was at a concert three weeks ago, on Sept. 3, with his wife Ri Sol Ju.
WORLD’S LARGEST MARINE RESERVE
President Barack Obama is expected to sign a proclamation today expanding the Pacific Remote Islands National Marine Monument from 87,000 square miles to more than 490,000 square miles, making it the world’s largest protected marine reserve, The Washington Postreports. The move, announced in a statement on the White House website, will add crucial protection for deep-sea coral reefs and other marine ecosystems that are “unique to this part of the world” and “among the most vulnerable” to climate change.
INDIAN PM’S FIRST U.S. VISIT
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is traveling to the United States today where he will address the UN General Assembly this weekend before meeting President Obama at the White House for the first time. Modi said before his departure that Washington is a “vital partner for our national development,” according to The Hindu Times. But first on Modi’s list is what The Times of India describes as a “CEO-packed breakfast” during which he “will embark on a massive charm offensive with America's corporate elite” after launching a “make in India” campaign aimed at competing with China.
THE SKY IS FULL OF STARS
A photographer filmed the skies over the highest mountain in Spain, one of the best places in the world to photograph the night sky. He made this beautiful time-lapse video.