Scots referendum vote hangs in the balance
Scotland secessionist leader Alex Salmond has a lot of friends these days. Just under a week away from a referendum vote on independence, leaders of Scotlands separatist and
unionist parties are running neck and neck. Salmond has made strong gains since August winning favour from the traditionally unionist Labour party as well as from female voters.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) SCOTLAND'S FIRST MINISTER ALEX SALMOND, SAYING: I think,indicate perfectly conclusively that the people of Scotland are not going to be bullied by big oil, by big supermarkets, by big London government. But for unionists,an independent Scotland would mean serious financial and economic troubles. Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown is campaigning for Labour Party leader Ed Miliband.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, GORDON BROWN, SAYING: "Higher food bills, higher shopping bills, lost jobs, destroyed opportunities, lost investment --an economic minefield we are entering."
Most pollsters say the race is still too close to call. Voting on the referendum will start Friday September 18th.
Residents of Ukraine's Mariupol prepare for potential military offensive
Residents in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol are gearing up for a potential government military offensive. Pro-Russian separatist fighters have launched sporadic attacks in the east, threatening a delicate truce brokered between Moscow and Kiev. Locals say they hope an offensive won't be necessary.
(SOUNDBITE) LOCAL RESIDENT, VALERIA, SAYING: "Everyone hopes this will not happen,you know. Somehow everyone hopes this will not happen, that nothing will happen. That there will be no offensive, that they will find an agreement. I wish it would be this way."
Nonetheless, steps are underway to prepare bomb shelters and necessary equipment, should fighting erupt. Irina volunteers her time to make camouflage cloaks to conceal snipers. She says the art of blinding in is necessary to help those fighting on the front lines.
(SOUNDBITE) VOLUNTEER, IRINA, SAYING: "Camouflage is needed a lot and we are asked for these outfits. So to say, we scarcely have time to finish them, and we are sending them right away to the front-line for the intelligence service, for the snipers."
Other volunteer fighters are training in the field to jump in with Ukrainian servicemen andprotect their city. Ukraine accuses Russia of aiding pro-Russian separatists in the region,which has killed at least 3,000 people since the conflict began. But on the streets of Mariupol,the sound of silence may not last long.
Iraq's speaker says U.S. air strikes should "be precise and targeted"
As the United States tries to build regional support for deeper military action against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria,Iraq's parliament speaker Salim al-Jabouri says he told U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that precision is paramount.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAQ PARLIAMENT SPEAKER SALIM AL-JABOURI SAYING: "'The only condition that we mentioned for using air strikes was for it to be precise and targeted, and totarget positions of terrorists and ISIS, which have been proven with absolute certainty, that it is ISIS or terrorists."
Jabouri also told Kerry that the U.S. should make every effort not to kill civilians.
(SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) IRAQ PARLIAMENT SPEAKER SALIM AL-JABOURI SAYING: "As for airstrikes that are random, which will target citizens, this is something that we reject, naturally,and we do not consider that as a constructive military strategy because it is the innocent who will pay the price, and as such, we will lose many souls and their
hatred will increase.''
In a televised speech Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama told the American public that he vowed to "destroy" Islamic State fighters in a "systematic campaign of air strikes." Morethat 150 strikes have already been carried out in recent weeks. Washington's hope is that Sunnis like Jabouri -- a balancing force in Iraq's Shi'ite-dominated political system ---can help bring the country together to defeat Islamic State.