Whether he is predicting the demise of the U.S. "empire," questioning U.S. accounts of the 9/11 attacks or accusing Europe of using the Holocaust as an excuse for supporting Israel, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad knows how to push the West's buttons at the U.N. General Assembly.
For the third straight year, U.S. diplomats on Thursday joined envoys from several other nations in walking out during the Iranian president's address at the annual United Nations gathering in New York. That doesn't even count instances before that, when American diplomats conspicuously skipped his speech altogether.
This year, Ahmadinejad said European countries "still use the Holocaust after six decades as the excuse to pay (a) fine or ransom to the Zionists," and that the United States killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden instead of investigating "hidden elements involved in September 11."
Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, wasn't impressed.
"We find what Ahmadinejad does and says when he comes to the United Nations absolutely odious, hateful, anti-Semitic, unacceptable, which is why the United States for three consecutive years – including today – have led a walkout of his speech," Rice told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Thursday. "Inevitably he says something outrageous, dishonest and offensive, and that leads to a walkout."
Here is a look back at Ahmadinejad's other U.N. speeches, and reactions to them:
Representatives from the United States, Britain, Spain and other nations walked out while Ahmadinejad asserted that the U.S. government either participated in the 9/11 attacks or let them happen as an excuse to wage war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He said most Americans and "most nations around the world" believe that "some segments within the U.S. government orchestrated the attack," adding that these people believe the attacks were aimed at reversing "the declining American economy and its scripts on the Middle East in order to save the Zionist regime."
Comments of the Day:
"Who the hell is this guy named Santorum you people keep talking about? I think it's pretty unfortunate he shares his name with a sexual biproduct. No, Google should make no changes."–gtown03gp
"That's hilarious! Change your name, dude."–DMeccariello
After presidential candidate Rick Santorum compared homosexuality to pedophilia and bestiality, a lewd definition for "santorum" appeared in Google search. Gay-rights supporters had launched a campaign to redefine his name, and it worked. Santorum wants Google to repair the damage, but the company says it has a history of non-interference in such matters. CNN.com readers were largely unsympathetic.
spittingoutt said, "Sorry Rick, but that's what you get for being an ignorant, hate-filled bigot. Reap what you sow." Boniface said, "If he's going to make ignorant and discriminatory and inflammatory remarks in public, he better get used to the fallout from it. I have zero sympathy for him."
DeweyFleszar said, "The Google algorithm doesn't lie, and Google should not artificially change their search results because he is running for president and is upset by the results of his actions in 2003. You've made your bed, Rick – now lie in it."
Moby52 said, "Rick, funny how you, a constitutional conservative, want to limit free speech when you don't like the results. That same attitude got you in this problem in the first place. I guess you will never learn that being a hypocrite is a curse."
timothyliao said, "I am a Conservative but this is a case of Rick Santorum being stupid and not knowing how the Internet works. Stick to your guns, Google, don't censor yourselves for the sake of others except for minors."
tilityboard said, "This is not simply a Google problem. All three major search engines (Bing, Google, Yahoo) list the definition of 'Santorum' as their first result. The real problem here is Rick Santorum! Why is this guy even running for president? Is it just an effort to legitimize the tea party fantasy of Michele Bachmann's electability?"
sonicblew said, "If a GOP 'candidate' can't even beat an UrbanDictionary listing in Google, how does he expect to topple a Democratic incumbent?"
LoCus2021 said, "The best part is the more he keeps bringing it up, the higher results it's going to get and will stay there."
Teachers in Tacoma, Washington, have voted to end their eight-day strike, meaning classes will resume Friday for 28,000 students, Tacoma school district spokesman Dan Voelpel said.
A lawsuit that the school district had filed against the teachers' union will be dropped, Voelpel said.
A tentative agreement was reached Wednesday. Contract talks between the school district and union hadfractured over teacher pay, class size and how educators are transferred between schools.
In the deal that teachers accepted Thursday, according to Voelpel, class sizes will remain the same (the union had pushed for smaller class sizes); teachers will not face a pay cut (the district to cut pay by 1.35%); and a joint committee appointed by the district and union will determine how teachers are transferred.
Across Washington, state services cuts are in the works after the governor's office last week said the state is expected to collect $1.4 billion less in revenue between now and June 2013 than previously forecast.FULL STORY
Stock prices sank Thursday - with the Dow Jones industrial average dropping 391 points - after dour comments about the economy from the Federal Reserve.
Seeking safe havens, investors moved into U.S. Treasuries, which rallied and pushed the yield on the 10-year note down to new record lows.
Nasdaq Composite and the S&P 500 sank more than 3%.FULL STORY
Jaycee Dugard filed a complaint against the federal government Thursday, seeking compensation for what she called its failures to track the man who held her captive for 18 years, a public relations firm representing her announced.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern California, said Nancy Seltzer, whose Los Angeles-based firm detailed the complaint. According to a press release, the U.S. government "summarily rejected" two requests from Dugard "for private mediation in the case."
The U.S. Justice Department had no immediate comment Thursday, as it had not seen and thus did not know the details of the complaint, spokesman Charles Miller said.
Dugard was 11 years old in 1991, when she was abducted from the street in front of her South Lake Tahoe, California, home. Philip and Nancy Garrido held her and the two daughters she gave birth to in subsequent years in a hidden compound of sheds and tarpaulins.
The complaint relates to Philip Garrido, who was a registered sex offender well before authorities located Dugard and her two children, who he'd fathered, in 2009 in an Antioch, California, home. It notes that "the federal government had parole supervision responsibility" over him from the day he got out of custody in 1988 through 1999 - including the date in 1991 when she was kidnapped - after which responsibility shifted to California authorities.FULL STORY
A package containing 2.5 pounds of marijuana was delivered to the Kentucky home of Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson earlier this week, drug enforcement officials in California said Thursday.
Authorities tracked the package from a mail distribution center in Sacramento to Simpson's home in the Cincinnati suburb of Crestview Hills, Kentucky, said Michelle Gregory of the California Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement. The package originated in Eureka in northern California, she said, and was one of 40 packages authorities were tracking.
The California authorities notified those in Kentucky, who monitored the delivery. Aleen Smith, identified as Simpson's girlfriend, signed for the package, Gregory said.
A search of the home, to which Simpson consented, revealed six more pounds of marijuana along with scales, boxes and packaging materials consistent with a distribution operation, Gregory said.
Members of the U.S. delegation and several European delegations at the United Nations walked out during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's address to the General Assembly on Thursday afternoon.
During his address, Ahmadinejad (pictured) said the U.S. government views Zionism as "sacred," and said that "European countries still use the Holocaust after six decades as the excuse to pay ransom or fine to Zionists."
Delegations from the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and other nations walked out during the speech.
Ahmadinejad also called the September 11, 2001, attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania "mysterious" and a pretext for an American-led war against Afghanistan and Iraq.
He also said that "nations of the world are unhappy with current international circumstances," noting widespread income disparities and blaming the United States for the effects of issues ranging from the trans-Atlantic slave trade, World War II, the global financial crisis, recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict, among others.
Mark Kornblau, spokesman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, said Ahmadinejad "had a chance to address his own people’s aspirations for freedom and dignity, but instead he again turned to abhorrent anti-Semitic slurs and despicable conspiracy theories."
A night earlier, Ahmadinejad declared his country to be "a new model for life to the world."MORE COVERAGE OF U.N. GENERAL ASSEMBLY
On the eve of his address at the U.N. General Assembly Thursday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared his country to be "a new model for life to the world."
He also said that the United States might be willing to "hijack" the Middle East uprisings, according to the Iranian state-run news agency IRNA.
Ahmadinejad's appearance at the United Nations in New York comes a day after two U.S. hikers, held in an Iranian prison for more than two years, were released.
Wednesday evening, Ahmadinejad met with a group of U.S. university students, and then gave an interview to Iranian satellite television.
One man was killed and another seriously injured as they tested a zip line on Hawaii's Big Island on Wednesday.
The man who was killed, a 36-year-old from Maui, was about halfway across the 2,300-foot line above a stream bed when a tower holding up one end of line collapsed. He plunged 200 feet into the rocky stream bed and died at the scene. The injured worker, a 35-year-old from Ohio, fell about 30 feet from the collapsing tower and was in critical condition at Hilo Medical Center, according to a statement from the Hawaii Police Department.
The two men were working on a new course at the zip line facility just outside Hilo when the accident occurred, their employer, Experiential Resources Inc. of Maui, said in a statement distributed by Hawaii247.com. On its website, the company bills itself as "the global leader in the designing and building of adventure courses, canopy tours and zip line courses."
The company that owns the zip line, Lava Hotline, told CNN affiliate KHON-TV that all lines at the facility would be closed pending an investigation.
The Haqqani network of insurgents is a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Mullen warned on Thursday.
Mullen, speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the ISI supported Haqqani insurgents' planning and execution of the recent attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul and other strikes in Afghanistan.
Mullen is chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff.FULL STORY
A military site containing what appears to be radioactive material was uncovered Thursday by revolutionary forces near the southern Libyan city of Sabha. The discovery comes a day after anti-Gadhafi forces took over Sabha.
The site contains barrels and plastic bags of powder marked "radioactive." Their contents have not been confirmed as nuclear material.
This story is developing. We'll bring you the latest information as soon as we get it.FULL STORY
A bank trader accused of fraud in connection with a $2.3 billion loss in unauthorized trading reported by Swiss giant UBS is "sorry beyond words," his lawyer said Thursday.
Kwaku Adoboli was remanded in custody until October 20 by the City of London Magistrates' Court.
In a statement to the court, lawyer Patrick Gibbs said his client was "sorry beyond words for what happened here."FULL STORY
A woman fighting France's ban on Islamic face coverings was fined 120 euros ($162) Thursday for wearing a burqa, the first fine handed down by a French court over the controversial law.
Hind Ahmas sought out the punishment so she could take her fight to a higher court, she told CNN. A second woman, Najet Ait Ali, was fined 80 euros ($108) in the same court appearance.
"I am happy to be fined, since I can now take this to the European Court of Human Rights," Ahmas said.
Pope Benedict XVI arrived at Berlin's Tegel airport Thursday morning.
About 6,000 police officers are securing the visit, authorities told CNN.
"Even though this journey is an official visit which will reinforce the good relations existing between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Holy See, I have not come here primarily to pursue particular political or economic goals, but rather to meet people and to speak about God," the pope said during a speech at Bellevue Castle.FULL STORY
Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Today's live programming highlights...
9:00 am ET - Florida millionaire murder trial - Testimony continues in the trial of Bob Ward, who's accused of murdering his wife inside their Florida mansion.
Three things you need to know today.
Nurses strike: Almost 23,000 nurses at hospitals in northern and central California won't report to work on Thursday as they stage a one-day strike to protest concessions demanded by hospitals that the nurses say will hurt their role as patient advocates and cut their health and pension benefits.
The strike by members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United targets hospitals operated by Sutter Health and Kaiser Permanente as well as Children's Hospital in Oakland.
Among their grievances, the nurses say job concessions sought by Sutter Health would require them to report to work when ill, endangering patient health, according to a statement on the union's website.
At Kaiser, nurses are striking in sympathy with co-workers who face cuts in their health coverage and retirement plans, the nurses' union says.
Complaints at Children's Hospital include cuts to health care plans that would make it too expensive for nurses to bring their own kids to Children's for treatment, according to the union statement.
Obama jobs speech: President Barack Obama head to Cincinnati on Thursday to pitch his $447 billion jobs bill – a combination of infrastructure spending, tax cuts and aid to state and local governments.
He'll speak with the Brent Spence Bridge as a backdrop. The span across the Ohio River carries one of the country's major trucking routes, but it is in need of $2.4 billion in repairs, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The bridge links the constituencies of the top two Republicans in Congress - House Speaker John Boehner's district is on the Ohio side while Kentucky is home of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and winning Ohio's 18 electoral votes in 2012 could be pivotal to Obama's re-election.
Taiwan arms: China warned the United States Thursday that a multi-billion dollar arms sales to Taiwan will create "severe obstacles" between Beijing and Washington, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
"The wrongdoing by the U.S. side will inevitably undermine bilateral relations as well as exchanges and cooperation in military and security areas," Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun said, according to Xinhua. Zhang summoned U.S. Ambassador Gary Locke to lodge a protest.
The $5.3 billion arms package includes upgrades to Taiwan's F-16 fighter fleet, a five-year extension of F-16 pilot training at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona and spare parts for the upkeep of three different planes used by the Taiwanese, according to State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. The deal is part of the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.
Here’s an honor to add to the welcome sign in town: Great Falls, Montana, home to the United States’ shortest commute.
At just 14.2 minutes, the average commute in Montana’s third-largest city is beating New York’s by 20 minutes. According to a Census Bureau report released Thursday, workers in the New York metro area require an average 34.6 minutes to get to their jobs.
“Commuting in the United States: 2009,” ranks the commutes, and says a lucky 13% of commuters get to work in less than 10 minutes. About 2% need 90 minutes or longer for their daily trips.
The average U.S. commute: About 25 minutes.
It’s not bad – about the same as in 2000, actually – but it’s no Great Falls. FULL POST