The United Nations will probe Syria's claim that rebels may have used chemical weapons in the country, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday.
Opposition groups, meanwhile, have insisted that the Syrian regime itself used such weapons.
Syria asked for a U.N. investigation of its claim, and Ban said he has a mandate to consider such a request from any member state. So the U.N. probe will focus on the government's allegation.
A U.N. agency has dispatched a team to collect 21 U.N. peacekeepers from Syrian rebels who detained them earlier this week, but the effort has been called off due to darkness, a U.N. spokeswoman says.
The team will try again Saturday, said U.N. Josephine Guerrero, spokeswoman for the U.N.'s peacekeeping agency.
The peacekeepers, identified by the Philippine government as Filipino, were detained in a Syrian village near the Golan Heights on Wednesday. Syrian opposition coalition President Moaz al-Khatib said Thursday that the rebels took the peacekeepers for the peacekeepers' own safety due to fighting there.
[Updated at 12:34 p.m. ET] The racehorse I'll Have Another has been scratched from Saturday's Belmont Stakes, ending its bid to become the first Triple Crown winner in 34 years, a spokesman for trainer Doug O'Neill confirmed Friday.
Earlier Friday, O'Neill told the "Dan Patrick Show" that I'll Have Another was out, citing swelling in one of the horse's legs.
“I’ll Have Another is officially out of the Belmont," O'Neill told the radio show. "He galloped great yesterday, and in the afternoon he had a little bit of swelling in his left front leg.
“This morning, he looked perfect. I took him out and I just did a little something with him. After training, that swelling came back.
"I had the vet come over. He scanned his left front leg. He’s got the start of tendinitis going on in that front leg, so he’s not 100%. And we ain’t taking any chances."
O'Neill told the show that he didn't know how the horse became injured.
“Pulling him out, it’s not tragic, but it’s a huge disappointment. (I’m) just so disappointed for the horse, obviously, and … the whole team.
News of the withdrawal comes after O'Neill sent the horse out to the Belmont Park track for earlier-than-usual training Friday morning - jogging a half-mile and galloping a mile, starting at 5:30 a.m., according to a New York Racing Association story on the Belmont Stakes website.
Before the withdrawal, the horse's owner, Paul Reddam, told CNN on Friday morning that preparations were going well.
Had the horse won the Belmont, it would have been the first Triple Crown winner since 1978, when Affirmed won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.
I'll Have Another won the first two races this year, but wasn't the favorite for either. Before Friday's withdrawal, oddsmakers said the horse was favored to win the Belmont at odds of 4-5, according to the New York Racing Association.
Since 1990, only seven horses have won the first two legs of the title.
I'll Have Another was "lightly raced" and only competed in two prep races leading up to the Kentucky Derby, which happened in May. The horse competed in the shadow of Bodemeister, which was predicted to win the Kentucky Derby.
High stakes, long race at Triple Crown's Belmont
The time leading up to the Belmont Stakes has not been without controversy. A workers strike at Belmont Park was averted this week.
The racetrack's workers, who manage the grounds and put the horses in the gate, have been involved in a contract dispute with the New York Racing Association over wages and health care since 2010.
Also, I'll Have Another's trainer is to begin a 45-day suspension, handed down by the California horse-racing authorities, on July 1.
O'Neill was found responsible for high carbon dioxide levels in 2010 California Del Mar track racer Argenta's blood. However, he was not found guilty of "intentional acts" or any sign that betting was skewed toward Argenta in the race.
Despite that, O'Neill still was able to participate in the Stakes this weekend.
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."
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter joined Major League Baseball's elite 3,000-hit club Saturday on a home run, marking a perfect day at the plate at Yankee Stadium.
The dramatic, milestone-reaching blast was part of a performance that included hitting safely in all five at-bats and driving in the winning run against Tampa Bay.
And, with his third hit of the day, Jeter moved past Roberto Clemente - whose career ended at 3,000 hits - and alone into 27th place on the all-time hits list. He has the most hits of any active player.
In achieving the milestone, Jeter, who has played with the Yankees his entire career, accomplished a feat that eluded Yankee greats like Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Lou Gehrig.
Jeter hit a single for number 2,999 in his first at-bat of the game in the first inning. Then, in the third inning he launched the homer, his third of the year, into left field off Rays starter David Price.
Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Casey Kotchman tipped his cap to Jeter as he rounded first on his way to a big welcome celebration at home plate from his teammates. Several of the Rays stepped out of the visitors' dugout to applaud. The game was halted as the crowd of nearly 50,000 stood and roared. Jeter took several curtain calls from the dugout.
You can now add the United Nations to the list of stores, theaters and landmarks as locations where bedbugs have been detected in New York City.
"Over the weekend, dogs detected bedbugs in conference room chairs. Infected chairs have now been replaced," said a verbal announcement from the the U.N. spokesman's office.
The United Nations has long been known as a hotbed of spying activity, but these bugs appear to be the decidedly low-tech crawly type.
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