Editor's note: President Barack Obama addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. You can read a live blog of his remarks below or see his remarks in full here.
[Updated at 10:51 a.m. ET]Â President Obama pointed to all of the Libyans who supported America and showed their love of Ambassador Chris Stevens as further hope for the world. He's bringing the speech full circle by going back to the attacks in Benghazi.
"Today I promise you this â€“ long after these killers are brought to justice, Chris Stevensâ€™ legacy will live on in the lives he touched. In the tens of thousands who marched against violence through the streets of Benghazi; in the Libyans who changed their Facebook photo to one of Chris; in the sign that read, simply, Chris Stevens was a friend to all Libyans,'" Obama said. "They should give us hope. They should remind us that so long as we work for it justice will be done; that history is on our side; and that a rising tide of liberty will never be reversed.""
[Updated at 10:50 a.m. ET]Â President Obama is talking about the hope he sees in the communities around the world like Jakarta, Seoul, Prague and others.
"These men, women and children of every race and every faith remind me that for every angry mob that gets shown on television, there are billions around the globe who share similar hopes and dreams. They tell us that there is a common heartbeat to humanity," he said. "So much attention in our world turns to what divides us. Thatâ€™s what we see on the news, and that consumes our political debates. But when you strip that all away, people everywhere long for the freedom to determine their destiny; the dignity that comes with work; the comfort that comes from faith; and the justice that exists when governments serve their people â€“ and not the other way around."
[Updated at 10:48 a.m. ET] President Obama says that while he has seen a lot of troubling things in recent times, he believes he has witnessed a similar amount of progress that leaves him hopeful.
"The war in Iraq is over, and our troops have come home. We have begun a transition in Afghanistan, and America and our allies will end our war on schedule in 2014," Obama said. "Al Qaeda has been weakened and Osama bin Laden is no more. Nations have come together to lock down nuclear materials, and America and Russia are reducing our arsenals. Iâ€™ve seen hard choices made â€“ from Naypyidaw to Cairo to Abidjan â€“ to put more power in the hands of citizens."
[Updated at 10:46 a.m. ET] President Obama is now addressing the concerns about a Â nuclear Iran and the policies and ideology of leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"In Iran, we see where the path of a violent and unaccountable ideology leads. The Iranian people have a remarkable and ancient history, and many Iranians wish to enjoy peace and prosperity alongside their neighbors. But just as it restricts the rights of its own people, the Iranian government props up a dictator in Damascus and supports terrorist groups abroad," Obama said. "Time and again, it has failed to take the opportunity to demonstrate that its nuclear program is peaceful, and to meet its obligations to the United Nations."
Obama said that he would like to solve these issues with diplomacy - and it is still possible.
"But that time is not unlimited. We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace," Obama said. "Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained."
[Updated at 10:45 a.m. ET] Obama is now talking about the conflict in Syria.
"The future must not belong to a dictator who massacres his people. If there is a cause that cries out for protest in the world today, it is a regime that tortures children and shoots rockets at apartment buildings," Obama said. "And we must remain engaged to assure that what began with citizens demanding their rights does not end in a cycle of sectarian violence. "
[Updated at 10:44 a.m. ET] Obama is now addressing the peace process in Israel.
"Among Israelis and Palestinians, the future must not belong to those who turn their backs on the prospect of peace. Let us leave behind those who thrive on conflict, and those who reject the right of Israel to exist," he said. "The road is hard but the destination is clear â€“ a secure, Jewish state of Israel; and an independent, prosperous Palestine. Understanding that such a peace must come through a just agreement between the parties, America will walk alongside all who are prepared to make that journey."
[Updated at 10:42 a.m. ET]Â President Obama is referencing a quote by Gandhi: "Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit."
Obama says that we must all not just condemn the recent video and slander of Islam.
"Yet to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see when the image of Jesus Christ is desecrated, churches are destroyed, or the Holocaust is denied. Let us condemn incitement against Sufi Muslims, and Shiite pilgrims," he said.
[Updated at 10:40 a.m. ET] President Obama warned that while violence may initially be voiced against the West it will eventually spread if nothing is done.
"The same impulses toward extremism are used to justify war between Sunnis and Shia, between tribes and clans. It leads not to strength and prosperity but to chaos," Obama said. "In less than two years, we have seen largely peaceful protests bring more change to Muslim-majority countries than a decade of violence. Extremists understand this. And because they have nothing to offer to improve the lives of people, violence is their only way to stay relevant. They do not build, they only destroy."
He called on leaders and those who have protested during the Arab spring to reclaim the future.
"The future must not belong to those who target Coptic Christians in Egypt â€“ it must be claimed by those in Tahrir Square who chanted 'Muslims, Christians, we are one.' Â The future must not belong to those who bully women â€“ it must be shaped by girls who go to school, and those who stand for a world where our daughters can live their dreams just like our sons," Obama said. "The future must not belong to those corrupt few who steal a countryâ€™s resources â€“ it must be won by the students and entrepreneurs; workers and business owners who seek a broader prosperity for all people. Those are the men and women that America stands with; theirs is the vision we will support."
President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney hold their first debate October 3 from the campus of the University of Denver.Â Watch CNN.com Live for all the latest coverage from the election.
Today's programming highlights...
9:00 am ET - UN General Assembly debate begins - It's that time of the year where world leaders, diplomats and dignitaries gather to let a global audience know what they think about pretty much anything and everything.Â It's the annual debate of the United Nations General Assembly, and President Obama will address the world body for a fourth time during the 10am ET hour.Â Later speakers include the presidents of France and Afghanistan, as well as the Spanish prime minister.
A U.N. General Assembly resolution approved Friday stresses "grave concern" over the deteriorating conflict in Syria and slams the government for its actions and the Security Council for its "failure" to counter the crisis.
The assembly adopted the Saudi-sponsored resolution 133-12 with 31 abstentions. It comes a day after Kofi Annan announced his resignation as the U.N. and Arab League special envoy to Syria. He championed a six-point peace plan that has failed to take hold.
The resolution notes "human rights abuses by armed opposition groups" and condemns "all violence, irrespective of where it comes from, including terrorist acts." But most of its ire is reserved for Bashar al-Assad's regime.
General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, unlike Security Council resolutions.Â But diplomats at the General Assembly strongly upbraided the Security Council for failing to deal with the issue. Russia and China vetoed tough Security Council resolutions against Syria earlier this year.FULL STORY
Russia and China vetoed a new U.N. Security Council resolution Thursday that would have imposed new sanctions on the Syrian regime.
Western countries have been pushing for a resolution that threatens sanctions against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad if government forces don't stop attacks.
However, Russia has opposed any international effort that would blame, punish or change the leadership of the Syrian government. Russia and China have vetoed two previous draft resolutions in the U.N. Security Council, leading to accusations that Russia is protecting the Syrian regime.
The resolution also calls for renewing the 300-member U.N. observer mission for 45 days after it was suspended because of violence.
Russia has put forward its own draft, which "strongly urges all parties in Syria to cease immediately all armed violence in all its forms."
U.S. President Barack Obama called his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, to discuss the Syrian situation, the White House said in a statement Wednesday.
"They noted the differences our governments have had on Syria, but agreed to have their teams continue to work toward a solution," it said.FULL STORY
Bolivia's Evo Morales has been re-elected.
Some of you may be asking, "Weren't the country's elections in 2009?" Yes, they were. That's not at all what we're talking about.
It was reported Monday by several Hispanic news outlets - including Los Tiempos, La Razon and La Rioja (excuse the Google Translate pages, but you get the idea) - that the Bolivian president once again has been elected to helm the union for coca leaf producers in the nation.
Coca, as in the precursor plant for cocaine.
Those of you familiar with Morales are aware of his fondness for the crop. You might even remember the time he gave Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a charango, an Andean instrument similar to a ukelele, inlaid with leaves from the plant ... which must have made for spirited discussion when she came back through U.S. Customs.
Those of you familiar with Bolivia are aware that many indigenous folks there have been known to employ the plant for purposes unrelated to Scarface Delight. The plant has been used for thousands of years in the Andes, and not merely as a stimulant. It's also a medicine that can reportedly relieve altitude sickness and pain or suppress appetite if you chew the leaves, a custom known as "acullico."
United Nations monitors who were trying to access the scene of "new massacres" in Syria's Hama province were shot at with small arms,Â U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon told the U.N. GeneralÂ Assembly on Thursday morning.
Ban said he had just learned the information about the gunfire "a few minutes ago." He also called the reports of Wednesday's alleged Hama massacres "shocking and sickening."
Information about who shot at the monitors and when the shooting happened wasn't immediately available.
During his address to the U.N. General assembly, Ban also said thatÂ Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government has lost "all legitimacy" amid reports of mounting violence.
Opposition activists accused forces loyal to al-Assad of killing 78 people in a tiny village in Hama province Wednesday.
Regime forces shelled Qubeir village before militias on foot used knives, guns and AK-47 rifles to kill residents, the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said.
About 40 victims of the attack in Qubeir were buried in a mass grave Thursday, according to a youth activist whom CNN is not naming for safety reasons. Shabiha - or pro-government gangs - took other bodies to neighboring villages, the activist said. More than half of those killed were women and children, according to a local activist who evacuated bodies.
The Syrian government blamed a terrorist group for the massacre, saying it was timed to coincide with the U.N. meetings to make the regime look bad.
Maj. Gen. Robert Mood, head of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria, said observers heading to the village to verify reports of the killings had been blocked by soldiers and civilians. Residents are telling observers that they are at risk if they enter the village.
The observers have been monitoring adherence to Annan's six-point peace plan, which includes a cease-fire declared in April. But the effort has failed to halt the bloodshed in the nation.
International envoy Kofi Annan told the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday that his six-point peace plan for Syria is "not being implemented."Â He warned that more repression, abuse and even "all-out civil war" could occur if things don't change in Syria.
Two weeks ago, a massacre in Houla left more than 100 people dead, including women and children. Opposition activists blamed the deaths on government forces and allied militia, a claim that al-Assad denied.
CNN cannot independently confirm reports from within Syria because the government strictly limits access by foreign journalists.
A U.N. nuclear inspector from South Korea was killed Tuesday in a car accident in Iran, state-run media reported.
Ok-Seok Seo was traveling with another inspector from the International Atomic Energy Agency near the Khandab nuclear complex in central Markazi province when their vehicle overturned, state news agencies said, citing Iran's Atomic Energy Organization.
The IAEA has not commented on the report.FULL STORY
Top U.N. officials and the Security Council leaned on the Syrian regime Thursday, urging it to fully carry out a peace plan it promised to heed.
Syria said Thursday that it had taken several steps to comply with a peace plan championed by U.N. envoy Kofi Annan, including the withdrawal of troops from three regions and the expansion of Red Cross humanitarian access.
But more needs to be done, U.N. officials say, with imposing a cease-fire at the top of the agenda.FULL STORY
An international judge has resigned from the special court set up in Cambodia to try people accused of committing atrocities under the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s, saying his Cambodian counterpart was obstructing efforts to investigate cases.
The resignation by Laurent Kasper-Ansermet, announced Monday, is the second departure of an international judge from the court in the past six months amid tensions with local officials.
His predecessor, Siegfried Blunk, resigned as international co-investigating judge in October, complaining that statements by Cambodian government ministers about two of the court's cases threatened to undermine proceedings.
Those same two cases, known as Cases 003 and 004, are at the heart of the dispute between Kasper-Ansermet and You Bunleng, the national co-investigating judge for the court.
"Judge You Bunleng's active opposition to investigations into Cases 003 and 004 has led to a dysfunctional situation," Kasper-Ansermet said in a statement attributed to him on the court's website.FULL STORY
A Syrian-led mission this weekend will "gather information on the overall humanitarian situation and observe first-hand the humanitarian conditions in various towns and cities," the United Nations' humanitarian chief said Thursday.
A U.N. team will be part of the mission. This comes as aid agencies call for "unhindered access" to deliver relief in Syria.
Opposition activists have declared Tuesday a day of mourning across Syria as the death toll from a year of government attacks escalates out of control.
More than 8,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict, including many women and children, said Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, president of the U.N. General Assembly. Opposition activists have put the toll at more than 9,000.
"Violations of human rights are widespread and systematic," Al-Nasser said Monday. "The international community has a responsibility to act."
But how to act remains a point of contention.FULL STORY
The U.N. Security Council focused Monday on the crisis in Syria, with the United States and Britain pushing for quick action on a resolution and Russia warning against a "take-it-or-leave-it" approach.
All sides called for an immediate end to the violence.
"There is a growing understanding of the need not to talk to each other on the basis of take-it-or-leave-it, but bring the positions together and be guided not by the desire of revenge, of punishment, who is to blame and so on and so forth, but by the basic interests of the Syrian people," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters after the Security Council met. "And this requires an immediate end of violence as the number one priority."
Lavrov invoked the specter of Libya, whose government was overthrown last year after U.N. Security Council resolutions authorizing NATO enforcement of a no-fly zone to protect innocent civilians led to widespread bombing of Libyan military forces.FULL STORY
The U.N. Human Rights Council adopted a resolution Thursday condemning Syria's "widespread and systematic violations of human rights" and called on the regime to permit aid groups in to distribute relief.
The resolution comes as Conflicting reports emerged Thursday over the fate of the center of Syrian resistance in the besieged city of Homs amid what the opposition describes as an ongoing assault by President Bashar al-Assad's forces.
Spotty reports of intense fighting emerged in and around the hard-hit Baba Amr neighborhood, though it remained unclear whether Syrian forces had taken a portion of the area. The city has become a flashpoint for both sides in the uprising.
Al-Assad's government said late Wednesday that troops had taken over, while opposition groups gave conflicting reports Thursday about who was in control of the neighborhood that has been shelled for 26 days.
Two opposition activists on the ground in Homs said the army did not take Baba Amr, while another activist reports troops took control of a portion of the neighborhood, according to Avaaz, a pro-opposition, political activist group.
The United Nations General Assembly has passed a nonbinding resolution endorsing the Arab League plan for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad to step down.
The vote was 137 in favor and 12 against, with 17 abstentions.
The symbolic resolution that condemns al-Assad's violent crackdown in Syria was introduced into the assembly after China and Russia blocked the Security Council from approving enforceable measures aimed at curbing the violence.
The vote followed news that al-Assad has moved up a vote on a constitutional referendum touted by his government as an important reform initiative. Critics have derided the move as window dressing.
"Today, the UN General Assembly sent a clear message to the people of Syria: the world is with you," U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said in a statement. "An overwhelming majority of UN member states have backed the plan put forward by the Arab League to end the suffering of Syrians. Bashar al-Assad has never been more isolated. A rapid transition to democracy in Syria has garnered the resounding support of the international community. Change must now come."
The uprising in Syria - influenced by the Arab Spring movement that forced regime change in Egypt and Tunisia - was sparked about a year ago in the southern city of Daraa with demonstrators angered by the arrests of young people who scrawled anti-government graffiti.
Their grievances and calls for reforms were met with a violent security crackdown, and the unrest there served to catalyze anti-government ferment across the nation.
Thousands have died in the crackdown - well over 5,000, according to the United Nations. But the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition activist group, puts the toll at well over 7,000.
The resolution calls on Syria to end human rights violations and attacks against civilians immediately. It condemns all violence "irrespective of where it comes from" and "calls on all parties," including "armed groups," to halt violence.
Along with urging the government to cease violence, the resolution calls on it to protect the population, release prisoners "detained arbitrarily" during recent events, withdraw security personnel from cities and towns to barracks, and "guarantee the freedom of peaceful demonstration."
It also calls for an "inclusive" and violence-free "Syrian led political process."
"This resolution strongly condemns Assadâ€™s 11-month campaign of murder and torture. It demands an end to the killing machine," Rice said in her statement. "It demands that the Syrian government release all political prisoners; assure the freedom of peaceful demonstrations; and guarantee full and safe access to Arab League representatives and international media, and to humanitarian aid workers, who seek only to protect a people who have endured unimaginable violence.
"The international community has just given its firm support to the Arab League's plan to facilitate a Syrian-led political transition to a democratic, plural political system, 'in which citizens are equal regardless of their affiliations or ethnicities or beliefs.' The only question is how many more women, men and children - from demonstrators on Syriaâ€™s streets to those taking shelter in homes and hospitals - will suffer or be killed by Assad before that transition begins."
A massive plume of thick, black smoke billowed from the Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday, punctuating the chaos that has plagued the opposition stronghold for months.
According to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition activist group, government war planes flew over Homs and blew up an oil pipeline.
The Syrian government did not immediately issue a statement on the situation in Homs.
Meanwhile, after repeated U.N. failures to formally denounce the Syrian regime, the latest U.N. draft resolution condemning Syria could be voted on in the General Assembly as early as Wednesday.FULL STORY
Editor's note: This post is part of theÂ Overheard on CNN.comÂ series, a regular featureÂ that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
The violent unrest in Syria has many people wondering what solutions might exist. Among our readers, a debate is brewing about whether it's a good idea to get involved in the country's affairs, and if so, how.
This story talks about the United Nations' involvement in particular. The most-liked comment was about the Arab League's responsibilities.
blursd: "What's the point of an Arab League even existing if the only time it uses its collective militaries is when it a question of Jewish interests. Seriously, if they think this is as imperative of an issue as they say it is (a member state unjustifiably killing fellow Arabs), then they should be willing to commit their militaries to resolving the issue. Instead, they just sit around and twiddle their thumbs like a bunch of ineffectual hypocrites, and expect the 'evil' West to come in and do the 'dirty work.' I say let the Arab League step up to the plate ... if they want to world to treat them like a legitimate organization, they need to start acting like one."
JohnRJohnson: "Unfortunately, the Mideast is more than just nation states. It is an uneven grouping of several branches of Islam. Shiites in one country would not like seeing Shiites in another country fired on by an Arab League force. The same goes for Sunnis. These people are bound together more by religion and tradition than by a sense of nationalism. So the Arab League has to tread very carefully here, and that's the primary reason why it is calling on the U.N. to take action."
Is it right for outsiders to get involved?
ConvinceMe12: "Once upon a time, two Muslims were fighting trying to kill each other. An outsider tried to stop them; so the Muslims joined together and attacked the outsider. Once the outsider decided to leave them alone, they went back to trying to kill each other again and blamed the outsider for what they were doing."
We saw a lot of readers saying people should stay out of Syria's business, but others were frightened of that idea as well. FULL POST
Syrian towns and cities were under fresh attack Monday as the United Nations prepared to vote on a resolution strongly condemning human rights violations by Syrian authorities.
The vote by the U.N. General Assembly would be non-binding but would be the strongest statement yet on the violence, which has dramatically worsened since the popular uprising against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began 11 months ago.
After a pause in fighting in the southern city of Zabadani broke down Sunday night, Syrian troops made door-to-door raids and took people away and shelling began, according to an activist with detailed knowledge of the situation.
There had been dialogue between the Syrian troops and the rebel Free Syrian Army in the city, but the pause lasted not much more than a day.
A military convoy of 45 tanks, armored personnel carriers, and military trucks rolled through another town in the northwest province of Idlib, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human rights, an opposition activist group. Four people in the city of Idlib were wounded by gunfire from Syrian security forces, the group said.FULL STORY
Syrian government forces are using detained civilians as human shields, placing them on tanks in the besieged city of Homs to prevent the opposition Free Syrian Army from fighting back, an opposition activist said.
The latest tactic came as shelling rained on city's Baba Amr neighborhood once again Sunday, residents say, marking at least the eighth straight day President Bashar al-Assad's troops have pummeled Homs in an attempt to wipe out the opposition.
"My house is dancing. I am almost dead because of the siege," said the opposition activist, named Omar.FULL STORY
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visited Damascus on Tuesday to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, days after world leaders accused Russia of helping give the Syrian government a green light to kill more civilians.
While attempts at diplomacy have so far failed to curb the estimated thousands of deaths in the 11-month conflict, residents and opposition activists say they are desperate for international help in stopping the regime from slaughtering dissidents.
But Syrian state-run TV showed throngs of people waving Russian and Syrian flags in Damascus - highlighting the stark contrast in perception of what is happening in the country.
At least 128 were killed nationwide Monday, mostly in the besieged city of Homs, according to the opposition Syrian Revolution General Commission.
"The situation is beyond description," the commission said in a statement. "Some of these martyrs were killed with shrapnel and the others were under the rubble, and their bodies couldn't be identified because they were in remains."FULL STORY
Intense blasts echoed through the ravaged Syrian city of Homs on Monday after a weekend bloodbath ended in hundreds of deaths there, local activists said.
"It is horrible. Especially today, it is horrible," said Abu Omar, a local activist who said the Syrian army was attacking without warning. "Usually they are using mortars. They are now using rockets in the sky. We can see them in the sky."
At least 30 people were killed Monday in Homs, according to another opposition activist, identified as "Danny," and a doctor at at a field hospital in the city's Baba Amr neighborhood.
The Syrian government has stepped up its brutal crackdown after the U.N. Security Council's failed Saturday to pass a resolution condemning the regime, activists said.
"The U.N. gave them the green light to inflict more violence," Danny said. "If it wasn't for the U.N., they wouldn't have did this. It gave them the OK to kill more. If the U.N. had done something about this, this regime would be a little bit scared."FULL STORY