Netanyahu says world, U.S. failing to set limits on Iran

Israel is sounding increasingly agitated over what it views as American dithering with economic sanctions too weak to force Iran to end its suspected drive toward nuclear weapons.

In a clear message aimed at the White House, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday criticized what he said was the world’s failure to spell out what would provoke a U.S.-led military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. The comments came in response to U.S. refusals in recent days to set “red lines” for Tehran.

With his strong words, Netanyahu is taking a bold gamble. He clearly hopes to rattle the U.S. into doing more, for fear that Israel might otherwise soon attack Iran on its own. But he risks antagonizing President Barack Obama during a re-election campaign and straining relations with Israel’s closest and most important ally. Relations between the two leaders have often been tense in the past.

Israeli officials say American politics do not factor into their thinking, but the sense of urgency is so grave that the world cannot hold its breath until after the November election.

“The world tells Israel, ‘Wait. There’s still time,’ ” Netanyahu said Tuesday. “And I say: ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”


Actress makes emotional appeal for Syrian refugees

Her eyes welling up with tears, actress Angelina Jolie said she heard “horrific” and “heartbreaking” accounts from Syrian refugees she met Tuesday during a visit to a camp in Jordan that has provided shelter for those fleeing the civil war in the neighboring country.

The Hollywood star, who is also the U.N. refugee agency’s special envoy, spoke after meeting a group of women refugees at the Zaatari camp, which hosts about 30,000 Syrians displaced by the 18-month conflict.

“I am very concerned, the world is very concerned,” Jolie said during a high-profile visit U.N. refugee agency’s special envoy aimed at focusing international attention on the plight of Syrian refugees and attracting more funding to help them. “What is very heartbreaking is when Syrian people ask you why you think no one is able to find a solution for them.”

Jolie met separately with the Syrian refugee women as U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh toured the sprawling tent city. She also went to the border late Monday and met with Syrian refugees as they crossed into Jordan.

“What they described on the ground, hearing it from them is so horrific,” she said, adding that the children’s stories were especially moving, including some who said they had witnessed people being pulled apart “like chickens.”

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have fled the chaos as an uprising against President Bashar Assad has become increasingly violent, with activists saying at least 23,000 people have died since the conflict began in March 2011.


Union: Talk of settlement in teachers strike is ‘lunacy’

Addressing a large rally in the Loop, the head of the Chicago Teachers Union on Tuesday dashed hopes of settling the strike Tuesday and returning more than 350,000 children to the classroom.

“To say that the contract will be settled today is lunacy,” CTU president Karen Lewis told cheering teachers.

School Board President David Vitale had indicated Tuesday morning, as negotiations resumed, that the two sides were close and even suggested a settlement Tuesday.

But Lewis said the two sides remained far apart, noting that they have signed off on only six of the 49 articles in the contract. Main sticking points include evaluations and the rehiring of laid-off teachers.

Lewis told thousands of teachers at the rally that they were in this fight for the long haul.

“The assault on public education started here. It needs to end here,” Lewis said, addressing the crowd as “brothers and sisters.”

“We did not start this fight,” Lewis said, touching off a chant from the crowd of “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Rahm Emanuel has got to go!”