Chatter: Assad interview dismisses buffer zone, says army will need time




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Need to know:

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad made a rare television appearance yesterday. Attempting to exude an air of confidence, the president admitted that his government needed time to quell the insurgency threatening to bring down the government.

“The nationalistic and good person does not rebel or go against his nation,” he told Al Dunya TV, a pro-government station. "It definitely needs time to bring it to a decisive end. But I can sum it up in one sentence: we're heading forward," he went on to say.

Assad also dismissed the notion of a humanitarian corridor saying that it was an idea by some ignorant Turkish officials. "Talk of buffer zones firstly is not on the table and secondly it is an unrealistic idea by hostile countries and the enemies of Syria," he said.

Want to know:

Talk about a snub! In a bold move, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, lambasted the Syrian government during a speech at the Non-Aligned Movement's (NAM) conference in Tehran. "Our solidarity with the struggle of the Syrian people against an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy is an ethical duty as it is a political and strategic necessity," said Morsi, prompting the Syrian delegates to leave the room.

An Al Jazeera reporter said that the statement likely made delegates squirm and undoubtedly made Syria's friends in Iran wonder why they ever invited him.

Morsi is the first Egyptian leader to visit Tehran since 1979. The NAM group was formed in 1961 as a way to counterbalance the influence of the Soviet Union and the United States, but has, in recent years become a bit of a haven for sketchy regimes.

Dull but important:

In another non-event weather story, Hurricane Isaac was reduced to a tropical storm before it could ravage the the Big Easy. A new system of levees and dams created by the Army Corps of Engineers to prevent flooding in the city was said to have worked to avert possible disaster. That said, flooding and power loss have left hundreds of thousands wet and in the dark.

Yet, Isaac may apparently do more good than harm as it makes its cross-country fly-by. Central states are hoping the rains will fill their empty rivers and water their drought-ridden fields.

Just because:

At the Republican National Convention (RNC), VP candidate Paul Ryan formally accepted his nomination and then praised Obamacare for insuring millions of Americans - we kid. Ryan, 42, dug into Obama over his health care plan and the stalled economy. "After four years of getting the runaround, America needs a turnaround, and the man for the job is Gov. Mitt Romney," said Ryan in his address to the largest audience in his career.

The Wisconsin lawmaker stressed his middle class, middle American upbringing, while saying that his multi-millionaire running mate had been preparing to lead all his life. Ryan also emphasized his relative youth - at one point talking about the songs on his iPod.

Strange but true:

Who knew that whale vomit was worth upwards of $10,000 per pound? An 8-year-old English boy certainly didn't know after finding a chunk of it on a beach. His whale spew, he later found out, could be up worth up to $63,000. The reason it's so pricey is that perfume makers use it to prolong the life of their scents - a thought next time you spray on that Chanel No. 5.