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World/National News

September 29, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

(Continued)

Iranians awoke yesterday to learn that their president, Hassan Rouhani, had spoken directly to Obama, breaking through a barrier that had left American and Iranian presidents divorced from such contact for 34 years. The two presidents pledged to resolve concerns about Iran's nuclear ambitions, which have isolated Iranians from the global community and led to crippling economic sanctions.

The appetite for serious talks having been tested at a presidential level, the focus turns to negotiations among foreign ministers and other officials from the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, who together will chart a path forward, a senior Obama administration official said. The group wants Iran to present a more detailed proposal before or at the next round of negotiations, scheduled in Geneva on Oct. 15-16, another U.S. official said.

Shutdown threat puts heat on House GOP as tea party urges continuing fight over 'Obamacare'

WASHINGTON (AP) — Heat is building on balkanized Republicans, who are convening the House this weekend in hopes of preventing a government shutdown but remain under tea party pressure to battle on and use a must-do funding bill to derail all or part of President Barack Obama's health care law.

The weekend session comes after the Senate on Friday sent back to the House legislation to keep the government's doors open until Nov. 15, but only after Democrats stripped from the bill a provision to defund the Affordable Care Act, also called "Obamacare."

Congress faces a midnight deadline tomorrow. Failure to pass a short-term funding bill by then would mean the first partial government shutdown in almost 20 years.

The Senate's 54-44 vote was strictly along party lines in favor of the bill, which would prevent a shutdown of nonessential government services.

That tally followed a 79-19 vote to cut off a filibuster by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, which exposed a rift among Republicans eager to prevent a shutdown and those, like Cruz, who seem willing to risk one over derailing the health care law.

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