New York Meeting Offers India, Pakistan Leaders A Fresh Shot At Distant Goal: Peace

Photographer take pictures as the Soyuz TMA-10M spacecraft carrying the International Space Station (ISS) crew of U.S. astronaut U.S. astronaut Michael Hopkins, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy blasts off from the launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome September 26, 2013. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov  (KAZAKHSTAN - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY)

lawmakers say they remain skeptical of Rouhanis overtures. Representative Eliot Engel of New York, the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said after Rouhanis address to the UN General Assembly that the Iranian leaders rhetoric does not reflect any significant change in Irans calculus or behavior. We must continue to make clear that all options remain on the table to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapons capability, Engel said in a Sept. 24 statement. Kerry Reaction Diplomats and analysts have cautioned that the real test of Rouhanis commitment to an accord will start when detailed negotiations resume in Geneva on Oct. 15. One meeting and a change in tone, which was welcome, doesnt answer those questions yet about Irans nuclear intentions, Kerry said on Sept. 26. Big Interest In his UN address this past week, Rouhani said Iran maintains its inherent right to enrich uranium. The Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency circulated a document yesterday in which Iran stuck to its positions, including barring inspectors from visiting the Parchin military base to investigate whether tests were conducted there related to triggering a nuclear device. Rouhani has a big interest in moving quickly to show that he can get sanctions relief, but whether he can deliver the rollback in their program that we will need for that remains to be seen, said Dennis Ross , Obamas former adviser on Iran and now a counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei controls the countrys nuclear program. Rouhani told reporters in New York earlier yesterday that he has the support of all forces in Iran for the next phase of nuclear talks, and that the country will present a proposal in Geneva.

Obama-Rouhani Chat Covers Nuclear Talks, New York Traffic

Its timely for them to meet, said Karl Inderfurth, a former top U.S. diplomat for South Asia and now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington. Its Nawaz Sharifs first chance as the new prime minister to reach across to his Indian counterpart and its maybe Manmohan Singhs last chance to do what he has repeatedly said he wants to do, which is open up a new relationship with Pakistan. Both men are familiar with the pitfalls of seeking to improve ties between India and Pakistan a relationship scarred by three wars and deep mutual suspicion. Sharif was in power when Pakistan first tested a nuclear bomb in 1998. But he also presided over one of the more upbeat episodes in recent relations with India. He hosted then-Prime Minister Atal Vajpayee for a summit in Lahore in February 1999, where they signed a landmark declaration on avoiding nuclear conflict and opened a cross-border bus service. Three months later, the impetus for peace was crushed when a Pakistani military quietly infiltrated into an area of Indian-held Kashmir called Kargil, sparking fighting that left hundreds dead on both sides and could have sparked nuclear war. Sharif, who said the army acted without his knowledge, was ousted in a coup five months later. Back in office again, Sharif is particularly keen to increase cross-border trade to jump-start Pakistans stricken economy. Pakistan and India can prosper together, and the entire region would benefit from our cooperation, Sharif told the General Assembly on Friday. But Singh has said relations can only improve once Pakistan cracks down on militants accused on staging attacks in India a perennial concern that has only intensified since the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 164 people in Indias commercial hub. On Friday, Singh said, the epicenter of terror still remains focused in Pakistan. A renewed spate of violence along the disputed Kashmir frontier this year has threatened a decade-long cease-fire. On Thursday, suspected separatist rebels killed 10 Indian security forces in the Indian-held portion of the Himalayan region an attack that the top elected official there said was aimed at derailing the meeting of Sharif and Singh in New York. Yet with time running out on his nearly decade-long premiership, Singh will be thinking about his legacy. He was born in the northern Punjab village of Gah in what later became Pakistan, and within a year of taking office invited then-Pakistani leader Pervez Musharraf to a cricket match in India.

New York Rangers sign Derek Stepan to two-year contract

Scott Lev/NHLI via Getty Images NEW YORK (AP) — Derek Stepan is back in the fold with the New York Rangers, agreeing to a two-year contract that should have him back on the ice in time for the season opener. Negotiations had been tense in recent days as the sides worked on a deal to get the restricted free-agent forward signed and into training camp. A contract was finally worked out Thursday, one week before the Rangers start the regular season at Phoenix. The 23-year-old Stepan, expected to be the Rangers’ No. 1 center, led the team with 44 points last season and was second to Rick Nash with 18 goals while playing all 48 games of the lockout-shortened campaign. He had been seeking $3.5 million per season, while the Rangers were offering around $3 million. The new deal is for a total of $6.15 million – $2.3 million this season and $3.85 million in 2014-15. Signing Stepan was a critical move for the Rangers, who are starting the season under new coach Alain Vigneault without captain Ryan Callahan and speedy winger Carl Hagelin – both recovering from shoulder operations. Stepan set career highs last season with a plus-25 rating and six game-winning goals. He tied his high with four power-play goals. Stepan went over the 40-point mark for the third straight season, tying for the NHL lead with four short-handed points. In 12 playoff games, Stepan had a career-best four goals – including winners in Games 3 and 4 of New York’s first-round victory over Washington.

New York Giants Burned by an Old Super Bowl Friend

After the game, Blackburn (who made his first start as a Panther, while calling the defensive signals against his old team) admitted, ” I had an idea of what they run and what they like to do in situations. We had a great game plan going in. I’ve been sharing all the information all week. Guys, all of us, linebackers were out there knowing what to do; (defensive backs) knew what kind of routes they were going to get off the route combinations. It makes for a big difference when you can play the game at that speed. We were able to play fast because we were aware of what they were going to do.” Carolina head coach Ron Rivera, concurred, saying, “This was one of those things when you have a guy who knows the other team and you sit there and you listen to him when he is watching tape. Before the play even happens, he calls the play out.” Think of it as the NFL equivalent of one of those backyard games that many of us have played in, during which someone on the opposing defense sneaks right near the offense’s huddle, overhears the play call, and tells the play to all of his buddies long before the quarterback hears “One Mississippi.” Now, Chase, is that any way to treat the former team that twice gave you an opportunity in the league when no else would, especially one with which you share a pair of Super Bowl titles? Well, all’s fair in football, especially when a former key player ends up on the other side. And maybe the Super Bowl champion turned teacher-in-training, turned multiple-time Super Bowl champion taught the Giants a valuable lesson — that, next time, nothing should be taken for granted when it comes to play calling against someone who knows you as well as your know yourself. Jonathan Wagner is a regular contributor for Yahoo Sports, covering the New York Knicks and New York Giants. You can also catch him as a Knicks beat writer for New York Sports Day and a co-host discussing a variety of sports topics on the New York Sports Geeks internet radio show.