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Former bank regulator Sheila Bair warns against debt ceiling ‘nuclear bomb’ – Amanpour

September 16th, 2013
02:56 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The former head of a top U.S. financial oversight agency issued a stark warning over the upcoming, déjà vu battle over America’s debt ceiling.

“As sympathetic as I am to some of the Republican concerns about our fiscal situation,” Sheila Bair, former head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Monday, “those are nuclear bombs that you can never actually use.”

Bair served under both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama as head of the FDIC, which guarantees the deposits of Americans’ bank accounts.

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Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Economy • U.S. Politics

EXCLUSIVE: Inside lab that tested Syria chemical weapon evidence

September 16th, 2013
02:29 PM ET

By Fred Pleitgen and Andrew Carey, CNN

The Hague, Netherlands (CNN) – When U.N. weapons inspectors left their hotel to investigate claims of chemical weapons use in the suburbs of Damascus in late August, most of the experts travelling in the convoy of armoured SUVs were not United Nations staff at all.

In fact, nine of the 12 were inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

The OPCW is the implementing body of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), an international treaty which bans the possession of chemical weapons, and has been signed and ratified by 189 countries around the world.

Syria has just applied to join, presenting the OPCW with perhaps the most challenging assignment in its near 20-year history, as the country is still locked in a deadly civil war.

The OPCW's experts have monitored the cataloguing and destruction of chemical weapons in countries ranging from the United States and Russia to Libya. They have also worked in Iraq, which was the first time its inspectors were sent into a live battlefield.

"We try to get as much information as we can about what we are doing," Franz Ontal, OPCW's head of inspector training, recently told CNN, during an exclusive visit to the organization's lab and staging facility in the Netherlands.

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Filed under:  Latest Episode • Syria