Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne with an update on a joking judge. Vince Sicari presided as a part-time judge in South Hackensack, until his moonlighting as standup comic and TV actor took center stage. Because some of his characters were racist and homophobic, the state ethics committee ruled that he had to choose between laughs and the law.
He appealed but yesterday, New Jersey's Supreme Court also said: Choose. And Sicari resigned from the bench.
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Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep with news analysis by Vladimir Putin. Russia's president supports removing Syria's chemical weapons but denies Syria used them. And now, he's defending Silvio Berlusconi. The former Italian prime minister was convicted of paying for sex with a minor. And yesterday, Putin suggested Berlusconi was a victim of discrimination. He said Berlusconi was put on trial for living with women, and the prosecutors, quote, "wouldn't touch them if they were gay."
The president of Sudan wants the U.S. to give him a visa so he can come to New York next week to attend the U.N. General Assembly. For most heads of state, no problem. But Omar al-Bashir faces arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court, accusing him of genocide and crimes against humanity in Sudan's Darfur region. So the question of whether to grant President Bashir a visa has put the U.S. in a diplomatic bind.
With us now is Colum Lynch. He covers the U.N. for The Washington Post and Foreign Policy.com. Good morning.
Hassan Rouhani ran on a promise of getting his country out from under the weight of sanctions, embargoes and other financial weapons from the West that have crippled that country's economy. Since taking office, he has been striking a more conciliatory note than his predecessor, especially toward the U.S. For more, Renee Montagne talks with Karim Sadjadpour of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.