"Most of the ingredients for sarin are extremely sensitive to water, and some are highly flammable. There is great potential for explosive reactions. Another difficult step is refining the excess hydrogen fluoride out of the mix, which makes the gas storable. A short shelf life may not matter to a terrorist, but it certainly matters if the gas is being produced a little at a time to prepare a major attack," writes Dan Kaszeta for Bloomberg.
"In awarding its peace prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the Nobel committee has recognized more than sixteen years of difficult, dangerous and largely unsung work and one of the greatest success stories in the long, patchy history of multilateral efforts to make the world a safer place," writes Julian Borger in the Guardian.
China Opposes Arbitration in South China Sea Dispute
Chinese premier Li Keqiang criticized unilateral moves by claimants to the South China Sea to use international arbitration (China Daily), a method favored by the United States. U.S. secretary of state Kerry has backed the Philippines, a U.S. treaty ally, which brought a case against China before a UN Convention on the Law of the Sea panel.
This CFR InfoGuide examines maritime disputes in the South and East China Seas.
African leaders will meet Friday to discuss withdrawing from the International Criminal Court on the grounds that the court has unfairly targeted members of the African Union (al-Jazeera). On Thursday, Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta called for his crimes-against-humanity trial to be thrown out.
European Stocks Rise on U.S. Debt Ceiling Progress
European stocks continued their rally on Friday, lifted by optimism over Washington's progress toward resolving political stalemate after House Republicans offered to raise the government's debt limit for six weeks while budget negotiations resume (WSJ).
Top finance officials from the leading economies that comprise the G20 will focus on the receding risk of a U.S. default at talks on Friday. They warned that failure by Congress to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling would wreak havoc on the global economy (Reuters).
This CFR Backgrounder explains the U.S. debt ceiling and the potential costs and consequences of default.