There’s really no stopping the Iran deal at this point

GlobalPost
US Republican Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz speaks to supporters during a rally against the international nuclear agreement with Iran outside the US Capitol in Washington, DC on Sept. 9, 2015.

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NEED TO KNOW:

The US Congress has a week left to vote on the deal struck by the Obama administration with Iran to curb its nuclear program. And it's not looking good for the Republicans who unanimously opposite it.

A vote on a resolution denouncing the Iran treaty was delayed on Wednesday after Republicans devolved their own internal debate over strategy. If Republican members of Congress aren't able to hold a vote before Sept. 17, the deal automatically goes into effect.

None of this really matters, though. It's all political. Enough Democrats have said they will vote to support the deal to ensure that it will pass Congress. So really any remaining debate is just for lawmakers to get their opinions on record or to force other politicians to maybe make politically risky moves.

All the hullabaloo, however, also means a delay in some other really important tasks on the legislative agenda, like, for example, funding the federal government. The deadline for that is fast approaching. The government's spending authority expires on Sept. 30.

Political deadlock over the budget is becoming an annual tradition that has forced the federal government to shut down twice in three years. In 2013, the world was gripped by a nearly two-week meltdown, prompting some of America's rivals to question whether its system of government really works all that well. Republicans have vowed not to let that happen again, but fighting within the party is again making everyone nervous.

Among the things that will need to be funded is the International Atomic Energy Agency, which will act as an important monitor of whether or not Iran is living up to its side of the bargain.

WANT TO KNOW:

When war forces you from your home, the world classifies you as one of two kinds of person: Either you are a refugee, or you are an internally displaced person. Those in the know call the latter IDPs. We hear about the refugees a lot these days because they have an impact (how much of an impact is debatable) on the countries they enter. Many populations of IDPs on the otherhand are all but ignored.

One of the biggest new populations of international displaced persons is in Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists, backed by Russia itself, have been waging a campaign in eastern Ukraine for more than two years. While fighting has calmed some in recent months, it is a tenuous calm. And, anyway, the damage has been done.

Ukrainians forced to flee their homes and hometowns number somewhere around 1.4 million, according to the United Nations. They now represent the ninth largest displaced population in the world. That's a pretty fast (and desperately sad) rise, especially when you consider some of the other countries on the list. Afghanistan and Somalia, for example, have been at war for decades.

“In many senses, Ukraine’s emergency looks ‘invisible’ or ‘hidden’ for outsiders,” Nina Sorokopud, regional information officer for the UN Refugee Agency, told GlobalPost Senior Correspondent Dan Peleschuk. You can read Peleschuk's full story about the crisis here.

STRANGE BUT TRUE:

It seems we are not as unique as we like to think we are. Scientists in South Africa announced today that they have discovered a new species of human that no one knew existed. They have called this distant relative “Homo naledi,” after the cave where its bones were found.

Significantly, scientists said the bones were placed in the cave, suggesting that this early species of human practiced rituals after death like we do today. That would mean they were capable of symbolic thought. That's pretty advanced for a human living probably more than 2 million years ago.

They also had hands and fingers that indicate the use of tools. Much of the body appears to resemble modern humans, in fact. That is, except for the brain, which was the size of an orange.