President Obama exhorted delegates to the United Nations General Assembly in New York to support fledgling peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Obama used his address at the U.N. to warn of the consequences of failure, telling diplomats: “More blood will be shed. This Holy Land will remain a symbol of our differences, instead of our common humanity.” The Israeli delegation was unusually absent during the speech, prompting some concern among attendees. But an official told reporters that no disrespect was intended: Israeli diplomats were observing Sukkot, a religious holiday. [AFP, The Washington Post]
Republicans unveiled a “Pledge to America” on Thursday, including promises to stop the financial bailout program for faltering banks, repeal the Obama administration’s economic stimulus program and extend the Bush administration tax cuts for even the wealthiest Americans. But not everyone was impressed with the GOP’s economic agenda. Dan Balz of The Washington Post said the plan signaled a change in the GOP strategy from the “party of no” to the “party of stop.” And even the conservative Club for Growth called the pledge a “milquetoast” plan that proves Republicans “aren’t ready to lead.” [AP, WP, The Atlantic]
The government of the United Kingdom on Thursday unveiled the world’s largest offshore wind farm, with more than 100 turbines situated in the North Sea off the southeastern coast of England. The turbines, which will increase to 341 when the project is complete, are capable of generating enough energy to power as many as 200,000 homes, and will expand Britain’s capacity to generate wind power by more than 30 percent. [AFP via Grist]
New consumer health protections go into effect today, six months after President Obama signed a sweeping health care overhaul into law. Companies are racing to comply with the new rules, which require insurers to provide free preventive services and adjust their premiums to satisfy federal regulators. [The New York Times]
Regulators in the U.S. and Europe are divided over how to deal with the controversial diabetes drug Avandia, which has been associated with increased cardiovascular risks. European officials have decided to pull the drug from the market entirely, while the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will allow sales of Avandia but impose vast new restrictions on the use of the drug. [NPR]
The actor Joaquin Phoenix returned to Late Show with David Letterman Wednesday night, a year and a half after his famously disastrous appearance there fueled speculation about his mental state. As it turns out, the first appearance — and Phoenix’s subsequent rap career — was an elaborate performance stunt for Phoenix’s new movie, “I’m Still Here,” directed by Casey Affleck. [NPR, CBS]
— Leslie Hart contributed to this post.