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Sept. 30, 2012 at 12:40 PM
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McCain: Romney's recent debates give edge

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Sunday Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney may have a small advantage over President Obama in this week's debate.

Both candidates are excellent debaters, though, McCain said in an interview on CNN's "State of the Union."

"I think both are excellent in their own way. I think you could argue that Mitt has had a lot more recent experience, obviously," he said.

"But also, Candy, part of it depends on who is moderating," he added, joking with "State of the Union Host" Candy Crowley, who is scheduled to moderate a presidential debate Oct. 16.

McCain said he doesn't expect any major breakthroughs in Wednesday's debate, the first between Obama and Romney.

"That doesn't happen very often. It happened with Reagan and Mondale. It happened with Reagan and Carter," he said. "But, frankly, I can't remember the last time there was one of these comments that grabbed everybody's attention because, frankly, the candidates are too well-prepared. They're well-scripted."

Despite that, he predicted most Americans will still be making up their minds after a series of fall debates and "maybe right up to Election Day."

Hospitals no sanctuary from Syria fighting

DAMASCUS, Syria, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Nearly two dozen people were killed Sunday in fighting between rebels and the Syrian government, opposition groups said.

Rebel groups Sunday reported 21-23 people killed in fighting around the country, including eight people allegedly executed at a military hospital in Damascus.

CNN said the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria said government forces also took an unspecified number of injured people into custody at another Damascus hospital.

The report could not be independently confirmed, and government media reported vague details of an alleged massacre in the town of Homs allegedly carried out by "armed terrorist groups."

The fighting has killed about 30,000 Syrians and caused thousands of refugees to seek shelter in neighboring Turkey.

Turkey's foreign minister chastised the international community for its so-far in effective effort to stop the bloody rebellion in neighboring Syria.

"What has the international community done to stop this carnage?" Ahmet Davutoglu asked reporters Friday at the United Nations. "Literally nothing. We have yet to see a single effective action to save innocent lives."

Hurricane Nadine stalled in mid-Atlantic

MIAMI, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Hurricane Nadine was expected to largely stay put Sunday as it continued to churn away in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, U.S. forecasters said.

The long-lived storm remained a Category One hurricane at 5 a.m. EDT Sunday with maximum sustained winds near 90 miles per hour reaching out as far as 35 miles from the eye, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its Sunday morning update.

Nadine was far from land and no watches or advisories were in effect along the North American coast. While there was some slight movement to the northeast, the Hurricane Center noted a complex combination of low-pressure and high-pressure areas was holding the storm in place.

Nadine seemed to strengthen slightly overnight but was expected to begin weakening Monday and dip below hurricane strength later in the week.

PA expects November U.N. statehood vote

RAMALLAH, West Bank, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The Palestinian Authority expects the U.N. General Assembly to vote Nov. 29 on its application for non-member status in the United Nations, an official said.

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization executive committee, said Friday in Ramallah that although the P.A. faced "direct threats" against its bid for statehood, she expected 150 countries to vote in favor of its application, The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.

Ashrawi echoed P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas' accusation that Israel was sabotaging the peace process by moving forward with settlement construction and the destruction of Palestinian homes.

She said by granting Palestinians U.N. statehood, it would give Palestinians access to U.N. agencies that could help them confront Israel.

The Nov. 29 vote would coincide with the anniversary of the U.N. Partition Plan for Palestine and the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinians, The Post reported.

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