Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who is considered a moderate, made his case Thursday to the American people and the world for "a constructive approach" to contentious issues including his nation's nuclear program, arguing that failing to engage "leads to everyone's loss.“ "We must work together to end the unhealthy rivalries and interferences that fuel violence and drive us apart," Rouhani wrote in an op-ed published Thursday evening on the Washington Post's website. Chief among those issues, for Iran, is its nuclear program. Iranian officials have insisted its aim is peaceful and for energy purposes only, but skeptical U.S., Israeli and other officials accuse Tehran (the capital and government center of Iran) of working to develop nuclear weapons. Iran's lack of openness on the issue and its lack of cooperation with international nuclear authorities, have led to increased tensions in the region. Secretary of State John Kerry -- also speaking in Washington -- characterized some of the new Iranian president's remarks as "very positive.“ Yet he offered his compliment with a caveat: "Everything needs to be put to the test, and we'll see where we go."
In Other News • The risk of a shutdown on Oct. 1 is a distinct possibility. And federal agencies have been instructed to make plans for one just in case. The House on Friday will vote on a short-term government funding bill that will include a provision to defund Obamacare. That provision is a no-go for Senate Democrats and President Obama. If they can't work out a compromise, many functions of the federal government will be shut down indefinitely on Oct. 1. Besides causing inconvenience and delays, a shutdown could have larger consequences. A long, broad shutdown could weaken an already modest economic recovery. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke noted that "a government shutdown and, perhaps even more so, a failure to raise the debt limit could have very serious consequences for the financial markets and for the economy." Many, if not most, federal government offices, programs, museums and parks would be shut down. Hundreds of thousands of federal workers would be furloughed without pay. • Joy Covey, who was Amazon.com's CFO in its startup days and guided the company through its IPO, died Wednesday in a bicycle accident in California. Covey, 50, was reportedly struck while cycling on Skyline Boulevard in the mountains of San Mateo County. • The new iPhones went on sale in the U.S., China and seven other countries Friday, and throngs of people lined up around the world to be among the first to snag one. For the first time, Apple (AAPL, Fortune 500) is offering two new iPhones: the flagship 5S and the cheaper, plastic iPhone 5C. • Take-Two launched the latest edition of its Grand Theft Auto series on Tuesday, and within one day the frenzied sales surpassed $800 million worldwide, breaking a company record.