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In brief


December 01. 2013 11:42PM


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BEIRUT


Syrian aircraft


kill 50 in town


Syrian government helicopters dropped barrels full of explosives on a rebel-held town near the northern city of Aleppo, killing at least 50 people in two separate attacks over the weekend, activists said Sunday.


The shelling Sunday hit near a bakery in the town of al-Bab, located east of Aleppo, killing at least 24 people, said Rami Abdurrahman of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Akram al-Halabi, a rebel spokesman based in nearby in Aleppo.


The attack followed a similar bombing on Saturday, when army helicopters targeted a rebel compound in al-Bab, but missed their target and hit a market, killing 26 people, Abdurrahman said.


WASHINGTON


Threats rising,


politicians say


The terrorism threat against the United States is increasing and Americans aren’t as safe as they were a year or two ago, the leaders of the House and Senate intelligence committees said.


Sen. Dianne Feinstein said there are more terrorist groups than ever, with more sophisticated and hard-to-detect bombs. The California Democrat said “there is huge malevolence out there.”


Rep. Mike Rogers said there’s enormous pressure on U.S. intelligence services “to get it right, to prevent an attack.”


The Michigan Republican said that job is getting more difficult because al-Qaida is changing, with more affiliates around the world.


BANGKOK


Police take aim


at protesters


Police fired tear gas Sunday at anti-government protesters armed with gasoline bombs who were trying to force their way into the prime minister’s complex and police headquarters.


For most of the past week, protests remained peaceful. But on Saturday, the seventh day of protests, clashes between pro- and anti-government supporters turned violent around Ramkhamhaeng University, with at least three people killed overnight and dozens injured, according to police. Witnesses reported more shots Sunday near the university and an adjoining stadium that’s been a base for government supporters.


Anti-government leaders declared Sunday “victory day” in what they’ve termed a “people’s coup,” urging their supporters to take over 10 government offices, six television stations, police headquarters and the prime minister’s offices in a bid to undermine the government.


SAN FRANCISCO


Detained American


in good shape


The family of an elderly U.S. tourist detained for more than a month in North Korea said Saturday the Swedish ambassador has seen the man and found him to be in good health.


Merrill Newman’s family in California said in a statement that the State Department told them that the Swedish ambassador to North Korea had visited the 85-year-old at a Pyongyang hotel.


“We were very pleased to hear that the Ambassador was allowed to pay this first visit to Merrill,” the statement said.


An Obama administration official called for his release, urging North Korea to consider his age and health conditions.


Sweden handles consular issues for Americans in North Korea as the U.S. and North Korea have no diplomatic relations.




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