Last updated: March 16. 2013 11:37PM - 224 Views

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BEIRUT
Iran more stern about Syria

Issuing Tehran's strongest warning to date, a top Iranian official said Saturday that any attack on Syria would be deemed an attack on Iran, a sign that it will do all it can to protect embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad.


Ali Akbar Velayati, an aide to Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, made his comments as Syrian troops conducted offensive air raids against rebels and discovered a trio of tunnels they were using to smuggle weapons in their fight to topple Assad.


The world has been grappling over how to deal with Syria ever since an uprising against Assad's regime erupted nearly two years ago. But so far, there has been no international intervention on the ground where more than 60,000 people have been killed, according to the United Nations.


NATO said Saturday that the first of six Patriot missile batteries being deployed to Turkey to shoot down missiles that might come from the Syrian side of the border was now operational.


CARACAS, Venezuela
Jail riot reportedly kills 55

Venezuela's top prisons official said the government was evacuating a prison Saturday after a deadly clash between National Guard soldiers and armed inmates.


Penitentiary Service Minister Iris Varela said officials decided to evacuate all inmates from the Uribana prison in Barquisimeto after the bloodshed on Friday. Varela said inmates were being taken to other facilities. She did not immediately give a death toll.


Humberto Prado, an activist who leads the watchdog group Venezuelan Prisons Observatory, said inmates' relatives and media accounts put the toll at 55 killed and 88 injured.


It was the latest in a series of bloody riots in the country's severely overcrowded prisons where inmates often freely obtain weapons and drugs with the help of corrupt guards.


WELLINGTON, New Zealand
No survivors in plane crash

Search helicopters have found the wreckage of a small airplane that crashed in Antarctica carrying three Canadians.


Search crews said they were not able to land at the site but that nobody could have survived the crash.


Two helicopters reached the site late Saturday after bad weather thwarted rescue efforts for three days. Crews said the wreckage was on a very steep slope near the summit of a mountain in the Queen Alexandra range and it wasn't possible to land there.


The plane was flying from a U.S. station near the pole to an Italian research base in Terra Nova Bay when it disappeared Wednesday.


KABUL, Afghanistan
Bombing claims 10 police

At least 12 people were killed in bombings around Afghanistan on Saturday, including 10 policemen who died when a suicide bomber driving a motorcycle blew himself up in Afghanistan's northern Kunduz province, officials said.


Kunduz provincial police spokesman Sayed Sarwar Husseini said the policemen, including the head of the provincial counterterrorism department and the traffic police chief, were killed at an intersection in Kunduz city. He said 14 other policemen and five civilians were wounded in the explosion.


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