US warns Moscow of Syria conflict escalation after fresh arms sales
Moscow—U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has accused Russia of sending attack helicopters to Syria, warning that the shipment “will escalate the conflict quite dramatically.” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has rejected Clinton’s claim, saying that Russia is only shipping air defense systems under previously signed contracts.
Russia has shielded Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, its last ally in the Arab world, from international sanctions and has continued to provide it with weapons despite international outrage. It has shipped billions of dollars worth of missiles, combat jets, tanks, artillery and other military gear to Syria over more than four decades.
African continent harbors global growth pole potential: UN
Hameed ShaheenIslamabad—The United Nations has for the first time uncovered African continent as having the potential of “global growth pole”, a powerful enticement to world investors to focus on the continent’s economic advantages. This UN vision is contained in two sets of reports - ‘Africa: New UN reports focus on unleashing continent’s economic growth potential and the Economic Report on Africa-2012, says a UN media outlet.
10 injured in Syria car bomb blast
Beirut—A suicide bomber detonated his car packed with explosives in a Damascus suburb on Thursday, wounding 10 people and damaging one of Shiite Islam’s holiest shrines, Syria’s state-run news age ncy and witnesses on the scene said.
The golden-domed Sayyida Zainab shrine attracts tens of thousands of Shiite pilgrims from around the world every year who come to visit the tomb, which is believed to house the remains of the granddaughter of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.
Egypt court to rule on runoff presidential polls
Cairo—Egypt’s top court was on Thursday reviewing a law that could bar one of the hopefuls in a tense presidential election runoff, in a new twist to an already tumultuous transition from Hosni Mubarak’s rule. The Supreme Constitutional Court was looking into the legality of the political isolation law which bars senior officials of the Mubarak regime and top members of his now-dissolved National Democratic Party from standing for public office for 10 years.
The law applies to those who served in the 10 years prior to Mubarak’s ouster on February 11, 2011 after an 18-day popular uprising. If approved, the legislation will mean disqualification for Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s last prime minister, who faces Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi in a runoff on Saturday.
Australia creates world’s largest marine reserves chain
Canberra—Australia has created the world’s largest network of marine reserves and will restrict fishing as well as oil and gas exploration in a major step to safeguard the environment and access to food. With the expansion announced Thursday, Australia will protect 3.1 million square kilometers (1.2 million square miles) of ocean. The reserves will encompass a third of the island continent’s territorial waters, which sustain more than 4,000 species of fish.