Syrian rebels seize Turkey, Iraq border posts
Beirut—Syrian rebels have captured a number of positions on the country’s borders with Turkey and Iraq. A senior Iraqi official said all the crossings on Syria’s eastern frontier had been seized. At one point, two Turkish posts were also in rebel hands.
The push came a day after a bomb claimed the lives of three senior defence officials in Damascus. At the UN, negotiations are under way on extending the mandate of the observer mission in Syria. The mandate for the mission is due to expire on Friday.
Muslims steel themselves for toughest fasting
Gaza City—Muslims from Morocco to Afghanistan are steeling themselves for the toughest Ramadan in more than three decades. No food or drink, not even a sip of water, for 14 hours a day during the hottest time of the year. The test of self-restraint is made only harder by daily power cuts in some parts of the Muslim world such as Iraq, Pakistan and tiny Gaza.
With temperatures in the region routinely climbing above 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) and days at their longest of the year, governments are trying to alleviate the hardships of the monthlong sunrise-to-sunset fast. Morocco resets the clock so believers can break the fast an hour early. Pakistan promises to reduce daily blackouts, which can last up to 22 hours.
Russia, China veto of Syria sanctions spark West’s ire
New York—Russia and China vetoed a UN Security Council resolution on Syria for the third time, sparking outrage by the Western nations which demanded sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad. The US presidency called the third veto in nine months “highly regrettable”. Britain said it was “appalled”. France said Russia and China had given the Syrian government time to “crush the opposition.”
Indians top migrants to Australia
Melbourne—India has topped Britain and China to become Australia’s leading source of migrants for the first time, data revealed Friday, with seven of the top 10 source countries now in Asia. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said India accounted for 29,000 of the 185,000 places in Australia’s 2011-12 permanent migration programme — some 15.7 percent of the total and the first time the country has come top.
US limbering up to Bangladesh
Shah Husain ImamUS Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Mozena mixes counseling with diplomacy while speaking at any important public forum in Dhaka. His words are usually a blend of advice and compliments, the latter pointing to possibilities on the horizon for Bangladesh. Ambassador Mozena conveyed US buyers’ concern over labour unrest in garments sector, safety at workplace and freedom of association in Bangladesh at his Meet the Press interaction in the capital recently. The issues no doubt need utmost attention at our end; however, the business community is somehow left with an impression maybe the US is insistent on such issues because it is still not prepared to meet some of Bangladesh’s well-known demands. Does his government think the time is not right for such concessions to be accorded to Bangladesh, or is it subliminally looking for a quid pro quo?