[An Nahar] At least five Somali children were killed and more than 10 others maimed in a large blast in a school on Monday, after they played with explosives left over from fighting in the area, officials said.
"There was a heavy kaboom, we believe caused by an bomb that they had been playing with," said Abdi Jinow Alasow, governor for the Middle Shabelle region.
"At least five children have died and more than 10 others were maimed," he added. "The corpse count could rise as most of the victims have suffered serious injuries."
The kaboom in the town of Balad, some 30 kilometers north of the capital Mogadishu, took place shortly after the school opened on Monday morning.
The town was recently wrested from the control of al-Qaeda-linked Shebab Orcs and similar vermin by African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... troops alongside government forces.
"I heard a very loud kaboom, and minutes later I saw mothers crying," said Abdifatah Mohammed, a witness.
"There were nearly 20 children who were attending the class when the kaboom occurred, most of them were either killed or seriously injured."
[An Nahar] African Union ...a union consisting of 53 African states, most run by dictators of one flavor or another. The only all-African state not in the AU is Morocco. Established in 2002, the AU is the successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was even less successful... and Somali troops captured the key port of Marka from al-Qaeda-linked Shebab bully boyz on Monday, the latest in a string of bases to be wrested from the Death Eaters, officials said.
"We have taken Marka, we entered alongside the hapless Somali government forces this morning," said Colonel Ali Houmed, the front man for the African Union mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
"There was some fighting, but not so heavy, most of the Shebab had fled."
The loss of Marka, some 70 kilometers (45 miles) south of the capital Mogadishu, is another major blow for the bad boys, who have been on the back foot for several months.
AU and Somali troops have made significant gains in recent months against the Shebab, although the Islamists remain a major security threat. Æthiopian troops are also battling the gunnies from the south and west.
The loss of Marka leaves the Shebab with two major ports in southern Somalia -- Barawe and the key rebel bastion of Kismayo -- although an international naval blockade has already greatly squeezed maritime access there.
The Shebab abandoned their last fixed bases in Mogadishu a year ago, where they have since reverted to guerrilla tactics, claiming a series of suicide kabooms and roadside kabooms.
The latest defeat for the Shebab comes as candidates for Somalia's powerful position of parliamentary speaker campaign a day ahead of the expected vote, a key step in setting up a new government for the war-torn nation.
Somalia has not had a stable central government since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, which sparked rounds of bloody civil war.
The United Nations ...a lucrative dumping ground for the relatives of dictators and party hacks... -backed process, which has already selected the majority of a new parliament and will culminate in a vote for president, is the latest bid to end two decades of instability in the Horn of Africa nation.
"We are facilitating the timely implementation of this important political step," the U.N. political office for Somalia (UNPOS) said Monday, adding it was hopeful the already-delayed vote would go ahead on Tuesday as planned.
Secret ballots in parliament for the posts of speaker and two deputy speakers have been delayed several times.
Bitter arguments have begun between challengers for the top jobs, divided along Somalia's notoriously fractious clan lines.
Six candidates are running for the post of speaker, including two former prime ministers, Hassan Abshir Farah and Ali Khalif Galayr, both from the Darod clan and the northern semi-autonomous Puntland ...a region in northeastern Somalia, centered on Garowe in the Nugaal province. Its leaders declared the territory an autonomous state in 1998. Puntland and the equally autonomous Somaliland seem to have avoided the clan rivalries and warlordism that have typified the rest of Somalia, which puts both places high on the list for Islamic subversion... region.
Mohamed Osman Jawari, a former minister under the regime of Siad Barre, from the Rahanweyn clan from the southern Baidoa region, is also running for the post.
JEDDAH: A number of religious scholars and academics have stressed the need for the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowment, Call and Guidance to beef up monitoring of places of worship. It followed the recent report of a Riyadh mosque serving as a facade for manufacturing explosives.
Bad idea in Riyadh but okay in Wazoo, Nigeria, Burma and anywhere else the faithful are threatened...
The Interior Ministry said in a statement on Sunday that it discovered explosive substances and devices at a lean-to of a quiet mosque in Riyadh. Mosques normally use attached rooms to accommodate workers or for library service.
The scholars also demanded deterrent punishments to those who exploit the spiritual atmosphere in mosques to promote chaos in the country, Al-Madinah daily reported on Monday.
"Those who seek to destabilize the country and fight against security forces come under the category of 'those who rebel against Allah and His Messenger' and a country's legitimate government and hence should be punished severely," said Sheikh Abdullah Al-Manie, who is a member of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars and adviser at the Royal Court.
In other words, you're threatening his rice bowl...
The scholar also congratulated the Interior Ministry for its successful preemptive strike against the Riyadh cell and protecting the people from such heinous deeds. "The Islamic Affairs Ministry should ensure that imams and muezzins inspect the mosque premises regularly and thoroughly, so that the facilities are not misused for subversive activities. The sacred houses of worship should not be converted into dens of destructive acts," he said.
Not in Saoodi-controlled Arabia, anyway. Sweden, France and Germany? That's more than okay, it's a religious duty...
Member of the Fiqh Academy Muhammad Al-Nojaimi stressed the duty of the worshipers and residents in nearby buildings apart from imams and muezzins to see that mosques are not exploited for subversive activities. "Officials concerned should also investigate why some expatriates are unofficially undertaking duties at mosques. They should also launch campaigns and raids at such mosques," he said.
Head of Islamic studies at the Umm Al-Qura University Muhammad Al-Sahli said it was a matter of deep pain for all Muslims, especially students and teachers of religious knowledge and preachers, that a mosque had been used as a cover for destructive activities.
Head of Islamic studies at the Umm Al-Qura University Muhammad Al-Sahli said it was a matter of deep pain for all Muslims, especially students and teachers of religious knowledge and preachers, that a mosque had been used as a cover for destructive activities.
[Yemen Post] A ceasefire has been reached between the Houthi ...a Zaidi Shia insurgent group operating in Yemen. They have also been referred to as the Believing Youth. Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi is said to be the spiritual leader of the group and most of the military leaders are his relatives. The Yemeni government has accused the Houthis of having ties to the Iranian government, which wouldn't suprise most of us. The group has managed to gain control over all of Saada Governorate and parts of Amran, Al Jawf and Hajjah Governorates. Its slogan is "God is Great, Death to America™", Death to Israel, a curse on the Jews" ... group and tribes of Hajja after two women were killed by Houthi fighters, governor of Hajja, Ali al-Qaisi, affirmed.
Al-Qaisi said that local authorities managed to mediate between both sides, pointing out that fighters positioned in some locations were removed and security froces were deployed in the area.
Local sources had said that the Houthi group sent reinforcements to al-Shahild district of Hajja after tensions escalated.
Houthi fighters control on some parts of Saada, Amran, al-Jawf and Hajja. The group is accused of seeking to expand and control on most areas of Hajja and Amran.
Yemeni activists accuse the group of torture, arbitrary arrests and executions as barbaric and heinous crimes, calling for forming an independent committee to investigate torture and extrajudicial executions carried out by group in northern Yemen.
Yemeni officials accuse Iran of supporting the Houthi group with the aim of using it as tool to carry out its agenda in the region, emphasizing that some factions in Iran and other countries blatantly intervene in Yemen's affairs.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Abu Bakar Al-Qirbi has accused Iran of interfering in Yemen's affairs, stressing that any Iranian cooperation with Yemeni political sides is unacceptable.
"We along with all regional states are keen to have relations with Iran, but we refuse any intervention in internal affairs" he said.
Less than 24 hours after several Mexican news organizations reported a large intergang gunfight in central Mexico, conflicting stories have emerged as to whether the gun battle even took place.
Sunday night late several credible Mexican news agencies and news outlets, including Organizacion Editorial Mexicana, Televisa and Informador reported a gun battle between elements of Los Zetas and Los Caballeros Templarios took place in Luvianos municipality in western Mexico state claiming the lives of at least 30 shooters.
Twenty-four hours later, despite a confirmation from unnamed Policia Federal officials and military officials in the Mexican 22nd Military Zone, the Mexico state Secretaria Seguridad Publica (SSP) denied in a Tweet Monday afternoon the confrontation ever took place.
According to several news agencies, Mexico state SSP head Salvador Neme Sastre denied the battle ever took place, according to a report posted on the website of SDP Noticias news agency saying, "I deny that there has been fighting between criminal groups in Edo Mex (Mexico state) Luvianos, much less 30 dead."
Despite that denial by a top Mexico state government official, according to the article other unnamed government officials in Mexico state now say that the confrontation did occur, but between Los Caballero Templarios operatives and local civilians after elements of the Los Caballeros Templarios demanded paid tribute from several far western Mexico state municipalities including Luvianos, Amatepec and Tejupilco.
The report also said that the the ensuing gunfight lasted three hours until 1800 hrs local time Sunday.
Mexican news agencies and federal and state government agencies have an arrangement. Government agencies report, and news agencies transmit the reports. Given the nature of reporting on the drug war, Mexican news agencies seem to be fine with the arrangement, even as they augment that information with their own people on the ground.
What made Sunday's report unusual is that in as little as a few minutes after such an incident, social media such as Twitter would have photos transmitted from the scene, and would have included photos of shot out pickup trucks or buildings, spent cartridges and other debris of armed confrontation. None of that information has been released to date by any agency of individual.
A separate report by Radio Formula news agency said that the remote area that include Luvianos is used for cultivating marijuana and is desirable because of its remoteness.
The SDP Noticias report added that it is impossible to independently verify the report because of how remote the area is, and because of security forces cordons and checkpoints.
Erroneous reports are not rare in Mexico. For example, at the start of last April's gun battle between gunmen with the Sinaloa Cartel and an amalgamation of rival cartel shooters in northern Sinaloa state, a report released by El Debate claimed 40 died in the initial encounter. Although the death toll turned out to be much lower, more than 50 ended up dead and possibly more over the next several weeks as security forces filtered into the area.
That initial report relied on a single government source, Eleazar Rubio, mayor of El Fuerte municipality. And while no one ever found the 40 bodies claimed killed, it is possible many of those dead were retrieved by shooters as a security measure.
Chris Covert writes Mexican Drug War and national political news for Rantburg.com
Yeah right ... a 3-hour battle between cartel hit man and civilians?? Not likely in Mexico. What is more likely that is that some of the sources denying this fight are actually aligned with the Zetas cartel - since they have their fingers into the federal policew all over Mex.
In time, the truth will come out. For mexico, that usually takes a while.
The gun battle is coming about because the leader of the Knights Templar cartel released a video a few days ago - declaring death on Z-40 (Trevino) who runs the Zetas cartel. Whether they could ever accomplish this - remains to be seen. But they are now on public record as having declared violent action against the Zetas ... so follow-ups on the streets should be expected.
Three terrorists militants have been killed and several have been detained on Tuesday during a security operation in the town of Malgobek in the Russian republic of Ingushetia.
A law enforcement source said, "Police undertook several special operations in different locations of Malgobek during which three militants were killed and several were detained."
Police found a large quantity of weapons, ammunition and explosives.
Earlier a source said police had information that terrorists militants thought to be behind the suicide bombing at a policeman's funeral in Malgobek on August 19 were hiding in different locations of the town.
A suicide bomb attack occurred in Malgobek at a funeral of the policeman who was killed in a gun battle with terrorists militants on August 18. Seven people were killed, 15 were wounded. All the dead expect a suicide bomber were police officers.
LUDOWICI, Ga. (AP) -- Prosecutors say a murder case against four soldiers in Georgia has revealed they formed an anarchist militia within the U.S. military with plans to overthrow the federal government.
'Anarchist milita'? We definitely need more details.
One of the accused troops, Pfc. Michael Burnett, pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter and gang charges in the December slayings of former soldier Michael Roark and his girlfriend, 17-year-old Tiffany York.
Burnett told a Long County judge that Roark, who had just left the Army, knew of the militia group's plans and was killed because he was "a loose end."
Prosecutor Isabel Pauley says the group bought $87,000 worth of guns and bomb-making materials and plotted to take over Fort Stewart, bomb targets in nearby Savannah and Washington state, as well as assassinate the president.
Posted by: Large Darling of the Antelope3345 ||
That link didn't work for me, darling.
Posted by: American Delight ||
Oops--disregard. I got it to work.
Posted by: American Delight ||
Journalism short hand:
whites = militia
any other ethnic group = gangbangers
Let's check the law, USC Title X, para 311
(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are--
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.
The huge number of almost daily deaths sounded like stuff from South of the US Southern border. Now we know why. Mexican drug cartels fight turf battles in Chicago
CHICAGO - Gun violence is out of control in Chicago. Just last night, there were eight shootings, two of them deadly. That pushes the total so far in 2012 to 351 shooting deaths -- up 30 percent from last year. Drug gangs are a big reason.
In an afternoon drive on Chicago's southwest side, Jack Riley sees signs of what he calls the "toxic" drug war laying waste to this city.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Jack Riley told CBS News that turf battles over drugs are turning parts of Chicago into a Mexican border town. Daily turf battles over drugs and distribution, he said, are turning parts of this Midwest city into a Mexican border town.
"One of the hardest jobs I've had in the past couple of years is to convince our law enforcement partners that we need an enforcement mentality as if we're on the border," Riley said.
Ooooh -- they could do a gunwalking right there inside the borders to demonstrate the problem!
Miles away, Riley says, Mexican cartels have a significant influence in Chicago's gang violence problem.
As it stands now, at least three major Mexican cartels are battling over control of billions of dollars of marijuana, cocaine and -- increasingly -- heroin in this city. That includes the ultra-violent Zetas and the powerful Sinaloa cartel, run by its shadowy leader Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman.
What an example to the nation our president's adopted hometown is, to be sure.
I would think that as soon as they can admit Chicago is not utopia, they will need outside assistance which of course includes funding.
I have struck a city - a real city - and they call it Chicago... I urgently desire never to see it again. It is inhabited by savages.
Chicago Values, September 20, 2002 Police say a father and son ran onto the field at Comiskey Park and attacked (Kansas City Royals 1st Base Coach Tom) Gamboa, who said after the game that he had no idea what provocation the men had.
The two, both shirtless and wearing blue jeans, ran dashed directly toward the Gamboa, 54, and knocked him to the ground with a series of blows.
[Dawn] Thousands of people have fled a northwestern tribal agency in recent days, fearing a military offensive against beturbanned goons, locals and officials said.
Panicked residents have hastily left the area of North Wazoo despite officials repeatedly insisting that Pakistain has no immediate plan to launch an offensive in the volatile region, they added.
North Waziristan, one of the seven tribal agencies, is said to be a stronghold of the Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives.
Although Pakistain has fought Talibs across much of the region it has so far withstood American pressure to move against the Haqqani network which is allegedly based in North Waziristan.
"Thousands of people have so far left the area, they are fleeing their homes due to the fear and rumours of a military operation," Saif-ur-Rehman, a government official in the main town of Miranshah ... headquarters of al-Qaeda in Pakistain and likely location of Ayman al-Zawahiri. The Haqqani network has established a ministate in centered on the town with courts, tax offices and lots of madrassas... , said.
Tasleem Khan, another government official confirmed the evacuation.
Mian Iftikhar Hussain, information minister for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa ... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central... province, which borders North Waziristan, said that
thousands of people had reached several districts in his area.
Rumours started recently after a front man for the Pak Taliban told local media that they had received "an exclusive intelligence report" about an imminent offensive in North Waziristan.
In an email sent to the media, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain front man Ehsanullah Ehsan said the campaign was to be launched on Aug 26 and would last one month.
Government and military officials have taken to local radio, asking people to remain calm.
"This is a peaceful area with a peaceful atmosphere. The government has no plan to launch any military operation here," a radio announcement heard by local residents said.
On Saturday, some 2000 tribal elders and religious leaders warned the government not to launch any offensive and threatened to move to Afghanistan "in case of any military operation".
"We will migrate to Afghanistan, if Pakistain launches any military operation," Maulvi Abdur Rehman, a religious leader who attended the Jirga, said.
The Jirga also requested residents to stay at home.
A news hound in the area witnessed people fleeing their homes in vehicles.
Washington has long demanded that Pakistain take action against the Haqqanis, whom the United States accused of attacking the US embassy in Kabul last September.
Pakistain has in turn demanded that Afghan and US forces do more to stop Pak Taliban crossing the Afghan border to launch attacks on its forces
[Dawn] At least 20 gun-hung tough guys and a soldier were killed on Sunday, the third day of fighting between gun-hung tough guys from the Kunar province ... which is right down the road from Chitral. Kunar is Haqqani country..... of Afghanistan and Pak security forces in the border area of Batwar in Salarzai tehsil of Bajaur tribal region.Seven bad turbans, four security personnel and two members of Salarzai Qaumi Lashkar were maimed.
According to local officials, the gun-hung tough guys had entered the mountainous area of Batwar and used heavy weapons to target houses of rival tribal elders and posts of 'peace committees' and security forces.
"The security forces and volunteers of the Salarzai Lashkar fired back with artillery and mortars. Helicopter gunships also shelled suspected positions of bad turbans.
"Twenty bad turbans, including some of their leaders, were killed, while four personnel of security forces and two volunteers were maimed in the fighting," an official told Dawn.
According to independent sources, a soldier and two volunteers of the lashkar were killed.
Local people said dozens of gun-hung tough guys who had been pushed into Afghan territory after Saturday's action by security personnel remained in hiding near the border for launching another attack.
"The gun-hung tough guys have given us a tough time and the battle has continued for 48 hours," Darvish Khan, a member of a peace committee, said.
Official sources said security forces had taken over control of the area.
"Movement of security personnel and the lashkar towards the border area in Salarzai continues and the region will soon be cleared of bad turbans," they said.
AP adds: An official, Jahangir Azam Wazir, said four soldiers, six snuffies and 38 gun-hung tough guys had been killed during the attacks on Friday and Saturday.
[Dawn] One Death Eater was killed and two others were tossed in the clink Book 'im, Mahmoud! by security forces in Behrain tehsil of Swat ...a valley and an administrative district in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistain, located 99 mi from Islamabad. It is inhabited mostly by Pashto speakers. The place has gone steadily downhill since the days when Babe Ruth was the Sultan of Swat... district on Sunday.
Sources said that security forces opened firing on beturbanned goons when they were attacked in Balagarhi area of Behrain.
A Death Eater was killed in exchange of fire with security forces. He was identified as Shamroz Khan.
Sources said that security forces tossed in the clink Book 'im, Mahmoud! two more Death Eaters. The tossed in the clink Book 'im, Mahmoud! beturbanned goons were identified as Amanullah and Gul Zar.
Sources said that security forces launched a massive search operation in the area after the attack and tossed in the clink Book 'im, Mahmoud! several suspected persons.
[Dawn] Continuous violence has claimed the lives of 12 more people in Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It may be the largest city in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... , DawnNews reported.
Two political party workers were killed in Orangi town, after a firing incident. The killing spread panic in the area and as a result shops and business were shut down.
Two people were bumped off and one other person was injured, when unknown gunnies opened fire on them in Kharadar.
One person was killed in Manzoor colony, while another was killed near Garden Dhobi Ghath. One person was killed near Korangi. The dead body of a woman was found near Nazimabad.
Unknown gunnies opened fire in Memon Goth, killing one man. Police officials said that the killing appears to be a case of a personal vendetta.
The tortured body of one man was found in a gunny bag near Maripur Road Crown Cinema. The dead man had been shot to death. Another man's body was found near Rehri Goth.
A political party worker succumbed to his wounds on the operating table after being shot at in Baldia Town.
MQM chief Altaf Hussain expressed his grief over the killing and said that sectarian elements were targeting MQM members.
Firing in Lee Market injured two police officials, including a crime branch officer. While at the same time firing incidents in Quaidabad, Sher Shah and Baldia Town left five people injured including one woman.
[Dawn] Gunmen rubbed out an Iraqi border forces brigadier general on Monday, among two people killed and five maimed in nationwide violence, security and medical officials said.
Brigadier General Abdul Hussein Mohsen was bumped off by several gunnies while he was in the town of Taji, just north of Storied Baghdad ...located along the Tigris River, founded in the 8th century, home of the Abbasid Caliphate... , an interior ministry official said.
A medic at Kadhimiyah hospital in the north of the capital confirmed the facility received Mohsen's body, adding that the general died of multiple gunshot wounds.
A kaboom targeting an army patrol in the town of Haditha, 210 kilometres (130 miles) west of Storied Baghdad, meanwhile killed a civilian and maimed three soldiers, according to an army officer and a doctor at Haditha hospital.
And in the main northern city of djinn-infested Mosul, two young boys were maimed by a roadside kaboom apparently aiming for an army patrol, according to police First Lieutenant Islam Hamed and doctor Faiz Tareq from the city's main hospital.
The latest fatalities took to 258 the number of people killed in nationwide attacks so far in August, according to an AFP tally based on reports from security and medical officials.
Violence has significantly decreased in Iraq compared to the brutal years of 2006 and 2007, but attacks are still common across the country.
AMMAN/ALEPPO: A Syrian military helicopter came down under fire and in flames in Damascus yesterday as President Bashar Assad's air force strafed and bombarded rebel-held districts in the capital and in Aleppo.
State television confirmed a helicopter had crashed in Damascus but gave no details. Opposition activists said rebels had shot it down. Opposition video footage showed a crippled aircraft burning up and crashing into a built-up area, sending up a pillar of oily black smoke.
A day after his enemies accused Assad's troops and sectarian militia of massacring hundreds of people in the town of Daraya near Damascus, the possible shooting down of the helicopter, the latest of several such successes claimed by lightly armed rebel fighters, bolstered morale. But, witnesses said, even more intense army bombardments followed.
"It was flying over the eastern part of the city and firing all morning," an activist calling himself Abu Bakr said from near where the helicopter came down in the eastern suburbs. "The rebels had been trying to hit it for about an hour," he said. "Finally they did."
Video footage carried the sound of people celebrating the helicopter's dive with shouts of "Rayethon Allahu akbar" (God is great).
Although rebel commanders have asked foreign allies for anti-aircraft missiles, Western nations are unwilling to supply such weapons for fear of them falling into hostile hands. There was no indication fighters in Damascus had used any missiles.
Army helicopters had been rocketing and strafing crowded working class suburbs on the eastern outskirts of the city since Sunday. Generally seen as rebel strongholds, they came under renewed assault early on Monday.
[An Nahar] Syrian opposition activists have drafted a political roadmap after a possible ouster of Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Before going into the family business Pencilneck was an eye doctor... , drawing on examples from other states that moved to democracy such as South Africa.
The working group, which brought together a broad spectrum of political organizations and religious faiths, produced a report called "The Day After Project: Supporting a Democratic Transition in Syria".
In a copy of the document obtained by Agence La Belle France Presse, the drafters said they saw their recommendations as a "starting point" for discussion on how to achieve stability, security and the rule of law after a fall of Assad.
"We view this document as our collective contribution to an ongoing debate among Syrians -- both inside and outside the country -- about the most effective ways to manage the challenges that are sure to arise following the end of the Assad regime (which is an outcome that can no longer be in doubt)," they wrote.
The project was initiated by the Washington-based United States Institute of Peace (USIP) in partnership with the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin and developed by about 45 Syrians.
Participants included women as well as men, members of the Syrian National Council, the Moslem Brüderbund and other opposition groups, those with experience in the Free Syrian Army and youth activists.
The project lays out goals including developing a new national identity based on civic unity, building consensus on key democratic principles and revamping the security forces to protect the rights of all citizens.
It also calls for a special independent tribunal to try former members of the regime on crimes committed against the Syrian people.
The document, the first of its kind from the Syrian opposition, offers recommendations for writing a new constitution and principles for institution building, and cites South Africa's post-apartheid transition as potentially "instructive".
[An Nahar] U.N. leader the ephemeral Ban Ki-moon ... of whom it can be said to his credit that he is not Kofi Annan... is "shocked" by the reports of a new massacre in Syria and demands an independent inquiry, his front man said Monday.
Reports of hundreds of bodies found in Daraya near Damascus ...The capital of Iran's Syrian satrapy... on Sunday after raids by government troops highlighted the lack of protection for civilians in the Syria conflict, said Ban's front man Martin Nesirky.
"The secretary general is certainly shocked by those reports and he strongly condemns this appalling and brutal crime," Nesirky told news hounds.
"Where hundreds of civilians have been killed in Daraya, this needs to be investigated immediately in an independent and impartial fashion," the front man added.
The U.N. Human Rights commissioner Navi Pillay is trying to get information on the massacre, Nesirky said.
More than 330 bodies have been found in Daraya after Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Lord of the Baath... 's troops went on house-to-house raids, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"Wherever there are atrocities, whoever is responsible needs to be held accountable," Nesirky said. The Daraya case "underscores again the lack of protection for civilians that there is in Syria and the urgent need to prevent loss of life."
[An Nahar] At least 59 people were killed on Monday across Syria, including children, as regime forces backed by combat helicopters battled rebels in a new front in and around east Damascus ...Capital of the last remaining Baathist regime in the world... on Monday, a monitoring group said.
Rebels from the Free Syrian Army claimed to have downed a military helicopter in the district of Qaboon during heavy shelling and fierce fighting that also engulfed nearby Jubar as well as several towns outside the capital.
In the single deadliest incident, 12 people including children died in shelling in the town of Zamalka, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
An amateur video distributed by the Britannia-based watchdog showed several bloodied bodies, some with their hands bound with rope, lined up on the ground in a small room.
"It's forbidden for the regime to kill us with chemical weapons," said the unidentified activist filming the video, in reference to Western warnings to Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Supressor of the Damascenes... not to resort to his chemicals weapons arsenal.
"But they can kill us with bombs."
"Effectively the army is going from west to east around Damascus, while we are trying to get back into the city, this time in a more organized way," a rebel commander who identified himself only as Selim told Agence La Belle France Presse.
The increasing brutal conflict, which had been largely concentrated in the provinces, first hit Damascus with a vengeance last month when fierce battles erupted across the southern belt of the capital.
The regime then launched a major offensive on districts seized by rebels, claiming to have the city back under its control on August 4.
Rebels have since used hit-and-run tactics in the capital, waging what analysts have described as urban guerrilla warfare against the militarily superior but thinly stretched army.
Selim said that after launching a major offensive on the southwestern belt last week, including a "massacre" in the town of Daraya, the army's new focus was the Ghuta area in the countryside east of Damascus.
Ghuta is home to some of the strongest rebel groups, Selim said, including one behind a Damascus kaboom last month that killed four top security chiefs, including defense minister Daoud Rajha and Assad's brother-in-law, Assef Shawkat, in a major blow to the regime.
In what would be another coup for anti-regime fighters, an FSA brigade claimed it had shot down an army helicopter in Damascus, two weeks after rebels said they had downed a warplane in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor.
"It was in Dire Revenge™ for the Daraya massacre," a front man for the rebel Badr Battalion, Omar al-Qabooni, told AFP via Skype.
He said the rebels had found the body of the pilot after the chopper plummeted to the ground in a ball of flames.
State television said only that a helicopter crashed near a mosque in Qaboon without giving the cause.
Rebels also attacked several army checkpoints, and killed at least six soldiers in a kaboom on a military vehicle in the Ghuta area, the Observatory said.
The escalation in east Damascus comes after the Observatory said at least 334 people were killed in a ferocious five-day onslaught of shelling, summary executions and door-to-door raids in Daraya in the southwest.
The Sunni Mohammedan town was overrun by troops battling to crush the insurgency both in the city and the countryside used by rebels as rear bases, by cutting of their supply lines, opposition gunnies said.
In Syria's other key battleground in the north, regime forces pounded the Izaa district of the main city of Aleppo ...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins... , the Observatory said, reporting a nationwide toll on Monday of 59.
"Regime forces are trying to take control of the district," it said, while state television ... and if you can't believe state television who can you believe?
claimed the army had "cleansed" the neighborhood.
The army was also bombarding several besieged districts of the central city of Homs, which has faced near constant shelling for more than two months, the Observatory said.
"The bombing is so violent, whole areas are being destroyed, yet nobody cares about Homs anymore," an activist in the rebel-held Old City said.
[An Nahar] The Melkite Greek Catholic archbishop of Aleppo ...For centuries, Aleppo was Greater Syria's largest city and the Ottoman Empire's third, after Constantinople and Cairo. Although relatively close to Damascus in distance, Aleppans regard Damascenes as country cousins... has fled to Leb and his offices in the war-ravaged city have been looted, Vatican media said on Monday, amid fears over the fate of Christian minorities.
Vatican radio and the missionary news agency Fides said Jean-Clement Jeanbart initially sought refuge with some Franciscan friars in the city on Thursday last week as fighting intensified in Christian quarters of Aleppo.
Within a few hours the archdiocese had been ransacked by "unidentified groups who want to start a religious war and drag the Syrian people into a sectarian conflict," a source in the local Christian community told Fides.
The doors of the archdiocese had been forced open and several objects like computers stolen, the reports said. Jeanbart has since fled to Leb.
The Melkites are an Eastern Catholic Church in full communion with the Vatican.
The reports also said the Maronite archdiocese in Aleppo and the Byzantine Christian museum of Maarrat Nahman in the city had also been damaged.
Hereditary President-for-Life Bashir Pencilneck al-Assad Leveler of Latakia... 's forces last week regained control of some Christian areas in the city center that had been seized by rebels.
Jeanbart told Vatican radio that he was concerned about the presence of imported muscle in the country and "organizations to find jihadists."
"That is why there are fundamentalists coming from Libya, Jordan, Egypt, Afghanistan, Turkey and many other countries," he said.
Many members of Syria's Christian clergy have been supportive of Assad, a member of the minority Alawite community, because of concerns that Islamists could take power in the multi-faith country.
Around 7.5 percent of Syria's 20 million inhabitants are Christian.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.