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Syrian clashes 'kill 23 soldiers' in city of Rastan

At least 30 people - including 23 soldiers - have died in heavy overnight clashes in the central Syrian city of Rastan.

(BBC NEWS) ISTANBUL - The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said dozens of others were wounded in the city, in the restive Homs province.

Three troop carriers were destroyed in fighting, the UK-based group said.

If confirmed, the attack would be one of the deadliest suffered by security forces in the 14-month-long uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

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Society

Free Speech v. Sexual Deviance: French Cartoonist Accused Of Promoting Pedophilia And Incest

The prestigious Angoulême International Comics Festival has cancelled the participation of Bastien Vivès, a leading French cartoonist, after a petition accused both drawings and comments that seem to justify pedophilia and incest. The festival cited risks of violence after threats were made online against Vivès.

Photo of comic artist Bastien Vivès

Bastien Vivès at the international comics festival in 2017

Emma Albright

This story has been updated Dec. 14, 8 p.m. local time

From Charlie Hebdo to Xavier Gorce to R. Crumb, cartoonists in France have a history of provocation and courting controversy—and generally receive French public support in return. But the latest provocateur, Bastien Vivès, may have crossed the line on the limits of free speech and artistic expression.

The 38-year-old comic book artist from Paris is facing a sudden backlash to work from four years ago that has resurfaced, as well as more recent comments, that critics charge excuse, or even promote, incest and pedophilia.

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