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THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS, BBC, ZAMAT

Worldcrunch

DAMASCUS - Violent clashes between government forces and rebels continued in the Syrian capital for the third day on Tuesday, as U.N. special envoy Kofi Annan visits Moscow to promote a peace plan.

Based on information from activists and witnesses on the ground, Reuters reports that rebels are fighting security forces in the southern Midan district of Damascus, using barricades, rocket propelled grenades and machine guns. Residents told Reuters that snipers were being deployed on rooftops and that artillery hit the opposition area of Tadamun. The violent clashes show that the uprising is slowly chipping away at President Assad's power, opposition activists told Reuters.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov indicated that Moscow's position would not change. The Russian government opposes any United Nations Security Council action against President Assad.

The Guardian Middle East Live Blog also reported intensifying violence in Damascus with an interactive map. A Dutch reporter in the Syrian capital witnessed explosions in another district, and activist videos showed tanks being deployed, although it was impossible to determine where exactly.

In another opposition activist video, gunfire can be heard in another neighborhood of the Syrian capital.

Former Syrian ambassador to Iraq Nawaf Fares, who recently defected, told the BBC in Qatar on Monday that he wouldn't rule out the use of chemical weapons by President Assad, calling him "a wounded wolf and cornered."

"There is information, unconfirmed information of course, that chemical weapons have been used partially in the city of Homs," he told the BBC. Fares also made the surprising claim the Sunni Muslims of Al Qaeda were helping the Alawite dominated regime to terrorize the Syrian population.

Also on Monday, Turkish daily Zaman reported that 525 Syrians had fled into Turkey, including a general and several military officers.

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Society

Jehovah's Witnesses Translate The Bible In Indigenous Language — Is This Colonialism?

The Jehovah's Witnesses in Chile have launched a Bible version translated into the native Mapudungun language, evidently indifferent to the concerns of a nation striving to save its identity from the Western cultural juggernaut.

A Mapuche family awaits for Chilean President Gabriel Boric to arrive at the traditional Te Deum in the Cathedral of Santiago, on Chile's Independence Day.

Claudia Andrade

NEUQUÉN — The Bible can now be read in Mapuzugun, the language of the Mapuche, an ancestral nation living across Chile and Argentina. It took the Chilean branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a latter-day Protestant church often associated with door-to-door proselytizing and cold calling, three years to translate it into "21st-century Mapuzugun".

The church's Mapuche members in Chile welcomed the book when it was launched in Santiago last June, but some of their brethren see it rather as a cultural imposition. The Mapuche were historically a fighting nation, and fiercely resisted both the Spanish conquerors and subsequent waves of European settlers. They are still fighting for land rights in Chile.

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