SYRIA: EVACUATIONS, SANCTIONS, ARCHEOLOGY
The Governor of the Syrian province of Homs announced that evacuations and aid deliveries in the besieged city had resumed this morning after yesterday’s halt, AFP reports. The temporary humanitarian cease-fire was negotiated recently at the Geneva 2 peace talks, and is scheduled to expire later today, though the BBC reports that the Syrian government indicated that it may be extended.
Russian officials said this morning their delegation would block a UN Security Council draft resolution that plans to impose more sanctions on Syria if the government doesn’t allow unrestricted access to aid delivery. According to Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov, the draft resolution is “politicized” and its purpose is “to lay groundwork for future military operations.” Read more from PressTV.
The Independent published an interesting story about archaeological treasures in Syria that include Byzantine mosaics and statues that date back to the Greek and Roman empire being destroyed by Islamic fundamentalists. La Stampa is reporting on a new effort to try to safeguard Syria’s cultural treasures, pushed forward by former Italian Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli.
THREE-DAY MOURNING AFTER PLANE CRASH IN ALGERIA
Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika declared three days of mourning after yesterday’s plane crash in which at least 77 people died, website Algerie Focus reports. The crash appears to have been caused by bad weather.
TWO CRACKS FOUND NEAR RADIOACTIVE WATER TANKS AT FUKUSHIMA
Two massive cracks, possibly caused by freezing temperatures, have been found in a concrete floor next to tanks where radioactive water is stored at Japan’s nuclear power plant Fukushima, newspaper Asahi Shimbun reports. According to the plant’s operator TEPCO, contaminated water from the melting snow in the area could have seeped into the ground through the cracks.
THAILAND COURT REJECTS BID TO INVALIDATE ELECTION
Thailand’s Constitutional Court has rejected an opposition bid to annul the election that took place on February 2, The Bangkok Postreports. In their petition, opponents to the government argued that the poll was unconstitutional but the court ruled that there was “no credible evidence.”
WHY U.S. HAS SUNK IN WORLD PRESS FREEDOM RANKINGS
After a year during which Private Bradley Manning was sentenced to 35 years in jail and the crackdown on whistleblowers, including Edward Snowden, the United States have fallen 13 places to 46th in Reporters Without Borders’ latest World Press Freedom Index. Finland, the Netherlands and Norway are in the top 3, while China, Syria and North Korea are amongst the worst-ranked.
MY GRAND-PÈRE'S WORLD
TOYOTA RECALLS 1.9 MILLION PRIUS HYBRIDS
Japanese carmaker Toyota is recalling 1.9 million Prius hybrids around the world because of a software-related problem that may cause the vehicles to suddenly slow down and stop, Reuters reports.
Amnesty International says in a new report that “ethnic cleansing” of Muslim civilians is taking place in the Central African Republic.
BY THE NUMBERS
Russia sets price tag on its citizenship.
NEW DRUG SMUGGLING FLEET
Australian customs finds 180kg stash of methamphetamine in imported kayaks.
THE WAY HE MAKES THEM FEEL
A French judge ruled that Michael Jackson’s doctor must pay five grieving fans one euro each in "emotional damages" after the death of the King of Pop.