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REUTERS, AL JAZEERA (Qatar), NEW YORK TIMES (USA)

Worldcrunch

Barack Obama has authorized covert US support of Syrian rebels in order to oust President Bashar al-Assad, reports Reuters.

The secret order, which was allegedly signed earlier this year allows the CIA to offer support and assistance to rebel fighters engaged in conflict, with similar reports emerging that Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are providing intelligence assistance to rebel forces.

However, the news of President Obama's secret order could prove difficult as the circulation of two videos Wednesday prompted debate on the rebel forces' tactics. The violent and disturbing images posted on YouTube show Free Syrian Army rebels publicly executing supporters of Bashar al-Assad, one of whom has been identified as Sunni politician Zeino al-Barri, Al Jazeera reports.

Human rights activists are denouncing the act as a war crime. A researcher for Human Rights Watch, Nadim Houry, told the New York Times: "Intentionally killing anyone, even a shabiha, once he is outside of combat is a war crime, regardless of how horrible the person may have been ... As the opposition gains more territory, it is important to hold them to the same standard that we would apply to all sides."

The World Food Programme and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have also expressed concerns that the conflict has resulted in the Syrian agriculture sector losing $1.8 billion this year.

The organizations said on Thursday that up to three million Syrians will need food, crop and livestock aid over the next year, as wheat and barley crops have been badly affected.

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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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