Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Digest

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Digest

Article excerpt

Syrian troops, rebels battle for highway

Syrian troops backed by warplanes battled rebels for control of a key highway in Damascus on Saturday, a day after opposition forces cut the strategic artery as part of what they say are efforts to lay the groundwork for an eventual assault on the heavily defended capital.

Rebels have been on the offensive in Damascus since launching a series of attacks on government positions on Wednesday. They brought their fight to within a mile of the heart of the capital on Friday, seizing army checkpoints and cutting a key highway as they pressed their campaign for the city, the seat of President Bashar Assads power.

The fighting is the heaviest to hit Damascus since July, when a first rebel assault managed to capture several neighborhoods before a punishing government counteroffensive. After that rebel foray, the regime quickly reasserted its control over the city, which has spared Damascus much of the violence and destruction that the civil war has wrought on other major urban centers.

Carnival in Brazil The crowd gathering Saturday was a typical Rio Carnival mix: a sprinkling of superheroes, girls in cute bunny outfits, zombies and princesses, a group of hairy-chested hula dancers.

But the sound sure wasnt samba. You and I must make a pact, a high-pitched voice sang in English, soaring above the crowd. We must bring salvation back.

The Michael Jackson-themed Thriller Eletrico street party was one of a handful adding a dash of hard rock, Motown, Latin rhythms and other eclectic beats to the samba sounds associated with Brazils wild Carnival celebrations, even if they include a season- appropriate jolt of percussion in their renditions.

Those who showed up for the Jackson bloco, as the street bands and their followers are known, came prepared to celebrate their icon: There were white gloves in the crowd, along with sequined fedoras, wigs and get-ups representing the artist in various phases of his long career.

Tunisian leader wants new Cabinet Tunisias Islamist prime minister says he will resign if his proposal to appoint a nonpolitical Cabinet is rejected.

Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali called for that change on Wednesday after Tunisia was thrown into a crisis when a prominent opposition politician was fatally shot in Tunis, touching off violent protests. …

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