Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

World Briefs

Article excerpt

Assad wants 'terrorist' defeat before election

Syrian President Bashar Assad is willing to run in an early presidential election, hold parliamentary elections and discuss constitutional changes, but only after the defeat of "terrorist" groups, Russian lawmakers said after meeting with the Syrian leader on Sunday.

The meeting came as Russia, the United States, Saudi Arabia and Turkey were discussing new ideas for a political transition to end Syria's nearly five-year civil war, which has killed 250,000 people and displaced half the country's population.

The Western-backed Syrian opposition and other insurgent groups have refused to back any plan that does not include Assad's exit from power, and were unlikely to view any elections held by his government as legitimate. The Syrian government considers the entire armed opposition to be "terrorists."

Storms strike Middle East * Severe weather swept across the Middle East on Sunday, pounding Israel with baseball-sized hail, sending torrents of uncollected garbage through the streets of Beirut and killing six people in Egypt, five of whom were electrocuted by a fallen power cable. The flooding in Egypt's second- largest city, a major port and former shipping and trade center, underlines how basic infrastructure such as drainage systems are still lacking despite the demands of a surging population.

Police use water cannon on German protesters * German police sprayed left-wing protesters with a water cannon to keep them apart from an anti-Islam demonstration by a far-right group in western Germany. Some 3,500 police in full riot gear were in Cologne on Sunday afternoon, sometimes stepping in to keep the two groups from fighting. About 10,000 people including many families waving signs reading "refugees welcome" were protesting the demonstration Sunday by 1,000 from a group called "Hooligans against Salafists. …

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