SYRIA: Syria’s most prominent defector has put himself forward as someone to unite the fractured opposition as the disparate factions were set to gather in Qatar today to try to agree on a transitional leadership if Bashar Assad’s regime is toppled.
Brig Gen Manaf Tlass, a commander in the powerful Republican Guard and the son of a former defence minister who was the most trusted lieutenant of the president’s father, defected in early July and flew to Paris.
CHINA: Chinese authorities today raised Beijing storm’s death toll to 77 after the public questioned the previous tally of 37, with some residents even compiling their own totals in a reflection of deep mistrust of the government’s handling of the disaster.
The Beijing city government said 77 bodies of victims from Saturday’s downpour had been found in the city as of today, 66 of whom have been identified.
CHINA: Chinese prosecutors are charging the wife of former Chinese politician Bo Xilai and a family aide with the murder of a British businessman.
The official Xinhua News Agency reported today that the recently issued indictment said Bo’s wife, Gu Kailai, had a falling out with Briton Neil Heywood and worried that it would threaten her and their son’s safety.
IRAQ: Militants have downed an Iraqi army helicopter and killed nearly a dozen security forces in overnight clashes in what appeared to be an al Qaida surge to retake one of its former strongholds in Iraq.
The fighting around the town of Hadid, about five miles north of the Diyala provincial capital of Baqouba, was in its third and deadliest day.
PHILIPPINES: Two British fugitives convicted of child molestation and sexual assault in the UK are to be deported from the Philippines.
Immigration Commissioner Ricardo David Jr said 70-year-old Keefer James Cooper and 50-year-old David Alan Williams were arrested separately on July 17 in southern Zamboanga del Norte province after the British Embassy declared them fugitives.
AMERICA: A university has said it received a suspicious package, but would not confirm the contents or whether the sender was a former student accused of killing 12 people in the Colorado cinema shooting.
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The University of Colorado, Denver said yesterday that the package was immediately investigated and turned over to authorities within hours of its delivery on Monday.