World Bulletin / News Desk
The head of the United Nations monitors in Syria said on Monday violence was intensifying across the country, blaming both President Bashar al-Assad's forces and rebel fighters for ignoring the plight of civilians.
"It is clear that violence is increasing in many parts of Syria," General Babacar Gaye, head of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria, told journalists in Damascus.
"The indiscriminate use of heavy weapons by the government and targeted attacks by the opposition in urban centres are inflicting a heavy toll on innocent civilians.
"I deeply regret that none of the parties has prioritised the needs of civilians."
Activists say more than 18,000 people, including soldiers, rebels and civilians, have been killed since the start of the Syrian uprising against Assad in March last year.
Assad's forces are battling to regain control of the biggest city, Aleppo, from rebel fighters who went on the offensive last month, seizing districts of the capital and the northern commercial hub, as well as several border crossings.
Free Syrian Army rebels also control towns and villages in a wide swathe of territory near the northern border with Turkey.
Assad's forces have hit back, regaining much of Damascus and bombarding opposition strongholds in and around the capital. Residents reported overnight shelling from the Qassioun mountains overlooking north Damascus into Jobar neighbourhood.
Activists also reported shelling in the northern Damascus suburb of Tell, which they say has been under rebel control for two weeks, and in Muadamiya suburb, where they said four men had been found executed after troops pulled out.
State television said the army was battling rebels in the city of Homs and had attacked "terrorist lairs" in the town of Talbiseh to the north.
The mandate for the U.N. monitors, whose original mission was to observe an April ceasefire that never took hold, expires on Aug. 19. Their numbers have already been cut to a third because violence has made it impossible for them to move around.
"But the remaining 100 observers, along with our civilian colleagues, will operate till the last minute," Gaye said.
"I call on the parties to cease military operations and come to the (negotiating) table," he said, adding that he and his colleagues had delivered the same appeal in person to the government and the Syrian opposition abroad.
The number of Roman Catholics in Latin America, a historical stronghold, dropped to 67 percent in 2013, from 80 percent in 1995, a survey by Chile-based pollster Latinobarometro showed
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters traveling on Air Force One that Kiev had responded with "admirable restraint" to destabilizing actions in the country by armed pro-Moscow separatists.
Garcia Marquez, who was hospitalized for nine days in Mexico City for dehydration and a lung and urinary infection, has been receiving treatment at his home
Small groups of demonstrators from Barakat - the name means "Enough" - tried to hold a sit-in in downtown Algiers before uniformed police surrounded them and dragged them off.
NATO said the military alliance had decided on immediate steps to reinforce its forces in eastern Europe because of the Ukraine crisis.
Transnistria's Parliament will apply to Russia for recognition of their independence from Moldova.
So far this year, 2,370 unaccompanied minors have arrived in Italy, the charity claims. Most journey to Italy to be united with relatives already there. When the Italian authorities fail to reunite them with family, the children often risk the journey alone.
Government ministers said that warnings last week by the U.N. mission in Burundi (BNUB) about possible violence were baseless and possibly spread to justify an extension of its mandate
The International Centre for the Study of Radicalization is a non-governmental think-tank based in London whose mission is to analyze and promote the understanding of political violence and radicalization.
Pakistan Taliban spokesperson blamed the government for a lack of progress in peace talks.
The island, which just has a population of 30 Spanish soldiers, is one of three Chafarinas Islands that have been under Spanish control since 1847.
Jarba said his Syrian National Coalition sought a political solution, according to a statement from the ministry.
Saudi Arabia’s aviation authorities have warned Pakistan’s national flag carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), that all their flights will be cancelled if outstanding airport usage fees are not paid by April 17.
Ukraine's defence ministry said the troop carriers were now in Slaviansk, guarded by "people in uniforms who have no relation to Ukraine's armed forces."
Talks were put on hold after an Israeli soldier was shot dead in the West Bank.
Mariam Koofi was shot in one of Kabul's upscale districts late on Tuesday after an argument with a member of the security forces, the interior ministry said in a statement. Her injury was not life threatening.