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Sunday, March 03, 2013

Sunday Links Part 1

From Ian:

Syrian Rebels Hang 'Palestinian Refugees' who Aided Assad
Syrian rebels hanged two Arabs registered as “Palestinian refugees” on suspicion of aiding the Assad, says a rights watchdog.
"Rebels in the Yarmouk camp executed two men accused of cooperating with the regime by identifying targets that were bombed last week," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
"They were hanged from trees in the camp," added the Observatory, which relies on a network of activists and medics on the ground to collect information. It provided a picture illustrating the hangings, reported AFP.

Assad accuses UK of bullying, vows to hit back at Israel
Speaking to Sunday Times, Syrian president blasts London for trying to send arms to rebels, says Damascus always retaliates against Israel
Speaking about a reported Israeli airstrike in January on Syrian soil, which had allegedly damaged a chemical weapons site, Assad vowed to hit back as he said his country always had, though he said it might not be an overt counterattack.
“We retaliated in our own way, and only the Israelis know what we mean. Retaliation does not mean missile for missile or bullet for bullet. Our own way does not have to be announced,” he said.

Three Syrian Mortar Shells Strike Golan Heights
Three mortar shells exploded Saturday afternoon in the southern Golan Heights, near Ramot Magshimim. No one was hurt and no damage was caused.
The defense establishment believes that the shells were stray ones, which were fired in the course of the civil war in Syria, on the other side of the border.

Israel to renew apple exports to Syria
Thousands of tons of Israeli apples will be exported to Syria later this week in a renewal of an arrangement that was halted last year due to the civil war across the border.
The apples, grown by Druze farmers on the Golan Heights, are transferred between the two countries with the coordination of the United Nations and the International Red Cross.
This year is set to be the largest ever export since the arrangement began several years ago. Some 18,000 tons of apples will pass through the border crossing at Quneitra over the next three months.

Plague of locusts afflicts Egypt
Swarm of Biblical proportions surprises local authorities and blankets the ground near Giza
An enormous swarm of locusts is plaguing Egypt in a development that agricultural authorities admitted they failed to predict.
Egyptian Agricultural Minister Salah Abad Almoman said the swarm, comprising an estimated 30 million insects, descended on Giza, near southern Cairo, where it is causing great damage, Maariv reported on Sunday.
“The armed forces and the Egyptian border units are trying to battle the swarm with various means at their disposal,” Almoman said, but the report did not detail what action was taken. The minister appealed to local residents to refrain from attempting to deal with the ravenous horde themselves.

Islamic Cleric Charges: Morsi is a 'Zionist'
An Islamic cleric who opposes the Muslim Brotherhood described Egyptian President as a “Zionist” who shares security interests with Israel.
An Islamic cleric who opposes the Muslim Brotherhood described Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi on Friday as a “Zionist” who shares security interests with Israel, Al Arabiya reports.
Speaking to protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah Nasr, leader of the Front “Ozharyoun with civil state,” said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was coming to Egypt to support “Morsi the Zionist.”

Egypt, two Coptic Orthodox children aged 9 and 10 risk jail on blasphemy charges
Yet another case of violence and abuse against Coptic Christians. On 26 February, the Court of Bani Suef (Upper Egypt) dismissed the appeal of the families of the two children Rzik Nagy, aged 10, and Mina Farag, 9, accused of desecrating the Koran. They have been detained in a juvenile prison since April 2012. The case has attracted a lot of criticism in the country. Many claim the trial was illegal and devoid of any logic.

100 Copts Arrested In Libya
Voice of the Copts strongly condemns the round-up, detention and presumed torture of Egyptian Copts in Benghazi, Libya being held for allegedly proselytizing Christianity which is illegal in that country. Evidence of such offense is yet unsubstantiated as facts cited by the arresting body keep changing. Furthermore, the charges are highly suspect given they follow recent attacks on a Coptic church.

Seized Chinese Weapons Raise Concerns on Iran
Among the items aboard the dhow, according to a review of factory markings on weapons and their packing crates, were 10 Chinese heat-seeking antiaircraft missiles, most of them manufactured in 2005.
The missiles were labeled QW-1M and bore stencils suggesting that they had been assembled at a factory represented by the state-owned China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation, sanctioned by the United States for transfers of missile technology to Pakistan and Iran.

Comedy Central: Jon Stewart Letter Backing Anti-War Protest Group is Counterfeit
Code Pink published a letter "from" Stewart backing their anti-drone campaign; Comedy Central says the note is bogus.
Code Pink, the organization known for screaming and streaking during their public protests, published and sent to its email list a letter purported to be from The Daily Show host on Wednesday; it claimed his support for the group's request that the senate releases documents about the drone campaign.
However, a representative from Comedy Central has confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that the letter was not sent by Stewart or anyone at the network.