(Picture courtesy of mhaithaca at flickr.com.)
In the tradition begun by Southern Dragon, today’s latter day Diner explores news from foreign media.
A major step advanced the deteriorating control in Syria of Assad’s government and its attacks on the Syrian people, as General Abdel Aziz Jassem al-Shallal, commander of Syrian military police defected to the opposition.
“The destruction of cities and villages, and the commission of massacres against our people, defenceless civilians, who took to the streets calling for freedom” prompted Shallal to defect, he said.
His defection comes as military pressure builds on the regime, with government bases falling to rebel assault near the capital Damascus and elsewhere across the country.
A Syrian security source confirmed the defection but played down its significance, saying that Shallal was due to retire and had defected to “play hero”.
Artillery pounded the country that it had not gained control over, as the Assad regime continued its assault against opposition even as it spreads.
Argentina objected to a naming of part of the disputed Antartic by the UK, seeming to violate a 1959 treaty which kept previous designations but shut off further application of names to the vast territory.
John Freeman was handed a formal protest note “strongly rejecting” the UK’s claim to a piece of land known as the British Antarctic Territory.
The southern section was named Queen Elizabeth Land by Foreign Secretary William Hague on Tuesday.
The Queen was not expected to attend naming ceremonies.
Indian tea workers demonstrating against an estate owner’s actions against workers burned the owner to death.
According to reports, the owner of the tea estate, Mridul Kumar Bhattacharjee, served eviction notices to two workers on Wednesday, but they refused to leave. Consequently, he called the police, who arrested the duo.
When the news spread, a mob gathered and set Bhattarcharjee’s house and two cars on fire.
Disputes among nations that have given protection to threatened polar bear populations concerned continued trade in parts.
President Obama has proposed a ban on the trade in polar bears, but another polar bear range state, Canada, is adamantly opposed to it. The United Kingdom and other key European nations are still on the fence about this proposal, so NRDC is taking the fight overseas and putting pressure on U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron and other European leaders, whose votes could prove decisive.
Central African Republic turmoil has caused humanitarian groups to leave the countryside and take refuge in the capitol, Bangui.
Thierry Vircoulon, Central Africa project director for the thinktank International Crisis Group, told IRIN that the rebels were “progressing quite fast and they constitute a real threat for the regime”. “They managed to unite and they are sufficiently well equipped to challenge the CAR’s army and, except for the Chadian army, no force can prevent them from taking the road to Bangui at this stage,” he said.
The latest plan, which would see almost 1,000 new apartments built over Jerusalem’s green line in Gilo, comes as the Israeli media is reporting mounting pressure on the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to drop his commitment to a two-state solution from his platform for re-election in January.
The agreement for the Gilo development is only the latest in wave of settlement approvals in Jerusalem agreed by the country’s interior ministry and Jerusalem municipality’s planning committees before Christmas.
China’s Ministry of Public Security says it started the operation on 18 December in response to mounting reports of abductions. The Ministry says it has broken up the networks which were spanned across nine different provinces. They would buy the abducted children in inland Yunnan and Sichuan and sell them on, with the final buyer often in richer coastal provinces.