In brief: French journalist killed in Syria

Beirut – A French TV cameraman became the first Western journalist killed in the 10-month-old Syrian uprising Wednesday, dying in a barrage of grenades during a government-sponsored trip to the restive city of Homs, officials said.

The violence came just hours after President Bashar Assad made a surprise appearance at a rally in the capital, Damascus, joining thousands of supporters in a show of confidence.

The killing of Gilles Jacquier, who worked for France-2 Television, is likely to become a rallying cry for both sides, as the regime and the opposition blame each other for a recent spate of mysterious attacks.

Bodies found near upscale mall

Mexico City – Two decapitated bodies were found inside a burning SUV early Wednesday at the entrance to one of Mexico’s most luxurious malls, feeding fears drug violence is infiltrating privileged realms previously thought safe.

Police recovered the mutilated bodies before dawn off a toll highway at a shopping mall entrance in the heart of the Santa Fe district that’s a haven for international corporations, diplomats and the wealthy. The heads and a threatening message were dumped a few yards away, Mexico City prosecutors said in a statement.

Iranian president speaks in Cuba

Havana – Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denounced capitalism Wednesday during a speech at the University of Havana on the third leg of a trip to highlight friendships with his Latin American allies.

Ahmadinejad held a private meeting later with President Raul Castro and was expected to meet with Fidel Castro. In all, he planned to spend less than 24 hours on the island before flying to Ecuador.

At the university, the Iranian leader railed against the United States and its allies and said heartless capitalism is the root cause of war.

“Thankfully we are already witnessing that the capitalist system is in decay,” Ahmadinejad said. “On various stages it has come to a dead end – politically, economically and culturally.”

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