BEIRUT – A string of explosions struck a police truck transporting prisoners in a tense area of northwestern Syria on Saturday, killing at least 14 people, state media and an opposition group said. Government troops also battled defectors in the north in fighting that left 10 people dead.
The 10-month uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad began with largely peaceful anti-government protests, but has turned increasingly militarized and chaotic in recent months as more frustrated regime opponents and army defectors arm themselves and fight back against government forces.
Private abortion clinics can advertise on UK TV
LONDON – Britain’s broadcast advertising body has given the go-ahead for private abortion clinics to advertise their services on television, angering those who say that the move desensitizes the public to the practice.
The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice said late Friday there was no justification for barring private clinics that offer post-pregnancy services, including abortions, from advertising on television. Nonprofit post-pregnancy services are already allowed to advertise on television, and their for-profit counterparts are allowed to advertise in all other media.
The organization’s spokesman, Matt Wilson, said that “there is not going to be some sort of free-for-all saying: ‘Come to us to get an abortion.’ They are not there to promote abortion; they have to promote an array of services.”
Speaking to Britain’s right-leaning Daily Mail, Conservative lawmaker Nadine Dories said the move would allow broadcasters to make a profit “through advertising revenue off the back of a service which ends life. It’s appalling.”
Iran cracks down on Barbie-selling toy stores
TEHRAN, Iran – Police have closed down dozens of toy shops for selling Barbie dolls in Iran, part of a decades-long crackdown against “manifestations of Western culture,” the semiofficial Mehr news agency reported Friday.
Barbie dolls are sold wearing swimsuits and miniskirts in a society where women must wear headscarves in public, and men and women are not allowed to swim together.
A ban on the sale of the Barbies, designed to look like young Western women, was imposed in the mid-1990s. In its latest report, Mehr quoted an unidentified police official as saying authorities confiscated the dolls from Tehran stores in a “new phase” of the campaign.