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In brief: Assad refuses dialogue with opposition

Beirut – The Syrian regime said Monday there will be no dialogue with the opposition before the army crushes the rebels, the latest sign that President Bashar Assad is determined to solve the crisis on the battlefield even if many more of his people have to pay with their lives.

The statement comes a day after activists reported that August was the bloodiest month since the uprising began in March 2011.

“There will be no dialogue with the opposition prior to the Syrian army’s imposition of security and stability in all parts of the country,” Information Minister Omran al-Zoebi told reporters at a news conference in Damascus.

Assassins kill ‘Godmother of Cocaine’

Bogota, Colombia – Griselda Blanco, the drug kingpin known for her blood-soaked style of street vengeance during Miami’s “cocaine cowboys” era of the ‘70s and ‘80s, was shot to death in Medellin by motorcycle-riding assassins Monday, according to Colombian press reports.

Blanco, 69, spent nearly two decades behind bars in the United States for drug trafficking and three murders, including the fatal shooting of a 2-year-old boy in Miami in 1982. Known as “The Godmother of Cocaine,” she was deported to Colombia in 2004.

According to Radio Caracol and two newspapers, two gunmen on motorcycles unleashed a fatal hail of gunfire as she walked out of a butcher shop in Medellin, her hometown.

“It’s surprising to all of us that she had not been killed sooner because she made a lot of enemies,” former Miami homicide detective Nelson Andreu, who investigated her, said late Monday.

Car bombing kills two, wounds Americans

Peshawar, Pakistan – A suicide car bomber rammed into a U.S. government vehicle in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Monday, killing two Pakistanis and wounding more than a dozen – including two Americans – in one of the worst attacks against the U.S. in Pakistan in recent years, officials said.

The bombing was a vivid reminder of the danger of operating in Pakistan, especially in the northwest where Taliban and al-Qaida militants are strongest.

The U.S. said it would review its security procedures following Monday’s attack.


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