In brief: Syrian air raids kill dozens in Aleppo
BEIRUT – Syrian government helicopters and warplanes unleashed a wave of airstrikes on more than a dozen opposition-held neighborhoods in the northern city of Aleppo on Sunday, firing missiles and dropping crude barrel bombs in a ferocious attack that killed at least 36 people, including 17 children, activists said.
On Sunday alone, Syrian military aircraft targeted 15 opposition-controlled neighborhoods, said an activist who goes by the name of Abu al-Hassan Marea.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the Tariq al-Bab district on the eastern edge of the city was the hardest-hit, with at least eight barrel bombs raining down on it Sunday. Marea said one air raid in the neighborhood struck a vegetable market and another landed near a mosque.
Netanyahu says boycotts won’t hurt
JERUSALEM – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday dismissed warnings by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel could be targeted by a growing boycott campaign if peace talks with the Palestinians fail.
Netanyahu tried to reassure Israelis, saying any boycott attempts are immoral, unjust and “will not achieve their goal,” while two government ministers accused Kerry of unfair pressure tactics and not standing by Israel.
Kerry’s comments and the aggrieved Israeli response led the main TV news shows Sunday, signaling a growing concern here that the world will use economic pressure to extract concessions.
Kerry is expected to present a framework for a peace deal in coming weeks. Anticipating resistance from Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, he has spelled out the risks if they say no to his plan.
Yanukovych to end sick leave today
KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine’s president will return today from a short sick leave that had sparked a guessing game as to whether he was taking himself out of action in preparation to step down or for a crackdown on widespread anti-government protests.
Viktor Yanukovych’s office made the announcement about the president’s return the same day as protesters seeking his resignation held one of their largest gatherings in recent weeks.
About 20,000 people assembled at the main protest site in Kiev’s central square on Sunday.
Yanukovych’s sick leave was announced Thursday, with his office saying he had an acute respiratory illness. Some opposition leaders were skeptical, however, and thought Yanukovych was disappearing from the limelight in preparation for imposing a state of emergency amid the deepest turmoil in Ukraine since the Orange Revolution in 2004-05.
Al-Jazeera worker acquitted in Egypt
CAIRO – A Cairo court says it has acquitted a cameraman for the Qatar-based network Al-Jazeera, after he was held for months on charges of committing acts of violence.
Mohamed Badr, a cameraman for Al-Jazeera’s channel in Egypt, was arrested following clashes in July. Egypt’s semi-official media said Sunday he was acquitted along with 61 others.