In brief: Syrian military takes border town
Beirut – After weeks of fighting, the Syrian military has wrested control of a rebel-held town near the Lebanese border in the strategic province of Homs, military and opposition representatives said Saturday.
The seizure of Zara, close to the main highway linking Homs city to the Mediterranean coast, is the latest reported government advance in its effort to seal the porous border with Lebanon, long a conduit for antigovernment fighters and arms.
In a statement, the Syrian military hailed the seizure of Zara, which “had been used as a main passage for the terrorist groups that would come from Lebanon and head to neighboring areas to carry out their criminal operations.”
Caribbean group studies pot market
Georgetown, Guyana – Researchers with a Caribbean trade bloc have found that decriminalizing marijuana and exploring its use for medicinal purposes could help boost the region’s sluggish economy.
Caricom leaders are expected to talk about the preliminary report in a two-day summit that begins Monday in the eastern Caribbean island of St. Vincent.
Experts said the Caribbean already has a built-in competitive advantage with marijuana cultivation, noting that Jamaican researchers have launched a company that produces therapeutic and cosmetic products derived from the plants.
Activists in Jamaica, St. Lucia and other islands have pushed to legalize marijuana use, with Jamaica’s health minister recently stating he was “fully on board” with medical marijuana.
However, many in the Caribbean still consider it a dangerous drug.