News: 29-Jan-13

  1. Iran Says It Sent a Monkey Into Space
    Iranian state television said Monday that the nation had put a monkey into space “as a prelude to sending humans.” The successful flight involved a relatively small rocket that went straight up and down, according to the state-sponsored news report, and the monkey survived the flight.
  2. Qatar Airways expands rout network to Iraq
    NAJAF, REPUBLIC OF IRAQ – Qatar Airways has introduced its latest gateway in the Republic of Iraq with the launch of scheduled flights to the central city of Najaf.
  3. Assad’s grip on Syria loosening, says Russia’s Medvedev
    London: In one of the harshest comments on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev, has said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s power grip on Syria was weakening and that Russia wasn’t an “exclusive ally of Syraia”.
  4. Syria receives Russian arms under contracts signed long ago – Deputy PM
    Russia, one of the Syrian regime’s last supporters, continues to supply weapons to Damascus under contracts signed long ago, Qadri Jamil, Syria’s deputy prime minister said to journalists.
  5. UN in funding call as Syria conflict rages
    United Nations says will have to cut food ration supplies unless fresh funding found, as battles continue in civil war.
  6. Bahrain Shiite opposition expresses cautious willingness for crisis talks with Sunni rulers
    MANAMA, Bahrain — Bahrain’s main opposition groups say they are willing to open dialogue aimed at easing the Gulf nation’s two-year political crisis, but they seek more clarity on the scope of the possible talks.
  7. Syria Regime Strikes Back Against Outgunned Rebels In Key City
    Rebels close to Syria’s central city of Hama are being pounded with bombs and shells as the regime wages a fierce assault to reverse losses in rural areas home to many of its Alawite supporters.
  8. Churches and mausoleums destroyed as religious tensions mount in Syria
    Syrian rebel groups have been accused of destroying religious sites in the north of the country over the past few months – incidents which have sparked concern for various religious denominations caught up in the Syrian conflict. Shiite and Christian Observers describe the fear in which they live.
  9. Al-Qaida-Linked Group Claims Deadly Syria Blast
    An al-Qaida-linked group fighting alongside Syrian rebels has claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing a week ago that reportedly killed dozens of President Bashar Assad’s loyalists.
  10. Syria’s Afghan Refugees Trapped in a Double Crisis
    There are around 2,000 Afghans living in Syria. Most are Shiites and belong to the Hazara ethnic group. Their migration to Syria occurred in several small waves, with most fleeing Afghanistan to escape ethno-religious persecution and a few settling in the country after their pilgrimage to the holy Shiite sites in the country. Most Afghan refugees and settlers in Syria are based in and around the capital Damascus.

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