Friday, June 22, 2018

Activists says Syrian regime misleading monitors

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Activists accused the Syrian regime Wednesday of misleading Arab League observers by taking them to areas loyal to the government, changing street signs to confuse them and sending regime supporters into rebellious neighborhoods to give false testimony.

The monthlong observer mission, which started Dec. 27, offers a rare outside glimpse into a country where a government crackdown on a 9-month-old uprising has killed more than 5,000 people. But there are fears Assad loyalists have corrupted the observer process beyond repair.

There was no immediate comment from the Arab League. But Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi denied the allegations.

"We don't interfere in the mission's job," Makdissi said, adding that government escorts are necessary to protect the observers.

Activists also said regime loyalists are painting military vehicles blue to make them look like police vehicles — a ploy that allows the government to claim it has pulled the army out of heavily populated areas in accordance with the Arab League plan to end the government's crackdown on dissent.

The plan requires the government to remove security forces and heavy weapons from city streets, start talks with opposition leaders and free political prisoners. Syria agreed to it on Dec. 19, paving the way for the observers to enter. About 100 monitors are in the country now to assess whether the regime is complying.

But the Arab League has acknowledged that killings have continued. Activists put the death toll at more than 400 people since Dec. 21.

The secretary-general of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, told reporters in Cairo the League will not cut short the observers mission in Syria, a day after an Arab diplomat raised the possibility.

Comments
Six candidates qualify to seek Pinellas County Commission seats

Six candidates qualify to seek Pinellas County Commission seats

The Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections said six candidates completed their qualifying requirements to square off for three seats on the County Commission.With three seats on November's ballot, only one office drew multiple candida...
Updated: 2 minutes ago
Newcomers seek to topple incumbents in Pinellas School Board races

Newcomers seek to topple incumbents in Pinellas School Board races

Thirteen candidates will vie for four seats on the Pinellas County School Board this year, with two hopefuls qualifying just before Friday's noon deadline.Three incumbents, including the board's leader and vice chair, aim to keep their seats amid a r...
Updated: 2 minutes ago
Newcomers seek to topple incumbents in Pinellas School Board races

Newcomers seek to topple incumbents in Pinellas School Board races

Thirteen candidates will vie for four seats on the Pinellas County School Board this year, with two hopefuls qualifying just before Friday's noon deadline.Three incumbents, including the board's leader and vice chair, aim to keep their seats amid a r...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Former Tampa police corporal qualifies as Democrat to run for Hillsborough sheriff

Former Tampa police corporal qualifies as Democrat to run for Hillsborough sheriff

TAMPA — A Democrat has officially joined the race for Hillsborough County sheriff.Gary Pruitt, a 50-year-old former Tampa police corporal who now works as director of security at a local mall, qualified Friday to challenge Republican Sheriff Chad Chr...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Derrick Brooks won’t pursue Bulls’ AD job

Derrick Brooks won’t pursue Bulls’ AD job

The local favorite for USF's athletic director job said Friday that he is not a candidate.In a three-paragraph statement, Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks said his commitments to Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School, his charities and fam...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
On the campaign trail: For Hillsborough County School Board

On the campaign trail: For Hillsborough County School Board

Barring a last-minute adjustment, this is the lineup for the 2018 Hillsborough County School Board races.District 1, northwest Hillsborough and Town 'N Country:This is a special election to replace Susan Valdes, who resigned, effective Nov. 6, to run...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With news that Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of 2018, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has an interesting decision to make for training camp and especially in preseason games: How does he split reps between Winston and backup Ryan...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Writer resigns from ‘New Yorker’ after twitter flap over Pasco Marine’s tattoo

Writer resigns from ‘New Yorker’ after twitter flap over Pasco Marine’s tattoo

Talia Lavin, whose tweet about a Pasco veteran’s tattoo implied he was a Nazi, has apologized to him and resigned from her position as a fact-checker at the New Yorker magazine.But in another tweet, Thursday evening, Lavin also lashed out at the fede...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — CareSync, a Tampa health care information technology company that raised millions from private investors in recent years, has shut down. The company ceased operations on Thursday, laying off nearly 300 people, according to former employees an...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
A new wave: Florida voters face vast choices on 2018 ballot

A new wave: Florida voters face vast choices on 2018 ballot

They're fed up with Trump and infighting in Congress. They're motivated by #MeToo or #NeverAgain movements. They want to ride the blue wave, even though Republicans say there won't be one.So far, it's a new wave: Dozens of first-time candidates are r...
Updated: 1 hour ago