Thursday, December 14, 2017

Violence in Syria spills into Lebanon

BEIRUT — Syrian forces killed at least five people when they raided a Sunni farming village Sunday, torching homes and looting shops in what activists said is a sign of worsening relations among the country's religious groups.

Tensions stemming from the 14-month-old uprising against President Bashar Assad also touched off clashes across the border in Lebanon as the revolt threatened to morph into a broader conflict.

The relentless violence further undermines a U.N.-backed peace plan designed to bring an end to Syria's deadly crisis. A cease-fire that was supposed to begin April 12 has had only a limited effect, throwing into doubt the rest of the plan that calls for talks between Assad's regime and those seeking to end his rule.

The raid against the impoverished village of al-Tamana, about 35 miles northwest of the city of Hama, began late Saturday and continued through the early hours on Sunday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said five people were killed in the raid and government troops were setting fire to homes.

An amateur video posted online Sunday showed men carrying the dead body of a woman from a house. A second video showed men in a mosque praying over five coffins, three of them open with flowers piled on bodies wrapped in white cloth.

The area, a plain of farmland along the Orontes River, is dotted with villages of Christians, Sunni Muslims and Alawites, the offshoot sect of Shiite Islam to which Assad belongs.

The fighting highlights how easily trouble in Syria can raise tensions in neighboring Lebanon, with which it shares a complex web of political and sectarian ties and rivalries.

Lebanon's national news agency NNA said one soldier was killed by a sniper in the city early Sunday. Another man was found dead on the side of a road while a third died after a shell landed in a neighborhood.

An Associated Press reporter in Tripoli said the Lebanese army sent reinforcements to the city, but that intermittent clashes continued Sunday with gunmen shooting at each other with automatic rifles. Heavier weapons, like rocket-propelled grenades, have also been fired.

Comments
NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Carson Wentz's injury drops Eagles out of top five

What follows below is a ranking of all 32 NFL teams. To build this list, we consulted five objective measures of team strength: Pro Football Reference’s Simple Rating System, Football Outsiders’ Defense-adjusted Value Over Average ratings...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Gradebook podcast: Is sixth grade too young for school sports?

Gradebook podcast: Is sixth grade too young for school sports?

Being part of a sports team can help students ease into their school and become part of the activities. But in some school systems, sixth graders don’t get the chance to play. The arguments include that they’re too small, and that th...
Updated: 4 hours ago

North shuts out South squad in Pinellas All-Star Football Classic

CLEARWATER — The players had so much fun, officials at Clearwater High School literally had to turn off the lights post-game to get everyone to go home.With more than 60 talented and motivated seniors participating in Wednesday's 23rd annu...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Florida education news: Funding lawsuit, teacher contracts, alternative schooling and more

Florida education news: Funding lawsuit, teacher contracts, alternative schooling and more

FUNDING: The parents' lawsuit contended the state did not meet the requirements for a "uniform high-quality education." The court's response: The language is too vague for the judicial branch to intervene. "While 'adequate,' 'efficient,' and 'high qu...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Pinellas Chief of Schools Police to retire

Pinellas Chief of Schools Police to retire

Rick Stelljes, the Pinellas County school district's Chief of Schools Police, will retire in the new year.District spokeswoman Melanie Marquez Parra has confirmed that Stelljes, 62, will retire in early 2018. A job posting for his position, which pay...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Does UCF have a shot at a split national championship?

Does UCF have a shot at a split national championship?

Reader Ken Kueker asked a great question yesterday:"If UCF beats Auburn in the Peach Bowl, what do you think of voting them #1 in your AP ranking?"My short answer is the obvious cop-out: It depends on how UCF looks (is it a triple-overtime win o...
Updated: 1 hour ago

AP Top News at 8:39 a.m. EST

AP Top News at 8:39 a.m. EST
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Fears rise over LGBT discrimination in conservative Paraguay

Fears rise over LGBT discrimination in conservative Paraguay

Discrimination against gay and transgender people has traditionally been the norm in Paraguay, but advocates say it is becoming more evident after the conservative government recently banned the teaching of sexual diversity in schools
Updated: 9 minutes ago
EU's Tusk warns of bruising Brexit battle ahead, urges unity

EU's Tusk warns of bruising Brexit battle ahead, urges unity

European Union chief Donald Tusk warned Thursday of a bruising Brexit battle ahead as Britain and the remaining 27 EU countries move onto to discussions over their future trade relations.
Updated: 10 minutes ago

Assault victims want documents used to create school report

Civil attorneys for the students assaulted during a high school basketball team's trip are demanding to see the 130 documents created during the production of a report on the school's sexual harassment culture
Updated: 10 minutes ago