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U.S. says Syria's chemical arms are destroyed

Washington

U.S. says Syria's chemical arms are destroyed

The Obama administration said Monday that it has finished destroying the lethal chemical agents that were removed from Syria after President Bashar Assad's forces were accused of using poison gas against civilians a year ago this week. In a statement, President Barack Obama hailed the joint civilian and military effort, which destroyed more than 600 tons of sarin and mustard agents, as "an important achievement in our ongoing effort to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction." After nerve gas killed more than 1,000 people in rebel-held suburbs of east Damascus last Aug. 21, according to U.S. estimates, Assad agreed to surrender his poison gas arsenal and production equipment to international chemical weapons inspectors and thus avoid a threatened retaliatory attack by the U.S. military. • The extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria shot and beheaded up to 200 tribesmen from eastern Syria over the past two weeks after crushing an uprising they led against the jihadi fighters, activists said Monday. It was not immediately possible to verify the death toll.

Ukraine

Deaths in convoy blamed on rebels

Separatist rebels on Monday attacked a caravan of cars carrying refugees trying to flee war-ravaged eastern Ukraine, killing "dozens" of people in a devastating barrage of artillery fire, Ukrainian military officials said, though rebel leaders denied there had been any attack at all. Col. Andriy Lysenko, a spokesman for the Ukrainian military, told a briefing in Kiev, the capital, that "terrorists had perpetrated a bloody crime" by attacking the refugee convoy. In Donetsk, the last major rebel stronghold, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, the prime minister of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, denied that any such attack had occurred.

Egypt

Israel, Palestinians extend cease-fire

Egypt late Monday announc­ed a 24-hour extension in talks between Israel and the Hamas militant group aimed at salvaging a long-term arrangement that would allow reconstruction of the Gaza Strip following a monthlong war that killed more than 2,000 people. The announcement came just minutes before a temporary truce was set to expire at midnight.

Brazil

New candidate surges in survey

The politician chosen to replace the Brazilian Socialist Party presidential candidate who died in a plane crash has surged in a poll measuring voters' intentions. The survey shows 21 percent of voters favor Marina Silva, who replaced the late Eduardo Campos on the PSB ticket, compared with 36 percent for incumbent President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers Party. Silva edged past the other main candidate, centrist Aecio Neves, by 1 percentage point. The survey was released Monday by the Datafolha polling agency. It has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

France

Robbers take cash from Saudi prince

Armed robbers ambushed a car in a Saudi prince's diplomatic convoy on its way to a Paris airport commonly used for private jets, raiding the Mercedes minivan for valuables and then torching and abandoning it, police and prosecutors said Monday. Five to eight assailants flashed handguns but fired no shots in the Sunday evening attack, prosecutors said. The car had 250,000 euros ($335,000) in cash. No injuries were reported.

Times wires

U.S. says Syria's chemical arms are destroyed 08/18/14 [Last modified: Monday, August 18, 2014 11:42pm]
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