nato delays decision to end libya mission
NATO unexpectedly postponed a definite decision to end its bombing campaign in Libya as consultations continued Wednesday over how and when to wind down the operation.
The alliance announced preliminary plans to phase out its mission on Oct. 31. NATO's governing body — the North Atlantic Council, or NAC — was expected to formalize that decision Wednesday.
Air patrols have continued because some alliance members feared a quick end to NATO's seven-month operation could lead to a resurgence in violence.
A spokeswoman said NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was consulting with the United Nations and Libya's National Transitional Council.
At the United Nations, Libya's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Ibrahim Dabbashi asked the Security Council to hold up on lifting the no-fly zone and ending its authorization to protect civilians.
In Qatar, an international planning conference is focusing on how allies can help the new authorities bring stability to Libya. DAMASCUS, SYRIA
Syrian defectors claim attack on military
A force of Syrian army defectors claimed responsibility for an attack Wednesday that killed a military officer and eight soldiers in central Syria, another signal that disaffected troops are taking a larger role in the anti-government uprising and pushing it into more violence after months of a brutal government crackdown.
The attack came as an Arab delegation headed by the Qatari prime minister met with President Bashar Assad to press his government to negotiate with protesters and end the conflict, which the United Nations has said has killed more than 3,000. Opposition figures say they will not talk with the Syrian leadership as long as the government's crackdown continues. Activists reported at least 10 more civilian deaths Wednesday.
In the hours before the meeting, the government telegraphed an intransigent stance, mustering tens of thousands of supporters chanting pro-Assad slogans to rally in the capital for the second time this month.
Meanwhile, activists said, several towns complied with a call for a general strike that was to be the first phase in a campaign of civil disobedience to bring down the government. alexandria, egypt
Beating death verdict disappoints activists
Two policemen who beat a man to death were convicted Wednesday of the lesser charge of manslaughter and given a relatively light sentence of seven years in prison in a case that helped spark Egypt's uprising.
Relatives of defendants Mahmoud Salah and Awad Ismail Suleiman were outraged by the sentence. They smashed benches in the courtroom and attacked the uncle and lawyers of the slain man, Khaled Said.
Pro-democracy activists were disappointed not only with the verdict but also that it was closed to the public, which they saw as signs that the revolution that ousted longtime leader Hosni Mubarak in February was having little effect on getting rid of deep-seated corruption in Egypt.