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Ex-prisoner to lead Syria opposition

Ex-prisoner to lead Syria opposition

A former Syrian political prisoner with close links to Saudi Arabia was picked Saturday to lead Syria's main Western-backed opposition group, filling a post long vacant due to divisions among President Bashar Assad's opponents. The election of Ahmad al-Jarba as the head of the Syrian National Coalition came during a meeting in Turkey in what was the second attempt in recent months by Assad's opponents to unify their ranks. Al-Jarba, 44, has a law degree from Beirut's Arab University. He is from Syria's northeastern province of Hassakeh and is a member of the powerful Shammar tribe that extends into Iraq. He was a little-known anti-Assad figure before Syria's civil war though he was detained in March 2011 — days after the uprising began. It was his second arrest, following one in 1996 when he was held for two years because of antigovernment activities.

Brazil

Soccer fans kill referee, police say

Enraged spectators invaded a soccer field, stoned the referee to death and quartered his body after he stabbed a player to death, police said. The Public Safety Department of the state of Maranhao said in a statement that it all started when referee Otavio da Silva expelled player Josenir Abreu from a game last weekend. The two got into a fist fight, then Silva took out a knife and stabbed Abreu, who died on his way to the hospital. The statement said Abreu's friends and relatives "rushed into the field, stoned the referee to death and quartered his body." Local news media said the spectators decapitated Silva and stuck his head on a stake in the middle of the field. Police have arrested one suspect.

Elsewhere

South Korea: Officials from South and North Korea met on their border Saturday to discuss reopening a jointly operated industrial park and to see whether they were ready to move toward a thaw after months of tensions. The Kaesong Industrial Zone was the last example of economic cooperation between the nations.

Times wires

Ex-prisoner to lead Syria opposition 07/06/13 [Last modified: Saturday, July 6, 2013 11:58pm]
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