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Syrian general in charge of air defense is reported killed

Syria

General in charge of air defense is reported killed

The head of Syria's air defenses was killed in clashes near the capital, Damascus, a government official and activists said Sunday, one of a few high-ranking military officers to be killed in the country's 3-year-old civil war. Lt. Gen. Hussein Ishaq's death may boost morale for those fighting against President Bashar Assad's government, as they've faced a series of setbacks and surrendered territory over the past year. Ishaq was one of the highest-ranking members of the Syria's army, said military analyst Hisham Jaber, a retired brigadier general in the Lebanese military. He died Saturday after rebels attacked a Syrian air defense base near Mleiha, said the government official. He spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to brief journalists. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also confirmed Ishaq's death. It said he died from wounds he suffered during Saturday's fighting. The Observatory, which bases its reports on a network of activists on the ground, said he was killed in clashes with fighters from the Nusra Front, the al-Qaida affiliate in Syria, and other Islamic rebel groups.

CAPE CANAVERAL

SpaceX cargo ship returns to Earth

The commercial cargo ship Dragon returned to Earth from the International Space Station on Sunday, bringing back nearly 2 tons of science experiments and old equipment for NASA.

SpaceX's Dragon splashed into the Pacific, just five hours after leaving the orbiting lab. "Welcome home, Dragon!" the California-based company said via Twitter.

After a one-month visit, the SpaceX cargo ship was set loose Sunday morning. The SpaceX Dragon is the only supply ship capable of returning items to Earth.

Ukraine

Deportation of Tatars is remembered

Several hundred people marched in Ukraine's capital Sunday to commemorate the brutal deportation 70 years ago of Crimea's entire population of Tatars, while about 20,000 members of the ethnic group rallied in the peninsula's main city.

In both cities, the gatherings were also a protest against Russia's annexation of Crimea, which re-opened old wounds for the Crimean Tatars and raised fears of renewed discrimination under Moscow's rule.

In May 1944, shortly after Soviet troops drove German forces from Crimea, Josef Stalin accused the Tatars, a Turkic ethnic group, of collaborating with the enemy and ordered their deportation. About 250,000 Tatars were shipped in freight trains to Central Asia, where more than 40 percent died of hunger and disease.

Many Tatars later returned to Crimea.

Elsewhere

Turkey: Under pressure from a public angered by the worst mining accident in Turkey's history, Turkish authorities on Sunday detained 25 people and arrested at least three mining company executives after an investigation suggested that the company failed to heed safety warnings, the local prosecutor's office said.

Vietnam: Vietnam smothered anti-China protests on Sunday with a security clampdown after deadly riots triggered by a territorial dispute with Beijing spooked investors and the country's authoritarian leadership.

Switzerland: Worried about upsetting Switzerland's strong economy or driving its high costs even higher, Swiss voters rejected a plan Sunday to create the world's highest minimum wage of about $14 per hour.

Times wires

Syrian general in charge of air defense is reported killed 05/19/14 [Last modified: Monday, May 19, 2014 12:27am]

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