Wednesday, February 21, 2018
News Roundup

U.S. official sees long war in Syria

Aspen, Colo.

U.S. official sees long war in Syria

A senior U.S. intelligence official Saturday warned that the Syrian conflict could last "many, many months to multiple years," and described a situation that would most likely worsen regardless of whether the Syrian leader, President Bashar Assad, fell.

The comments by David Shedd, deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, were one of the strongest public warnings about how the civil war in Syria has deteriorated, and he seemed to imply that the response from the United States and its allies had so far been lacking.

Shedd suggested that in addition to strengthening the more secular groups of the fractious Syrian opposition — which the Obama administration has promised to arm with weapons and ammunition — the West would have to directly confront more radical Islamist elements. But he did not say how that could be accomplished.

"The reality is that, left unchecked, they will become bigger," Shedd told the Aspen Security Forum, an annual meeting on security issues. "Over the last two years they've grown in size."

China

Man who was beaten sets off airport bomb

A disabled man who was reportedly protesting past mistreatment by security officials set off a homemade bomb inside Beijing Capital International Airport on Saturday evening, injuring only himself but causing a brief panic, according to witnesses.

The man, Ji Zhongxing, 34, was in a wheelchair, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

According to documents posted on the Internet, Ji, who had earned his living transporting people on a motorcycle, was paralyzed from the waist down in 2005 after security officers in the southern city of Dongguan beat him for operating an unlicensed transport service.

Arlington, Texas

Police say woman fell from Six Flags coaster

A woman who died while riding a roller coaster at a Six Flags amusement park in North Texas fell from the ride, Arlington police Sgt. Christopher Cook told the Associated Press on Saturday.

He said that police believe the woman fell Friday at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, and that there appears to have been no foul play. He said police, fire and emergency medical services responded to the park in reference to a woman who had fallen from a train car on a roller coaster.

She had been riding the Texas Giant. Dubbed the tallest steel-hybrid coaster in the world, it reaches 14 stories high, drops 79 degrees and banks 95 degrees.

Elsewhere

Colombia: The U.S. ambassador to Colombia demanded Saturday that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia release a former U.S. service member the rebel group has been holding since last month.

Iraq: A coordinated wave of seven car bombs tore through bustling commercial streets Saturday night in Shiite areas of Baghdad, part of a relentless wave of violence that killed at least 46 inside and outside the capital.

Italy: Five employees of an Italian cruise company were convicted Saturday of manslaughter in the Costa Concordia shipwreck that killed 32 people, receiving sentences of less than three years that lawyers for victims and survivors criticized as too lenient.

Egypt: The interim president selected a team of legal experts Saturday to rewrite controversial portions of the Islamist-drafted constitution, as the military-backed leadership moved to try to capitalize on the ouster of the first freely elected leader.

India: Samples of cooking oil and leftover food taken from an Indian school where 23 children died after eating lunch last week were contaminated with "very toxic" levels of an agricultural pesticide, police said Saturday. No arrests have been made in the case.

India: A court in central India sentenced six men ages 22 to 30 to life imprisonment Saturday for the gang rape of a Swiss tourist in March, lawyers said.

Times wires

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