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Entries in Italy (8)


Syria Live: "We Are Stronger Than Those Who Would Divide Us"

Protest in Kafranbel in Idlib Province on Friday

See also Iran- Syria-North Korea Shocker: Congress Reveals US Threatened by "Evil Love Triangle"
Syria Opinion: The Danger of Confusing "Islamists" and "Jihadists"
Egypt (and Beyond) Live: Mubarak Retrial OpensEgypt (and Beyond) Live: Mubarak Retrial Opens
Friday's Syria Live: G8 Foreign Ministers Say Little of Note After Two-Day Meeting

1945 GMT: Airstrike. Graphic footage has been posted which claims to be of people trying to put a fire, including burning victims, after an airstrike on Jobar in Damascus.

1915 GMT: Insurgents and "Al Qa'eda". The opposition Syrian National Coalition has chided Jabhat al-Nusra leader Abu Mohammad al-Golani for praising the ideals of Al Qa'eda head Ayman al-Zawahiri while emphasising that JAN is fighting with and for the Syrian people:

The Coalition views with utmost concern recent statements made regarding the Syrian people and the rebels....We urge Jabhat al Nusra to stay within the ranks of nationalistic Syrians, to continue its efforts in fighting the Assad regime, and in supporting and protecting the freedom of all Syrian sects.

Other factions within the insurgency have also criticised the al-Golani statement.

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Syria Live: The Back-and-Forth Battle in Aleppo

2150 GMT: Video of Al-Bouti's Assassination. Mohamed Said Ramadan Al-Bouti, often considered Syria's top Sunni cleric, was a staunch supporter of the regime and was killed on the 21st of March by a bomb in a mosque in Damascus. Now, a video, we believe originally posted to a Facebook page, reportedly shows his assassination. The video may be disturbing to some viewers.

Here's what we know. That is Mohamed al-Bouti, and that looks like the Eman Mosque. From this video, this event shows none of the marks of a car bomb, which matches our initial suggestion that the bomb looked like it went off inside the mosque. More interestingly, this may put to rest the question of whether Bouti was assassinated or whether he was collateral damage - he appears to be the target of this attack.

There are many questions about this bizarre video, however. For starters, we appear to be watching video of another screen, perhaps a cell phone or camera, that is playing the video. In other words, we're watching a video of a video. The camera inside the mosque may be hidden. When the explosion goes off, a hole can be seen, perhaps the hole through which the camera is taking the video. In fact, the camera appears to be pushed back and knocked slightly off angle by the explosion. But who filmed this and why was it kept secret? Where is this camera and why does the "hole" visible in the middle of the vido then disappear. We have theories, but we're still analyzing the video.

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Mali (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Insurgents Counter-Attack, Move Closer to Capital

See also Mali Feature: A Beginner's Guide --- The Timeline of the Conflict
Syria Live Coverage: Deadly Bombardment of Damascus Suburbs Continues
Monday's Mali (and Beyond) Live Coverage: French Warplanes Continue Attacks

2055 GMT: Bahrain. An appeals court has upheld a 15-month prison sentence on former MP Jawad Fairooz, imposed in absentia, for participation in protests in 2011.

Fairooz was convicted of calling for protests without notifying authorities, but acquitted of inciting hatred against the regime and spreading false information.

In November, Fairooz and 30 other activists were stripped of their Bahraini citizenship over accusations of "jeopardising state security".

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Israel-Palestine Live Coverage (26 October): Netanyahu and Lieberman Declare Their Alliance

1430 GMT: British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt has welcomed a truce between Palestinians in Gaza and Israel after recent clashes, airstrikes, and firing of rockets: "The UK welcomes reports that a truce has been reached and calls on all sides to show restraint and prevent further such escalations in future. We urge all parties to prevent civilian casualties and loss of life."

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The Latest from Iran (19 May): Bad Numbers for Ahmadinejad and Regime's "Islamic Awakening"

See also Iran Opinion: Turning the Islamic Republic into North Korea --- Does It Help the Situation?
Iran Special: The Nuclear Scientist, WikiLeaks, and the Executed Kickboxer
The Latest from Iran (18 May): Helping Damascus

1622 GMT: Claim of Day. Hamed Saleh-Abadi, a journalist for the reformist Donya-e Eghtesad, reports that former President Mohammad Khatami has expressed regret for his decision to vote in March's Parliamentary elections.

According to Saleh-Abadi, Khatami said, "The political atmosphere daily becomes more restricted. My vote must have shocked society. I accept criticism for it."

Before the election, Khatami had set the conditions for participation of freedom for political prisoners, adherence to the Constitution, and free activity of political parties. Many reformists and members of the opposition refused to vote on the grounds that those conditions were not met.

1620 GMT: Picture of Day. Claimed photograph of student activist Mahdieh Golroo, leaving Evin Prison today, after 30 months behind bars:

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The Latest from Iran (17 March): Economy Watch

2100 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Journalist and human rights activist Kaveh Kermanshahi has been given a four-year sentence by an appeals court.

Kermanshahi was originally sentenced to five years in prison.

1700 GMT: We're Watching You. Ayatollah Nourollah Tabarasi, a member of the Assembly of Experts, has declared that 53 intelligence networks have been established to spy on 60,000 seminary students.

1645 GMT: Back from an academic break to find that Ali Karroubi, the son of Mehdi Karroubi, has been released from detention.

Ali Karroubi was arrested more than three weeks ago during a raid on his parents' home and their possible move from house arrest to detention.

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Wikileaks: Today's Guide to EA's Coverage


Aluf Benn says "The Fiasco Doesn't Embarrass Israel One Bit".

Features and Documents

1. US officials have "No Confidence in Pakistani Leader Zardari, No Alternative to Afghan Leader Karzai".

2. A year before the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, the US Embassy in Tbilisi documents "The Russian Campaign Against Georgia".

3. In 2009, the US Embassy in Rome intervenes in Italian politics: "Pushing Back Against Silvio Berlusconi, 'The Mouthpiece of Vladimir Putin'."


Wikileaks Special: Pushing Back Against Italy's Berlusconi "The Mouthpiece of Putin"

To tackle the problem [of Berlusconi's affection for Putin] head-on, Post [the Embassy] has deployed a robust diplomatic and public affairs strategy targeting key figures inside and outside government. Our aim is two-fold: educate our interlocutors more profoundly on Russian activities and thus the context for U.S. policy, as well as build a counter-weight of dissenting opinion on Russia policy, especially within Berlusconi's political party.

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