BEIRUT — The death toll in Syria’s three-year conflict has climbed past 160,000, an activist group said Monday, a harrowing figure that reflects the relentless bloodletting in a civil war that appears no closer to being resolved.
The grim tally, however, only presents one facet of the tremendous suffering that Syrians have endured since the revolt against President Bashar Assad erupted in March 2011. The crisis has also uprooted some 6.5 million people from their homes, forced 2.7 million to flee the country, laid waste to cities and towns alike, and unleashed sectarian hatreds that have rippled across the region.
The government has presented Syria’s June 3 presidential election, which Assad is widely expected to win, as a means to end the conflict. The Syrian opposition and its Western allies have denounced the vote as a farce aimed solely at lending Assad a veneer of electoral legitimacy.
It also remains unclear how the government can hold a credible vote when the nation is engulfed in fighting and a significant chunk of the country is in opposition hands.
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Thursday prepared for the possibility of launching unilateral American military action against Syria within days as Britain opted out in a stunning vote by Parliament. Facing skepticism at home, too, the administration shared intelligence with lawmakers aimed at convincing them the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its people and must be punished.
Despite roadblocks in forming an international coalition, Obama appeared undeterred and advisers said he would be willing to retaliate against Syria on his own.
“The president of the United States is elected with the duty to protect the national security interests in the United States of America,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.
Even before the vote in London, the U.S. was preparing to act without formal authorization from the United Nations, where Russia has blocked efforts to seek a resolution authorizing the use of force, or from Capitol Hill. But the U.S. had expected Britain, a major ally, to join in the effort.
Scranton died of a cerebral hemorrhage at a retirement community in Montecito, Calif., where he lived with his wife Mary, a family spokesman told The Associated Press on Monday.
Scranton, a progressive Republican from the Lackawanna County city named after his family, was elected to Congress in 1960. He served one term before he was elected as Pennsylvania’s 38th governor in 1962.
His foray into presidential politics occurred in 1964, during his one term as governor, when he emerged as a moderately liberal alternative to conservative Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater after New York Gov. Nelson A. Rockefeller dropped out of the race.
HONG KONG — The request from the United States that Hong Kong detain Edward J. Snowden, who has been accused of stealing government secrets, before it seeks his return to America is likely to set off a tangled and protracted fight, with Mr. Snowden and his legal advisers having multiple tools to delay or thwart his being surrendered to American officials.
Mr. Snowden’s exact location was unclear Saturday, though he was believed to be hiding in a safe house in Hong Kong after leaving a hotel room two weeks ago upon revealing that he was the one who had leaked details of American surveillance efforts to the media. Hong Kong police officials would not comment Saturday about Mr. Snowden’s whereabouts.
Stephen Vickers, who oversaw police criminal intelligence in Hong Kong before Britain returned the territory to China in 1997, said Saturday that the Hong Kong police had certainly figured out where Mr. Snowden was hiding and should be able to detain him once Hong Kong government lawyers determined that the charges Mr. Snowden faced in the United States were also legal offenses in Hong Kong.
“I have no doubt whenever the government decides to take action, they will pick him up fast,” said Mr. Vickers, who now runs a risk consulting firm.
Give me a freakin’ break!!! Norway!!! Right…it’s freezing cold, the location sucks and there is nothing to do unless you like ice fishing and chewing on whale blubber. Do they have the Eagles!?! I think NOT! HA! Who would want to live there. No hoagies, soft pretzels, Tastykakes, Entenmann’s, Wawa, Flyers, 76er’s and this list goes on and on.
The population of Norway roughly equals the state of Colorado and it has a land mass slightly larger than Wyoming. The capital and largest city Oslo is a tad smaller than Boston. There are four other cities with over 100,000 people. The state of Pennsylvania has 12 million people and the Philadelphia Metropolitan area contains a larger population than the entire COUNTRY of Norway. And again I must point out they have no hoagies or Eagles football.
The United States is 13th!!! We were beat out by Iceland and Australia. Iceland!!! WTF! Did they pass around a crack pipe before voting?!?
I think the UN should move to Norway if it’s so awesome there. Good riddance!