A commander in Syria's Republican Guard whose family has been close to the family of Syrian President Bashar Assad has reportedly defected and is headed to France. That's where diplomats from more than 100 countries are meeting to discuss ways to put more pressure on Assad to end a brutal crackdown on his opponents that has left more than 10,000 civilians dead.
As NPR's Peter Kenyon tells our Newscast Desk, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told those gathered for the so-called Friends of Syria conference in Paris that Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass is on his way to France.
There's been lots of talk about how the Supreme Court's landmark decision to uphold the health care law could affect the federal Medicaid program and President Obama's political standing. But days after the historic ruling, lawyers say they're still teasing out the consequences for other key areas of the law â€” including civil rights.
At first blush, it might seem odd that a case about the Affordable Care Act would send civil rights experts scrambling back to their law books.
The destruction is total. In Jaar, a town in southern Yemen, an entire block has been reduced to rubble by what residents say was a powerful airstrike on May 15.
For the first time in more than a year, the sites of the escalating U.S. air war in southern Yemen are becoming accessible, as militants linked to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula have withdrawn from the area. This retreat follows the sustained American air campaign and an offensive by the Yemeni government forces on the ground.