World Briefs / Syrian rebels seize airfield
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BEIRUT -- Syrian insurgents seized control of a northern military airfield on Tuesday and captured usable warplanes for the first time in the nearly 2-year-old conflict, according to rebels and activist groups.
The reported seizure of Al Jarrah airfield in Aleppo province, which was corroborated by rebel video clips uploaded on the Internet, came a day after insurgent fighters announced that they had taken control of Syria's largest hydroelectric dam, which supplies power to areas held by President Bashar Assad's security forces and by the insurgent Free Syrian Army and affiliated rebel groups. Whoever controls that dam, situated on the Euphrates River in northeast Raqqa province, theoretically has the ability to deny electric power to significant areas held by the other side.
It was far from clear whether the insurgency's claimed military gains signaled a bigger turn in the conflict, but some political analysts said they believed that the claims were credible and noteworthy.
Protests roil Bangladesh
NEW DELHI -- Huge daily demonstrations in the heart of Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, are upending the nation's politics and illustrating how heavily the country's bloody past still weighs on its present.
Thousands of protesters, most of them college students and other young people, demonstrated again Tuesday, fueled by broad public anger over a recent ruling by the country's special war crimes tribunal that they say was too lenient.
Though the protests have been peaceful, a gunfight erupted in another part of Dhaka on Tuesday when followers of Jamaat-e-Islami, the country's largest Islamic political party, vandalized vehicles and clashed with the police. Earlier in the day, the Bangladeshi government had rejected a request by Jamaat leaders to stage a counterprotest against the youth demonstrations.
Former top spy sentenced
ROME -- Italy's former military intelligence chief was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday for complicity in the CIA's abduction of an Egyptian Muslim cleric under a program begun after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The appeals court, in Milan, sentenced the former chief, Niccolo Pollari, to 10 years and his former deputy Marco Mancini to nine years for their role in the kidnapping of the cleric, Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, from the streets of Milan in 2003.
Twenty-three Americans, including Robert Seldon Lady, a former CIA base chief in Milan, were tried in absentia in the Abu Omar case in 2009 and convicted. All but one of them were CIA agents. Three other Americans indicted in the case, including Jeffrey Castelli, the former CIA station chief in Rome, were given diplomatic immunity and acquitted in 2009, but earlier this month the Milan court vacated the acquittals and convicted them in absentia. Mr. Castelli was sentenced to seven years in prison and the other two to six years.
Barclays to cut 3,700 jobs
LONDON -- Barclays announced a major reorganization that will eliminate 3,700 jobs and close several business units, as the bank reported a $1.3 billion loss in the fourth quarter of 2012.
The recent scandals -- including one concerning the manipulation of benchmark interest rates -- weighed down the bank's fourth-quarter earnings. Barclays said Tuesday that its fourth-quarter loss in 2012 compared with a profit of 356 million pounds in the period a year earlier.
First Published February 13, 2013 12:00 am