BEIRUT -- The head of Syria's rebels said Friday that the food and medical supplies the United States plans to give his fighters for the first time won't bring them any closer to defeating President Bashar Assad's forces in the country's civil war.
"We don't want food and drink, and we don't want bandages. When we're wounded, we want to die. The only thing we want is weapons," Gen. Salim Idris, chief of staff of the opposition's Supreme Military Council, said in an interview.
In what was described as a significant policy shift, the Obama administration said Thursday it was giving an additional $60 million in assistance to Syria's political opposition and said it would, for the first time, provide non-lethal aid directly to rebels battling to topple Mr. Assad.
Police charged with murder
JOHANNESBURG -- Eight South African police officers were charged with murder on Friday for the death of a taxi driver dragged by a police vehicle, a videotaped incident that became a worldwide symbol of police brutality in this country.
Earlier on Friday, friends and relatives of Mido Macia gathered around a simple table adorned with a few flowers in the poor township of Daveyton, to mourn the death the slender 27-year-old who died shortly after the dragging incident on Tuesday.
South Africa's police chief Gen. Riah Phiyega said she shared ''the extreme shock and outrage" over the video evidence of abuse of Mr. Macia by police officers and said his rights were ''violated in the most extreme form."
Pistorius avid gun collector
JOHANNESBURG -- In his Olympic year, Oscar Pistorius steadily became an avid firearms collector, joining a gun-collecting club and purchasing a collection of firearms that included a .500 Magnum pistol and a civilian version of a military assault rifle.
At the end of 2012, in the first blush of his romance with Reeva Steenkamp, the model he later shot and killed, Mr. Pistorius got deeper into his hobby.
Malaysians, Filipinos clash
MANILA, Philippines -- An obscure, centuries-old territorial dispute between Malaysia and the Philippines erupted in violence Friday, leaving at least 12 dead and straining relations between the close Southeast Asian neighbors.
Malaysian security forces battled Friday with about 180 Filipinos, some of whom were armed, in an effort to remove them from a remote coastal village they had occupied for two weeks in the northeastern Malaysian state of Sabah.
2 Navy sailors guilty of rape
TOKYO -- A Japanese court sentenced two U.S. Navy sailors to lengthy terms on Friday after they pleaded guilty to the rape of a woman on Okinawa last year.
The court in Naha, the capital of Okinawa, sentenced one sailor, Christopher Browning, 24, to 10 years in prison, and the other, Skyler Dozierwalker, 23, a petty officer third class, to nine years for the October 2012 rape.
Rightist party gains in U.K.
LONDON -- Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservatives took a harsh pummeling on Friday after results of a by-election showed surging support for the United Kingdom Independence Party, a right-wing group whose deep inroads into the Conservative vote, if sustained at a general election in two years' time, could oust the Conservatives from power and usher the Labour Party back into 10 Downing Street.
In Thursday's vote in Eastleigh, a mainly suburban constituency, or voting district, near the coastal city of Southampton, the Conservatives came in third behind the United Kingdom Independence Party and the Liberal Democrats, who won.
-- Compiled from news services