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A two-day wave of regime air strikes on a north Syrian town has killed 50 people, a monitor said Sunday, while in Damascus a mortar round struck the French school without causing injuries. On the political front, Syria's deputy foreign minister insisted that no solution to Syria's conflict proposed at a January 22 peace conference in Geneva would be implemented without President Bashar al-Assad's approval. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that helicopters on Sunday dropped explosive-laden barrels on the rebel-held town of Al-Bab in northern Syria's Aleppo province, killing at least 24 people, including two women and four children. Meanwhile in Damascus, children escaped a mortar attack on the French school, officials said.
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa will charge one of Nelson Mandela's grandsons with assault and brandishing a gun at another man, a prosecutor's official said on Sunday, in a further embarrassment for the anti-apartheid hero's large and fractious family. Mandla Mandela is due to appear in court on Friday, Luxolo Tyali, a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, told Reuters. "The NPA has decided to prosecute him and summons have been issued," Tyali said. ...
The Obama administration declared victory on Sunday in its effort to get HealthCare.gov working smoothly for the vast majority of users, saying the site had reached a goal of handling 50,000 simultaneous users after a five-week "tech surge." In a six-page progress and performance report, administration officials said the troubled website could now handle at least 800,000 visitors per day, with the system remaining up at least 90 percent of the time. The new performance levels mark significant improvement after the Obamacare website's disastrous October 1 launch, when it crashed in the face of high traffic volumes and remained down 60 percent of the time for weeks.
By Yasmine Saleh and Tom Perry CAIRO (Reuters) - A hardline Islamist leader said the army had driven Egypt to the "edge of a precipice", as a new constitution likely to ban Islamic political parties was set to be approved on Sunday by the panel that drafted it. The 50-member constituent assembly was due to finish voting on a draft that reflects how the balance of power has shifted in Egypt since secular-minded generals deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi in July after mass protests against him. A major milestone in Egypt's political roadmap, the constitution must be approved in a referendum before new elections which Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood, driven underground by aggressive security measures, is unlikely to contest.
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egyptian security forces fired teargas to disperse protesters demonstrating against the army-backed government in Cairo's Tahrir Square on Sunday, witnesses said. Several hundred people had chanted "down down with military rule" and one protester had hung a picture of ousted President Mohamed Mursi from a lamppost before the teargas volleys began.
South Africa will charge one of Nelson Mandela's grandsons with assault and brandishing a gun at another man, a prosecutor's official said on Sunday, in a further embarrassment for the anti-apartheid hero's large and fractious family. Mandla Mandela is due to appear in court on Friday, Luxolo Tyali, a spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority, told Reuters. South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper said the younger Mandela was reported to have drawn a gun on a 44-year-old teacher whose vehicle had collided with one driven by a guest of Mandla Mandela's. The teacher later had to undergo emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain, the newspaper said. Tyali spelled out the charges facing Mandla Mandela but declined to give details of the incident.
By Amy Sawitta Lefevre BANGKOK (Reuters) - About 30,000 protesters launched a "people's coup" on Thailand's government on Sunday, swarming state agencies in violent clashes, taking control of a state broadcaster and forcing the prime minister to flee a police compound. But after a day of skirmishes between protesters hurling stones and petrol bombs against riot police firing back with teargas, the demonstrators failed to breach heavily barricaded Government House, office of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. "They go to different places and they go back out." The protesters sowed chaos in one of Southeast Asia's biggest cities, breaching a police line, seizing seven police trucks, and forcing Yingluck to move to an undisclosed location from a building where she had planned to give media interviews. Small fires burned from petrol bombs that landed by police trucks.
Mario Balotelli scored his first league goal in over two months as struggling Serie A giants Milan secured a precious 3-1 win away to 10-man Catania on Sunday. Milan started their 14th game of the campaign 14 points off the first Champions League qualifying place and having been rocked by the announcement that chief executive Adriano Galliani would resign after 27 years at the club. Galliani's future is as yet undecided, after club owner Silvio Berlusconi said Saturday he would remain in his post following a restructuring. However this result, only Milan's fourth win of the campaign, will undoubtedly prove a huge morale boost to the Rossoneri amid what has been another disappointing start to the season.