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The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to rebels in northern Syria on Wednesday, a day after Islamists overran a border crossing in the snow-swept region near Turkey. Gulf Arab states meeting in Kuwait demanded foreign militias withdraw from Syria and said President Bashar al-Assad must have no future role, in a declaration his regime denounced as meddling. Thousands of Syrian refugees in neighbouring Lebanon also had to battle the elements when their makeshift camps were lashed by a winter storm that brought snow, rain and freezing temperatures. The US and British decision to suspend non-lethal aid to the opposition in northern Syria came after Islamist rebels seized the Bab al-Hawa border crossing and key supply bases from the mainstream Free Syrian Army.
By Amy Sawitta Lefevre and Aubrey Belford BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's red-shirted supporters said on Wednesday they were ready to defend her government in the streets from an elite-backed protest movement seeking to install an unelected "People's Council". The warning highlights the risks of a crisis centered on the electoral and legislative power of the Shinawatra family, revered by the rural and urban poor but reviled by Bangkok's royalist elite as inept and graft-ridden. The turmoil has veered from violent protests in which five people were killed and more than 300 wounded to occupations of government buildings and, in recent days, bewildering statements by Suthep Thaugsuban, a veteran politician who quit the mainstream opposition to lead the protesters. Security forces have remained aligned with the government and missed deadlines have become the norm for a protest movement that has openly courted anarchy on Bangkok streets in hopes of inducing a military coup or judicial intervention to bring down Yingluck.
A French expert was set to be the star witness Wednesday against one of the world's top wine collectors on trial for fraud in New York and facing up to 40 years in prison. "It risks taking a long time," Laurent Ponsot told AFP, saying he would be as exact as possible in explaining precisely what's at stake to the 12 jurors at the Manhattan federal court. Indonesian-born Rudy Kurniawan, who has lived illegally in the United States since his asylum bid was rejected in 2003, was once considered one of the top five wine collectors in the world. They say he sold at auction and direct to collectors, ordinary wine that he blended in his kitchen "laboratory" and re-bottled to masquerade as vintage wines worth thousands of dollars.
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans signaled support Wednesday for a budget deal worked out a day earlier, a plan narrowly drawn but promoted as a way to stabilize Congress' erratic fiscal efforts, avert another government shutdown and mute some of the partisan rancor that has damaged Americans' attitudes about their lawmakers.