Syrian troops advance on rebels
Government troops fired tank shells and artillery in heavy clashes between Syrian forces and rebels Sunday on the edge of Damascus, where the military has been pushing its offensive to retake key districts that have been in opposition hands for months.
The Syrian army has seized the momentum in the civil war over the past three months, wresting back territory lost to rebel forces and solidifying its hold over contested areas, particularly on the fringes of Damascus. Two of the embattled districts are Jobar and Qaboun, from which rebels frequently launch mortar rounds on the heart of the capital.
A Syrian military commander said forces loyal to President Bashar Assad have recaptured 60 percent of Jobar, south of Qaboun, and were trying to retake the rest. The commander talked to reporters Sunday during a military escorted tour of Jobar organized by the Information Ministry. His claim could not be independently verified.
Outlook good for boy buried in sand
MICHIGAN CITY, Ind.
A 6-year-old boy who spent more than three hours buried under 11 feet of sand after being swallowed by a massive Indiana dune is recovering well but remains in critical condition at a Chicago hospital.
The boy was identified Sunday night by a hospital spokeswoman as Nathan Woessner.
Michigan City Police Chief Mark Swistek said the parents of the boy told him Saturday that the outlook for the child is very good.
Nathan remained in critical condition Sunday at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago, spokeswoman Lorna Wong said. His hometown hasn’t been released, but The News-Dispatch reported he was from Illinois. Wong said she could not confirm or deny the information.
Trial to open on Pa. voter-ID law
A trial set to begin today on the constitutionality of Pennsylvania’s voter- identification law represents a major step toward a judicial ruling on whether the photo requirement should be enforced at polling places statewide or thrown out as unconstitutional.
Nine days are set aside for the trial in Harrisburg in Commonwealth Court. Civil libertarians challenging the law and state officials defending it say they expect the state Supreme Court ultimately will decide the case.
At issue is a voter ID law that would be one of the strictest in the nation if it is upheld but has never been enforced.
After legal jousting that reached the state Supreme Court, Simpson blocked enforcement in last year’s presidential election and again in this year’s municipal and judicial primary because of lingering concern that it could disenfranchise voters who lacked a valid photo ID.
Magna Carta copies to be reunited
The Magna Carta will be on the move in 2015.
The British Library plans to celebrate the 800th birthday of the document that laid the foundations of Britain’s common law and civil liberties by uniting all four surviving original copies under one roof for the first time.
Today the library announced plans to mark the anniversary by bringing together — for three days only — all the remaining original copies of the charter endorsed by King John in June 1215 to quell an uprising by England’s nobles.
Two are in the British Library’s collection, while one is at Lincoln Cathedral in central England and another resides at Salisbury Cathedral in southwest England.