NEWS BRIEFS

Syrian activists call general strike in new tactic

Posted May 17, 2011, at 8:46 p.m.

BEIRUT — Syrian protesters called Tuesday for a one-day nationwide general strike, urging students to skip school and workers to bring commerce to a halt in a new strategy of defiance against government crackdowns that appear to be turning more brutal and bloody.

The strike, planned for Wednesday, marks a shift by opposition forces to strike at President Bashar Assad’s regime from new angles: its economic underpinnings and ability to keep the country running during two months of widening battles.

The strike call came as the United States and European Union planned new sanctions against the Syrian leadership. In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told reporters that the tighter measures could be imposed in the coming days.

Police find 2 bodies in Slovak cannibal case

BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovakia’s top police officer says information from a computer that belonged to a suspected cannibal has led police to a grave containing the remains of two women.

Jaroslav Spisiak says the women were in a shallow grave found Tuesday in the woods near the eastern town of Kysak.

He says the bodies — likely the remains of two Slovak women — were cut into pieces.

The 43-year-old suspect was critically wounded last Tuesday after a gunbattle with officers during an undercover police operation to apprehend him.

Police believe the man used the Internet to search for a person who wanted to commit suicide and would agree to let him eat the body.

A Swiss citizen initially agreed, but later changed his mind and informed authorities.

US: No rush to destroying last smallpox viruses

GENEVA — The United States has proposed that the last known stockpiles of the smallpox virus should be retained for at least another five years to allow for more research and prevent one of the world’s deadliest diseases being used as a biological weapon.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters Tuesday that the World Health Organization has been asked to decide whether the stockpiles held in secure U.S. and Russian labs should remain in place for at least another five years, when experts could again review the situation.

 

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